Being one of the World first and only full carbon downhill bikes, the GT Fury has undoubted appeal…
From Dirt Issue 112 – June 2011
Words by Steve Jones. Photos by Victor Lucas
Whatever the motives are in the ever increasing move towards carbon mountainbikes they certainly make life easier in terms of washing them. Of course weight and stiffness come a close second and third, shape and form close after that.
But seriously, being one of the World first and only full carbon downhill bikes the Fury has undoubted appeal. Clean lines, hidden cables and the custom brakes, and all–round lightweight component package included on our test bike complemented the Fury extremely well. Unfortunately this yellow version will be available frame only. We guided the GT with this year’s star fork the Fit 40 version from Fox. All marvellous stuff, but what’s it like to ride?
Hmm, the poor old GT has a couple of issues. Pounds sterling is one. The other is the chassis numbers. Angle wise, it’s a bit steep making it slightly twitchy at high speed, little surprise then that the factory team run off–set cups in the headtube and off–set shock bolts to remedy this. Too much height on the BB in combination with the tight front end also makes it a handful to pedal up to speed out of corners, and power transfer is certainly not as efficient as on many other downhill bikes. Being carbon, words such as power, speed and sharpness come to mind. Not so. It’s pretty good in a straight line, but lacks the immediacy of other bikes in turns.
The Fury is also very short for a medium downhill bike, 45 inches is a measurement now commonplace on most mid travel trail bikes of a similar size. For example, a medium carbon Specialized S–Works Enduro, not the longest trail bike out there, is roughly the same length. Longer bikes provide more stability at speed. The Fury is plainly too short. The off–set cups will have made the Fury lower, longer and slacker. Shame they didn’t get it right from the start.
Still it’s a simple one to fix. And there’s loads of positives. In terms of rear suspension it works very, very well, handling big hits effectively, with a beautiful supple action giving support and grip. It’s a class combination and a correctly valved shock is a welcome feeling. Everything can be tuned from a medium position on the settings not from the extremes. The Fury’s rear damping is very much a highlight in hard terrain.
In southern Spain we had the chance to take the Fury into a wide range of stormy waters to test the super–efficient rear end. One thing we did notice about this bike was a considerable amount of arm pump compared to several other bikes we rode that same day on the same track with the same forks. It seemed there were forces at work on the lower arms. We’d taken time out to get the fork oiled and greased at Mojo (Fox’s UK distribution and service centre) before coming out even though it was brand new. In fact the standard fork worked as well if not better than an off the shelf non–prepared Kashima coated versions on this occasion.
Overall? Tyres, wheels, brakes, cranks, transmission – a faultless component build. Pity then that upon our return found that the Fury will be available as frame only or in an alternative blue colour as a complete bike (Fury Team) with cheaper spec.
At a penny short of three thousand pounds some riders would prefer that the brake cables were routed internally as on the drive side of the bike and there remains an undoubted fear of damaging such a valuable bike when riding the Fury. GT point out that the use of carbon for the Fury frame was for stiffness and durability, not for super lightweight reasons as in XC/Road and that Kevlar has been incorporated into the carbon weave on the underside of the downtube to provide protection from rock hits.
Other positives include the 1.5” main pivot and the 1 1/8” BB pivot bearings that are standard FSA sealed cartridge bearings so you can find replacements for in pretty much any decent bike shop, and it comes with a Cane Creek AngleSet headset that is factory fitted. GT advise us that the Fury comes pre–set in the –1 degree setting which makes the head angle 64º and that you can also buy an AM cup that would slacken/steepen it up another 0.5º. We found the combination of angles and lengths on the already slackened test bike (similar to a twelve year old Intense M1) just don’t work well as other bikes available right now.
That doesn’t for one minute mean game over however. Nearly every bike needs some kind of work to make it comfortable to ride. With a rear suspension that is close to perfection in harder terrain and a modified geometry the GT could be an extremely effective piece of competition hardware.
We all know the Fury can be a winner, Marc Beaumont and Mick Hannah have proved that. Yes you can take a Fury off the shop floor and go and win a World Cup on it. There is no doubting what it can do. Trouble is you’re going to have to spend more time and money getting the bike sorted to enable it to do so. It’s also too small for many riders (as Lapierre have found with their downhill bike). Even if you are sorted this bike isn’t quite there yet. For this price it should simply be bang on.
A renowned and popular rock climbing area, El Chorro is best known for its limestone gorge. Situated north of Malaga in Andalusia and standing next to the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes pass it’s an impressive landscape very different to the slightly mad coastline. Above the dammed river the Caminito del Rey (Kings little pathway) has proved the peril of many walkers over the years and has since been closed to them. Riding on the other hand is only just opening up.
It’s the gigantic Utah like landscape that we came here to ride, and shuttled by Switchbacks they took us on some runs from the high level reservoir. Don’t expect anything but smooth solid rock, G–outs, hidden caves and lines to experiment with. There are many runs in the area yet many of them are little known. El Chorro is definitely a place to adventure.WHERE TO STAY
Upon return I found that there are a huge number of places to stay in El Chorro and if I went again would definitely bring a trail bike to check out some different riding spots. It’s ideally suited for a day or two excursion from the coastal riding areas around Malaga and Marbella which we will continue with in the next issue. We stayed with Switchbacks (www.switch-backs.com) who also provided the shuttles to and from, in and around El Chorro area.
Prices: Thursday until Monday €495
Day uplift to El Chorro around €50 per day with guiding (including all–mountain)WHERE TO EAT
Mike from Switchbacks says this place is one of the best places to eat in southern Spain. Pretty much impossible to disagree with. www.restauranteelkiosko.com