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Review: GT Fury 29

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bigquotes The suspension set with the coil shock had great beginning stroke suppleness, midstroke support, and ample bottom out resistance. Out of the box and on stock settings it really hit all of the marks. Paul Aston

Contents




Construction and Features
The frame mates a carbon front triangle with gigantic diameters to an aluminum rear triangle using a forged aluminum linkage for strength. Up front, there is a straight 1.5" head tube to allow adjustable headset cups to be used if you so wish – the bike is supplied with +/-3.5mm reach adjusting cups. Plenty of features have been included that should please mechanics. The cable routing is fully external, but a side profile view of the bike gives clean lines you might normally expect from a bike with internal cable routing, thanks to the amusingly named Groove Tube. There are also LockR Pivots, which use an expanding through axle design for additional durability, a threaded bottom bracket and replaceable ISCG05 tabs in case they are damaged. Other notable mentions are the geometry flip chip, providing 0.75° of head angle and 6mm of BB height adjustment, 10mm of chainstay length adjustment and a 12 x 148mm rear end.

Geometry & Sizing
GT only offer the complete 29" Fury in sizes medium and large, presumably due to that large rear wheel getting too close to the bum of smaller riders, while the 27.5" bike is available in small, medium and large. This means that people wanting the 29" complete bike have the choice of 445mm or 470mm reach, which should please all but the tallest riders. Riders wanting a small 29" bike have the option of buying a frameset and building it as they choose. The head angle is slack at 62° (all measurements in low flip-chip position), the chainstays are a neutral length at 440mm and the BB height is low, with 22mm of BB drop on my test bike with a 200mm travel fork, for a wheelbase of 1288mm for our large test bike. All sizes use the same 105mm head tube length, which is slightly unusual, but riders can use the top crown and handlebar rise to make adjustments if it doesn't suit you.
Suspension Design GT have employed a design that blurs the line between a 'looks like a Session' and a 'looks like a Commencal'; in reality, it is most similar to the Ghost DH9000 from a few years ago in terms of looks. Luis Arraiz, the man behind the K-Nine brand from earlier this decade is the lead suspension engineer at GT, so he already has experience with idler driven bikes.The system uses a simple Horst-Link driven four-bar linkage, but with a slightly higher main pivot than we would normally see on this design. An idler wheel is placed inline with this pivot to neutralize pedal kickback and tune the anti-squat. Supplied with a frameset are two spare idler wheels, one bigger and one smaller to tune the anti-squat to your needs - the smaller wheel will make it pedal more efficiently, and the larger will further reduce pedal kickback.
Specifications


Riding With a 470mm reach on paper, but a low stack height, after jacking up the front end to a suitable height the bike does size up small against many other 29er downhill bikes considering it's the biggest offering from GT.Pedaling out the gate is really neutral, but at 39lbs the Fury is the heaviest 29" downhill bike I've tested to date and this was noticeable. Weight is a tough subject for downhill, and after trying many different machines I think that 37lbs is the magic number for me – any lighter and things start to feel sketchy, towards 39lbs they take a bit more effort to play around with, although still continue to plow with more stability through terrain at speed.The idler wheel does a great job of eliminating feedback through the pedals caused by pedal-kickback, and this does help the bike flow and takes some fatigue out of the rider through rough sections. But don't expect the 'magic carpet' feeling of a true high-pivot bike, as a more rearward axle path seems similarly important as reducing kickback for the best bump-eating ability.The suspension set with the coil shock had great beginning stroke suppleness, midstroke support, and ample bottom out resistance. Out of the box and on stock settings it really hit all of the marks.The Fury is a stiff machine, and although not harsh feeling it doesn't track as well at low speed and on cambers as some other bikes. A few times when I really got on a charge the bike did come alive and showed a great balance between all aspects of the design, but this didn't happen on every lap – super strong downhill racers or heavier riders might get this great feeling full-time on the Fury.
Technical Report

Tiny shock bolt: The original shock bolt snapped within about 10 meters of riding; this was replaced by GT in Whistler. According to GT, the bikes were originally built by the factory with the wrong bolts, which should now all be replaced. However, the correct bolt lasted only a few more weeks before snapping. I replaced this with a huge bolt from the hardware shop that survived, but it did bend and was difficult to remove. The fourth bolt has survived two whole days of riding and looks good, although it's certainly something to keep an eye on. This solid steel bolt is now fitted from the factory. Given how burly everything else is on the chassis it's unfortunate that the shock bolt doesn't seem to be up to the task.

Low front end: For a large sized bike it took some work to get the handlebar height up to a usable level, largely due to the short head tube. To raise the bars, I bumped up the fork travel to 200mm from 190, swapped the flat crown (the only one on any 49 I've had) to a drop-crown, and installed a different stem. It is possible to flip the stem for more rise, but that also shortens its length from 50mm to 30mm.

Stan's Flow Wheelset: These rims took some big hits and needed replacing after a few weeks, but worse than a few dings were the spokes losing tension. There are two schools of thought here, the first is that a perfectly tensioned wheelset will stay true, the second is that some sort of thread lock compound can be used to keep the spokes at the correct tension. I prefer the latter, some don't as the thread lock can make truing difficult. After using many DT-Swiss wheelsets and their Prolock nipple system with zero issues, I'm convinced spokes shouldn't be coming loose.

Switch Kit: The Fury can be set up with 27.5" or 29" wheels using their Switch Kit, but it's not as simple as it sounds. A full switch means changing the headset cups, fork, wheels, and even the seat stay. It's not something that riders will be doing every other ride, but it does offer many options for tuning and testing with hybrid wheel setups or geometry fiddling.




Is this the bike for you? The Fury completes nearly all the requirements of a modern downhill bike. Really tall riders will miss the XL size option, and lighter or slower riders could find the bike too stiff, unless park-ratting is more important than searching for traction on an edge. This is a bike that's best suited to riders who are strong and ready to attack run after run.