Bike Check: Ethan Craik's GT Force

May 3, 2021
by Nick Bentley  

During the Pedalhounds Enduro Round 2 race at Matterley Estate, I caught up with Junior World Cup Downhill overall winner Ethan Craik to take a look at his GT Force. Head over to our Getting to Know: Junior World Cup Champion Ethan Craik to check out for yourself who Ethan is and what he's all about.

Interestingly Ethan described his bike as "Just a off the shelf bike anyone can buy and race". Now I have heard this a lot from riders when you look at their bikes but to be honest he was on the money. Ok, there are some small changes on Ethan's Force. These are pretty standard changes that most people make, for example, the handlebar and stem have been changed to a OneUp setup and the grips have been swapped to some ODI's and the Mullet Stans wheels have been wrapped in Michelin DH34 tyres. Other than that it's a normal GT, no fancy prototype linkage, no crazy shock tunes or anything else going on, just one well-loved Enduro Bike.

Ethan Craik // GT factory racing/ Oakley / MTB Beds/ MudHugger/ Fit4racing/ DC cycles/Stance
Age: 17
Hometown: Portsmouth, UK
Instagram: @ethancraik

GT Force Carbon TeamFrame: GT Force Carbon Team 27.5" frame, 150mm Travel
Shock: Fox X2 Factory 185x55mm Trunnion mount.
Fork: Fox Float Factory 38, 150mm,
Wheels: Stan's NoTubes ZTR MK3 mullet set up 29" front 27.5" rear
Tires: Michelin DH34 29" front 27.5" rear
Crankset: Shimano FC-M9120 XTR crank set with shimano 32t chainring
Rear Mech: Shimano XTR 9100
Cassette: Shimano XT 8100, 10-51T
Brakes:Shimano XTR 9120 4 piston calipers
Brake Rotors: Shimano MT900 Rotors 203mm front 180mm rear
Handlebars: OneUp Carbon Handlebar 35mm Dia., sweep 8°, back 5° and up 20mm
Stem: OneUp stem 50mm, 35mm Dia. and 0° Rise
Grips: ODI Elite Pro Lock-On
Seatpost:Fox Transfer Factory, 31.6mm, Stealth
Saddle: Fabric Scoop Shallow Sport, Steel Rails
Pedals: Shimano PD-M828 Saint SPD
More info:Gt Bicycles

Out front on the GT you find a Fox Float Factory 38, running 150mm of travel with a Grip2 damper, 15x110 Boost axle and a 44mm Offset. Most importantly this is a Mullet bike so this is a 29" fork.

bigquotes"Just a off the shelf bike anyone can buy and race".Ethan Craik

Ethan's GT Force obviously comes in the GT team colours of metallic blue and flow yellow. This bike really glistens in the sun.

The 150mm of rear travel is delivered through a Fox X2 Factory 185x55mm Trunnion mounted shock. GT LTS (Linkage Tuned Suspension) system provides improved braking performance, bump absorption and increased traction.

One of the few changes from the standard GT Force Carbon Team, the GT team have made the change to OneUp this year for their handlebars and stems with Ethan riding: The OneUp Carbon Handlebar 35mm diameter which has a sweep of 8° and back 5° with a 20mm rise. Stem wise Ethan has a OneUp stem 50mm with 35mm clamp diameter. The Cockpit is capped off with Shimanos XTR brake levers and shifter, a standard Fox (Raceface) dropper remote and the Classic ODI Elite Pro Lock-On grips.

One thing I have noticed about Ethan's bike is this GT has been ridden and ridden hard. It has plenty of war wounds to show for it and I'm sure each one of the scratches and dents could tell a story. Interestingly Ethan is also missing the air cap on his Fox 38 fork. He gets bonus points for the top bodge of putting on a plastic valve cap in replacement, I mean it's lighter right?

Ethan's GT Force gets the full Shimano XTR treatment with the mech shifter cranks and brakes all coming from the Shimano top tear of components. Ethan is a rider who runs SPDs and these come from Shimano's Saint DH range. To keep the XTR Chainring safe from damage and provide some insurance from any chain drops is an Ethirteen bash guard and chain guide mounted to the ISCG mounts on the GT frame.

The GT Force Carbon is a Mullet bike. The Force runs a 27.5" carbon fiber frame with 150mm Travel, BSA threaded bottom bracket, and the now-standard Boost 12x148 Thru-Axle. This is paired with a Fox Float Factory 38 29" fork with 150mm out front. This gives the GT a 65-degree headtube angle and a 75.5-degree seat tube angle. Despite being called the Force Carbon only the front triangle of the bike is carbon with the swingarm being made of aluminium.

Ethan is running Stan's NoTubes ZTR MK3 rims with Stan's NoTubes Neo hubs, around which are Michelin DH34 tyres using Michelin Magi-X DH tread compound and Downhill Shield casing.

Despite Ethan's comment of the 'off the shelf nature' of his bike, there are some nice personal touches with a laser-etched Hope seat post clamp and decals with Ethan's name on the frame and hubs.

