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Fuji Cross Pro

Review: Fuji Cross Pro

scottmares's picture

Right Out of the Box

4

First Impressions

Right out of the box, the Fuji Cross Pro makes a big impression with its bright red-and-white paint scheme that screams "Race me!" However, I did notice when setting up the brakes that once you install them, you are not able to remove the wheel! Not a good sign.

I contacted Avid, who manufactures the brakes, and inquired about the issue along with sending them photos. They informed me that they were aware of the problem and had replaced the brakes with a new design. Avid immediately sent me a replacement set at no additional cost to put on the Cross Pro.

Ease of Assembly

The bike was really easy to put together. Assembly was pretty straightforward.

Bling Factor

As eluded to before, the main bling factor comes from the very bright red and white paint job on the bike. There is not a lot of carbon fiber here for the bling factor, although the fork is painted bonded carbon.

Road Test Ride

3

Climbing

The bike is stiff so it's good at climbing on the road. This is largely due to the diamond-shaped down tube, which adds to the rigidity of the frame. If this bike were lighter, it would be a great climber.

Cornering

Nothing unusual about the way the bike goes into corners. The bike is stable and solid going in and exiting out of the corners with nothing unexpected cropping up.

Handling

On the road the bike inspires confidence in any rider as it handles well and is not twitchy at all.

Ride Feel

The ride quality is very stable and solid. This is not surprising given the frame and the weight of the bike. You will feel the road and the bumps with this frame as it is very stiff and responsive.

Dirt Test Ride

3

Climbing

This bike was evaluated at a cyclocross course located at Bear Creek Park in Colorado Springs, CO. This park is a double track course that is comprised of granite gravel and dirt.  Every year there is a cyclocross race held at this park. Once again, the bike climbs well for its weight.

Cornering

A bike's ability to corner on the dirt highly depends on the tires that it has. The stock tires that came with the Cross Pro were the Ritchey Speed Max tires. I was excited to see how well the tires performed as the bike edged the corners.  

Bear Creek Park has a high speed left sweeper that is slightly off camber. This course truly tests the rider's handling skills along with their ability to keep the bike upright and quickly moving without going into the grass or sliding out and laying it down.

Handling

The Cross Pro is very predictable in what it's going to do in just about any situation that a cross rider is going to encounter. This is especially important during races as rider fatigue sets in and handling skills get sloppy.

Ride Feel

The Cross Pro feels solid on the Bear Creek course, which most likely has to do with the super stiff aluminum frame.  But the stiffness comes with a trade off in that the rider will feel everything on the course.

Trainer Test Ride

3

Ride Feel

The Cross Pro was tested with a Kurt Kinetic trainer, which is one of the most stable trainers on the market. This bike had a solid feel on the trainer as it hardly had any flex or creaking. As an evaluator, I am 175 lbs and 6'3", and was impressed with its lack of shifting on the trainer. This bike offers a solid platform that will enable you to put all of your energy into the drive train.

Race Test Ride

3

Race Performance

This bike was scheduled for evaluation prior to the start of the cyclocross season. To simulate the race enviroment, we did hot laps (at race pace) to see how the Cross Pro would handle. Ultimately we were very pleased to see how well it performed and handled on the sketchy high speed Bear Creek course.

The Ultegra group shifted flawlessly under high torque and high RPM’s. The Ritchey Speed Max tires worked surprisingly well in edging on this course.  As expected, the Cross Pro frame is stiff and ridged, quickly responding when you open up the throttle.   The trade off with this bike is that it takes a little more effort to accelerate because of the weight.

We Liked

Overall, we liked the way the bike handled and rode. The bright paint job and the good component selection make this bike a workhorse that cross racers can pull from their stable time and time again, even when the weather conditions get nasty. With that said, we also liked the selection of aluminum bars, stem, and seat post, which dramatically decreases the chance of breaking.

We Didn't Like

There are three things that we would like to address with the Cross Pro, with the first having already been corrected:

  1. The stock Avid Shorty 4.0 brakes that came with the early Cross Pro 2009 edition were definitely an issue. If you purchase this bike, be sure to check that once the brakes are adjusted to work properly, you can still take the wheel off. If you can’t, you most likely have a defective set of brakes, and should contact Avid for a new pair. As Avid has identified and resolved the issue within their production line, the defective brakes are no longer shipping with this bike.
  2. I would also recommend changing the down tube to a bi-oval design by making the tube oval at the head tube and bottom bracket, but round in the center. With this modification, the bike is still stiff and rigid, but offers increased comfort while shouldering and running with the bike.
  3. Weighing in at 21.6 lbs, we would like to see the bike a little bit lighter for this price point.

Upgrades

For upgrades, the first thing we recommend is putting race wheels on the Cross Pro to lighten it up. Two good options would be American Classic Hurricanes or AC 420’s.

The next item on the upgrade wish list would be to change out the Fuji Bonded Carbon Cross fork.  We had the opportunity to hold that heavy fork a while back, and it’s the most likely candidate responsible for the bike being over 21 lbs.  The good news is that prior to this review being published, we sent our feedback to Fuji America and they responded with the 2010 Cross RC!

The Final Say

Overall, this is a good cyclocross bike, although a little on the heavy side. However, the parts are far from fragile, so any rider will get years of fun in their local cyclocross race series or winter training rides.

The Ultegra and Ritchey component group will serve well and are excellent for this purpose. If you become a serious cyclocross racer down the road, upgrading the fork and wheels will create an 18 lb. Cross Pro cross rocket.

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