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On The Pedals

The Daily Grind

Over The Bars

Bike Review: Fuji Reveal 2.0
By MBT Staff

Fuji's Revealing Trail Monster

The Fuji Reveal 2.0 is designed to go toe to toe with some heavy hitters. It is certainly up to the challenge.

A Diamond In The Roughest Rough
We Americans love labels regardless of how contrived or inane they may be. So naturally when, a few years back, marketing gurus coined the term all mountain hordes of label-lovers jumped on board this supposed revolution (a bike designed to do anything the mountain has to offer). In the mean time manufacturers of Enduro bikes shrugged their collective shoulders as if to say: “Isn’t this what we’ve been doing all along?”

The answer of course is that it is indeed the power of suggestion fueling the current all mountain rage. In Europe, the term Enduro (derived from endurance racing) is still used in place of all mountain. We here at MBT are big believers in the Enduro market category and with good reason. These are bikes with pretty impressive suspension travel numbers and overall weights on par with yesteryear’s best cross country figures. Not only that but they’re spec’ed extremely well and capable of conquering just about everything the mountain has to offer (we feel like we’ve heard that somewhere before). Enter the Fuji Reveal 2.0, a sleeper hit among giants. This is a bike that has been dropped onto the front lines to do battle with class staples such as the Ibis Mojo SL, Yeti 575, and in some cases the Santa Cruz Nomad (all highly praised bikes riding on a tidal-wave of hype). Does Fuji have what it takes to dethrone the leaders of the pack? That’s exactly what we wanted to know.

Before we get into the meat of battle, let’s take a moment to tell you a bit about the Reveal 2.0. Rest easy label-junkies, Fuji does in fact have an all mountain designation on its 2008 line known as the Thrill series of bikes. In terms of the overall spectrum, the Fuji Thrills represent the burliest/ big hit side of the full-suspension mountain bike line while the Outland series sits opposite as the lightweight XC models. Smack dab in the middle of the Thrill and Outland are the two Reveal Enduro bikes: The Reveal 1.0 & 2.0

The tried and true 4-bar linkage: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Serious racers will likely gravitate toward the $4250 Reveal 1.0 due to its competitive build and weight savings measures. We selected the 2.0 on account of its slightly more affordable MSRP, which basically puts it within the range of our average viewer’s budget at $3130. Our Reveal 2.0 came set up as follows:

An A-6 Quaternary phase alloy, custom butted, integrated headtube frameset mates to a custom butted Four Bar linkage (130m travel), cold forged dropout with CNC’D disc mount and replaceable hanger. Sealed bearing pivots round out the details. Squish duties are accomplished in the front by a Rock Shox Recon 351 Air with PopLoc Remote (130mm Travel), while a Rock Shox Ario 2.2 Hydraulic damper (with lockout) handles the rear.

Drivetrain consists of a wonderful blend of Shimano bits: XT Hollow Tech II cranks with integrated spindle, Shimano Exterior Bearing System, and XT front and rear derailleurs. Brakes are also Shimano goods (XT Hydraulic Disc w/160mm Centerlock rotor). Truvativ provides the seatpost, stem and bar while a Ritchey Logic Zero Pro headset rounds out the spec. Finally Schwalbe Nobby NIC (2.25”) rubber wraps around tubeless Shimano XT disc rims. You read that right- tubeless right off the showroom floor- very trick!

The Reveal is available in S, M, & L frame sizes and we tested the Medium (19 inch) size. All told our bike weighed in at 28.09 pounds; quite impressive for a 5-inch travel dual suspension design.

Setting up the Reveal was a breeze. We ran 85 psi in the fork to accommodate our test riders who ranged in weight from 145 to 174 pounds and since the shock calls for half the rider’s body weight in PSI, we settled in on between 73 and 88 pounds throughout our testing.