On top of the Fox Transfer Factory dropper seatpost, you will find the extremely popular Fabric Scoop Shallow Sport saddle with a matching blue graphic to tie it into the GT's frame.

Thanks Ethan for his time to show me around his bike just before he went out for his final runs of the day. Go and check out GT Bikes website if you want more information on the Force Carbon Team.


  • 82 0
 Is that front tyre the wrong way around?!
  • 5 0
 It is. Curious about that one
  • 3 0
 it is
  • 10 1
 I thought they same, then wondered if he was after more grip pushing into corners compared to rolling resistance. 1 thing I have learned, is sometimes there is no wrong way around. I run my mud kings backwards pretty much all the time as the tread doesnt roll as much on hard pack. Sam Hill used to run his HR backwards up front way back in the day too.
  • 6 0
 @betsie: i used to do that with DHFs back in the day. On the wet you´d get more grip on braking and turn in...
  • 17 0
 @betsie: 30 years ago we used to flip our Farmer John's too...
  • 5 0
 Living on Vancouver Island.... Depending on where and how wet.... Turning your tires backwards is pretty common... An Maxxis Ardent backwards actually makes that tire work better then the right way hahaha.
  • 53 1
 I think this is why Ethan is a rider and not a mechanic haha
  • 13 0
 @OlSkoolJake: So that way the Ardent goes from being atrocious to just awful?
  • 3 0
 @wynmasters: Thanks Wyn, I guess the mystery is solved then
  • 2 2
 Why does Michelin put the logos on both sides?? If they are different then there is less of a chance you miss the fact that it is on backwards.
  • 1 0

I think it's the opposite
  • 1 0
 i did that last season and a client pointed it out to me after a few months being very pleases with the new tyre after all it was just another Magic Mary I am still not sure if I like it better backwards
  • 2 0
 @m1dg3t: But the Farmer John´s Cousin the proper way up front, right?!
  • 1 0
 @OlSkoolJake: ardents don't work unless moab.
  • 2 0
 I’m more impressed someone actually noticed @wynmasters:
  • 3 0
 @betsie: I am pretty sure he put it on the wrong way to light pb comments on fire. That's what I would do.
  • 1 0
 @Alexdeg: LoL Yup. >

Then I got a set of Megabite Z Max's and never looked back HaHa
  • 79 8
 Gt has more team riders than sold bikes
  • 5 3
 I owned one 25 years ago. Never saw one in real life in the last 15 years.

How are they even supporting riders without selling bikes????
  • 4 0
 @blackforest: They are owned by a big corporation
  • 1 1
 That’s why you can still get one off the shelf .
  • 5 0
 I see quite a few in my area of Canada. They are available at our major sporting retailer and they sell a ton of inexpensive hard tails. I have a Sensor and beyond a couple meh components it pedals well and does all the things you could want a trail bike to do. If it had a lower standover, I would keep it for a long time.
  • 1 9
flag jdendy (May 3, 2021 at 12:55) (Below Threshold)
 Toys r us snd then Dorel destroyed GT as well as the other iconic brands. I just reconditioned a 1999 GT hard tail. The unique grand design and detail really gave them an identity. Now they only have low end hard tails and a dime a dozen Horst link suspension.
  • 6 0
 @blackforest: Well, I have a couple of hundred GT´s at the moment...
In our rental fleet! Wink
  • 1 2
 @blackforest: gt's are rare as hell in europe
  • 16 4
 It's time for the Force to get an upgrade. The seat angle is very slack indeed. It's 75.5 degrees in 27.5 form, but when mulletted, the extra 18mm on the front axle to crown will put that seat angle even further in the wrong direction. I know bike frames have a lifecycle, and this one is definitely in it's twilight years. Come on GT, you can do better than sticking a 29inch fork with a short offset on an old frame!
  • 8 0
 I think it's gonna be shown to the public soon, there were a couple of shots from a prototype that Maes and Wyn were riding and a render catalogue leak on a german website. It was named sanction and had an idle puller. I think you can still google that render.
  • 3 0
 Not sure why they keep on pushing this frame (well I know: Carbon) when they have the Force 29 which has a much more up to date geo and can also be made a mulet (that's what I currently ride) while retaining a good geo and probably would get away with riding in stock 170mm fork or down to 160mm which is still better than 150mm. Hopefully the new Sanction will be nice.
  • 1 0
 Way over due
  • 15 5
 Just to reiterate that those Michelin DH34 are unbelievably good.
Roll faster than their reputation, indestructible, no need to inserts and been rolling since January on my set, around 4 rides per week and their're still at 90%
  • 11 1
 They are slow rolling
  • 4 0
 @HenkkaK: Didn't say they aren't, just that they are not as bad as some people make them.
And unless you in peak potential fitness (hint: 99% of us aren't) you can make up for the increase rolling resistance in 2 or 3 weeks of training if you ride a lot
  • 4 0
 @HenkkaK: Wait until the trail points down, then they are pure fun.
  • 2 2
 I like to explore the limits of traction, but in most trails I don't really get to do that because if something is slippery someone will add a berm to it. So, where do you find use for the abilities of these tires??
  • 3 0
 @DavidGuerra: Inside line
  • 1 0
 @Arierep: Too bad they are so heavy. I tried the new AM2 thinking that it could be a lighter version of this but the rubber is harder and it burps all over the place. It could be a fine rear tire with a good grip/rolling speed ratio though, if it was actually able to hold up the air.
  • 1 0
 @DavidGuerra: Weight is quite relative, it comes down to your previous history of tyre carnage. The DH34 weight 1450g, which is not that far off a WE Rear/DD + insert.
  • 1 0
 @Arierep: My current strategy is DD at higher pressures, with no insert. I'm coming to the conclusion that Maxxgrip or similarly soft rubber grips just fine at higher pressures. Maybe even better. I try to avoid weight by all means, even if I keep piercing tires. But a ligther tire can last, just like a more reinforced one can get f**ked on the first ride. I find no certainties on the tire world about anything. So I just keep experimenting.
  • 2 0
 @Arierep: I did have a pair of 1500 gr 26" Magic Marys once, and I wasn't so keen on using them. But if a tire doesn't roll so bad weight isn't that noticeable.
  • 1 0
 @Arierep: The thing is, a really grippy tire isn't always necessary. I'm glad when I find places where I can push the side knobs beyond their limit, which is why I asked where you ride.
  • 1 0
 @DavidGuerra: I have an awful track record of killing tyres, from Exo to DD to Wild Enduros. I tried high pressures to the point of having no grip (for my skill level) and inserts, but nothing comes close to the reliability of the Michelin DH casing. They are really, really burly, I'm fairly sure I wont ever manage to puncture or slash those.
And I also dislike to add unnecessary weight, but saving on tyres was making me buy new ones every couple of months and many a ruined ride.

