Fuji will officially unveil their newest tri bike this weekend in Boulder, Colo., but a pair of pros are already riding and racing the new frame. These spy shots taken of Cam Dye and Matt Reed at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon this past weekend give the first real glimpses of the mysterious bike named Norcom Straight.
Fuji is continuing the trend of semi-integration by equipping the Norcom Straight with a standard steerer tube-and-stem aerobar attachment system. Instead of forcing a specific stem upon the bike, this machine will accept any 1-1/8th inch stem. Seemingly any standard aerobar can be mounted to the bike. This will also allow the bars to be elevated using spacers, permitting simple fit adjustment and a wide positioning range. While it lacks the seamless integration of a bike such as the Trek Speed Concept 9 Series, the Norcom Straight’s toptube extends above the top of the head tube, creating a partial extension of the stem and erasing the gap behind the steerer tube.
Although speculating on fit based on photos of two riders is tricky, the aerobar setups employed by Dye and Reed do reveal a change between the fit of Fuji’s D-6 frame and the Norcom Straight.
Due to his lanky 6’5” frame, Reed always used very tall spacer stacks to find his ideal fit on the Fuji D-6 (see the last image above). As recently as Ironman California 70.3 just last month, he raced that bike with many centimeters of risers beneath the elbow pads to get his bars to the correct height. This was partly due to the fact that the D-6’s stack height didn’t increase enough in the very large frame sizes intended to fit athletes such as Reed.
The Norcom Straight appears to make Reed’s fit much easier to achieve. While he still uses elbow pad spacers on his Profile Design Aeria bar, the total stack height above the headtube appears shorter on this bike than his old one—very good news for tall athletes or those riding more conservative positions.
Dye’s stem is slammed into the lowest possible position. Only the headset top cover separates the bearing from his bar.
Judging by these two fuzzy pieces of evidence, this bike appears to be designed to fit tri positions that could be classified as more realistic for most age groupers instead of a time trial-style geometry scheme better suited to athletes that don’t have to get off the bike and run.
The front brake sits behind the fork crown just in front of the downtube. It appears to be a TRP TTV brake. This brake sits cleanly behind the fork blades and has performed acceptably well on several other bikes I’ve tested in the past. The front of the fork is completely free of obstructions.
Although it is almost entirely hidden by the drivetrain in these images, the rear brake is clearly positioned beneath the bottom bracket. Its brake shoes barely protrude into one of the images. We’ll have to wait until the weekend for more detail on this one. I wouldn’t be surprised if the TRP TTV is also used in the rear.
Both Dye and Reed had electronic drivetrains on their bikes at St. Anthony’s and almost no wiring was exposed. A tiny sliver seems to poke just above Dye’s stem, and it routes back into the frame centimeters back from the stem. Wires emerge in sensible locations for both the front and rear derailleurs.
The brake housing is also quite concealed. Fuji’s D-6 hid the front brake cable through the headtube. It’s unclear where the brake cables route on this bike, but they are hidden very effectively.
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