The Stare Down
To the MBT test crew, Enduro bikes are designed to do everything so that’s exactly what we threw at the Reveal 2.0. Not only did we take it out on the trails, up a few steep climbs, down some hairy chutes, over rocks and across a few swift-moving streams, we did all of this amidst the cold New York winter when many bikes falter before even leaving the garage. Temperatures ranged from within the low 30s on down to single digits. We knew that if the Fuji could handle this torture, there wouldn’t be much it couldn’t do.

Shifting was spot-on. The tubeless tires are a welcomed feature as well.

Mounting up provides a confidence-inspiring stance with a fairly upright reach to the bars. The bike tends to run a bit on the large size of the spectrum so riders comfortable with the more standard (18 inch) designation of a medium frame would be wise to consider the small here. The bike’s geometry is quite neutral and comfortable, even at a dead standstill. Attention to detail is outstanding and easily rivals the type of fit and finish we’ve come to expect from custom-builders. In keeping with the sexy lines of bikes like the aforementioned Ibis Mojo and Santa Cruz Nomad, Fuji includes a gracious curve of the downtube just prior to its union with the headtube. This shows up in photographs but looks far more stunning in person. In fact we were quite surprised with the amount of interest (and resulting compliments) the Reveal earned from fellow riders out on the trails.

Pushing Off
Moving out on the Fuji Reveal inspires a word that you will find generously used in this bike test: crisp. The feel at the XT cranks matches the feedback at the bars, which coincides with the chassis’ natural balance and suspension action- clean and crisp. Everything we had predetermined about the Fuji reveal 2.0 while it sat in our workshop was undone with a single rotation of the cranks. The chassis, which feels fairly large and cumbersome at a standstill, becomes instantly nimble and confident the moment forward movement enters the equation. Better yet is the careful component selection that surely went into the wheel and tire spec. We are big fans of the Schwalbe Nobby tire. It’s wide 2.5" footprint and soft rubber compound equals some seriously amazing balance and grip in even the muddiest (or in our case slushiest) trail conditions. This is the same tire that came equipped on our Bionicon Edison test bike and we raved about it then too. The only downside was that, as is always the case with a wide grippy tire, the Schwalbes tended to suffer from poor rolling resistance. Fuji managed to solve this dilemma by equipping the bike with tubeless tires & rims in stock trim. The difference isn’t simply noticeable; it’s night and day! By doing so, the Reveal manages to reap the benefits of the 2.5" Nobby without the disadvantages we’ve encountered in the past. Did we mention we were impressed with the attention to detail?

Fuji Reveal 2.0
Frame A-6 Quaternary Phase Alloy (130MM Travel)
Fork RockShox Recon 351 Air/Poploc (130mm Travel)
Shock RockShox Ario 2.2 Hydraulic Damper/Lockout
Brakes/Brake Levers Shimano XT 160mm
Crankset/BB Shimano XT
Shifters Shimano XT
Derailleurs (F&R) Shimano XT/Shimano XT
Headset Ritchey Logic Zero Pro
Seatpost Truvativ
Stem Truvativ
Handlebar Truvativ
Wheels Shimano XT Tubeless
Tires (F&R) Schwalbe Nobby NIC Tubeless
Contact Fuji Bikes

Since there is more to life than how well the tires roll along, let us move ahead to the other elements we subjected the bike to. The Reveal is a very natural climber despite its upright positioning. Despite a plethora of tuning options (including full lock out of the shock & fork) we were able to master nearly every climb we attempted with the Reveal just by simply remaining seated and spinning smoothly. That crisp feeling at the cranks we mentioned earlier pays dividends in nearly every aspect of the experience. This coupled with a light-rim and traction-hungry tire really adds up to a bike that refuses to wallow even when you run out of forward momentum.

