Fuji Outland 29 1.0: First Impressions- by Guitar Ted
The Fuji Outland 1.0 full suspension device has been getting broken in of late on local trails. If you missed the introduction to this range topping 29 inch wheeled full suspension rig from Fuji, see my Out Of The Box post here. Now let’s move on to see what this bike is like out on the trail.
The Set Up: Getting the suspension dialed on the Fuji was not all that big of a deal. The current Rock Shox product comes with sag ratings printed right on the damper, so getting sag set properly is actually pretty easy to do. Of course, the typical Reba performance was expected and gotten. The only minor quibble here was that with a fork lock out, you either have “all the way on” or “all the way off” compression settings. I liked being able to tweak that setting on the older Rebas I have ridden. The Rock Shox Monarch RT3 is the same model I got to try on the recently tested Titus Rockstar, (seen here), which I liked very well. Initial rides were completed using both the wide open setting and the middle, platform setting.
Other set up items to note were that I dropped the handle bar/stem a couple of spacers in height and swapped out the WTB Vulpine front tire for a grippier WTB Prowler folder. By the way, the Vulpine I removed weighed in at 640 gm and the Prowler at 670 gm. Also, the WTB rims on the Outland already have tubeless tape installed, so with the addition of some tubeless valve stems, one could make the jump to tubeless with this rig rather easily.
Ride Impressions: The first couple of rides were a little hair raising for a couple of reasons. First off, the Vulpine is a semi-slick design and offered little cornering grip in off cambers, and especially on loose over hard pack conditions. That was remedied with the aforementioned swap of the front tire to a Prowler. The other issue was with the Tektro Auriga Pro brakes. The front 180mm brake works quietly, but the rear 160mm brake chatters under heavy braking, and neither brake seems to be bedding in very well. In fact, I have already overshot several corners and descents due to the sub-par brakes here. I’ll be monitoring how they come in, and will possibly be bleeding them to see if that may help soon. Beyond those two issues, the normal break-in gremlins are all that has been needing to be dealt with.
Suspension Performance: As I stated above, I used the Outland 29 1.0 in both the wide open setting and platform setting on the Rock Shox Monarch RT3. I found the suspension could be very plush and smooth in the wide open setting. The only thing this hampered was out of the saddle maneuverings and out of the saddle climbing, which activated the suspension too much for my tastes.
In the saddle things would remain much calmer. The platform setting, (middle position of the RT3 lever), yielded a much firmer feel to the suspension at a bit of a penalty to the smallest trail chatter. Still, the Outland tracked the trail quite nicely. It perhaps has a few quirks which I am trying to feel out, but essentially, the Outland 29 1.0 is bit plusher than the Titus Rockstar I tested previous to this. In fact, much of this feeling is due to the Fuji spending most of its time in the mid-stroke of its travel, which it seems to use up more quickly than maybe some other rigs I’ve tested. The bottom bracket is listed at 13″/334mm high, but I seem to be clipping my pedals occasionally. Hmm…… More work to be done on rear suspension set up, it seems.
Front to rear balance has been good though, and laterally, the frame shows little outstanding flex issues. At this point, I would say it is at the least in the same ballpark as the Rockstar was in the stiffness game.
Components: Besides the brakes, I have been pleased with the performance of the rest of the package here. The shifting is crisp, (when in tune. :)), and the Oval branded parts are serviceable. I happen to like the handle bar’s width. (Probably the same one as was spec’ed on the Breezer, seen here. It’s a wide one, which is what I like.) The FSA double crankset seems to shift just fine between rings and offers just a low enough range to get the job done around here. No doubt those with longer climbs will want a triple though. One thing to note, that is probably just an oddity, is the Fuji branded front 15mm through axle hub. The end caps seem to be apt to come off rather easily, which makes installing the wheel a bit more of a chore. Hopefully this is just a quirk with my hub on the test bike. It definitely does not impact the performance of the wheel in anyway, but there it is. The wheels seem to be of decent quality and reasonably stiff. The WTB TCS Lazer rims are proving to be a decent design along with the WTB Frequency series, which appear to be identical to the rims on this rig.
The bottom line here is that at its core, the Outland 29 1.0 is a solid platform for a dual suspension 29″er. I’ll be doing some more ride testing and will report again in a few weeks or so. Stay tuned….
Note: Fuji Bikes sent the Outland 29 1.0 for test and review at no charge. We are not being bribed, nor paid for this review. We will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.