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There’s no secret why Fuji features silver-haired riders in its digital advertisements for the Gran Fondo, the brand’s marquee endurance road bicycle. The bike is designed specifically for riders looking to take the sting out of long rides on both road and dirt.
The Gran Fondo is up to the task, with its extra-wide clearance for up to 30mm tires, 12-millimeter front and rear thru axles, and Fuji’s VRtech (Vibration Reduction Technology), which adds a layer of polyurethane into the fork, seat stays, and chain stays. The bike’s slack geometry also removes pressure from a rider’s lower back. Our XXL test bike had a 1033mm wheelbase, 73-degree head tube angle, 415mm chain stays, and an enormous 235mm head tube. During our ride, we felt as though we were sitting nearly upright.
Those buzz-killing features do add some heft to the bike (our model weighed 19.7 lbs). The bike felt sluggish on the long, gradual climbs, and the compact crank was definitely needed for the steepest slopes. On the ensuing descents the bike’s disc brakes and wide wheelbase created a steady, sturdy feel through the turns.
The Gran Fondo showed its best value on dirt roads. We rode the bike over hard-packed flat farming roads as well as loose, washboarded descents. On both surfaces the bike glided over the bumps without the slightest hint of chatter. We even sped over a cattle guard. The bike simply swallowed the vibration.
This bike won’t nab you any Strava KOMs, but it may help you finish that Century ride or survive that daylong adventure onto the farm roads.
Component Highlights: Shimano Ultegra drivetrain with 50/34 crankset and Shimano 105 11-28 cassette; Shimano R805 hydraulic disc brakes; Oval Concept 327 disc wheels