Isaias Job Review:
The Fuji SLM 29 1.0 I tested was a size medium. Comparing the effective top tube length (ETT) to other bikes I’ve ridden puts this medium closer to a large frame, which is fine by me since I ride larger frames. The component specification was a solid mid-level XT setup: crankset, shifters, disc brakes, and front\rear derailleurs. The crankset was a 2×10 setup with 28/40 rings and I loved it! I’m definitely a convert especially after rocking a 1×9 setup over the last year. On suspension duty up front is a 100mm Rockshox SID RL with 15mm QR, tapered steerer and a remote lockout. The Oval Concepts bar\stem\seatpost were a nice complement to the satin carbon finish of the bike. The internal shift cable routing is pretty slick and helps to not distract from the sexy top tube shape. The Fuji dual density grips were super comfy, especially coming from running Ergon grips which I think are the ultimate in comfort.
I chose rides which are pretty typical of the trails I usually ride. The first ride I did was near home and consisted of lots of steep fireroads climbs and descent with just a bit of singletrack mixed in. The first thing I noticed was how stable the front end was when climbing super steep hills ( > than 26% grade). The stability combined with the 2×10 meant I could stay seated and climb pretty much anything. The super stiff frame combined with the oversized, short headtube and tapered steerer with thru axel fork made for a bike that was all point and shoot with no questions asked. It was quite an eye opener to feel how laterally stiff a carbon frame can be built without sacrificing vertical compliance for a comfortable feeling ride.
The next ride was mostly singletrack up and down. I was really impressed at how much faster I could make it through switchbacks. When the trails got steep and technical downhill I felt totally in control. The stiffness of the frame was confidence inspiring and made me feel like I could just rail turns without having to input much body English at all. One the steep stuff, the 100mm of travel, was plenty and the slightly large medium frame allowed me to get the behind the saddle with no problems. The climbs were equally impressive on the bike because the overall weight was pretty reasonable (claimed is 25lbs, which seems about right), the remote lockout feature on the fork and the nimble handling geometry.
Overall I’m impressed with the handling of the bike. The frame design addressed the handling requirements with a short headtube and seatstays while the tapered steerer and 15mm thru axel took care of the rest. It’s hard to say how much each of these items contributed to the overall point and shoot feel, but what it does say is that it was well thought out by the Fuji designers. The only real weakness in my book is the weight. At first glance, the bike looks like a Euro-pro, World Cup racer bike. From the frame’s color scheme of satin carbon with red and white accents to the SID fork. The bike could be lightened up by swapping out the WTB Laser Disc Trail rims and upping the ante to XTR. One look at Fuji’s Ultralight Hardtail line-up gives you exactly this upgrade in the next higher model, the SLM 29 LTD SL. However, if you take a $1000 step down to the next lower model you end up with a bike that is only 0.8 lbs heavier. Of course these are claimed weights so they can be taken with a grain of salt.
4 out of 5 Stars
5 out of 5 Stars