The position is upright, dialed for the rider wanting a healthy
dose of back and neck relief with that stability, adding to the
MTB feel. We’d love to say we felt the magic ride of Reynolds
steel, but the reality is, 50c tires create all the comfort any
rider could want. Riders searching for race performance—
gravel, ’cross, or otherwise—will want to look elsewhere.
The long wheelbase and relaxed position damp its reactivity,
as does the heft—it hits 26. 8 pounds on the scale in 58cm.
But riders wanting a reliable companion for bike packing or
gravel survival will find a good friend in this Stuntman—and
it’s a handsome one, with fender and rack mounts to boot. We
have only two concerns. The dropper is a bit finicky when it
comes to cable tension and we’d hate to have it give up the
ghost deep in the backcountry; also, we’d love to see the rear
derailleur cable get full housing or be routed internally for a
bit of extra protection. $2,500; raleighusa.com
ALLOY: THE FUJI JARI 1. 1
The Jari maybe Fuji’s first-ever foray into gravel, but when it
comes to entry-level adventure, the company brought a gun to
a knife fight. The Jari flat-out rips. With a dedicated touring
bike in the line-up—the aptly named Touring—and a do-it-all road platform called the Tread, Fuji was free to give the
Jari a hefty dose of race-worthy performance.
Using custom, butted A6-SL alloy and an FC-440 Cross
carbon fork, Fuji starts with a stiff, durable and affordable
platform. There are four Jari models, plus a frameset option.
The Jari 1. 1 is considered top of the line with SRAM’s
excellent Force 1 set-up with a 10–42 cassette and 42-tooth
front ring providing enough gear for spirited gravel racing
and steep climbing. Hydraulic Force braking on 160mm
rotors gives the platform plenty of stopping power. The Jari
comes with a set of 36mm Clement X’Plor MSO tires on
Stan’s No Tubes Grail Team wheels, but 55mm between the
stays gives the Jari plenty of room for 40mm tires if necessary.
Fuji’s in-house brand, Oval, is reliable, if unexciting, fare.
The bars are an exception—alloy with a massive 25-degree
flare, they are a bit of an acquired taste, but one we grew to
love, offering loads of stability.
The Jari has numbers that thread the line between relaxed
gravel grinder and performance gravel racer. The chainstays
are 435mm long and the head tube has a 72-degree angle.
Certainly steeper and tighter than the Raleigh Stuntman, but
not as aggressive as a ’cross bike or the 3T Exploro tested in
these pages. The Jari actually feels more precise and nimble
than these numbers would suggest and it’s the tall-ish 67mm
bottom bracket—which raises the center of gravity—that
adds to the bike’s nimble feel.
Under power, climbing dirt, trucking across gravel-strewn
plains or navigating flowing single track, the Jari is lively
and quick, and a hoot to ride. It jumps up to speed thanks
to the stiff alloy platform but thanks to all the tire volume,
it’s as comfy as can be. At 19. 8 pounds, it’s no featherweight
but it beats most of the competition in its price range on the
scale. Fuji has done a masterful job of giving the bike a high-
performance feel at the bars and pedals, while retaining the
ability for light bike-packing duty and exploration thanks to
Words/images: Ben Edwards