Field Test: 2022 GT Force Carbon - Longer, Lower, Idler

Sep 9, 2021
by Henry Quinney  


PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

GT Force Carbon



Words by Henry Quinney, photography by Tom Richards


The GT Force is a name many of you will be familiar with. Along with the Zaskar and the Fury, it’s a staple of GT’s lineup. Although the travel and design of the Force may have changed with the years, it’s always been a bike that is meant to cover all bases - both in terms of getting you to the top and coming back down.

This new bike does see a whole raft of changes. It’s now a 160 mm, rearward axle equipped trail smasher with 29” wheels and a 170 mm fork. This 2022 model uses a front triangle and rocker made of carbon with an adjustable length alloy rear end.
Force Carbon Details

• Travel: 170 mm front / 160 mm rear
• Wheel size: 29”
• Head angle: 63.5°
• Seat tube angle: 78°
• Reach: 480 mm (L)
• Chainstay length: 435/445 mm
• Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
• Weight: 35.77 lb / 16.22 kg
• Price: $6,000 USD
gtbicycles.com

With all these changes comes dimension changes also. A size large Force now has a 480 mm reach, a 445 mm seat tube, 435/445 mm chainstays and a 63.5-degree head angle combined with a 78-degree effective seat tube angle.

With the geometry addressed let’s look at the elephant in the room - the idler. GT are almost old hands at this second wave of idler ideology, having already implemented the design on the World Cup winning Fury downhill bike. It's well executed, part of what GT calls 'Ruckus Management' - this essentially means that there is more rubber matting than a padded cell and the idler essentially doubles up as a chain guide. This is to not only make the bike quiet but also aims to keep the chain secure. That said, I think for 35.77 lb or 16.22 kg, a bash guard wouldn't go amiss.

The bike seems to have ease of maintenance in mind. All the hardware is tackled with a 6 mm allen key, there is a threaded BB and the internal routing is all guided, although the cabling does favour those who ride with their front brake on their left.

Prices range from $3,800 - $6,000. The version tested here is the top range Force Carbon LE. It’s got a nice spec, and it seems to prioritize suspension and brakes, which is no bad thing. The top tier RockShox Zeb and Super Deluxe combined with SRAM Code RSC brakes and a large 220 mm front rotor are all sensible and solid spec choices. As is the internally adjustable Trans X dropper. However, I think the WTB KOM rims with a mix of Formula and SRAM hubs and the cheap feeling bars and stem are a little disappointing. That said, it’s a fair amount of bike for the price.

So, let’s get to it. What does all this trendsetting and box ticking achieve and, quite frankly, was it worth it?






Climbing

Is this Force, which is appropriately brutish in its build and capabilities, a good climber? Well, I suppose that you can mount a wall tack with a sledgehammer, but to put too much stock in how well it does the job might be missing the point.

This bike climbs well, however it is somewhat reliant on the climb switch for anything like a spritely feel. Ultimately, it pedals well if not only as well as the reasonably expected for a bike that weighs closer to 40 lb than it does 30. That said, it far exceeds the climbing performance of the Norco Range, the other idler-equipped bike on test.

When you point it up something technical it’s a bike that definitely likes to hit things with some momentum. For all the claimed wonders of rear axle paths I’m not convinced they aid a bike's climbing capabilities. The rearward axle path may well smother bumps and lumps at speed but it doesn’t have that quick-footedness to just get up and out of the way. Like anything, it’s a compromise.

One thing I like about the GT, though, is the climbing position. Your weight feels very well centered ,and while it’s true that a lower front end will help weight the fore of the bike on climbs, having bars in a comfortable position can often give you more options in your own range of movement. You can still apply your weight through the bars and it feels more like a conscious choice rather than by merit of you being somewhat extended towards the front of the bike. The near-620 mm top tube fit me really well.

Another element you may also be thinking of is how the idler wheel affects climbing. In my mind, it’s very minimal and it’s a bit of a red herring.

I think the power loss due to the extra wheel is negligible and there are other factors that are much more relevant. The first one is lubricant choice. On hot summer days in BC using dry lube it would become quite loud after around 30 or 40 minutes of pedalling. It’s probably not quite the same as a jockey wheel and its associated drag, but probably reasonably similar. The main difference being that the driving forces want to pull the chain as short as possible between the cranks and the cassette. This means there is quite a lot of force wanting to essentially pull the idler directly down. It’s this force that I believe contributes so much to the noise and lubrication issue.

