Xprezo Furax DH Race Bike Review

Aug 25, 2010
by Mark Wood  

Built and ready to fly!
Built and ready to fly!

For the second year in production, the Xprezo Furax is the new DH Race bike on offer from our friends in la belle province. “Actually, it’s the 5th generation of a design that began long ago.” Larose wants you to be aware of the pedigree. It’s been five years now that designers Hugo Bardou, one of the original owners of Balfa, ventured on to begin Xprezo Cycles. Most of the key personnel came along for the ride and are still there today, including the master welder Phillipe Benoit, described by his colleagues as an 'artiste'. Collectively, the group has well over a decade of production experience. Their conclusion after a multitude of design experiments? Simplify the design and minimize maintenance.

A rear chromo triangle mates with an aluminum front via a beefy anodized linkage plate.
A rear chromo triangle mates with an aluminum front via a beefy anodized linkage plate.

With a vision to create something that performs as well as endures, Xprezo creates the Furax DH Race frame with a rear Chro Mo triangle and seat mast, thus offering the strength of steel at key stress points. “On a DH bike, most of the stress is in the rear,” Larose explains, “steel is three times stronger than aluminum.” Anyone who’s ridden a chromo bike also knows that steel feels different. Riders talk of how steel ‘snaps’ you out of corners and of its ability to absorb vibrations, giving a smoother, more compliant ride. Another point is that steel doesn't fatigue like aluminum, which is good news for those of us who ride hard and ride a lot. Being stronger and more resilient, you are able to use thinner tubes that are equal in weight to aluminum. This gives their FS bikes a clean, crisp look in the back end, plus great tire clearance, all without any weight penalty.

Close up of the lock on linkage plate and tons of tire clearance with the rear chromo triangle.
Close up of the lock on linkage plate and tons of tire clearance with the rear chromo triangle.

Close up of the chromo seat mast.
Close up of the chromo seat mast.

Xprezo aren’t attempting to rewrite the book on suspension design. Producing mono pivot bikes with only two internal bearings, the goal is a low maintenance machine that is easy to service. A sure proof lock on linkage plate makes it impossible for the linkage to unwind.

On testing, the bike landed to flat on this big step down, without batting an eyelash. Steel can be forgiving.
On testing, the bike landed to flat on this big step down, without batting an eyelash. Steel can be forgiving.

The Furax is aimed at those who seek elite, single purpose performance from their ride. It’s a DH Race bike, and its technical specs reflect that. Low and slack, it’s built for speed. At 63.5 degrees, the head angle is one of the slackest on the market. Combine that with a 13 7/8” bottom bracket height and 17 1/4” chain stays it's no surprise that it's made to corner fast and be stable at speed. With a 9.5” eye to eye and a 3” stroke, you get the spacious range of tunability, meaning it's easy to get the bike feeling supple and plush while still being able to handle the big hits. The shock sits low in the frame, keeping the weight low and centered. My bike came with a Fox RC4 at my request, otherwise you can opt for a RockShox Vivid. I also opted to put a Fox 40 upfront, but the build kits offered come with either a Boxxer Team or World Cup. Thanks to Suspension Werx in North Van, the set up was perfect out of the gate. Even when blowing past the tranny and landing to flat on a 25 foot step down during testing, the bike handled it with aplomb, being seemingly bottomless. The suspension was described as “Super progressive” more than once over the course of demo’ing the bike with different riders over the past twelve weeks.

The icing on the cake for any new build.
The icing on the cake for any new build.

The Ride
Over the course of two months, I rode the Furax on Cypress, Seymour, Bear, Arduum, Pemberton, the Sunshine Coast, Burke, Ledgeview and of course, Whistler Bike Park, including a couple Phast Wednesdays. I have ridden a multitude of designs in past, including faux bar, horst link, vpp, ict, maestro, plus a handful of dw link creations in XC, AM, FR and DH incarnations.

Easy access to all the dials.
Easy access to all the dials.

