Commencal Furious Essential review£2,916.00

Playful shredder with a freeride feel

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Commencal’s new Furious is a more versatile and cheaper alternative to its thoroughbred race bike, the Supreme DH. The Andorran brand’s direct-sales approach and a simpler suspension design also means it can offer impressive parts for the money.

Commencal Furious Essential frame and kit

The Furious delivers 200mm of fairly progressive travel via a single-pivot rear end and linkage-driven shock. 

Its RockShox Super Deluxe R damper is air-sprung, which makes set-up and adjustment much easier. The test bike arrived with slightly loose pivot bolts, which caused the frame to creak slightly. Tightening them fixed this and they’ve not come loose since, but it’s something to watch out for if you do take delivery of a Furious.

An air shock makes suspension set-up easier and allows bottom-out force to be tuned to your riding
An air shock makes suspension set-up easier and allows bottom-out force to be tuned to your riding

Commencal’s spec is seriously impressive for the cash. The e*thirteen wheels and cranks are an unconventional choice but performed faultlessly throughout testing. 

High-quality Maxxis tyres offer a great balance of grip and rolling speed, while SRAM’s Guide RE brakes provide ample stopping power, even in the gritty conditions where the Guide Rs struggle. The fat grips won’t be for everyone, but at this price it’s hard to fault the parts.

Commencal Furious Essential ride

Immediately, the Furious feels roomy. It has a longer reach, which makes it a good fit, especially for taller riders. 

The air-sprung suspension makes setting up a breeze. Just set the sag to around 30 percent, get the rebound right (nearly fully open, in my case) and you’re good to go. 

Initially, I found I wasn't achieving full travel even when tagging the landings of sizable step-downs. Removing one of the two volume spacers fitted in the shock rectified this. 

The suspension is particularly efficient when pedalling, and there’s plenty of mid-stroke support when pushing into corners or jump faces. It feels poppy and balanced, never wallowing too much at the rear.

On tracks with minimal gradient, the Commencal is a rewarding bike, being light and responsive when pumping or pedalling. 

The supportive suspension holds it up nicely in berms, so it feels balanced and carries great speed through bike-park terrain. 

Its naturally progressive feel — which can be tweaked via the air shock — will suit aggressive riders and freeride fans. You can set the level of support and bottom-out force to suit your needs, whether you’re a gentle jumper or a Rampage renegade. 

At the other end of the stroke, it’s impressively supple off the top and offers a stuck-down feel you might not expect of an air shock.

Where it does fall down slightly is in high-speed, chunky chatter. Even with 35 percent sag, the rear end doesn’t react quite as fast or with quite the same suppleness as expected. This could be due to chain interference and feedback, or a relatively firm compression tune on the shock. Either way, there’s noticeably more feedback through the pedals on the roughest trails. 

Heat build-up also means that the air shock becomes slightly firmer and livelier towards the end of long, rough tracks, which can increase fatigue.

The head angle is on the steeper side, at 64 degrees. This is great for smoother tracks, jumps and berms but makes things slightly more twitchy when tackling rock gardens at speed or navigating sketchy steep chutes. 

Commencal Furious Essential verdict

Despite having a longer reach, the Furious’s front centre is on the short side — it doesn’t feel as confident on really steep stuff. However, these things are subtle, but taken together they make the Commencal noticeably less forgiving and stable than it could be. 

Still, it's lively and quick on pedally trails, jumps and berms. So if you’re more into bike-park laughs than shaving tenths off your time on World Cup tracks, this is likely the bike for you.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Seb Stott

Technical Writer, UK
Seb is a geeky technical writer for BikeRadar, as well as MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazines. Seb's background in experimental physics allows him to pick apart what's really going on with mountain bike components. Years of racing downhill, cross-country and enduro have honed a fast and aggressive riding style, so he can really put gear to the test on the trails, too.
  • Age: 24
  • Height: 192cm/6'3"
  • Weight: 85Kg/187 lbs
  • Waist: 86cm / 34in
  • Chest: 107cm / 44in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep!
  • Current Bikes: Focus Sam 3.0, Kona Process 111, Specialized Enduro 29 Elite
  • Dream Bike: Mondraker Crafty with Boost 29" wheels, a 160mm fork and offset bushings for maximum slackness.
  • Beer of Choice: Buckfast ('Bucky' for short)
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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