The Gravity portion of GT’s new 2011 range is probably going to interest those here the most. Comprising bikes to suit both those single minded descenders and those who like overcoming gravity at the dirt jumps and 4x tracks too. Read on for the full blooded descenders:Ruckus
This is the first bike we picked up on the test and it was one which on the face of it is aimed at bike parks and for the sort of riding generally one step down from true Downhill racing. Two bikes based around the one frame, the top end 1.0 and the more affordable 2.0 which is probably the pick of the bunch from our first impressions, providing as it does a good compromise between price and performance that the more expensive 1.0 struggles to match.
We actually had the 1.0 as our demo and whilst the back end felt capable and confidence inspiring, the front lacked small bump sensitivity over the harsh stutter and braking bumps on the trails we rode it on and which ultimately led to a mismatched feel. This however is not a surprise and is something which has been commented on many a time with the Totem, the harshness coming from a tune aimed at taking the bigger hits at the expense of the smaller. It can be rectified relatively easily with a little work on the fork, but you can’t help but think that the new 180mm travel Fox 36 may be a better match for the feel of the top end bike. It would then be more in keeping with the SRAM X.0 and other high end spec, leaving the 2.0 as its tough little brother.
A tough little brother which still manages to pack punch with SRAM X.7 and 180mm Domain fork despite the lower price. It was the Domain which set it apart eventually for despite little trail experience of the bike as a whole, our separate experience of the Domain is that it is a much plusher feeling fork and one which would be a better match for the rear end of the Independant Drive based Ruckus. Those at the event who rode the 2.0 gave impressions which would tend to agree with this, the better value from the lower price a bonus. Another bonus was the specifying of 750mm wide Funn Full On bars across the two bikes as well as several others in the Gravity range. Granted wide bars may not be to everyone’s tastes but they’re easy to trim them down and with an ever increasing number of riders choosing to go down the wide bar route it’s a welcome move from GT.Distortion
And so to the slight oddball in the Gravity range and one which we unfortunately didn’t get to spend much time on - although it’s safe to say that those who did get on the trail with it came back smiling. With just 112mm of rear travel and 140mm up front you would be forgiven for thinking it’s a cross country rig. But look a bit closer and the slack 67 degree head angle, long top tube and low BB give the game away as a bike aimed at being ridden hard across all genres. Yes, it has a dropper seatpost and yes, it also features double rings. But this is a bike with a distinct 4x and slopestyle feel to it whilst remaining light at just over 30lbs for the regular length frame including pedals (the large is a little heavier). A short back end held together with a 135mm Maxle means it turns on rails whilst the overall length of the wheelbase instills confidence in the faster stuff.
It’s billed as being able to hit the jumps, trails, bike park and slopestyle and whilst its lack of travel will ultimately be the limiting factor on the roughest of trails it is a very versatile and impressive bike. In the UK this would be a very good trail centre bike for those who want to concentrate on the descents and jumps whilst still being able to ride to the top and have something sharp handling to ride on the way down. The bike available to test was the top line 1.0 which featured Fox 32 Float’s up front and an obligatory RP23 out back but the lesser 2.0 comes fitted with a RockShox Sektor on the front and a Fox Float RL to provide something more affordable. Both bikes feature the new 1.125” to 1.5” taper steerer as do a number of others across the range. Fury
Being a downhiller at heart this was the bike in the range which I’d undoubtedly been looking forward to riding the most. Despite not getting more than a couple of runs on it, they were good and the bike instantly made me feel at home. Absolutely box fresh it felt comfortable despite forks which obviously weren’t broken in. As with the rest of the GT stable it features a high single pivot with the Independent Drive system slung underneath to keep the suspension and pedalling isolated from each other as far as possible. It’s a system I’ve used and got on well with previously on the original DHi and it didn’t fail to impress here as the bike popped out of corners and sprinted up there with the best race bikes. Using a Kevlar reinforced carbon fibre frame front and rear held together by huge pivot bearings it provides an incredibly stiff chassis that should have no problems coping with the abuse a downhill bike is subject to.
Whilst some manufacturers are heading down the route of a never ending quest of lightness and the subsequent realization that it’s gone too far when the warranty department are inundated with broke frames, GT seem to occupy a healthy middle ground. The bike feels balanced with a claimed frame weight of 8.5lb without shock which equates to somewhere just north of 10lb, dependent of course on shock and whether or not you have a Ti spring. So not heavy by any stretch of the imagination. Although the test bike came fitted with a DHX Air for ease of setup for varying journalistic bodies the stock Fury Team will feature a Fox Vanilla RC and the World Cup frame kit a Fox RC4 to control the 211mm travel at the back. Whilst we intend to have a long term test on this bike from which to draw some solid conclusions the initial impressions were very favorable.
Upon jumping on the bike for the first run it immediately felt confidence inspiring and comfortable which is always a promising sign, as was the inclusion of 3C Maxxis Minion DHF’s front and rear which are the race tyre of choice for many. Whilst not the slimmest of frames it is nevertheless aesthetic and carries its bulk well in both the luminous yellow of the World Cup or the baby blue of the Team, both of which leave plenty of bare carbon on show. It also rode very lightly, picking its way well down the steep, rough and rocky trail we found. A trail which also had a lot of leap before you look sections. So we spent a lot of time hucking over rocks only to realise that there were more rocks on the landing which we hadn’t anticipated. And yet the bike swallowed them up whole. It may not have the super slack head angle of some bikes but given that these are so specialised in their intentions that is no bad thing. Instead a set of concentric 1.5” reducer cups give the bike a 65 degree stock head angle, with alternative angled reducers allowing this to be slackened off in half degree increments up to 63.5 degrees which should be enough for anyone. A Maxle out back screws through the replaceable dropouts.
Fury Team: US$5349
Ruckus 1.0: US$5349
Ruckus 2.0: US$3749
Distortion 2.0: US$2999
Next up will the hardtails in the Gravity range.