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Fuji Altamira Team Replica

by Chris Redden

November 4, 2011 (Airdrie, AB) – I was excited to test the Fuji Altamira Team Replica, given that Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (ESP, Geox-TMC) won this year’s Vuelta d’Espana on a similar model. The Team Replica is built around the Altamira 2.0 carbon-fibre monocoque frame, complete with a Team Geox-TMC paint job. Cobo Acebo’s winning ride is an Altamira 1.0, which has the same geometry, but is a little lighter and features a stiffer frame.

Naturally, his victory at the Grand Tour was cause for celebration at Fuji Bikes, which takes its name from the famous mountain in Japan. The venerable 111-year-old company, established in 1899, was a household name in North America during the 1970s and mid-’80s, but has been under the radar since then. Now it was time for Fuji to step into the limelight once again.

The specs on the Team Replica are remarkably similar to what Team Geox rides, but the components have been stepped down to make the bike more affordable. Both feature C4 carbon construction with a tapered headtube that uses 1-1/2″ lower bearings and a BB86 oversized bottom-bracket shell. Both frames also use thin C4 carbon seatstays, oversized chainstays, carbon dropouts with a replaceable derailleur hanger and a massive downtube. This makes for a cool-looking frame that has everything it takes to make it in the big leagues.

The Altamira Team Replica features Oval alloy wheels, stem, seatpost and handlebars, a Shimano Ultegra groupset with TRP alloy brakes and Rotor 3D+F cranks. While not as chi-chi as Cobo Acebo’s Team issue, all of these components are great and work very well. It’s hard to beat Shimano’s Ultegra for performance and price because it shifts flawlessly in all situations. And its new Ultegra Di2 option is available if you and your bank account are game ($1,040 more).

Even the KMC chain with its Ni-Ti plating adds a nice flash of gold to the bike. Speaking of flash, the graphics on the bike are a bit loud. While this is something you expect to see on a team bike, you need to be prepared for the attention you’ll draw when you ride it. On a positive note, the bright-green and silver work well together with the Geox/Fuji graphics on the bike, giving it a distinct look.

I was itching to get this bike out on the road, and, as expected, it was quick and nimble. This is a bike that has racing engineered into it. The carbon frame does an amazing job to soak up the rough stuff as well as the small bumps. The thin seatstays really help with this and make for an overall comfortable ride. The geometry is well-suited to racing, and the Team Replica would be well at home accelerating out of a corner in a Crit or hammering the pedals in a road race.

The steering on this bike is quick and there is no need to manhandle it through corners. It really just wants to go, and all you have to do is point it in the right direction. The front end is stiff, and if you feel the need to crank this machine, all of your energy does go into the bike. One thing to note is that the bike did feel a little long due to the 125mm stem on the large frame that we tested. Any good bike shop will be able to properly fit you on the bike and make any adjustments needed, as this is easily remedied.

Fuji’s Altamira Team Replica is a great bike to consider if you are getting into racing and want an impressive frame that will make you happy for years to come. The component package is a great value, and when you’re ready to up your game and consider upgrading to higher-end components, this bike will be up to the challenge.

Price: $4,000
Weight: 7.80kg (size 55)
Components: Shimano Ultegra; Oval wheels, handlebars, seatpost, stem; TRP alloy brakes; Rotor 3D+F cranks
Frame & Fork: C4 carbon fibre/C4 tapered carbon fork
Geometry: 73.5° headtube/73.5° seat-tube (size 55cm-L)
Sizes: S (44cm), S/M (47), M (50), M/L (53), L (55), L/XL (58)
Comments: A race-tested bike that is ready to bring you into the spotlight.
Website: www.vellendtech.com

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