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Affordable Performance: Fuji Norcom Straight

Fuji's new tri bike pairs a high-end ride experience with a low price.

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Fuji’s new tri bike pairs a high-end ride experience with a low price.

Fuji crossed a fully integrated triathlon bike with a standard version to create the Norcom Straight, aptly named after a drag strip of a Strava segment close to the company’s office in Philadelphia, Pa. Its stem blends with the top tube, and both brakes mesh with the frameset, but this ma- chine is not a fully integrated superbike—which comes with positive and negative consequences.

The aerobar attachment system is simply a road-style stem and steerer tube dressed up to match the frame. Jacking the stem as much as 4 centimeters above the frame isn’t the most elegant way to adapt this bike for a conservative fit, but the bike can stretch upward if the rider demands it. The frame’s geometry changes a bit throughout the size range. It fits moderately aggressively in the small sizes and offers a slightly more conservative position on the bigger frames.

RELATED PHOTOS: Fuji Introduces The Norcom Straight

Brakes are the other quasi-integrated aspect of the Norcom Straight. Its front brake hides well behind the fork, but the cable housing juts out to the side of the bike; stop- ping power and control are adequate, although not on par with a standard Shimano caliper. Adjusting this brake is far easier than wrestling with a fully hidden one. Shift performance of this entry-level kit is weak. Upgrading to Shimano tri shift levers is a significant improvement, and swapping the front derailleur and cassette can also go a long way in boosting shift quality.

The responsiveness of the Norcom Straight makes any component quality concern disappear. The bike achieves a pleasing balance between stability for straight-line aero riding and agility when cutting through corners. Its newer style, stiff bottom bracket helps the frame kick harder than most tri bikes when sprinting, regardless of price level.

RELATED: The Fuji Norcom Straight Aero Bike Revealed