While the world may have moved on to flock around the latest crop of VPP and dual-link linkage designs, you can’t blame Fuji for the sudden lack of interest in the tried-and-true 4 bar design. The Reveal makes some of the best use of the system we’ve yet to encounter and we attribute this to two main factors. The first is a perfect deal of chassis rigidity. The Reveal frame doesn’t flex, squirm, or wallow. Power at the cranks isn’t lost to vagueness in the chassis but instead feels perfectly routed directly to the ground. The second factor is balance. Whether serendipitous (we suspect otherwise) or not, Fuji was able to locate a harmony between the front and rear suspension that all bikes seek but few obtain. Perhaps due to the fact that the Rock Shox components are literally meant for each other, both the Recon 351 fork and Ario shock were always on the same proverbial page. In the real world this means positive pedal-performance and a bike that holds its intended line amazingly well. Even on the steep grades and snow-covered descents, the Reveal 2.0 simply exudes a sense of confidence so contagious that its pilot cannot help but contract it. Every one of our test riders, from expert level on down to beginner, praised the bike’s accuracy in the technical stuff.

Even more surprising is the Reveal’s competence in the air. While it’s unlikely going to win the big air contest of the next Red Bull Experiment, we can state with confidence that it can handle all day Whistler excursions with a bit of tweaking. In fact, launching the bike skyward was only reason we had to make adjustments to the suspension during our test-period. By stiffening up the compression and slowing down the rebound a few clicks, the Reveal 2.0 takes to the air with the same type of confidence it displays on the ground. The chassis is extremely maneuverable and the 5 inches of travel take the brunt of hard landings without a hint of complaint. If you have reached this part of the article and find yourself wondering if there is anything this bike can’t do, rest assured we began to feel the same way.

Braking earns more test rider praise. The Shimano XT Hydraulic Disc group burned in quickly and offered up fade-free performance right from the get-go. This having been our first experience with the particular brake system, we weren’t exactly sure what to expect initially. Riders coming from Hayes or Avid brakes (such as our test crew) will immediately report that the XTs feel different. Not better or worse mind you, just different. After a few hours of testing that difference worked out to a very progressive-feel at the lever. The Shimano XTs have a distinct initial snap when you pull the lever and always feel as if they always have more pucker power in reserve should the situation require it. The application is butter-smooth and modulates with authority without ever becoming overly grabby. This is a brake that certainly mates well to the Fuji Reveal hardware. Tight switchbacks, low berms, and slippery slopes tried their best to throw the Reveal off its line. None succeeded. Odds & Ends As we mentioned above, the Reveal pays particular attention to detail. Some of the stock amenities that we were impressed with included Fuji’s Kraton Lock-On rubber grips, Superlite alloy Laser Etched seat clamp, and WTB’s excellent Silverado Comp saddle.

Conclusion
We’re real world riders here at MBT and we shudder in disgust at happy-go-lucky glowing reviews just like you do. However, to add complaint to this bike test for that reason alone wouldn’t be doing the Fuji justice. What the Reveal 2.0 provides in its simplest form is a do-it-all bike rather than a component compromise. All too often we encounter mountain bikes that come close to perfection but slip up somewhere along the way on account of a mismatched piece or a budget-friendly bit. Fortunately Fuji did their homework when penning up their Reveal series. Out on the trail the bike feels lively and spirited as a true Enduro should. The component selection mates so harmoniously with the bike’s designed intention that we felt confident enough to take it through more than its designers likely had in mind. Even still it managed to impress us time and time again. Our benchmark standard in any bike test is based heavily on the idea of the bicycle operating in complete spec harmony rather than one that reminds its rider that it is a collection of various components hanging from a frame. In this regard it almost felt like Fuji built this bike specifically for us.

We won’t lie; the 5-6 inch travel Enduro class is akin to swimming through shark-infested waters for a bike manufacturer of late. With entries such as the Santa Cruz Nomad, Ibis Mojo, and Yeti 575 frequently making the headlines, it could be easy for a bike like the Fuji Reveal 2.0 to get lost in the proverbial sauce. However, one ride on the bike could convert even the most hardened skeptic. The Fuji Reveal 2.0 is a diamond in the rough even in a rough as competitive as the class it was built to play in. That said it’s really no surprise there’s already been whispers among the test riders of its requisite nomination as MBT’s Bike Of The Year.

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