Fuji Outland 29 1.0: Mid-Term- by Guitar Ted
It has been a few weeks now since the last post on the Fuji Outland. My First Impressions Post can be seen here. In this post I will continue to focus on ride performance and overall handling aspects of this full suspension bike with 100mm travel front and rear.
Suspension Performance: The Outland had been showing signs of being a low slung bike, but after my initial rides, I was noticing that the suspension was sitting in its mid-stroke too often. This even though the sag settings were within spec. I decided to bump up both air springs, (front and rear), a bit higher, even though this minimized sag settings a bit compared to recommendations.
The result was that the Outland “perked up” a bit and sits higher in its travel than before but still soaked up the bumps quite nicely. This affected the compression settings so that the middle, or slight platform setting, was now quite stiff and wide open seemed better to the point I could stand and hammer without a lot of suspension activation. Pedal strikes went away. I have to think that the recommended sag settings are a bit on the soft side and a bit more air spring pressure seemed to really improve this design. Suspension balance stayed quite good throughout.
Handling Performance: The Outland slips and bobs through the tight twisties with ease and the bike claws up climbs nicely without noticeable flex or too much suspension activation. The noted suspension setting changes made the bike very snappy off corners and up short steeps in the middle/platform setting. Opening the lever up to allow for the full damper action made for a very plush, smooth ride. That said, small bump absorption on the middle setting wasn’t negatively affected. The damper would ramp up though in that setting instead of sagging back through the mid-stroke so easily as it does in the wide open setting.
Both settings were very useful to me. Wide open for the obvious reasons, but also for when I was tired, or for casual explorations. The platform setting was perfect for the tight single track where big accelerations out of corners were made better. It was also interesting to me that I felt more trail feedback in the platform setting while the wide open setting isolated me from almost everything. Either setting didn’t affect cornering performance negatively or positively too much, but lofting the front over downed trees and standing pedaling were better in the platform setting, as one would imagine. Finally, I should mention that both ends of the Outland can be locked out. I’m not a big believer in lock out, so I almost never use it. If I have suspension on board, (and I am off road), it may as well be working for me, or why bother? But that’s just me perhaps.
Again, the brakes were a bit off, but grinding the rotors helped put the chatter at bay and the rear brakes started working better after that.
The frame would show a noticeable flex, coming from the rear, in very hard cornering at speed. But hey….was it the frame or the wheels? Maybe a 142 X 12 through axle would have helped this. Maybe. It is hard to say, but in the end I feel it is par for the course with aluminum swing arms and 29″er geometry. This only was felt on high speed, hard cornering too. It might be fun to see what a through axle set up would do for this, or a stiffer wheel set. Be that as it may, the Outland holds its own against the competition in this regard.
Okay, that’s all for now. I’ll have a Final Review up in a few weeks, 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.