We have to admit, when the teasers came out for the Norcom Straight we just weren’t that impressed. There was just nothing in those first images we saw that said this is a bike that will redefine the industry. No massive seat tubes of the P5, missing stays of the Illicito, or integrated hydration of the Shiv. But now that we have gotten our first real look at the newest bike from Fuji we realize that redefinition was never the point of this bike, actual usability was, and that is not a bad thing.
Before we get into the details of the bike, we have to take a least a moment to qualify the name. The employees of Fuji, like most employees of cycling companies, tend to enjoy lunch rides. Near the offices of Fuji’s parent company you will find Norcom Road, which is more commonly known by its Strava segment, “Norcom Straight”. At Fuji, when it comes to bragging rights, the current leader of the Norcom Straight tends to be at the top. It is fitting then, that their newest weapon in the quest for speed would share its name.
Fuji built this bike with a single overriding philosophy, Fit Comes First. Each major component of fit allows an incredible level of adjustability. The stem comes in 6 lengths – 80mm, 90mm, 100mm, 110mm, 120mm, and 130mm and two rise options – ±8° and ±17°, allowing for a total of 24 possible stem positions. The stem accepts a standard 31.8 mm bar. The included Oval Concepts bar has 3 arm rest width mounting positions, and 4 riser heights, and 5 arm rest rotations resulting in 60 rider positions. The seat post has an adjustment range of 180mm in height and 70mm of fore/aft saddle adjustment, allowing an effective seat tube angle from 74° to 81°. We believe it is safe to say that the majority of riders will find a rideable position on this bike.
The Norcom Straight will be offered in two carbon versions, with the 1 series getting a higher modulus, stiffer carbon. Both will be constructed using Fujui’s patented RIB (Reinforced I-Beam) technology, which adds a stiffening wall down the middle of the down tube and fork blades. This wall helped improve stiffness on the front end by 20%, which had been one of the criticisms of the D6.
One of the most famous aspects of the old D6 was the rear brake hidden in the enlarged seat tube, and while we miss it on the Norcom (they hid it under the bottom bracket), it does drastically decrease the width of the tube itself. Up front the brakes are TRPs that are hidden behind the fork, however unlike those found on a CD0.1 or Trinity there is no ugly loop of exposed brake cable. Instead Fuji has added a port in the front of the head tube under the stem for the brake cable to enter, and then exit down in the fork. This leads to a much cleaner front cockpit and profile.
Fuji took an interesting approach to the rear dropouts on the Norcom. If you have owned a frame with horizontal dropouts you know the pain in trying to swap out a wheel or fix a flat. Fuji was well aware of this pain, yet did not want to give up the adjustability that came with them. To this end they went with a sliding vertical dropout, all of the adjustability of horizontal dropouts with the usability of vertical ones, we are a fan.
While Fuji’s first priority was fit, they did not negate the absolute importance of speed in a TT bike. We mentioned above how they went to a thinner seat tube (and thinner bike overall than the D6), and hid the front brakes behind the fork. All of the improvements led Fuji to be able to claim an improvement of 16 watts at 15° of yaw over the D6.
The Norcom straight is going to initially be introduced with 5 specs. At the high-end will be the 1.1 with full DuraAce DI2 build, which will set you back $7,499. From there you have the 1.3 Ultegra Di2 (11-speed 6871) for $5,899, 2.1 Ultegra 6800 for $3,499, 2.3 SRAM Rival for $2,699, and for $2,299 there is the Shimano 105 equipped 2.5. Fuji also has plans to do some special editions with Campagnolo drive trains sometime in the future. Personally we like the 1.3 build the most, for $5,899 you are getting Di2, 81mm wheels, and the higher modulus carbon. While we know this is not a cheap price, we tend to think this is a good value when compared to other similarly spec’d bikes.
Here at AG we like to be wrong because usually it means a product has exceeded our initial expectations of it. Fuji’s new Norcom Straight at first glance appears to do exactly that. No it is not the most revolutionary bike out there, but it checks most of the boxes we look for when we are shopping for a new bike. It is easy to fit, fast, isn’t priced beyond its components and has extremely clean lines. Overall we think this is a bike well worth taking a long look at, something we hope to do in the coming months here at AG headquarters.