So is it faster?
Fuji reduced aero drag by integrating the fork and head tube with the recessed direct mount brakes, both front and rear. The seat tube also wraps around the rear wheel deflecting wind away from the spokes, while the aero seatpost allows wind to pass through with minimal disturbance. The massive down tube is also shaped to minimize air resistance, and internal cable routing further reduces drag. Add it all up, and Fuji claims the Transonic is 55 seconds faster over 40km than its more traditionally-shaped Altimira road bike.
From a servicing standpoint it’s fast, too. Fuji’s done a nice job of keeping the Transonic bike mechanic friendly. Brakes are cleverly integrated into the frame to reduce drag, but also accessible for maintenance. Same goes for the Di2 battery, which hides inside the seatpost, but is easy to charge via an easily accessible port under the stem.
Initially, the Transonic was pure bliss. It truly felt faster at speed than a traditional “round tube” road bike. Sprinting was exhilarating, the bike accelerating quickly and holding speed. Descending was excellent as well. The stiff front end lent a degree of stability I haven’t previously experienced. I’m usually a poor descender but found myself looking for downhills — and grinning a lot. On one 60-mile test ride I logged 19 Strava personal records, which included numerous flat sections and several short, steep descents. This was particularly noteworthy, as I was riding solo and not focused on setting PRs.
But while the flats and downhills were a blast, climbing was not as much fun. It seems Fuji has dialed in degrees of comfort at the seat tube to offer a more compliant and comfortable ride. And sure enough, the bike rides very smoothly and doesn’t beat you up. But on slower and longer climbs, the bike performed best via higher cadence and smooth pedal stroke. Trying to push a bigger gear felt sluggish, even slow.
As a follow up, I rode the fabled Old La Honda climb, and again the bike didn’t respond when I tried to push a bigger gear. In an attempt to remedy that, I came forward on the saddle and tried to spin up at a higher-than-normal cadence. Result? A climb time of 21:42. I was expecting 20 flat. It was way off my PR of 18:36. This isn’t an issue if you train/race on predominantly flat roads. But if you love to climb, this bike may not be for you, which isn’t a huge surprise since that’s not its main function.
There were also some other minor issues. At speed over rougher roads, there was an annoying rattle that seemed to come from the bar-stem area. It was likely the internally routed cables banging around, though I don’t know for sure. The seatpost was also difficult to adjust, though once dialed you don’t need to mess with it again.
Bottom line, while not a particularly deft climber, this bike delivers on its promise of flat road (and downhill) aero performance. It was noticeably fast while sprinting and descending, had wonderful ride quality, and an excellent component group at a reasonable price.
For more information visit www.fujibikes.com.