Getting Rolling: The Fuji Tread 1.3 represents a part of the cycling industry that is aiming to help cyclists see riding as a bigger part of life. This isn’t necessarily a commuting bike, but it would make a great one. It isn’t really a cyclo cross bike, but you could do worse than this bike and it would get you by just fine. Fuji also sees the Tread series as a bike line up that fits in with the gravel/back road/ultra-cross scene. It is in this arena where we will be seeing if the 1.3 model can hang with rigs costing hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars more than the sub-thousand dollar Tread 1.3.
In the opening post for this test, we published all the specs, so check that link for the techy bits. Here I am going to focus on my impressions so far after the first several rides on this subtle looking rig.
First Rides: The Tread comes out of the box with a definite commuter bent to the set up. The tires are typical looking street treads and the pedals are some minimalistic flats, which were surprisingly nice, actually. The overall understated look fits in with the “not too flashy” trends for urban bikes. I liked the way the red accents jump off the slate grey frame and the minimalistic branding is a refreshing take on livery for bikes these days. Maybe it’s almost too plain, but we’re here to talk about how this bike rides, so let’s move on…….
First of all, the frame is aluminum, but it is not what you might think, or expect. Aluminum has a bad reputation in the cycling industry, which is too bad, because when you get aboard the Tread 1.3, you might be fooled into thinking it is made from something else. The longer wheelbase, bigger tires run at lower pressures, (I ran them at 40psi rear/38psi front), all certainly contribute to a muted, smoother ride experience, but I have to say that the Tread 1.3 has, so far, given me reason to believe that an aluminum bike can actually ride fairly well.
The Shimano Sora drive train is decent, clicks off shifts well, but the throw of the lever and the ergonomics come from previous generations of STI. If you’ve been using newer and nicer Shimano, (or SRAM, for that matter), you’ll be a bit off on shifting at first, perhaps, like I was. Push a little further, remember that the front shifting is a bit slower, and the ride comes back to you. The Tektro Mira disc brakes are decent stoppers, and the standard drop bar, a Fuji Oval branded number, I didn’t mind…..too much! I admittedly am partial to having shallow and flared drops.
The wheels are solid and unremarkable other than the surprising spec of bladed spokes. That said, they have run true and have been quiet since the riding has started. The stock tires don’t seem like they will show this bike in the best light on gravel, so the plan is to swap these out to something a bit more suitable, put on some clipless pedals, and head out for some longer gravel rides soon. Then we will see how these components do and where the ride feel goes on the looser, deeper gravel out there.
So Far….. The first rides have been mostly on commutes and a few excursions on local test routes. That said, this frame shines better than I expected despite all the dire aluminum ride quality stories you may have heard. The Tread 1.3 looks sharp, with a very understated look, and the spec is solid if unspectacular. It just works and it rides with a nice feel. We’ll be setting off on some longer gravel rides soon to see just where the Fuji Tread 1.3 fits in on the gravel scene.
Note: Fuji Bikes sent over the Tread 1.3 bicycle at no charge for test/review. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we strive to give you our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
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