Updated: Carrera Fury £529.99

Great value all-rounder

BikeRadar score 5/5

The Fury is a starter bike that strikes an excellent balance. It’s sorted for black route fun and games, being bags of fun on descents, yet it can still climb and keep pace with most nose-in-the-air niche bike riders who try to overtake you on the flat.

It’s not only got a great fork and a solid spec, its slightly slacker angles and bigger bar and tyres than most mountain bikes at this price demonstrate an understanding of how UK riders are using entry-level hardtails these days.

It’s got a kind of handle-anything panache as well as a premium ride. Some budget bikes can be a chore to ride and to test, but the Fury was never anything less than fun.

Ride & handling: Lightweight, big-grin hardtail that will handle pretty much anything

The Fury isn’t a hardcore hardtail, but it's no cross-country racer either. UK designed, it feels contemporary and has clearly been inspired by the kind of riding that Britain’s weekend warriors actually do: going to Afan Forest, say, or hammering through the Howgills.

The 120mm-travel Suntour Epicon RLD fork with 15mm through-axle is fantastic. In its class, only the Maxle version of the RockShox Tora XC SL Solo Air would usurp it. Higher spec air forks with standard quick-releases might offer more refined bump absorption or less weight, but they won’t offer such tightly controlled and composed steering.

The Fury doesn’t waver on descents. Its slack (69.4°) head angle makes it harder to deflect off your line through rock gardens and the like, and the combination of its wide oversize handlebar, 15mm axle fork and fat 2.3in tyres is spot on.

The bike’s not fazed at all by successive rocky steps or anything else you’re likely to find on a black trail centre route. Set sufficiently soft, the Epicon  ripples nicely over small stuff too.

On long climbs the front end is a little light, though if you sit and winch, the Continental Speed King tyres will find traction and comfortably take you to the top. Being 2.3in wide, they take the sting out of the Fury’s solid back end when you’re gunning through the rough.

And they’re anything but sluggish when you want to accelerate. The Fury might not catch lighter bikes in a sprint, but it could be raced or happily taken on an all-day leg stretcher.

Frame & equipment: Decent chassis combined with excellent fork and fast tyres

The welds on this hydroformed aluminium frame have been smoothed off nicely. There’s a semi-integrated head tube too, reinforced behind. The down tube is biaxially oversized and the top tube is fat, with a long shared seam with the down tube and extra support for the extended seat tube.

Chainstays and seatstays are blocky and have plenty of room around them. Combined with the Fury's fairly slack head angle, this adds up to a trail-focused, have-a-go hardtail. Yet it’s still only 27.7lb – a good couple of pounds lighter than we'd expect.

The air-sprung Suntour fork, with Speedlock compression and rebound adjustment, would cost you more than £200 by itself. On a £550 bike, it looks like a loss-leader. The rest of the spec hasn’t been sacrificed either.

A 27-speed SRAM X5 drivetrain is as good as anything at this price, and the Avid Juicy 3 brakes are blessed with a 185mm front rotor. Wheels are good, with eyeleted Mavic XM317 rims and 2.3in Continental Speed King tyres that aren't just trail-fat but fast and light as well. The aluminium riser bar's 685mm width lets you wrestle the Fury through anything.

Overall, value is cracking. Like similar models from Decathlon (the Rockrider 8.1) and Boardman (the Comp), you wonder quite what the Fury is doing in this price point. Brand-owners Halfords don't have to worry about dealer margins as they sell direct to the public, so they can offer a spec that's simply better.

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