It is now time to render my Mid-Term thoughts on the flashy Fuji SLM 29 LTD. If you missed my First Impressions on this carbon fiber hard tail, go here and check that out. Now let’s take a closer look at how things have played out so far with this 29″er.
The first order of business after the initial rides was to sort out the tire situation. While the front Bronson had initially let me down, I knew from testing the Breezer Lightning Pro that the Bronson tire on the rear was actually more sketchy, (my opinion), than a front mounted Bronson is. So, I replaced the rear tire with a Vulpine, (ironically one filched from the Fuji Outland 1.0 test bike seen here.)
The rear tire swap made the Fuji pop and roll even better, while the front Bronson tire would hold a line if I consciously weighted it carefully when necessary and back off when the “zipper” sound started. No more front end wash outs since. Still, one could find a lighter tire which I would probably do if this was my personal rig. That said, the set up as is worked well enough for me to get around my test loop with a personal best time. This bike really does tight single track well.
While the wheels come with WTB’s “Stan’s-ish” yellow tape pre-installed, I am still running tubes in this rig. (Going tubeless would be another great upgrade that would be easily made.) I ran the air pressures down just above the 20psi mark and was rewarded with fast, grippy performance. The Stryker wheels feature much the same design as the WTB Frequency models, (if they are not in fact identical, I would be surprised), so tire support is very good. This rendered back some comfort that the otherwise stiff frame lacks from some other carbon fiber rigs I’ve tested. Overall, it felt really great. Rocks and roots were no match for this rig now, although I did get a few rim strikes on the rear rim.
So what do we have here so far? I think this bike has great geometry for fast, tight trails, decent comfort, (especially if you run a higher volume tire tubeless), and an overall stiffness that makes accelerations and cornering feel very secure and fun. The components are excellent. The overall weight makes for a great climbing machine. What’s not to like? Well, unlike say- the Raleigh Talus Pro- this bike isn’t quite as stable feeling. But then again, it may be a good thing for certain riders missing that “snappy” feeling left behind with 26″ers. Horses for courses, and all.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned for the Final Review coming soon.
Note: Fuji Bikes sent the SLM 29 LTD 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.