While those in the northern hemisphere wait out the winter months for racing to return, New Zealand's national downhill series kicks off this weekend at the Fourforty Mountain Bike Park, located just outside of Auckland. Pinkbike contributing photographer Cameron Mackenzie cornered Wyn Masters and Brook Macdonald to talk about how each set up their GT Fury DH bikes before the two Kiwis try to kick off 2017 in winning fashion.


Wyn and Brook s GT s
Wyn and Brook s GT s
Wyn's large-sized GT Fury on the left, and Brook's medium Fury on the right. Wyn also runs an angle-adjusting headset in reverse to steepen the front-end by one degree.


Frame and Geometry Differences

The two racers are both on GT's 210mm-travel Fury, but at 185cm tall, Wyn rides a large while Brook, at 170cm, chose the medium. The 615mm stack measurement is the same across all four sizes that GT offers, but the reach on Wyn's ride is 456mm, which is 26mm longer than Brook's. Masters also makes a surprising geometry change to his frame, choosing to run an angle-adjusting headset in reverse to actually steepen the bike's front-end from the stock 63-degrees (which Brook prefers) to 64-degrees. ''A bit more grip on the front for myself; my riding style is probably quite a bit different to Brook's,'' said Masters of his reasoning before going on to describe his over-the-front riding style as the ''seagull positon.''

And how does Wyn describe Brook's style? ''Brook is a central dawg, you know. He stays in the center of the bike, and sometimes he hangs off the back if he's getting a bit wild.'' Don't we all?


Wyn and Brook s GT s
Wyn and Brook s GT s
Wyn's bike (left) uses an angle-adjusting headset in reverse to steep his Fury's front-end by one degree, and he prefers the carbon fiber SIXC handlebar from Race Face over the alloy Atlas model that Brook runs (right). Both are 780mm wide.



Suspension Setup Differences

While there's about a 15cm difference in height between Wyn and Brook, both racers weigh roughly the same at around 85kg. It's no surprise, then, to see that both go with similar pressures in their fork and shock. Wyn says that he's usually running between 83 and 85 PSI his Fox 40, but also that he can go as low as 81, depending on the track. His Float X2 shock sees between 190 and 200 PSI, with him going with the former on the Fourforty Mountain Bike Park track this weekend. ''New Zealand tracks are a bit smoother so you can run it a bit softer,'' he said, no doubt to help with traction. Brook runs a comparable 82 PSI in his fork and about 195 PSI in shock.


Wyn and Brook s GT s
Both Wyn and Brook prefer how the Float X2 shock's air spring provides added progression compared to the coil-sprung X2, but they still fill it with volume spacers - six for Wyn, seven for Brook.


World Cup racers often go to town with volume spacers in an effort to add as much progression as possible, and it sounds like this is especially important for Wyn and Brook. ''I prefer to put a few spacers in the shock; I've got six in there, so it ramps up a bit. I've got six in the fork, too, so it ramps up pretty hard,'' Wyn said of his setup. Brook also runs what the average rider would likely find to be a too progressive spring rate, with seven volume spacers in his shock and six in his fork.

The two rarely chose a coil-sprung shock on the bike due to the relatively linear (for their needs) suspension rate, although Wyn did fit a coil-sprung X2 for the Val di Sole World Cup simply because of how rough the track was.

He went with a 450 in/lb spring that weekend, whereas Brook chose a 475 in/lb spring despite being nearly identical in weight. ''I like it softer at the back of the bike because I put more weight up front,'' Wyn said of his preference for a more forgiving rear-end. But, Val di Sole notwithstanding, the two nearly always prefer the Float X2 shock over the coil-spring option. Brook describes his reasoning: ''Air on the bike I'm riding now, just because it's super linear, so we need an air shock on it to ramp up. But I have run a coil on it; I didn't like it because it'd just blow through the travel too much.''
Wyn and Brook s GT s
Brook has 82 PSI in his Fox 40, and Wyn is usually running in the neighborhood of 83 to 85 PSI.

Neither Wyn or Brook go overboard when it comes to specific changes for the different courses that they race on during the season, but Wyn definitely sounds the more content of the two when talking about suspension: ''If I'm comfortable, I'm happy. I don't fiddle around too much; if you play with it too much, it'll fall off.'' Wise words from Masters that some of us have surely heard before.

