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Fuji Cross RC

Review: Fuji Cross RC

scottmares's picture

Right Out of the Box

4

First Impression

After seeing the Fuji Cross RC at Interbike last year, I was pretty excited to finally get my hands on one. As usual, the bike arrived about 90% assembled and was pretty easy to finish putting together. Fortunately, I didn’t experience the same problem with the brakes as I did with the last Fuji, the Fuji Cross Pro. I was pretty impressed with the components that shipped with the RC. The FSA bar, stem and seat post were first rate and ranked high in aesthetics. The new Shimano Ultegra shifters and derailleurs were pretty sweet as well.   The next thing on the radar was the frame. Fuji definitely got it right this time. I started to inspect each tube on the RC and it's as if Fuji read my mind. With the Cross RC, I could check off everything that I wanted on a cross frame set. Well done! So as first impressions goes this was a very good one. Since my first sighting of the new 2010 Fuji Cross RC at Interbike last Fall, I have been pressing the Fuji marketing department to send me a bike to test. Why? Because this is the type of cross bike I want to let the world know about. Fuji has proven their commitment to cyclocross by totally redesigning their top of the line cross bike for 2010. Fuji created a new frame, highlighted by it's oversized head tube, integrated headset (for front-end stiffness), flat top tube for easy portage and finished off with a new visually stunning carbon fork with aluminum steerer.   The 2010 RC Cross is using the new Shimano Ultegra derailleurs and shifters. Given Shimano's Ultegra heritage you can expect many years of sloshing through your favorite mud hole with this drivetrain. New to the 2010 RC, Fuji added a sleek carbon seatpost, bars and aluminum stem from the FSA SLK line.

Ease of Assembly

The bike was really easy to put together. Arriving 90% pre-assembled, we had the Cross RC up and running in no time at all. Bike shops and consumers will appreciate the quick assembly time.

Bling Factor

The bling factor of this bike easily starts off with the sweet Fuji in-house designed carbon fork and detailed finish on the FSA SLK carbon and aluminum parts. The fork is bonded carbon and is really cool looking with a 12k weave wrapped in a clear coat finish. The FSA SLK parts include a carbon seat post, AL stem and carbon bars. What brings the money home for this bike is the price combined with sweet carbon parts. Fuji's "Dead Chrome" and Orange paint job adds the final touch.

Road Test Ride

4

Climbing

What to expect out of a multi-shaped AL frame set? Yes sir…it is the stiffness! No surprises here in how the RC rides on the road as it offers a very stiff ride. This bike climbs with the confidence of a sure-footed mountain goat and gives a solid feeling of stability and control when you are climbing out of the saddle.

Cornering

Nothing unusual about the way the Cross RC goes into corners. It stays pretty stable and tracks true so nothing unexpected crops up. Going into and out of the corner it’s the same story. Spot on!

Handeling

The bike takes input very well without being overly sensitive.   This makes for a quick and sure-handling ride without the RC getting away from you.

Ride Feel

Solid! Again, with a multi-shaped Al frame, oversized head tube and integrated headset, the Cross RC easily provides a solid feeling ride. In fact, you may easily forget that you are on a cyclocross bike because it doesn’t feel sluggish at all in any of these departments. The Fuji RC cross bike is solid and nimble enough that a cat 4 or 5 racer could easily use this bike at their local crit… well almost. You would still need to change the tires.

Dirt Test Ride

4

Climbing

Powell Butte park is one of our favorite local hotspots to evaluate a cyclocross bike. With plenty of climbing, descending and tons of single and double track, Powell Butte has a lot to offer for taking a ride check. Mix in some dirt along with the Portland liquid sunshine and you have plenty of mud to play in. So how does the RC climb? Get on the gas and it will take you right up the climbs without a problem thanks to the multi-shaped stiff aluminum frame. With the Cross RC's very stiff frame and stable front end the bike climbs like a goat!

