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From the Pages of Velo: VeloLab tests bikes of the WorldTour

  • By Brian Holcombe & Caley Fretz
  • Published Jul. 11, 2012
  • Updated Jul. 22, 2013 at 10:21 AM EDT
Velo September 2011. Photos by Brad Kaminski

Geox-TMC Fuji Altamira 1.0

By Caley Fretz

As a brand, Fuji has taken massive leaps forward in recent years, vastly improving their engineering and manufacturing processes. Their bikes are lighter, stiffer and more durable than they’ve ever been. That said, I expected them to lag well behind some of the venerable brands in this test. I was mistaken. Fuji’s time working with Footon-Servetto and now Geox-TMC has paid off, and the Altamira proved to be an exceptionally capable race frame. The look is a bit odd — somewhat unbalanced with its enormous down tube and pencil-thin seat stays, not to mention the garish color scheme. But in the end, it’s a bike that I would happily ride into the WorldTour, but for the small issue of talent.

Subjective Ride Quality

User Friendliness: 13/15 points
The Altamira is quite easy to work on, for the most part. As usual, the external cabling was much appreciated. I love that the bike came stock with a Rotor chain catcher, and though the choice of an aluminum cockpit may have hurt overall weight it was the right choice for a race rig.

The Oval components, a brand now owned by the same company that owns Fuji, were a bit of a letdown though. The seatpost isn’t infinitely adjustable, so if your preferred saddle angle falls between two of the head serrations, you’re out of luck. A mild peeve were the stem faceplate bolts, which face backwards. The look is clean, but they’re a bit infuriating to actually access.

Value: 15/20 points
The Altamira is thousands cheaper than others in this test, with nearly the same level of performance. A carbon clincher wheelset, Shimano Dura-Ace, and newly updated, more powerful TRP brakes are a pretty good package. The Altamira loses points for the annoying Oval components, though.

The oval Rotor chainrings included with the Geox-TMC model take some getting used to, but have proved here and in prior Velo testing to be high-quality and at least subjectively effective.

Comfort: 8/10 points
Rear end comfort from the Altamira was as good as any other race-bred frame, perhaps even a bit above average thanks to the ultra-thin seat stays. The bike’s massively oversized fork, enormous down tube, tapered head tube, and aluminum bar and stem conspire to make the front end a bit jarring, though. I ended up dropping front tire pressure 5psi below normal to take some of the buzz out of my hands.

Acceleration: 7/10 points
The Altamira’s ultra stiff front end felt great out of the saddle and when throwing the bike around. Despite the lowest bottom bracket deflection in the Microbac test, the rear end felt a bit soft, just a touch unresponsive to all-out efforts.

Handling: 7/10 points
Only 53mm of trail is decidedly on the low side, contributing to the Altamira’s skittish front end. But the frame’s longer wheelbase does a good job pulling handling back towards neutral, with the end result being a mildly twitchy ride over 30mph and a wonderfully responsive one at regular ride speeds. The massive front end and tapered head tube likely contributed to the bike’s stability in hard corners.

Scientific Testing

Torsional stiffness: 16/30 points
The Altamira was the least stiff overall, but came away with the best bottom bracket deflection figure.

Weight: 2/5 points
Largely thanks to its aluminum cockpit and seatpost, the Altamira was the heaviest in our test by one tenth of a pound.

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