''I'm a little picky. I like my stuff to be pretty supple at the start and then farther into the stroke to ramp up on the front and rear,'' Brook described, obviously the more particular of the two GT racers. ''I kind of like to actually feel what my bike is doing, and if it's sticking to the ground or not. But I'm not necessarily overly picky. I get a base-setting at the start of the year and then work off that through the different tracks we race.'' What sort of changes are we talking about? ''Not a hell of a lot,'' he said, ''but it'll be two or three clicks of high- or low-speed compression and all that, but nothing drastic.''


Wyn and Brook s GT s


Drivetrain and Cockpit Differences

Both racers have gone with a 36-tooth chain ring, the size they'll stick with all year, as well as a 10-speed Shimano drivetrain, but Brook only makes use of his bottom eight cogs: ''I stick to 10-speed and then just lock my two top gears out. I don't really play around [with gearing] too much,'' he said of his fairly common modification designed to greatly lessen the chance of his chain jamming in the wheel's spokes.

You'll also find 780mm handlebars on both bikes, although Brook has chosen Race Face's aluminum Atlas handlebar whereas Wyn runs the lighter weight SIXC option. ''I should just say 900mm to trip people out,'' he said. Would you have taken the bait?


Wyn and Brook s GT s
Wyn and Brook s GT s
Shimano Saint 10-speed for both racers, but Brook has his two largest cogs locked out.


There's also a big difference in tire choice. Wyn is running the 2.35'' wide Magic Mary rubber from Schwalbe, with a DH casing on the back and the lighter Super Gravity model up front, whereas Brook prefers the full width 2.5'' Magic Mary tires. Brook is also using Procore, but only on the rear wheel: ''I never really run it that much, but I'm just giving it a go and seeing what it's like.''

Wyn also had some important bike setup advice for aspiring World Cup racers: ''You need a fixed gear for tracks these days. They're getting quite pedal-y. And the ol' Saint brakes are pretty good for when you need to haul up that fixie.'' He didn't limit his guidance to gearing choice, either, delving deep into the murky world of suspension setup: ''Put your suspension on, probably. Don't run too much compression damping and not enough air.''

Photography by Cameron Mackenzie

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100 Comments

  • + 123
 lol why are all dh bikes going to air shocks and enduro bikes going coil.
  • + 1
 Same here, it was my first thought!
  • + 54
 From the article: "the two nearly always prefer the Float X2 shock over the coil-spring option. Brook describes his reasoning: ''Air on the bike I'm riding now, just because it's super linear, so we need an air shock on it to ramp up. But I have run a coil on it; I didn't like it because it'd just blow through the travel too much.''

In other words: the suspension kinematics of the Fury are too linear for their preferences, so they are combating that with a progressive air shock.

Smile
  • + 30
 Enduro riders are choosing coil as they remain more consistent and reliable on longer descents. Air shocks overheat on very long descents but are OK for 4 - 5 min DH tracks.
  • - 2
 Depends on the suspension system and type of shock. Surprisingly enough Float X2 is the shock that is said to have the most linear/ least progressive spring curve of all air shocks ever.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Yea but surely they combat that on the fury by having it custom tuned by FOX for there needs
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: what about spacers?
  • - 2
 I run 'enduro' bikes with air and coil shocks, the biggest difference I've found is the cost, the coil shock was not far of half the price. It's all a trade off, guess it helps when you get to try all the options and don't have to bank roll it !
  • - 1
 @e1d0g: slight weight penalty too I guess, but nothing to worry about unless you are racing. You can pick up pretty cheap second hand air shocks these days, I run one on my 140mm trail bike but don't ride any decent longer than 2 mins.
  • + 1
 my guess , is the enduro shock tune up has to last for 5 to 6 stages of racing , not 1 pass and back to the pits to tune it
  • + 1
 My theory is, that DH bikes with more travel compared to the enduro ones, and under a WC rider (with a significantly stiffer setup than anyone else would ever consider) can get away with the "limited" traction (provided by the stiff setup anyaw) of an air shock (this is a sketchy moment - modern air shocks are really good, my CCDB Air beats any coil shock i tried, but thana agian, i do not run it as stiff as the WC guys, nor do I even come close to the pace they go at) beacause they have the more travel advantage and are supple anyway from the design, whereas an enduro bike wiht it's most common 160mm travel, will benefit from a more supple coil sptrung shock to provide every bit of traction possible with the less travel the bikie provide compared to a DH rig and a coil spring can hel with that.
also the mentioned reliability, etc issues may be important, however as i said before modern air shocks are really good and the ones being raced on are usually the most up to date so it is also quite a question mark here.
The suspension design is also a big factor obviously.