First Impressions:
It’s a head turner for sure. Nothing else looks like it and it gets plenty of attention in the lift line as it stands out from the status quo. The chromo parts allow for small tubes giving the bike a sharp look. The aluminum front triangle has beefy gussets on the head tube junction with solid, phat welds (yes Phat!). Since the shock isn’t buried in a mass of linkages, all the adjustments are easily accessed and the shock is quick and easy to remove. With a range of 12 custom colours available, you can personalize the durable powder coat finish, getting a factory repaint at the end of the season to give it that new bike appeal all over again! The exclusivity is huge with these bikes as they will produce less than 100 this year, and that’s world wide.

Jumping:
When jumping, I found the Furax like a horse chewing at the bit, easily overshooting transitions if I didn’t make the necessary adjustments. Left on its own, it stays low and goes long. Very stable with a low center of gravity, it's easy to scrub, or pops easily with just a bit of preload. When doubling up sections of trail, the bike is lively making those long reaches seem short - a common characteristic of single pivot designs.

Stable on the ground, stable in the air.
Stable on the ground, stable in the air.

Terrain:
The bike excels on steep and fast terrain. This is thanks to a combination of a low BB, slack HA, short stays and of course, proper shock set up. With the long eye to eye, the rear end is easily set up to be supple and progressive, keeping pliant on small bumps and with help from the long stroke, never stacking up on repetitive hits. The custom valved Fox RC4 is an excellent performer, thanks again to Suspension Werx for a superb initial set up.

Cornering:
The Furax brings high speed cornering to a new level. The short rear end literally snaps around corners. With the slack angles and short stays, the bike does it almost automatically for you. Plus the steel helps. Just weight the front end and the bike virtually does the rest.

What’s Missing:
What’s missing with this bike is virtually any noise. What I noticed right away is how quiet it is. Eerily quiet. Thanks to the vibration absorbing qualities of the chromo rear end, all you hear is the shock working.

Put it through the paces:
On Cypress it floated down the 5th Horseman, on Seymour it got dark & dirty eating up the steep and deep with ease. On Ledgeview, it seemed to shorten those big reachers, and I stuck my lines while dodging bullets at Burke hitting steep chutes with speed. The bike was in its element at WBP, excelling at high speeds, eating Garbo for lunch and the Canadian Open for dinner.

In Summary:
It jumps well, is extremely stable, corners exceptionally and the suspension handled every case, drop or overshoot with grace, ramping up predictably. I was expecting the single pivot to wallow in the tech, but it floats better than many multi link bikes I've ridden prior. It pedals very well, and is a lively ride when you learn to harness the popping powers of single pivot. The bike excels under an active rider. And since I’ve carried more than one snapped frame down from Garbonzo (I put in nearly 100 days in the park last year), it's nice to see that someone is focused on longevity, not weight. But even in that category, the bike is easily built to a respectable sub 40 lbs. Add a Ti coil and elite build kit with WC forks and 38 lbs is attainable.


What else you should know:
You can get it as a frame only or with the choice of two different build kits. Decked out with Elixir brakes, DT Swiss wheels, Minions front & back, plus Boxxers up front, they offer two levels of build kits; the Team and the World Cup. It’s also nice to see them offer Chromag bars & seats, another great Canadian company. It has a 1.5 head tube, a 12 x 150mm rear end and 216mm of rear wheel travel (8.5”).

Canadian Pricing on the Furax:
Furax Team - $5649 CAD
Furax World Cup - $6449 CAD
Furax Frame only - $2989

The bike performs at speed. It's a race bike and it never lets you ever forget that while riding it. Everyone at Xprezo is a passionate rider, many of whom are racers who eagerly contribute their real world input in the design. Considering the craftsmanship of the welds and the high-end chromo tubing rear end, I believe I’ve found something that will sustain the abuse I put my bikes through. What’s also nice to know is that Xprezo is focused on sustainable growth while remaining environmentally conscientious in the production of the bikes through to the materials used. Xprezo will produce less than 100 Furax frames this year. With expansion into Europe and Western Canada, those numbers are expected to grow, but never surpassing the tight quality controls Xprezo has in place. As Larose explains “We have a relationship with all of our riders. We’re in it to go the distance.” With values like this, you'll also feel good to support Canadian industry!

www.xprezo.ca

Proudly Canadian!
Proudly Canadian!



