Review: The Commencal Furious

Photo courtesy of    commencalusa.com   .

Photo courtesy of commencalusa.com.

So, I have been a wee bit of a downhill bike skeptic for a while when it comes to our area. I used to be someone who rode a coil sprung 180mm+ bike as an everyday bike and rode the lifts more often than not. With the changes in geometry and wheel size, all of a sudden my trail bike was just as capable if not more capable than my downhill bike on the resort trails, but it didn't rely on a lift ticket to get to the top. So why spend big money on a bike that can only go downhill unless you dwell at a really rowdy bike park like Keystone or Angel Fire. The brands have largely agreed with that assessment. Brands like Yeti dropped their DH race bike entirely. Others have scaled back in that genre in favor of their enduro bikes. It has honestly been a while since I had been on a dual crown bike. So I did wonder how they have been doing.

Well, at Snowmass Demo Days last season several people came back raving about one such bike. That bike was the Commencal Furious. Changes in wheel size and the geometry refinements that came with them have changed the face of the industry. Gravity sled bikes apparently have not been left behind.

The Furious is Commencal's park bike and it perfectly fits the bill. Compared to the race ready, terrain devouring Supreme it has a degree steeper head-tube and a more playful suspension stroke. The first thing I noticed riding was the very linear and coil-like feeling of the rear suspension. That is saying a lot since the bike I rode was the entry level build which is air sprung. The 63.5 degree head-tube gave the bike great agility and maintained its playfulness, even in flatter flow trails. The rear suspension ate up the chatter and bumps of all sizes, to the degree that I would have been very happy on a true race trail, but as a park bike should, it powered out of the banked corners and boosted jumps beautifully without requiring extra effort.

Even on the rougher Elk Camp trails, Snowmass’ Gravity Logic trails didn't push the Furious to its limit, but in the same ride on the flow trails lower on the mountain, the Furious was absolutely a blast. That is an awesome combination. It is bike that can crush Trail 16, give you all the bike you need on that weekend trip to Keystone or Angel Fire, and be ready for whatever the trail crew thinks up next. At the same time it's a DH bike that will leave you smiling ear to ear on Valhalla and Viking instead of wishing you were on a lighter and quicker bike.

If that isn’t enough, the bike that impressed me so much was the Origin build, which retails at just $2,699.00. How many riders in the valley have wheel-sets that cost more than that? At that price, not only can you afford to have a DH bike in the quiver, you can afford to ride it like a DH bike too. The drive-train is entry level (affordable to replace when you crash on the derailleur), the wheels are sturdy and dependable, and they didn't skimp on the suspension or brakes. The Rockshox Boxxer RC, Super Delux R, and SRAM Guide REs offer a lot of bang for the buck and are very serviceable. Also, if you go higher end, the price tag doesn't grow like you would expect thanks to Commencal's direct to consumer sales model.

The bottom line is that it WAS very easy to justify not having a proper downhill bike in our valley, but Commencal made it much harder for me.

Evan Winn
Ride Demo Days