but again this is my own theory to this.
  • + 3
 my understanding is that enduro courses are typically longer, thus a coil performs more consistently to the bottom. dh courses is one lap down a shorter track so the air performs consistently enough all the way to the bottom while saving a bit of weight (and easier to do small tweaks on)
  • + 67
 I hate when i get to the track and I've forgotten to put my suspension on. Wise words Wyn.
  • + 2
 Have you ever forgotten your suspension dude? Don't make fun of us forgetful people Smile
  • + 3
 @Husker2112: well I your tires provide suspension and I've forgotten a pump before, so I guess I really have forgotten some suspension before haha
  • + 38
 'I should just say 900mm to trip people out,'' he said. LOL.
  • + 36
 thanks PB! it would be great to see many more bike checks comparison like this one....
  • + 7
 I second that, bike checks are awesome! It's like looking at the latest Ferrari or Lambo.
  • + 34
 For a second I thought the title said win a fury
  • + 26
 Man these gotta be the most stock bikes on the World Cup circuit. Not much bling factory . But it's the rider not the bike
  • + 13
 It's the rider. Who would have thought, right?
  • + 11
 Indeed, very stock bikes. But I think that also reflects just how good some of these stock bikes are.
  • + 11
 Someone should tell them they're not allowed to put that many volume reducers in the x2 anymore...
  • + 3
 Get a big volume shock.. and fill it full of spacers...
  • + 4
 @Leethal-1: it's not just big air volume, it's more to have a big volume of oil
  • - 2
 @SleepingAwake: I am pretty sure the marketing pitches about latest air shocks focus on talking about more air volume... and how exactly increasing can size increases the volume of oil...
  • + 9
 Line those tyre/rim logos up!
  • + 11
 Really? People are still worried about this? Hope your helmet matches your cummerbund
  • + 4
 @dro-cfr: I don't ever wear them at the same time, but yes sir... yes it does
  • + 2
 @identiti124: Well played sir
  • + 1
 @dro-cfr: why thank you
  • + 4
 So wyn runs the head angle 1 deg steeper but does the fact he runs his forks dropped right down in the clamps counter this at all?
  • + 1
 Saw that right away too... seems counterintuitive to me.
  • + 6
 Wyn or lose we're on the booze!
  • + 1
 i wonder why the gt team has been using flow EX's over the past year. Ive noticed on many occasions that pretty much the entire team was on Flow ex. Not the new MK3. Witch is weird becasuse the Mk3 in my opinion is a considrable improvment over the old ex especailly for DH. I guess its possible that in testing they prefered the skinnier rim but my money would be on the team simply using the remaing stock of old rims. It is funny seeing a factory team using old wheels.
  • + 8
 Isn't the flow mk3 really, really wide? like on-trend wide? the EX was kind of normal. Normal width, normal strength. I'd wager going wider made them give up strength, and that probably comes in as a factor at world cup speeds. Thinner, wider rims would be toast in a run.
  • + 3
 It seems Wyn is running a Flow mk3 on the front of his bike, so I guess there are technical reasons behind these choices. Maybe strength or maybe tire profile when mounted on wider rims; who knows if Magic Marys fits the way they need on 28mm rims?
  • + 8
 Wyn was still running an original Flow EX rim on the front, It just decal with the new logo and in a chrome finish as this was off of his worlds bike. They are still on the original Flow EX Rims as they haven't been given the MK3 rims yet due to timings of their season and coming home, keep and eye out for them under the duo though next season
  • + 0
 @sandwich: Man, I'm running 35mm internal on both bikes (enduro and downhill) and well, I'm never going back to 25mm...
  • + 4
 Yeah best thing on pink bike WYN TV lol.gotta to be coming soon
  • + 1
 Maybe I am a bit out of the loop but why aren't they running carbon frames...am I missing something...doesn't GT make a carbon option?
  • + 7
 No, they used to though.
  • - 1
 Yes, they make carbon frames, some riders say the Al frame accelerate's bether than a CF, just saying.
  • + 11
 They don't make carbon Furys or Sanctions anymore. Alloy only.
  • + 1
 Didn't Gee smash a carbon fury in half or did I imagine that?
  • - 3
 @nojzilla: quite a few people have snapped their carbon frames from GT
  • - 3
 @doe222: I used to be a gt fan boy till I snapped 3 sanctions and a late zaskar. My boyhood dreams shattered
  • + 6
 @nojzilla: think that happened in your brain only. The old carbon Fury was built like a tank, it would be seriously impressive to snap one.
  • - 2
 GT doesn't have a carbon fury only the alloy, probably cause when they did make a carbon fury back in 2013 it was one of the ugliest bikes i've seen from them and the current ones look a lot nicer
  • + 3
 @nojzilla: That's one of the current alloy model, which is apparently not built like a tank. The 09-13 Fury Carbon was a monster.
  • + 3
 Oh you didn't hear? Carbon's not cool anymore.
  • + 1
 Proly bc gt may have a new suspension platform in the works....i drive may be goin bye bye
  • + 3
 phwoar those bikes make my willy jiggle
  • + 11
 Take a couple clicks of compression off and dial down the rebound too man. Thank me later.
  • + 1
 It looks like they still have the older recalled X2 air can on - I wonder if this is because the total number of spacers you can install is more limited with the new one?
  • + 3
 As much as i want to see wyn racing..i prefer him to be at wyn tv.
  • + 17
 Why he's a great rider who's been dealing with injuries the last couple years.
  • + 3
 @Jokesterwild: he is a great rider and he has style when he rides..he is too cool for racing..he should be the one having those post race interviews for them riders, he just makes the wc scene fun to watch!!!
  • + 2
 Taking my bike pump out as per usual and dial those knobs counter clockwise.
  • + 1
 Is it even possible to purchase a Fury with a Float X2 on it instead of the usual coil shock?
  • + 1
 Furys ride nice but they're far too thin. I broke a 2014 frame shuttling then a 2015 frame on a hard landing.
  • + 2
 Give us the fooking tire pressure! Why is that always left out??
  • + 6
 Brook said that he runs 27 PSI in the rear and around 25 PSI up front. Those are fairly common pressures for a pro, and a bit harder than a lot of average riders would use with DH casing tires. It's sometimes left out because the riders don't know the exact pressure and would just say "Uuumm, between 22 and 28,'' which tells us diddly squat.