Cornering

A large part of how a bike corners in dirt has a lot to do with the set up of the tires. The RC Cross comes with Conti Speed Kings which are great tires for dry conditions. During our evaluation period however, we encountered thick gooey muddy conditions and frankly, the Speed Kings didn't cut it. As tires do make all the difference, we ended up testing several mud tires on this bike. We found the perfect fit when we used a set of Specialized Captain CX Pro tires. We had a blast with the Cross RC while using the Captain tires, riding through lots of sweepers and hairpins without a problem. The bike was a hoot in the single track at Powell Butte.

Handeling

When it comes down to corning on the Cross RC, the front end is really stiff offering precise steering. Fuji made the frame multi-shaped while making the tubes bigger at the head tube in the process. The top tube is squared in the middle for easy portage but becomes wider at the head tube. The integrated head tube is also over-sized, going from a 1 1/8" to 1 1/4". This means that the fork is also 1 1/8"- 1 1/4" and adds to the rigidity of the front end.

Ride Feel

This bike feels SOLID, which I think has to do with the super stiff Aluminum frame. But that stiffness comes with a trade off: you will feel everything.

Trainer Test Ride

4

Again SOLID! I'm 175 lbs. and 6' 3" and there was hardly any flex on the Kurt Kinetic trainer, which is one of the most stable trainers on the market. This has a lot to do with Fuji's over-sized down tube and shaped seat tube. The seat tube goes from round to square just before the bottom bracket.

Race Test Ride

4

We received the Cross RC for evaluation after the 2009 season and are looking forward to racing it in the coming 2010 season.

We Liked

Fuji is clearly committed to cyclocross as their designers put some serious thought and time into what should go into a cross bike this year. The Cross RC is a BIG improvement over last year's Cross Pro. With the right mix of parts added to a frame that has all of the details on our wish list, topped off with a better, lighter fork and voila! You have a no-nonsense cyclocross race bike ready to roll off the shop floor and into the heat of competition. All in all, we liked just about everything about this RC. As an added bonus, we noticed that we were not getting any brake chatter out of this bike. We hate brake chatter!

We Didn't Like

Like I said above, we liked just about everything about this bike.   We expected the Cross RC to be just a little bit lighter, and were surprised about the actual weight of this bike. We believe the culprit for this is the bonded aluminum steerer fork that ships with the bike. Perhaps an all carbon steerer would do the trick to drop some weight. We would also change the frame color on the RC. While the paint job is first rate, I am just not a fan of the "dead chrome" color as it is too subdued for me. The Cross RC is a first-rate racing machine and it deserves a different color scheme than what it's shipped with, but then again not every bike can be black & white with red accents!

Upgrades

The Fuji Cross RC is a solid bike for any cyclocross racer, but we would suggest a few upgrades. First off, Fuji should offer an all carbon fork with an all carbon steerer as an upgrade option for this bike. While the stock fork is stable and great looking, we feel that this is the biggest reason this bikes weighs over 19 lbs. If Fuji put an all carbon fork on the RC, this could significantly drop the weight even more to under 19 lbs.   Next up would be to put a different saddle on the bike and change the tires. The Cross RC saddle is an in-house Fuji saddle and is one of the few things that they house branded. Depending on the weather, we would change the tires to more of a multi-weather tire. The Conti Speed Kings tires are a dry condition tire and they fell a little short for me in the Portland mud. Of course you could put some lighter brakes on the bike but brakes don't equate to going faster. The money you would spend to get a lighter brakeset would be a waste in my opinion as the TRP brakes that ship with the bike are really good. Unless your a gram counter. Finally, if you were to put on a set of tubular race wheels, that would also make a really big difference in the weight and overall performance of the bike. Don't get me wrong, the Mavic wheels are really good for training and racing, but they are not really race wheels. But they are a good set of wheels.

The Final Say

The Fuji Cross RC is one heck of a cyclocross bike for the money! Fuji did a great job in the frame construction and component selection. Right out of the box, you get a race-ready bike that will hold it's own against bikes costing 2- 3 times as much. If you want a no-compromise cyclocross racing machine without having to sell your blood to buy it, get this bike!

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