95 Comments

  • 7 0
 As it was not mentioned in Mark Wood's review and to help put things into perspective, Mark is the local rep for Xprezo.

That being said, I did demo the bike at Crankworx with Antoine, a DH Pro racer and enthusiastic Xprezo rep, who made me feel like Grandpa! (OK, I am old enough to be a grandpa, but thats besides the point.) My demo was a medium frame with a short 45.4" wheel base that handled Ninja Couger with confidence. The '09 Boxxer Team was the best set-up fork I had ridden among 3 other tests that day and with the RC4, the Xprezo Furax ate Upper Joy Ride and Ho Chi MIn without fuss.

There were however, some areas of concern. I had some difficulty controlling the Saint rear brake on rough terrain at times and some of my decents were the fastest I have ever done but I did not feel in complete control. (Maybe I was trying too hard to keep up with Antoine! Why should he care, he doesn't use brakes much.) As the rear suspension places the stays very close to each other, chain slap was very noticable and a constant on rough terrain. Stay protection required.

I also rode A-line, Lower Whistler Downhill and Heart of Darkness, and between the Demo, Session 88, Glory 1 and my Devinci Johnson with a 2010 Boxxer Team, the Xprezo was the sweetest ride all day! Thank you Antoine.
  • 10 1
 that shock is in a bad place for mud... would get covered in crap
  • 2 0
 Yeah, it'd be easy enough to make a bit of a mudguard for it like lucas' one tho aha
  • 8 1
 "A sure proof lock on linkage plate makes it impossible for the linkage to unwind."

Eh? What the hell is this nonsense?
  • 2 4
 It is a pretty tough job in single pivots to guide swingarm tubing all the way to the pivot, so it performs and looks good. I think this thing is done just to make it stiffer than classic SPivoty bikes. More places for the play to develop? maybey... Nevertheless the marketing pitch is pretty strange here, but! who are we to judge?
  • 6 2
 We are the consumers who buy the products, that's who we are to judge.
  • 3 4
 According to the modern political correction etiquette, thy should not judge a product negatively before you try it. An excuse of that etiquette can be given only in case of a highly unlikely event, when you are able to quote an authority of a global format (i.e Sam Hill) who states a negative opinion about the product.

However if you ask me: This whole Political Etiquette is beige as my jobby, and I say f**t it!
  • 4 1
 I couldn't really give a toss about the bike or it's design. It's the awful language used to describe it that I object too.

I repeat: What the hell is a 'sure proof lock', and how does a linkage 'unwind'?
  • 2 1
 I don't know... I tried not to touch that too deep because I thought my english is bad, perhaps. I know the meaning of each word, but all of them put together didn't make much sense to me... a lock that is proof for being sure? So i guess it wasn't me that was having "issues" with the language...
  • 4 0
 I agree that this bike looks low maintenance and would last a lot longer than most, all things being equal. I disagree that this bike has a low centre of gravity - that shock couldn't be any higher - though I guess you can't have simplicity and also drive a shock that is very low down or vertical.
  • 1 0
 the low center of gravity in a frame is a bit bs. Its good from eng. point of view but the shock + spring is like 1kg. Compared to a 70+ kg rider that is connected to the bike threw the pedals and bb it doesnt rise the whole bike + rider system CoG by that much.
  • 1 0
 I totally agree with you that moving a shock down would hardly make a difference to the overall (bike + rider) CoG. I just think that if a low CoG is one of the finer points of this bike (whether it makes a difference or not), it's just not true for that bike.
  • 4 2
 Please dont take this the wrong way but I totally disagree with this bike test/review. The whole test was done on custom valved suspension which will make any bike ride/feel amazing. None of the comparitive models tested were setup with custom suspension. I just really feel like you are comparing apples to oranges.