Using wet lubricant does make this bar far quieter and reduces any chain noise to a gentle purr. However, that leaves you vulnerable to all the problems associated with running wet lube in the dry, but I feel the noise reduction benefits outweigh the cons.

The Force won’t set the world alight on the climbs but it’s capable enough that it shouldn’t dissuade you from considering it.



Descending

So, you’ve got through the tardy business of getting an EWS-worthy race bike to the top of the trails, what next? Well, this bike gives back what you put out - but that’s not to say it doesn’t have quirks or peculiarities.

Primarily, and this is the important bit, this bike is very good at what it aims to be very good at. The way this bike tracks is just fantastic. GT has managed to strike a great balance between small bump compliance and tracking. Sometimes small bump sensitivity can feel like too much of a good thing and you might find yourself dialling in some low speed compression to trade some sensitivity for some stability.
Timed Testing

Previously featured in a Canadian National Enduro round, our timed section of trail was primarily made up of tight, but fast corners with a variety of square edges rocks and roots. This offered the longer and heavier bikes a chance to show how their brute stacked up against the more spritely ones of the bunch.

Going fast isn't everyone's number one goal when choosing a bike, but it is one more metric we can use to differentiate the bikes in test.


Matt Beer: "With a time of 2:49.13 the GT Force was the fourth fastest bike (out of five), finishing just behind the Norco Range's time of 2:49.08."

The Force, however, balances these characteristics wonderfully. The shock tune, and the recommended window of sag, complement one another well. The bike was active and felt like it followed the contours of the trail. That said, it also had plenty of mid and end stroke support and I never had any harsh bottom outs.

The more speed you provide this bike with the more it will reward you. It’s like a car with massive wings and a splitter, and it feels most balanced at medium to high speeds. At slower speeds, I never felt like it really had that same agility as something like the Spire. I don’t believe it to be the geometry but rather the suspension action.

Do high pivot bikes excel at higher speeds? Absolutely, but in those situations you also have a lot of stability generated from the fact that you’re going faster. When applying the brakes you tend not to hook up with an instant of traction in the same way that you might when going at lower speeds through jankier tech or stepped turns.


At low speed, I found that if the wheel did hit an obstacle while on the brakes it would give me a disconcerting feeling as it felt like it was moving my weight forward, even if only in respect to the rear axle. In a way, this then stops you from feeling like you’re driving the bottom bracket forward with your weight but rather pivoting around it. This is something I undoubtedly got used to more over time and by the end of my test period it wasn't so jarring. Funnily, I don't feel the Norco suffers from the same trait.

Another area of the bike that had me scratching my head a little was the handlebars. This is one of the less fundamental areas of a bike in terms of cost or spec, and they’re easy to change, but I found them unwieldy and I never really got used to them. The dimensions of handlebars, and how they’re measured isn’t always as simple as people might think. The same amount of backsweep doesn’t take into account that the taper might run for longer and will give a different dimension. Hopping on something like the Transition Spire or the YT Capra, with more conventional feeling bars was something like a blessed relief.

So, who’s the GT for? I think it’s somebody who favours trails that have a higher average speed. This bike, all 160 mm of it, would make an excellent bike for somebody that wants to absolutely smash bike park runs with maybe some pedaling in between. If you need something that takes high-speed braking bumps and offers bucket loads of stability in return but you still want something to go for a pedal after work then this would be a great option.



Pros

+ The faster it gets, the better it gets
+ Excellent small bump sensitivity
+ Adjustable chainstays

Cons

- It doesn't shine on slower, jankier trails
- Seat tube length could be shorter. The dropper post's travel is adjustable, but it'd be nice to not need to reduce it at all.





The 2021 Summer Field Test was made possible with support from Dainese apparel and protection, and Sun Peaks Resort. Shout out also to Maxxis, Garmin, Freelap, and Toyota Pacific.





