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ALTAMIRA CX 1.0

Review: ALTAMIRA CX 1.0

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Right Out of the Box

5
First Impressions

What a cool looking frame is what I first thought. And 3 weeks later Im still thinking that. My first and initial impression is that this bike is meant for the world cup stage. It is a bright white with blue and orange/red accents on the frame set. The down tube is massive and flows seamlessly into the bottom bracket.

Ease of Assembly

The hardest thing about this bike was unpacking it. It was 90% assembled so all that it took was to throw the front wheel on, put in the seat post and put the stem on the sterrer tube of the fork. Eveything else was done. It doesn't come with pedals so I have to provide my own. But the bike was packed really well. Every tube was protected with foam tubing and then wraped in cardboard around that before being placed into the box. So the bike was maliciously packed. And because its carbon you have to careful when cutting the tape and zip ties off not to score the frame.

Bling Factor

The bling factor is mainly in the frame set with a striking white paint job. Then the carbon clincher wheels really grab your eye with their deep sectional rims. The Oval concepts wheels stand out with their matching graphics. The cherry on the bling has to be the FSA SLK lite crank. Its a beautiful crank set that has a unique marbled carbon!

Road Test Ride

5
Climbing

The bike does climb but not like a road bike. What I mean by this is that the frame is stiff and there is plenty of gearing because of the compact crank and 12-26 cassette. But because of the wheelbase and the Oval Concept Wheels the bike does not go uphill as quick as a road bike in the same category. if you changed the wheels the bike would climb very nicely even with the longer wheel base.

Cornering

We love this thing in the crits that we raced it in. It loves to dive into corners and comes right out of them like its on rails. It handles so well that 90% of the people didn't even think it was a cross bike until they could get a good look at it while we were sitting still. Then there were shocked that we were out there mixing it up with them on a cross bike. Zoom Zoom!

Handling

The bike handles pretty good nothing really surprising here. Normally cross bikes are pretty stable on the road because of the nature of their geometry. the bike was not overly squirly or unstable. Well mannered & down to business.

Ride Feel

This bike feels solid on the road. But this again is not surprising at all. This is due to the massive down tube and huge bottom bracket. Any time you stomp on the pedals the bike will just go as all of your energy goes right into the drive train. No flex here. The chain stays are very large as well and that with the wish bone seat stay ensures that the bike is super stiff.

So what about the road? Well we took this bike on the Pioneer Century and Its not a bike I would choose for a 103+ mile day. Even though its very efficient when it comes to laying down the power there is a trade off with such a stiff frame and wheels. That is you feel everything. I was wearing gloves and about mile 67 I was starting to notice some numbness in my hands

Dirt Test Ride

5
Climbing

So we took the bike out to our testing grounds along with our new test rider Elaine. The trail was in great shape because it had been raining the day before and the parks people had been out there grooming the trail making sure fallen trees were cleared and the natural flora was not over running the trail. I have been riding and racing this bike on the road and so it was no surprise that when time came to go vertical that the bike did so with out hesitation. This is due to the bikes massive down tube and bottom bracket. Did I mention that the down tube is MASSIVE? Also, the Chain stays are equally rouboust in their construction. The vittoria tires hooked right up and gave us plenty of traction in the single track sections of the trail.

Cornering

The Fuji Altamira is a pleasure in the twisty single track turns at Powell Bute park. Stopping for a minute to talk to Elaine on her thoughts of the course she made the comment that its more technical than any cyclocross course. This is why I take all of the bikes there. Plus its a lot of fun to go zipping thought the woods on a cross bike in the tight twisty stuff single track. The fork tracks true and with out hesitation with the confidence of a skilled surgeon. This allowed us to up the speed a little more than we normally would to the extent that we were calling out "Trail" before we got to the corners just in case some one was hiking or mountain biking in that section. Basically the Altamira corners like its on rails.

Handling & Ride Feel

Again the Altamira gives a great solid ride feel on the trail that will leave you feeling connected with the bike and the trail. That feeling is made possible with the handling that the Altamira. I had to go and check the bike out to make sure that the bike didn't have any fly by wire technology from a F16 falcon. If it does I could not find it. Maybe the UCI will find it hidden somewhere.

Trainer Test Ride

0
Ride Feel

We didn't put it on the trainer as the wether was too good to stay inside and the trainer was scared of the Fuji Massive down tube. Did I mention the down tube?

