Fuji Auric LT
Words & Photos By Chili Dog
Action photos by Samson Hatae
If you’re looking for a new 160mm enduro bike, but aren’t sure where to start, ask yourself a few questions. Does a post ride burrito sound better than a kale, Kombucha smoothie? Do your average trail rides usually turn into huck sessions or long jump contests? Do the words, “long, slack and low” get you feeling all tingly? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the Fuji Auric LT may be for you. This 160mm, 27.5 bike is made to party with performance well above what the price tag would suggest. If you haven’t seen the story already, we spent a week in Green River, Utah sending Fuji’s new Auric line up on steep chutes and jumps. That kind of thing goes well beyond the typical bike review testing procedure, but typical isn’t our style.
Several months ago, Lauren Gregg of Fuji bikes showed up in Bend to ride with the old man, Drew Rohde. It didn’t take long for him to excitedly call me saying the new Fuji he’d just ridden surprised him. Now, Fuji isn’t a name that’s typically been synonymous with rowdy, long travel bikes. Though the brand had solid offerings in the past, they’ve been targeted more towards the drop bar/XC crowd. Endurbros on a budget, go shot gun a celebration beer because your shining moment has arrived!
You know that one guy at your local bike park that shows up in skate shoes, ripped jeans and a t-shirt but shreds harder than all the guys in factory kits? That’s the Fuji Auric as a person. It may not have the bling of the expensive competition, but this bike is here to party and shralp with the best of them.
Fuji started their Auric re-design around the typical progressive geometry buzzwords: longer, slacker and lower. It’s a proven recipe that creates a fun, hard charging bike. The 63.5-degree head angle is plenty slack, and the 425.3mm chain stays keep the bike snappy despite the laid back front end. A 651.7mm top tube and 75-degree seat tube angle make this bike’s gravity penchant clear. The geo numbers on this bike read like a greatest hits mash up from lots of contemporary rigs.
The Auric LT is offered in two different models, but both pack 160mm of rear travel and use a new adaptation of Fuji’s MLink four-bar suspension design. Fuji summarizes the design as, “a four-bar suspension system, with the chainstay pivot positioned in the middle of the chainstay. This balanced design provides a smooth and efficient system with less flex, less binding, and less bearing and pivot stress.” In our experience, it’s a simple but well thought out design that has a great balance of small bump sensitivity and progressivity. While the pivot mid-chanistay may seem odd, it works well on the trail.
A Rock Shox Super Deluxe RT3 and a 170mm Rock Shox Lyrik RC DebonAir fork suspend the range topping Auric 1.1. The lower end 1.3 gets Fox suspension in the form of a Fox Float Performance DPX2 EVOL shock and 170mm Fox Rhythm 36 Float GRIP fork. We’ve gotten to spend lots of time on both bikes, and think the 1.3 is an especially good value at $3,499. The 1.1 comes in at $4,299.
The rest of the spec on the Fuji Auric LT 1.1 is a mostly SRAM line up. SRAM Code R brakes handle the stopping, but provide the typical SRAM Code vagueness and inconsistency we’ve experienced before. We found the TRP G-Spec Trail S brakes on the 1.3 model to have far better modulation, power and consistency, especially on the steep terrain of Green River Utah. Kudos to TRP for making a quality product at a great price.
The SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 derailleur never missed a beat, giving us rock solid shifts for months. A DT Swiss M1900 Spline 30 wheelset strikes a balance between value, strength and weight. Race Face Aeffect R bars and stem round out the cockpit, while a 150mm KS LEV SI dropper for our size XL test rig kept our body positioning on point.