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Fuji Transonic 2.5 review

31 Jul 2015
Verdict:

Aero, Ultegra and good looks for £1,600? The Fuji Transonic looks like a cracker.

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£1,600
For 
Racy geometry but still comfortable
Against 
Perhaps a longer stem

Fuji bikes started business in 1899, albeit under different ownership to today. The company is named and after Japan’s Mount Fuji, which also appears in the logo. It’s a traditional symbol of strength and endurance – two characteristics we hoped to find in the aerodynamic Transonic 2.5. It’s rumoured to be at the racy end of the spectrum, but with a competitive price, Shimano Ultegra components and all-round minimal fuss (its cable routing is among the neatest we’ve ever seen), we reckon we’re in for a smooth ride…

The frame

Fuji Transonic 2.5 cables

Last year, Fuji sponsored the Tour de France team NetApp-Endura, and it was under that team that the new-shape Transonic was released. It uses a multitude of deep and slippery shapes to cut through the air efficiently, maximising speed for minimum effort. Consequently the fork is deep and includes a fairing at the top, the down tube uses a truncated aerofoil design (to fit in with UCI rules) and the seat tube curves around the wheel to smooth airflow. That curve is likely the reason our measured seat tube angle doesn’t correspond too closely with the claimed angle – we measure the angle at the seatpost, but Fuji will measure an imaginary angle from the bottom bracket to the saddle.

The head tube tapers from 1.5in to 1.125in at the top, and both front and rear the brakes are Shimano’s new direct mount, using two bolts. We chose a size 54 (medium) bike, which has a short 135mm head tube – it’s an obvious declaration of the bike’s racing pedigree, as is the shortish wheelbase. With the pressfit BB30 bottom bracket shell creating a large area of carbon around the bottom of the bike, the Transonic feels stiff, but it’s quite comfy too, and given the deep section aero tube shapes, it’s surprisingly good at dampening vibrations out on the road.

Components

Fuji Transonic 2.5 seat tube

It’s a rare treat for us to get an upgrade to Shimano’s Ultegra but it’s a nice touch here – so good is 105, most brands seem to spec it a long way up their ranges. The direct mount brakes are actually 105, and a positive consequence of their use is that you can squeeze most 28mm tyres in – we tried some fat 28mm Schwalbe Ones with no problem. Despite the name, Oval provides a distinctly round chainset, as well as bars, stem and saddle – which is unusually padded for such a purposeful bike. It’s all good gear and, given our 54cm tester was specced with a 100mm stem and 42cm bars, well proportioned to the bike.

Wheels

Fuji Transonic 2.5 wheels

Having provided so much of the finishing kit, it’s no surprise that the wheels are from Oval too. A fashionably wide and ostensibly aerodynamic U-shaped rim is mated to neat- looking Oval hubs, via 20 spokes at the front and 24 in the rear. During our test period, the hubs didn’t skip a beat and thanks to the wide rim, the 23mm Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick tyres measured up a whopping 24.5mm using a vernier calliper. We’ve had a good experience with Vittoria tyres recently and the Zaffiro Pros proved more than adequate, especially given the Transonic 2.5 is the cheapest bike here.

The ride

Fuji Transonic 2.5 riding

We originally intended to test the £1,850 Transonic 2.3 but it proved unavailable, so we got the 2.5 instead. Despite being cheaper, it’s largely the same bike – less hollow forged cranks (which would be lighter and a little stiffer) and more expensive wheels. So we weren’t too disappointed when we got the 2.5, and when we tried it for size, we were genuinely excited – it felt immediately familiar and fit perfectly. It was such a good start, we decided to forego the usual first ride fettle and went straight to London’s Redbridge Cycle Circuit for the Thursday evening circuit race.

The ride out proved the bike to be fast in a straight line, picking up speed quickly when the traffic eased. With race numbers pinned on, we took the Transonic into its natural environment – the race circuit. The 52/36 chainset and 11-28 cassette is wider than a normal road racing cassette, but on this circuit proved an excellent choice, allowing us to use the big ring at all times, despite the elevation gain – 425m in 40km. On the descents, the only negative was that we felt we’d prefer some more room to manoeuvre – an extra centimetre on the stem, perhaps. The direct-mount 105 brakes were brilliant, the tyres gripped well – even cornering at 55kmh – and on the rare occasions we saw the front of the bunch, the aero advantages of the frame were welcome. Sprinting out of the saddle, the bike felt perfectly composed and efficient.

The following day, we took the Transonic for an easy leg stretcher. It was interesting to find it impress even at lower speeds, doing a good job of dampening vibrations over rough surfaces, and still putting the rider in a comfortable position even when pain and suffering are off the menu. We were impressed by the Transonic, and given its competitive price, wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. If speed’s your thing, this bike is a great-value choice.

Geometry

Geometry chart
Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 545mm 545mm
Seat Tube (ST) 520mm 520mm
Down Tube (DT) 592mm
Fork Length (FL) 375mm
Head Tube (HT) 135mm 135mm
Head Angle (HA) 73 72.5
Seat Angle (SA) 73.5 72.6
Wheelbase (WB) 974mm 978mm
BB drop (BB) 68mm 73mm

Spec

Fuji Transonic 2.5
Frame C5 high-modulus carbon, PF BB30, 1.5" tapered fork
Groupset Shimano Ultegra, 11-speed
Brakes Shimano 105, direct mount
Chainset Oval Concepts 520, 52/36
Cassette Shimano 105, 11-28
Bars Oval Concepts 310
Stem Oval Concepts 313
Seatpost Fuji
Wheels Oval 327 aero alloy clincher, 20/24h
Tyres Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick,23c
Saddle Oval Concepts R500
Contact evanscycles.com

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