Spotted at this weekend's New Zealand national downhill event, this unpainted frame appears to be GT's new downhill bike and the eventual replacement for the current Fury. GT probably won't like me saying that but the Fury has been around for awhile now (we reviewed it back in 2013), and while I've always got along well with the bike, it looks like this prototype has been designed to address some of the issues that larger and faster riders might have with it.
But since I have close to zero information about Wyn's new ride, we get to speculate a bit. That's always the fun part. The aluminum mule appears to have been built using existing tubing and frame elements.
The first obvious thing that stands out to me is the downward angle of the shock, which has likely been altered from the production bike's near-level shock position to provide more progression through the suspension travel. Both Wyn and Brook Macdonald had been filling their Fox Float X2 air shocks with volume spacers when riding the older Fury, and neither spent much time on a coil-sprung shock simply because they couldn't get the ramp-up that professional downhillers like them require. ''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,'' Brook explained when we asked him about his setup at the first round of the series
. ''But I have run a coil on it; I didn't like it because it'd just blow through the travel too much,' he went on to say.
You don't need to be an engineer to know that a more progressive design would allow them to either run an air-sprung shock with fewer volume spacers or use a coil-sprung shock when they feel that it's an advantage. GT weren't keen about our photographer shooting the bike when it wasn't in motion, but another source povided us with the above photo that they apparently shot with their baked potato. The current production Fury is on the right for comparison.
The second difference is down at the main pivot and bottom bracket area that is definitely altered from the production Fury's I-Drive suspension layout, although it's a bit hard to see what exactly is going on down there. The main pivot appears to be in roughly the same location as it is on the older bike, and while we can't quite see if there's a floating bottom bracket and dog bone link that make up GT's I-Drive system, I don't see them moving away from the suspension design that they've used on all of their high-end full-suspension bikes for years. Revised, yes; removed, not likely.
Those of you with a keen eye may have spotted the missing linkage that's used on the production bike to supposedly add more lateral rigidity. It turns out that all it did was add more pivots on the new design, apparently, with the GT mechanic at the race hinting that they built this new bike without it and their riders can't tell the difference.
The upper mounting hole for the linkage is on the prototype's front triangle, however, located just below the stubby seat tube, but only because GT used existing tubing and forged bits from the production bike to build Wyn's new prototype. The prototype was tested with both coil and air-sprung shocks.