Words: Mike Rose
Photos: Dave Jaquin (acid bike shots!), Duncan Philpott (action/portrait)
World Champion, World Cup Champion, National Champion… Gee Atherton has done the lot. In 2014 the GT Fury took him to World Championship gold, and slightly disappointingly (for him) fifth in the World Cup overall. Of course everyone went 27.5” mad last year, and GT were no different. But the wheel size change did take some getting used to geometry and size wise. It seems that after some tweaks and fine tuning, both with the frame and some component sizes, Gee is finally happy with the way in which his Fury rides. Check it out on a podium somewhere this year.
30 years old.
Downhill mountainbike racer.
Where do you live?
How would you describe your riding style?
Smooth, pretty aggressive, quite diverse.
Can you tell us a bit about your bike?
It’s a 2015 GT Fury, with 650b wheels. We (the team) had a lot of input into the design of this bike, particularly getting the frame dialled. I can’t wait to race it this year.
Is it a ‘straight out of the box’ or are we talking a ‘custom build’ here?
The frame is custom built for me, we played with the geometry quite a lot last year so apart from tiny tweaks this frame is pretty much where we ended up for the last two races of the season. I’ve always regretted not going big enough on frame size, but now I think I’ve found the sweet spot.
Tell us about the special stuff you’ve got going on here? Anything top–secret or specific? Any special mods?
Apart from the frame and the shocks anyone could go to their local bike shop and buy anything on here. We work closely with our sponsors to develop components for production, so three years in with GT and the all our other sponsors we’re pretty set. What you can’t buy is the Polish Pete (mechanic) love – he’s not for sale.
How would you describe this bike’s set–up?
We’ve been working with Fox and Shimano since about 2007 and Continental since 2009, we haven’t made any big changes since last year so we’re getting really comfortable and used to the products. It gives me a lot of confidence knowing that all the products are up to a season of World Cup abuse.
Tell us about suspension?
I don’t know that much about it – all our stuff comes out of the Fox race shop and we know that from working with those guys for a while that we are getting the best product custom tuned to our riding style. It’s got a sticker on it that says DHX2, which is about all I can say for the model, but it’s a refined version of the shock I rode last season and I can feel a marked improvement already.
What about tyres?
We’ll be running either the Continental Mud Kings or the Kaiser Project (2.4 BlackChili Compound) tyres with the Stan’s NoTubes tubeless set-up, we’ve got this system down now after a few years of learning. Tyre pressures are usually between 22-28psi depending on the course.
How do you run your handlebars?
What do you feel is the most important part on your bike?
Do you change set-up for particular races?
Only the obvious. Tyre pressures and shock settings. Last year we tried a few things that we couldn’t get working correctly, but by Meribel the bike was dialled which gives me confidence in the set-up for this year. Fine tuning is where we’re at right now.
You got any idea of the weight of this bike?
We’re hoping for late 35lbs… once we’ve got the Ti spring on.
Do you go in for Titanium bolts?
Yeah, it all counts.
If you could change one thing about your bike?
Nothing… maybe put a secret engine on it! It likes to crash a lot. It likes to surprise me when I’m feeling comfortable and try and mess me up, it normally manages to!
Frame GT Fury, custom size
Shock Fox DHX2
Fork Fox 40
Stem Pro Atherton Star Series, 50mm
Headset Hope Integrated
Grips Pro Prototype
Bars Pro Atherton Star Series
Shifter Shimano Saint
Derailleur Shimano Saint
Brakes Shimano Saint 203mm
Seatpost Pro Atherton Star Series
Seat Pro Atherton Star Series
Crankset Shimano Saint 165mm
BB Shimano Saint
Ring Shimano Saint 36t
Chain Guide Shimano CD
Cassette Shimano XTR 11–36, modified 6 speed
Chain Shimano XTR
Pedals Crankbrothers Mallet DH Races
Wheelset Shimano Saint 32h on Stan’s Flow EX rims
Tyres Continental Kaiser Projekt 2.4
Tubes nah, we’re on Stan’s NoTubes system
Bar width 780mm
HOPE INTEGRATED PICK ‘N ‘MIX HEADSET
Quality from the crew in Barnoldswick. Hope have a headset for pretty much every variation of frame and steerer (top cups sized 1–6, bottom A–H, the Fury is 4D). Custom replaceable stainless steel bearings, machined T6 aluminium cups, split crown race and multiple seals. Sweet.
PRO ATHERTON STAR SERIES STEM
Pro is an off-shoot of Shimano, so the quality is definitely there. The Atherton’s Star Series features bars, grips, seat, post and this stem. Direct mount, machined from 7075 aluminium (strong and lightweight), two positions (45 and 50mm) and compatible with both RockShox BoXXer and Fox 40.
STAN’S NOTUBES FLOW EX RIM
Obviously the key part to the Stan’s NoTubes system. Lower profile, 29.1mm width, with thicker sidewalls and spoke bed. Of course they are 27.5” for 2015, teamed up with 32 hole Shimano Saint hubs and using Stan’s rim tape and valves for tubeless set-up.