The Carrera range is the premium brand from bikes and car bits chainstore Halfords and at most price points the bikes stack up well against their rivals. The Fury is the jewel in the Carrera crown.
The frame is a decent disc-only aluminium cross country frame, with the usual head tube gusset to reinforce the front end. Unlike the lower end Carreras, you’ll find that all tubes are butted, too.The seat stays are quite spindly. Even 11-stone riders will get some flex from them but it’s unlikely to be an issue for anyone except Clydesdales that are half as heavy again. There are rack mounts for weekday commuting duties but no down tube mounts for a guard.
The wheels feature Shimano hubs, eyeletted rims, and Continental tyres that are more suitable for a British summer rather than winter.
Despite the investment in the fork, which retails for £180, the Carrera also gets a decent groupset, with a 27-speed SRAM X7 and X5 shifters. Since the gear cable moves further with each indexed click in SRAM’s 1.0 system than in Shimano 9-speed (or 8-speed), it ought to be a bit more tolerant of cable stretch and trail abuse like mud in the outers. Of course, you’ve also got smaller steps between gear ratios than you’ll find with an 8-speed system.
The twin-piston Tektro hydraulic discs are technically a notch down from the company’s ‘Comp’ version, but although they don’t have a two-piece lever clamp (for removal with grips in situ), actual braking performance is distinguishable only by rotor size.
Like the Dawes XC 2.4, the Carrera has a spacious XC reach that’s just right for winding up the pace in or out of the saddle. A bit more of your bodyweight on the front end instead of the saddle means you can lean steer it through twisty singletrack better, too.
What’s most significant though, is the RockShox Tora fork. For a £500 bike, it’s outstanding. Its damped travel is adjustable between 85 and 130mm at the turn of a dial; you can lock it out, and you can adjust the rebound. On the trail it feels firm and controlled, whether you’re balancing on the pedals over rock gardens, hitting stutter bumps or landing drop-offs. It’s not particularly light but at this price that’s hardly a criticism.
The Carrera is a benchmark £500 cross country bike with no obvious economies. Its controlled, adjustable Tora fork gives it enough off-road aptitude for every intermediate-level singletrack situation – climbing, descending rocky stuff, or just barrelling along between the trees. The traditional XC reach is good for clicking up that extra gear, and the drivetrain and wheelset are decent.