Put the stock Vivid and Boxxer on there and try again
  • 6 4
 I disagree. Getting the suspension set up properly for yourself is very important and will really let you see how the bike handles. Why ride an improperly set up bike and try to review it. Having to riding lots of bikes each year, the first thing we do is try to get the suspension dialed in to our liking and sometimes you need to visit guys like James at Suspension Werx or Naz at Marzocchi Canada in order to get the suspension running optimally for that bike, your riding style and weight.
  • 4 4
 Well I deff disagree with you and think you missed my point. All I was saying is that no other bike reviewed this year had its suspension tuned. Pls dont confuse "set-up" with "tuning" as they are two different things. A better test IMO for this bike would be with the off the shelf SRAM suspension as thats what this bike comes with.

My analogy goes as following-

Car and Driver mag are doing a head to head track test; the Mercedes AMG SL65 vs BMW e64 M6
-The Mercedes is 100% stock and the BMW has aftermarket Dinan Suspension
-On the track the BMW out handles the Mercedes (duh, tuned suspension!)

After the test, it is conclusive that the BMW is a better handling car...

Do you see what im getting at now? Think of it like a science expiriment, you have to keep the "controls" the same for an accurate test!
  • 4 3
 I follow and agree with you, Loaded. Didn't find any prices on SuspensionWerx's site, but Push Industries will set you back at least $200 each end of the bike. Custom tuned suspension would probably make a Klein Mantra outperform a Demo 8. I also agree with Jeremy2640 that this review is pretty useless; it seems that this bike is the best thing going in the whole world.
  • 2 1
 From What I read all the rider had done was a suspension set up. A set up consists of installing proper spring rates and base line settings for rider weight,style and bike.Stock shock and fork just set up properly !
  • 1 0
 Tuning suspension consists of : Altering geometry, Altering Linkage spacing/shock stroke, Custom Valving the shock, Changing seal types etc. List goes on for quite some way. Basically any way you can "tailor" the shocks performance to the bike to hit that "sweet spot". You guys are being too broad with your convo. Smile

You guys are forgetting the reputation Balfa had. They are highly regarded absolutely awsome riding bikes. They are a small company. I don't quite understand why people think that if something is either A: Simple in design B: not in the top 10 in the WC, or C: a realitively unheard of company, that the products are crap. Come on guys, new bikes come out all the time from unknown companies with crazy tech and ya drool, but something comes out that is intentionally simple.. people hack on it all day long. Exactly what happened with the SWD frames around here. (Regardless of if they are dope frames).

You want a custom tune on your bike, have a company alter it's valving. it won't be tuned for your bike most likely... it will be tuned to your weight and rider style. There is a reason companies work with shock mfg's during frame design... and that is because tuning a shock to a specific bike would be next to impossible without the bike in hand and an ass raping worth of money.
  • 1 0
 Sorry to misrepresent-stock Fox 40s, but keep in mind any OEM shock is custom valved for the design by Fox. SWerx set up sag/proper coil and base settings front & back.
  • 2 0
 Steel is three times stronger than aluminum.....Looks like the marketing men have been mis quoting the engineers once again for their spin!

actually, the best steel alloys (Reynolds 953) are considerably stronger than the best 7075 aluminium alloys

for your examination:-

Reynolds 953 maraging steel - 350,000 psi yield strength

7075 aluminium alloy - 73,000 psi yield strength


even the generic 4130 cromoly steel alloys are considerably stronger than generic 6XXX and 7XXX aluminium alloys
  • 1 1
 Again see above, define stronger....

