When we took our First Look at the Norcom Straight just over a year ago, we came away intrigued. Fuji’s philosophy here was “Fit Comes First,” and we are well aware that even the most aero of bikes won’t help you if you cannot ride comfortably on the bars for 5 hours. Fast forward to last year’s Interbike where we enjoyed an hour-long ride with the Norcom and came away wanting more. We found the bike to be fast and confident through a series of rolling hills. But what we really wanted—and needed—was some quality time with the bike to see what it can really do. Fuji happily sent us a gorgeous (seriously, we cannot overstate how fantastic this paint job is) bright-red Norcom Straight 1.3 so we could experience the “Fit Comes First” philosophy first hand.
The Norcom Straight
The Norcom was built for the rest of us – a bike easy to fit to even the most challenging body geometry. As we covered in the First Look, the stem comes in 6 lengths (80mm, 90mm, 100mm, 110mm, 120mm, and 130mm) as well as 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, 4 riser heights, and 5 arm rest rotations, which provides for 60 possible 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°.
But just because Fuji didn’t put all of their focus on aero doesn’t mean they forgot about it. One of the first small details you notice is the hidden front brake cable. The cable exits the bar and enters a small port at the top of the head tube under the stem. From there, it exits to a pair of TRP brakes (that have a surprising amount of stopping power!).
At the back, Fuji has added something that many current owners of TT bikes will be a fan of – adjustable rear vertical dropouts. Horizontal dropouts allow you to adjust how tightly the rear wheel is tucked into the seat tube, with the goal being to tuck it as closely as possible to minimize drag. The downside? Removing a wheel from a set of horizontal dropouts is, put simply, a pain in the a**. To solve this, Fuji developed an adjustable vertical dropout that allows you to tuck the wheel in close while still allowing for an easier wheel removal by dropping it down.
When the spec list came out for the Norcom, the 1.3 immediately caught our eye. First, when the bike was introduced, the 1.3 was the first official evidence of Ultegra 6870 Di2. Second, (and just a bit more importantly) it represented a true race-ready bike. The 1.3 spec includes the above mentioned Di2 as well as Fuji’s ultra-high-moduluis carbon and Oval Concept’s 81mm wheels. This spec is meant to be taken straight from the showroom to transition with just one stop in between—your fitter’s workbench.
What got us even more excited was the originally rumored price of $5,899 – this was going to be a serious steal. Well, fast forward from rumors to reality and while the specs stayed the same, the price did climb a bit to $6,399. However, that’s still a good deal when compared against others on the market. For example, a Cervélo P3 Di2 starts at $5,800 and does not include race wheels (but does have hydraulic brakes) and a Quintana Roo CD0.1 Di2 Race will set you back $6,600.
Fuji includes an Oval Concepts 950 carbon base bar with s-bend extensions as part of the 1.3 package. Fuji owner Advanced Sports Inc. (ASI) also owns Oval Concepts, so it’s no big surprise to see their name all over the spec package. As promised, as part of the Norcom’s “Fit Comes First” credo, the bar provides a huge amount of fit options. You can adjust the distance between the arms, bring the bars in or out, and adjust bar angle.
However, this adjustability comes with two downsides. First is what can only be described as a mess of wires. While Fuji went to great lengths to hide the front brake cable, they left all of the Di2 wiring completely exposed (we observed this at Interbike as well as on the Norcom we received). For a company that has the ability to influence how their components are created, we would have loved to see a cleaner wiring job.
Our second issue lies with the lack of lateral stability with the arm rests. We felt as if we were slipping off the pads from our very first few rides with the bike. If you look at the pictures below, you can see that the pads are almost perfectly horizontal, which decreases the amount of support you can receive. Because of this, we ended out swapping them out for a Profile Design F-35 armrest kit from our T3 Plus Carbon review after our third ride with the Norcom.
When looking for a race-ready bike there are two key traits you are looking for. First, it has to fit you. Obviously the Fuji is built to cover just that. Second, it must be fast. And yes, the Fuji has that fully covered as well. So far we have found the Fuji to be shockingly fast. We rode the Norcom on our favorite TT course and set our second fastest time ever. We were simply floored by how fast this bike was.
Stability wasn’t sacrificed for that speed. Even with the 81mm wheels, the bike rode confidently in cross winds and never left us feeling unsteady. Mike (who is doing the primary riding of the Norcom) did come away feeling that the bike puts you a bit higher off the ground than others. However this may be a factor of our decision to go with an XL, which features a 164mm head tube, versus the large and its 140mm. Either way, it’s not an uncomfortable feeling—just something to take into consideration in sizing.
Fuji has lived up to its promise with the Norcom in almost every way. Its “Fit Comes First” philosophy made it extremely easy to fit to our editors. And when it came to speed, nothing seemed sacrificed. We cannot deny that we plan on making a few Strava runs over our favorite segments to see what this bike really can do.
We plan on riding the Norcom a bit more over the next month to what else this bike has in store for us. If you have any specific questions about the bike, or if you’d like to suggest possible test scenarios, please feel free to contact us. Otherwise, stay tuned!