We have an entire checklist of questions that get asked, ranging from the most obvious to the most minute details. The bike checks you read are a reflection of the information that we get. Sometimes we're left to literally write about only what we see in the photos, while other times we have a TON of technical information.
  • + 3
 Where is WynTV ?
  • + 1
 At first I thought this was a chance to win Brooks bike. ????
  • + 1
 They still look very quick !Stay fit Brook!
  • + 1
 is it just me, or does Wyn's 40 got darker kashima on it?
  • + 1
 It does look darker! It's also annoying that Fox don't match the fork and shock kashima, my 36s and x2 are the same
  • + 0
 Who cares about book's and wyn's furys...We want Tô ser blenky's new novo aurum!
  • - 1
 funny that just some years ago that bike was my dream. today it looks so outdated and strange...
  • + 0
 Not a big deal but would love it for Fox to have a black stanchion option
  • + 12
 They do
  • + 0
 Does it have less friction than fox's normal ano coating, or Kashima?

OR are you just after looks, not performance?
  • + 2
 They do, it's called the Boxxer.
  • + 2
 @peterguns: It's not like Kashima coating reduces stiction THAT much...but for some of us that wouldn't really tell the difference, the goldish look of kashima wouldn't fit so well with some bikes, specially if its a murdered out build.
  • - 2
 @Deartist7: good thing murdered out, is out this year.
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