Race Test Ride

5

So I took the Altamira CX1.0 out to the local circuit race at PIR. Its a flat Uber smooth 1.9 mile 4 lane wide track that they race cars and motorcycles on. Yes its a circuit race, no I didn't change any of the gearing on it. The only thing I changed on the bike was I put road tires on it and road pedals. So the gearing on this bike was the stock 46X36 up front. Yes, the 46 put me at a little bit of a handicap here, just. To make it more difficult for me, the sprint to the line was with the wind. This race series on Tuesday night was a points race with a "Hot spot" for 3 place at 3, 2, 1 points. The final sprint to the line starts at 15 points. So I went after the first hot spot and got 2and by about an inch. They had to go to the camera to see. Top speed 40mph! So the bike can get up and go! This bike is pretty stable at speed and handled the corners at PIR very well. The nice thing is that the frame is so stiff that when you stomp on the gas you better hang on as it could just shoot out from underneath you. The Oval wheels were pretty nice at speed and we didn't have any problem with them in the wind or anything. In the final sprint it cam down to a bunch and there were like 10 of us at the line at the same time. Over all for the night I ended up tied for 2and place with 12 points. After the race there is the usual chatting with competitors about the race and the best part was when people realized that I was on a cross bike with only a 46. I can see them working out in their heads what had just happened.. Love that.

We Liked

There are lots of things to like about this gem of a cross bike, let me count the ways.

1. Uber cool carbon frame set, All of your friends will be jelous of how good it looks.

2. MASSIVE down tube! All power all the time should be on the side of this behemoth.

3. High end parts! FSA SLK Lite Crank, Dura Ace Shifting.Why would you put a burlap bag on a super model?

4. Great tires from Vittoria. Large & wide, excellent traction in all conditions.

5. Nice looking fork that is plenty stiff and aero at the same time with Plenty of mud clearance. Its also chatter free!

6. For flat courses I think that the wheel selection is fine.

We could go on and on about all of the things that we like about this bike. This bike could truly pull double duty as a road and cross bike. So If you could only pick one. This one would be at the top of the short list.

We Didn't Like

Ok so there are just a few things that I don't like about this bike. The first one is the brakes. I HATE these brakes. If you have these brakes on your cyclocross bike you should take them off and give them to your competition. The reason that I hate these brakes so much is one you get them adjusted correctly you cant get them undone. They are very difficult to get undone in the best conditions now think what it would be like in bad conditions. Just a nightmare in a race situation.

The second thing that I don't like about this bike is the seat post uses a 2 bolt design. The only reason that I don't like this design is because I have used a single side bolt seat post and that was so easy to use it made everything else seem awful. I don't like the two bolt design because for one you really don't have a lot of room to get at the bolts. Second you end up scratching your seat post up with your allen wrench. And lastly take the first two reasons and times it by 2 because you to do all of that twice because there are 2 bolts.

Now the first two reasons that I have listed above are personal perference and you can change the brakes and seat post out with a little effort. These two reasons tend to be taste ranter than a rule. However changing the fork out is a big deal. The reason the fork is in this section is because of its drop outs. The drop outs are so deep that if you have a flat or have to change the front wheel you will have to take the front skewer completely off (end cap off axel) before you can get the wheel out of the fork.

Now with the wheels you have to ask yourself how deep is just right? This is where we get into taste rather than a rule. My taste lean twards a "303" type of wheel for the all around cyclocross racing and the lighter the better. These wheels are a little on the portly side of things in what I like to see for a aero race wheel set. The other thing about this is Fuji didn't go with extra long valve stems and instead they went with valve extenders. I ran into problems getting enough air into the tires with the valve extenders when I put inroad tires. The lower pressure tires may not be a problem. It does make it so you trash a tube you can use any tube with the valve extenders.

Upgrades

I always ask myself "What would I change on this bike?" "What would I upgrade on it?" The very first thing that I would upgrade would be the brakes. Get rid of these things! OMG they are a nightmare just waiting to happen. I would put on some Avid Shorty Ulitmates on this bike.

The second thing that I would change out would be the seat post. If you visit Cross bike review often then you will already know about my strong dislike of the 2 bolt seat post design. I would change it out for a better side 1 bolt seat post.

Next, I would put a longer skewer on the front wheel. So that when I needed to change the front wheel I could remove it with out having to take the front skewer completely apart.

Finally, I would put some appropriate light weight wheels on the bike. Something along the lines of 1200g tublars to race on. If I was specing the bike I would have a set of wheels in the 1500g range as a stock wheel option.

The Final Say

The Fuji Altemeria is a great cross bike. The carbon platform is excellent in performance and beautiful to look at as well. If you are lucky enough to afford it you will need to change out the brakes as they are the worst brake to have on a cross bike. Take a look at the review that we did on the Avid Shorty 6 brakes. Be sure to go and get a extra rear skewer to use on the front wheel so you can remove it when and if you need to change the wheel. The Altamira will climb, sprint and corner with the best of them. And because of its performance it would make any one a great cross bike for years to come. Even though this bike has a couple of hick ups its still a little mud rocket. Style and performance is a hard combination to beat.

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