I have recently purchased a Fuji flat bar road bike – an Absolute 3.0 to be precise.
I raced road bikes in my teens, but have not ridden a bicycle in 20 years. My search for a new set of wheels began by considering a mountain bike. A bicycle that is fairly comfortable for my old bones, but is robust and can handle a bit of mistreatment.
I started off at Boggo Road Bike Hub. It seems that for general road and commuter duties, mountain bikes are heavy and slow. In particular, the front suspension and disc brakes can add unnecessary weight to the cycle. The off road tyres also have more rolling resistance.
I then ventured to 99 Bikes in Fortitude Valley. The bikes they showed me were closer to the hybrid-comfort end of the road bike spectrum, but did not appeal.
I then went up the road to Goldcross Cycles. They had the Fuji Absolute 3.0 cycle and it seemed right in the pocket for what I was looking for. Flat bars to give a more upright riding position, but still fairly quick 700 x 28C wheels and Shimano Sora gears and running gear. I bought a 2009 model they were trying to get rid of, and then got an extra 20% off because they were having a store-wide sale. I purchased a $700 bike for $500. I added lights, a water bottle, mini pump and saddle bag with tyre levers and a tube all for 20% off — the bike mechanic fitted them all for free. I also purchased a helmet they had for half price.
On getting the bike home, the first thing I did was stripped off the reflectors on the wheels and on the front and back of the bike. I also removed all the stickers and decals that were not under a layer of lacquer.
I am quite happy with the bike for what I paid. It seems to me that the Fuji frames are used for various cycle configurations. The frame has lugs or holes to fit alternative brakes, mud guards and other accessories. It you are wanting to build up your own commuter, this bike would be perfect.
I have clocked around 150 km in my first week of riding. The steering is definitely on the sporty side and took me a little while to get used to the quick action. The ride and seat are very firm — I got a sore butt the first few rides, but I am getting used to it. I love the Shimano Sora index gears. They notch up and down quickly and accurately. The bike also provides little rolling resistance. I can spin the pedals at an easy cadence of 90 and feel like I can keep riding all day!
My only gripe is that the right pedal squeaks — LOUDLY! I took it back to Goldcross Cycles, but they could not duplicate the noise and fix the problem. They oiled the pedal (apparently they have an o-ring seal that sometimes squeaks) and sent me on my way. It still squeaks, but I have a set of Shimano clipless pedals and dhb shoes on the way, so it is not a major concern for me. If I was not replacing the pedals anyway, I would definitely be pursuing a fix under warranty.
(Update: I have now received my new pedals. On removing the old pedals from the bike, I identified that they were Wellgo Lu-948 pedals with MT-14 toeclips fitted. I was rather disappointed in how roughly the pedal bearings spun in my fingers, particularly the noisey right-side pedal.)
I suspect that some of the running gear may wear quickly given the kilometres I am planning to do, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Apparently the Fuji frame has a lifetime warranty, while the parts have a 12-month warranty.
I am sure if I spent more money I would get a better bike, but for my commuting, fitness and general workhorse needs this bike is perfect. I am also sure that if I spent more money I would get a lighter bike. But let’s be realistic — me losing 10 kg of flab is going to make more difference than spending another couple of thousand dollars on a lighter bike.
Overall, initial impressions are that the Fuji Absolute 3.0 bike is excellent value for money.
Looking on the Fuji web site, their classic track bike has caught my eye. I wonder how cheaply I can purchase one for use as a stripped down road bike?