Also, Reynolds are no where near making the best steel alloys, the just make the best off the shelf steel frame tube sets (butts and tapers ect). In the world of motor sports where I work we don't touch the stuff we use steel alloys such as BS4T45, 15CDV6, 15 CrMoV6 and if you look at there material quality's they will blow your mind!
  • 1 0
 I agree with what you both say, the statement about being 3x stronger was a bit black and white. I'm sure you've both already considered that it's down to possible manufacturing techniques that affect real world strength of a material and also influence material choice. The hardtail I ride is made with Reynolds 853 and 631 but the advantages over cheaper steels are noticeable but also marginal. I suspect using highly expensive steels used on some Ducatis and in motorsport would increase the price of mountain bikes without offering any real world advantages. After all, I'd have to be really railing a berm to feel 3G in a corner. I think that old adage, ‘strong, light, cheap - choose any two’ applies here. Mixing frame materials can allow manufactures a way of steering the right compromise and tuning the best ride like with the K9 dh001.
  • 1 0
 Hmmmmmm K9, pass me the drool bucket! No arty farty industrial designer has spoilt that engineering porn!
  • 6 0
 I own one. I love it. Any of you haters need to ride one so you will know.
  • 2 0
 I recently took the Furax for a rip on whistler during crankworx, and I have to say for a single pivot bike this has been the most active single pivot I've ridden. great handling bike on tech and fast jumps.
  • 1 0
 I own one & I totally agree with you, It´s the most fast & light bike I´ve rode never.
  • 1 0
 Well I bought a Xprezo T-29. I was told it would take 3 months to get it so I paid at the local bike shop and waited. 3 months still not done asked about it took another 3 months. When the bike shop got the bike they said they had never gotten a bike that needed more assembling like that before nothing was done they had to do everything. First time I rode it the made in Canada logo on the front fell off. It also took a chunk of paint with it. They just glued a corner of the logo onto the bike not the whole thing. So I went and bought the stuff they use for cars to put decals back on cut it out to the X shape and used that to put it back on. I also used clear nail polish to cover the exposed metal to prevent rust since it's a steel frame bike. That was day 1. Now I rode the bike 2 times liked it put it away got hurt in a car accident came back to it to day and noticed paint chips on the ground. Turns out the paint isn't very durable at all just sitting some of the paint came of. Now granted something could of bumped it or did something to it but it was still standing up in the same spot and it didn't move. So beside a paint problem (now the bike looks like crap) it's a good bike. I suspect it was a rush job and the paint wasn't cured properly. Other then that it's fine. I sent an email today to the company asking about it so not sure what they will do about it.
  • 2 0
 i saw a few os those bike at bromont i saw the guys go down the trails the bike seems to handle very well ,they are well built to have seen them up close good job xprezo
  • 1 0
 Steel is three times stronger than aluminum.....Looks like the marketing men have been mis quoting the engineers once again for their spin! Cool bike tho, looks like an oldskool style design with modern geometry.
  • 1 0
 lol mozz. just stop now.

You can't say that. A: because aluminum covers a ZILLION heat treating processes etc. IE there are many many many different strengths to weight ratio a.alloys. Same with steel. Steal has so many different varities now adays you can't even get close to saying that.

And to be honest with you, there isn't one set number for how many times stronger it is. In fact you really can't even compare the two legitely. Steel is flexier, and will bend upon great impact, aluminum is stiffer (in most cases), and generally snaps upon great impact (sure it will dent, but a tube failure will snap normally). Both have their pro's and cons. They probably figured why not use a flexible rear mated up with a light and stiff front end to create a great cornering machine.
  • 1 0
 Hey I think we are both trying to talk from the same page. I was just annoyed at the generalisation that steel is stronger, yeah the youngs modulus of all steels is similar BUT other characteristics can very wildly, just like aluminium alloys.
  • 2 0
 Nice bike but such a biased review, only positive things said about the bike - what about some negatives or at least constructive criticism .
  • 1 0
 Totally agree with you. This bike is perfect!?! sure not...
  • 1 0
 I really liked that frame for quite some time. I wanted to order one but with no info at the time I was a bit worried. Nice review. Also its nice its not overly lightweight for the hack ppl.
  • 2 1
 Sick DH frame for sure! It just wants to go fast and catch some bad-A airtime. If I can manage to get my hands on one, worth the price for a near perfect frame.
  • 2 0
 if you guys try one of those you gonna love it no matter how it look
this is a bomb Smile
  • 2 0
 looks like a mix between a chumba and an old school dirt works
  • 1 0
 im in love and im broke because of school...gonna win some money on the lottery for this one!
  • 2 0
 This bike for sure looks amazing
  • 1 0
 well, center of mass doesn't look very low even due to steel rear triangle, just look at new demo 8 - THAT's low
  • 7 6
 Damn thats nice!! but expensive!
  • 7 2
 Really for what your are getting, its not. Only 100 hand made world wide per year, Its well built and sounds amazing, and its not THAT much more than a santa cruz or intense dh frame.
  • 4 2
 Sounds legit and well written, I would like to take a rip on this bike for sure just cause of this review.
  • 4 2
 looks more like a Balfa... Half Alloy half Steel, single Pivot... the look is kinda oldschool what I like
  • 3 1
 a lot of thought has gone into that frame. you're paying for the thought.
  • 3 4
 its expensive but loooks really good but its also looks like a pig arse
  • 3 1
 Hoshi the reason it reminds you of Balfa is because it is some of the old workers or designers from balfa. I am not sure what one. But also I love this bike I have rode one this season and they are amazing.
  • 5 2
 It is nice. But how can two frames of the same year and size be different in lengt ? Peoples are reporting that their frames are not all equal compared to each other !!! I wouldn't buy a 3k frame done with left over tubing trust me...

