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Fuji's All-New Norcom Straight Speed Machine



"Fit" being paramount, Fuji set-out to design the Norcom with the goal of being able to accommodate a wide range of cyclists of all shapes and sizes, along with age ability in mind.

The key to their fit geometry lies in the head tube pocket – which allows for 135mm of vertical adjustment of the stem position between a negative 17° stem in the lowest position, to a positive 17° stem in the highest position. On top of that, there is further vertical adjustment with aerobar pad height. The stem is most aero when inline with the top tube in the lower positions, but as mentioned fit comes first.

Between the numerous handlebar choices that are available, the Norcom Straight can be configured in as many as 24 total different positions. Much of the cockpit revolves around the custom stem which is 3D forged from 7050 aluminum. Designed for specific integration into this bike, the stem is the same width as the top tube and features a contoured compression cap to smooth airflow over the steerer/frame junction. The good news here is that it is built with a standard 31.8 bar clamp diameter allowing riders to run whatever base bar they choose. At the front of the stem sits an aerodynamic cover that snaps over the faceplate and bolts furthering aerodynamics, but allowing easy access to stem bolts. The 760 is offered in 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, and 130mm lengths in 8 and 17° rises that can all be installed in positive or negative position.

While the stem is available with a number of base bars, for the higher end customer, the Oval Concepts 960 or 970 carbon bars will be available. The biggest difference between the two is the 970 is UCI legal, making it the only part on the bike that would not qualify. The reason is that it uses Jet Stream dual wing technology that was developed by a Formula 1 team in the wind tunnel, and is banned by the UCI. Otherwise both bars offer a full UD carbon construction with a 420mm width, 4 riser heights (5, 10, 15, 20mm), and 5 arm rest positions. Again, there is a total of 60 different positions available for total tuneability.

Instead of a collet system that some aerobars use, the Oval bars both use an alloy clamp that surrounds a nylon core with a longitudinal split. Combined with Oval extensions that include 165mm of sanded clear grip, the bars grab the extensions tenaciously with a lighter design. Extensions will be offered in S Bend, Ski Bend, and straight, and are 376mm long.

At the back end of the bike, the Norcom Straight offers a seat post that offers nearly the same level of adjustment. Standard with 400mm seat posts, each size has around 180mm of vertical adjustment without having to cut the post. Thanks to the 70mm of fore/aft saddle adjustment, effective seat tube angle spans between 74 and 81°. Holding the saddle in place is what appears to be an excellent single bolt post head that kept the saddle from budging with minimal torque on the bolt.

Holding the post in place is a knurled wedge that locks in place with a single 5mm bolt. Fuji paid particular attention to this area as one of the biggest complaints of integrated seatposts in the industry is having them slip. Finding the right balance between clamping force and friction is key, which Fuji approaches with a sand grip finish on the front of the post where the wedge and post interface. This is the same design as what is on Fuji’s proven Track Elite.

In addition to optimal fit, Fuji’s goal was to build a bike that was fast. This meant lots of hours in the A2 wind tunnel. Starting with rapid prototype models, RPT #1 was a modular frame with 24 different combinations of tubes. Using wind tunnel data and tests like the yarn test above which highlights turbulent air, eventually the rough design was chosen. This gave rise to RPT#2 which was a single piece design that was substantially better at extreme yaw angles and featured a narrower heat tube. Finally, carbon bikes were made allowing for wind tunnel testing with Fuji’s own triathletes.

Eventually they ended up with a frame design that saved an average of 10 watts over the D6 with measured improvements across the yaw spectrum. To figure the watts savings, Fuji used a mathematical formula where 11g of drag were equal to 1 watt of power at 30mph. In all of their testing of both their bikes and competitors, Fuji replicated each wheel and bar set up and used an older baseline set of wheels with an 81mm deep tubular rim.

Lastly, wanting to make the bike more aerodynamic, a major design goal was to increase the overall stiffness of the bike as well. The Norcom Straight utilizes Fuji’s patented ribbed technology which places a carbon rib in the middle of the down tube and fork legs increasing stiffness dramatically – 20% stiffer in the head tube and 26% stiffer in the bottom bracket to be precise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBOdpI33oXA


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