BTW, I ride in northern Portugal, so Sto Tirso, Ponte de Lima, Penha, Maia, etc
  • 1 0
 @Arierep: Nice. From those yo mentioned I only know Ponte de Lima and Maia, can't say that I found really aggressive terrain there (for the tires), but it's nice terrain. The rocks here at Serra de Aire e Candeeiros are sharper, not as rounded as those I found up north, and some trails (namely one that I opened) have been causing tire expenses to a lot of people.
  • 5 1
 "Just a off the shelf bike anyone can buy and race" That's great! If we ignore the fact GT no longer sells the 27.5 bike or frame and when I tried to source one dealers had no luck either.
  • 2 7
flag schofell84 (May 3, 2021 at 8:12) (Below Threshold)
 Thats a 29" bike with a 27.5 rear wheel
  • 2 0
 @schofell84: Read the bike details again. It's a 27.5 setup as a mullet.
  • 5 0
 WOW everybody's having a bitchy Monday huh...

I get it, my legs are sore from the weekend and all I want to do is go back out and ride too! Smile
  • 8 1
 That's a nice bike
  • 2 2
 I keep seeing pro bike checks for Fox sponsored athletes who are running MY2021 suspension but are on the previous iteration of the dropper. Off the top of my head—Keegan Wright, Georgia Astle, another GT rider from like maybe a week ago, and now Ethan here. I wonder what’s up with that? Supply chain issues I’d suppose, but they never seem to be on last year’s shocks or forks.
  • 6 0
 Honestly they probably just don't give a shit, it's not exactly enough of a performance upgrade to change what already works in terms of dropper posts. Especially if you arent a tinkerer or constant tear down type mechanic
  • 1 0
 @bhuck12: I need a 240mm dropper..... :-(
  • 4 1
 Sorry to be the English teacher but is it not just an off the shelf bike?
  • 2 0
 Yea.... I noticed a couple of things like that
  • 7 0
 Actually, it's an off-the-shelf bike, isn't it? Hyphens join multiple words that act as a single modifier.

Why don't I have any friends?
  • 3 0
 That Force could really do with updated frame geometry by now...
  • 2 0
 Anytime in 2021 some articles post: ‘anyone can buy and race’ - BS, nothing in stock, pre order
  • 3 0
 What size does he ride?
  • 5 5
 "Just a off the shelf bike anyone can buy and race" well, that's a bit clumsy
  • 4 0
 Well, anyone who can find one in stock anyway.
  • 2 3
 @Velocipedestrian: Don't forget the ~ $10k needed to purchase it if it is...
  • 1 0
 @GregSpecialized: I think this is why Ethan is a rider, not a writer......
  • 2 2
 GT's slogan back in the day was "Race it on Sunday, sell it on Monday" not clumsy, just real down to earth
  • 2 0
 You spelled tier wrong.
  • 1 0
 150mm travel 38? That's custom....
  • 1 1
 Isn't this just a Giant/Trek?
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