Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
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.
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.