Old 10-11-18, 01:34 PM
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Location: NYC (Harlem)
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Bikes: Fuji Jari 1.3

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The End Of Analysis Paralysis #NewBikeDay

I've read a lot on here (and elsewhere) and posted a few threads as I needed input on my thinking. I probably did way too much analysis, but that's over now… I bought my first gravel bike! A 2018 Fuji Jari 1.3.

Long story, but the LBS's here in NYC aren't big on gravel bikes (not sure why – they're great on urban potholes and everyone I know wants one). One Fuji dealer even said "Jari? is that a bike?" My criteria was that the bike be able to take up to a 700C x 42-45mm tires, and give me the option of multiple wheelsets – everything from 700C 25-28mm road tires to 650b x 47-53mm for roughish gravel. There weren't a lot of bikes that fit the bill. Some didn't support 650b. Some didn't go above 700x38 (though I still considered those). On some the bottom bracket would be too low if you put on road tires. It was sort of amazing how many weren't right in one way or another.

Anyway, Performance Bike had a sale on last year's Jari 1.3, which is spec'd more or less the same as the 2019 Jari 1.1. The differences being 1) the brakes on the 1.1 are the new full hydraulic 105s, vs TRP HY/RDs (hybrid mechanical/hydraulic) on the 2018 Jari 1.3, and 2) the wheels and tires are different – WTB KOM Light & Gravelking SK 700x38 on the 1.1 vs Stan's NoTubes Grail S1 & Clement X'Plor 700x35 on the 1.3. The new 105 brakes are clearly better, but the tires/wheels are just different. The Grails support down to a 25mm (tubless) tire. Don't think the KOM's can go that low. All in all the bike I got was 1.3 pounds heavier than the new model. But getting the new model would have cost 50% more. So the 2018 version is what I got. And it would have cost about 50% more for my other top choices as well – the Checkpoint ALR 5, and the Felt Breed 30. A few on my B list were closer in price – the Cannondale Topstone, the Diamondback Haanjo, and Cannondale CAADX 105, but there were reasons why they were on my B list.

Before I bought it, the closest model I could ride was the Tiagra version and the demo bike was a size too small. And while it's arrived, I still haven't had a chance to ride it. Performance Bike has a generous return policy, but (understandably) the bike has to be in like-new condition and it's raining fairly heavily here today and will keep raining through tomorrow morning, so it'll be a day before I can get out and ride it, and probably won't be until Sunday before I can take it for a nice long ride without worrying about rain, and then I'll need to keep it on pavement. Dirt and gravel are out until I'm confident it's a keeper.

That said, first impressions so far…

It's a wee bit heavier than I was hoping, but that just is what it is at this price point. When I weighed it with my hanging fish scale it was 22.2 pounds without pedals, and 23 pounds with them. Honestly, that's not all that bad. The $3K carbon Orbea Terra that I also test rode last weekend weighed 20.8 pounds using the same scale and that seemed like a decent weight. So this one's not far off.

The other thing that was a little surprising was the standover height. In bare feet and jeans it was pushing it but just adequate. But with shoes and spandex that will be less of an issue. That said, I knew it was going to be close on standover.

And the other thing that was a bit unexpected was the color. In the promo photos it seems lighter and bluer, but the frame goes from almost black to medium-dark gray depending on the light. So (IMHO) it looks better than I thought it would.

Assuming I keep it (which is a pretty safe assumption) I'll probably ride these tires until they wear out and then put 700C x 28 Schwalbe Pro One's (tubeless) on these rims and get a set of 650b rims and run ~47mm tires on those. Then I'll just swap wheels based on the type of ride I'm doing…

Last edited by JayNYC; 10-11-18 at 03:53 PM.
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