I met Vinay Menon about ten years ago when I had just started checking out the more serious cycling scene. Up until then cycles were only meant for the commute to school and coaching classes, never anything else. Vinay, along with a couple of other crazy nutters like him, was exploring trails around Pune and organising events to further the cycling cause in the country. My interest in the sport died away but Vinay kept the thing going. It was really great to hear from him a couple of weeks back as he had a cycle for us to try out. A cycle which he built himself. Presenting the Psynyde Furan Acera.
However weird and 1990s-ish the name may sound, Psynyde is a homegrown brand which designs their own frames and small cycling components. Although they started out with the concept of Make in India, their needs were for limited numbers which Indian manufacturers didn’t cater to or were charging them dearly for. And so they found a reasonable supplier abroad who ships out a small quantity. They have already sold two lots of their bikes and are positive that the demand will rise over time.
Based out of Pune, Psynyde has spent years developing the perfect frame and bicycle components needed for their style. They have four products in their portfolio of which two are niche items that come on a made-to-order basis. The other two are the hybrid Oxygen and the one we have here, is the MTB Furan.
“The Furan’s frame is made out of lightweight aluminium 6061-T6 alloy which has been hydroformed and heat treated to withstand the harshness of the trails”
If you have been or are an organic chemistry nerd, you will know that furan is a heterocyclic organic compound having a five-member aromatic ring with four carbon atoms and one oxygen atom. What is the relevance here? Well Psynyde has used chemical elements to name their products with the other two named Oxygen and Tungsten. And while the chemical composition of furan contains carbon, the Furan bicycle’s frame is made out of lightweight aluminium 6061-T6 alloy which has been hydroformed and heat treated to withstand the harshness of the trails. The company spent nearly a year and a half perfecting the frame as it has a long front triangle with a short chain stay. This allows them to have a frame that makes the rider stretch a bit for the bars, allowing for better distribution of the rider’s weight on the bicycle. Since it is an aluminium frame, do not expect it to be extremely light like the carbon frames available in the market. But by making use of the former, they have been able to keep costs in check.
The stem, handlebars, seat post and pedals are made by Psynyde; another reason they were able to keep the price in control. They also make their own rims from scratch. Vinay tells me they must have sold over 250 bikes and despite everything that the customers have thrown at them, there hasn’t been a single case of the rims cracking up.
One of the best features of this MTB has to be the 800mm wide handlebar that gives the rider great leverage when he/she needs to flick the bike for decisive moments. In fact, these bars are one of the widest stock options that I have come across on bicycles.
We were riding the base Acera version of the Furan which comes with a basic components package that is good enough to get you out on the trails. The hardtail comes with an SR Suntour XCM fork with 120mm of travel as well as preload adjustability. The more advanced versions of the bike come with rebound adjustability as well. The travel is good enough for beginners but in case you want to hold out for something better, Psynyde will have their updated model soon with a 140mm travel fork.
“Nevertheless, you can enjoy the occasional jumps and bumps around without worrying about the consequences of bending rims or cracking them”
27.5-inch rims come shod with Kenda Nevegal 2.1-inch wide dirt tyres. At both ends you get Tektro Mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors. Again the choice of opting for mechanical over hydraulic brakes was made so that the rider gets the best bang for his buck. Slick 24-speed Shimano Acera shifters are to be found on the bike.
Given that the Furan is the outcome of a bunch of enthusiasts’ years of experience doing what they do best, it comes as no surprise that the bike has turned out to be such a sweet ride. As Vinay showed us a couple of intermediate trails amongst the hills of Dighi (in Pune), the Furan felt at home for most of the sections. You got to remember that this is still a basic setup for trail riding and not a hard core downhill ripper. Nevertheless, you can enjoy the occasional jumps and bumps around without worrying about the consequences of bending rims or cracking them. You will end up with a couple of punctures if you hit the rocks hard as the tyres aren’t tubeless.
At Rs 38,000, the Furan Acera is priced at a premium over the rest in its class. Their local status does hurt them when uninformed Indian buyers opt for overseas brands which do not offer similar kit as Psynyde. So if you are in the market for a bike which can do cross-country as well as light trails well, the Furan makes a strong case for itself.