Sad but true
  • 3 1
 demo'd this bike at crankworx and it rides like a dream. so fast and easy to handle, was a blast to ride
  • 3 0
 Well the Evil Revolt and the Turner DHR are both more expensive and they're mass produced.
  • 2 0
 Kind of reminds me of the Chumba F5, just with a rear triangle instead of a swingarm.
  • 2 1
 had a chance to ride one, the review is spot on. Great machine...
  • 2 1
 it looks quite old skool, like late 90's, i like it
  • 2 2
 That my next bike that you have to weld Xprezo Big up! Phil Ben and all the Xprezo Team
  • 2 1
 wou wou xprezo made in québec... sickasss bike ever tup
  • 1 1
 nie patrzylem co tu napisane jest ... chce tylko powiedziec ze ta ramaaaaa to kupaaa jakassss dziekuje Wink
  • 2 0
 sam jesteś kupa, ta rama jest piekna tylko malowanie z dupy w tym arcie jest.
  • 1 1
 no no nie wiem nie wiem ;P ehehehe ;P
  • 1 0
 Przekop pinka - żółto/czarny jest super Wink
  • 1 0
 i quite like this bike! especially how skinny the rear looks!
  • 1 0
 that a good price to 6400 for the world i would so buy that!
  • 1 0
 its about time someone made a nice bike
  • 1 0
 those are so nnice, go canada! But I dont like the bar, I'm a riser fan.
  • 1 0
 how have i never heard of this bike brand???
  • 1 1
 lush bike i wish 6000 dollars wud just fly to the ground lol Smile
  • 1 3
 One sold recently in New Zealand for 2800 our money, about... 1300 pounds? Fox 40s, Stroker Aces, Dhx5 etc.
  • 1 0
 yea and i woz just makin a point i dont study all of my facts before i write it down y no
  • 2 3
 nice but seems like a copy of this earlier in the years, bike
www.liolios-bikes.gr/dh.htm
  • 3 1
 This one in your link has some genuinely weird angles on it
  • 2 0
 66 +/-2 degrees HA
72 +/-5 degrees SA
1145mm wheelbase
  • 2 2
 Nice retro touch, I believe. Make it in silver and it will be ace!
  • 2 1
 Thats one sexy tank!!!
  • 1 2
 Really good review Mark!! Ive been shredding my own Furax this summer and I love it compared to my old Giant Faith.
  • 1 1
 looks good! might be my next frame...
  • 2 1
 looks like chumba f5
  • 2 0
 Totaly Different designs.
  • 1 2
 the frame looks like
  • 1 0
 (Y) such a clean build.
  • 2 2
 nice ride.
  • 1 0
 agreed!
  • 2 3
 All the dust and yet, the mud spit directly on the shock..
  • 1 1
 Looks awesome!!
  • 2 3
 ugliest dh ever..or since the 90's
  • 5 0
 Deff not the ugliest bike ever, especially coming from a guy who has his shock go right through the middle of his downtube!
  • 2 0
 haha screen shott'd. Good one loaded.
  • 1 2
 i like everything but the frame
  • 2 3
 Looks like old Norco's
  • 2 2
 yep. and like lot's of other bikes from first half of past decade.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.036688
Mobile Version of Website