189 Comments

  • 140 19
 This field test is reinforcing my view that an idler and high pivot design is overkill on an enduro bike. Maybe this design is helping you to win a downhill wc race by hundreds of a second. But on an enduro and especially on a consumer enduro it’s just nonsense
  • 37 6
 When the rider is a talented as Matt Beer it can be hard to know. In an elite level race setting, sure, maybe the design is most at home on DH bikes. But maybe its something else too? I'm a strong rider but ultimately no matter what I'll always be somewhere between a*shole and shmuck on the talent scale. Maybe the characteristics of a high pivot on a bike like the Range or GT help me make up for some glaring deficiencies that a talented rider like Mr. Beer can make up for with body moves and skill?
  • 43 40
 People I know on the Range are PRing all their local trails they’ve ridden hundreds of times. This is happening on end of Summer crap conditions
  • 21 19
 Yup, for most riders a high pivot is not a positive attribute, but then the Kool-Aid is strong in this one ...
  • 112 10
 @vanillarice19: I just PR'd a trail I've ridden 75 times yesterday on the same bike I always ride. What's your point?
  • 3 5
 For some people any change is hard, but isn't that the purpose of the Marketing ,R&D and some brave pilots testing new stuff, to bring F1 overkill technology to Us the average the Joes so We can have the options to expend our hard earned money as We desires or not?
  • 15 3
 @j-t-g: You've nailed it. These bikes help maximize how I am going to perform, irrespective of my skill level (or lack thereof). As the rider of a 170mm enduro bike, I can confidently say that the extra squish and long-slack geometry save my a$$ at least once per ride, and allow me to recover from poor line choice and fatigue during longer descents.

High pivots provide a heap of traction, remove pedal kickback, and lengthen your wheelbase during the roughest stuff - I've not ridden one, but that all sounds pretty rad!
  • 6 0
 @KJP1230: my highlander is an absolute crusher on the descents and holds its own on the tech climbs as well.

on flatter or rolling terrain it doesn't feel nearly as fun or energetic and my riding buddies say they can easily see how much slower it is than my faithful old sb5.5 in those situations.

so i guess you just have to choose which characteristics are most important
  • 2 0
 @twonsarelli: Totally. It really depends on what you'd like to maximize and an honest assessment of what types of trails you ride. I love my Enduro on the more technical and rocky descents, and these happen to be the trails I ride most frequently/are closest to my house. That said, it's complete overkill when I head out on longer, smoother trails, where my older 150mm bike was all around faster and more lively.
  • 7 5
 @vanillarice19: Not sure why you're getting downvoted. Similarly, I've PR'd descents on my daily ride trails each time I've upgraded my bike (twice) in the last 3 years. And during both seasons I was in worse shape than years past, so it's fair to say that the bike had a lot to do with it.
  • 13 3
 “I watched a non idler bike beat an idler bike by a minuscule amount of time and now believe idlers are completely pointless and have no place on enduro bikes”
  • 4 0
 It would've been cool to see timed results from a "normal" rider (not a pro) and see if there were any major differences in the results.
  • 3 0
 @snowwcold55: Kazimer who rides closer to most people than he does to Matt’s level seems to think the Range is faster
  • 2 0
 @KJP1230: are you on the latest enduro? i borrowed one from my local shop owner for half a dozen rides last summer and was pretty impressed with its overall performance but for sure not the best bike for 'trail' rides. the stumpy evo is really tickling my turnip right now but it really treads on the highlander and it would make more sense to get something more like 120-130mm to have a bit of disambiguation in the fleet
  • 1 0
 id love to ride one before i say anything, but yeah at the consumer side (maybe even pro too) of enduro racing you can probably make up more time picking a better line, cornering better, or squashing the jumps.
  • 2 0
 @twonsarelli: Spesh Enduro is so good. last BME i attended id say 80-90% of racers were on an enduro. i love mine, though its NOT great at tight techy climbs as its pretty long and hard to control at snail speeds.
  • 1 0
 @twonsarelli: Yep, I'm currently on a 2021 Enduro - great bike for those rocky, fast trails that I find myself on frequently. Absolute killer at the bike park. Complete overkill for those longer, smoother trails.
  • 5 0
 @vanillarice19: I think everyone is pumped with their new bike or component and sets PRs with a little extra sauce... my $0.02
  • 5 0
 Agree. I want zero extra drag on any bike I have to pedal uphill. These add extra weight drag and wear and worse pedaling dynamics and that is a big tradeoff. For a DH or bikepark bike they are probably sweet, but modern enduro bikes are becoming less and less realistic everyday bikes and I think that was the whole point originally- get people and bikes racing the way people actually ride. This bike is beautiful though and I have definitely been thinking about a GT as my next rig.
  • 2 0
 @vanillarice19: PR == Peer Review, Pull Request?
TIA, nerd who wants to learn.
  • 2 1
 Agreed, for the most part! It’s ALL about the descending these days and high-pivots do descend well. Are they good at anything else? Not particularily.

I think a high pivot makes sense if one’s riding is mainly up fire road/very mellow climbs to then plunge into the gnar. As soon as you mix in tech-y climbs, tight twisty bits and such it’s overkill. Even Jack Moir said in one of his vids that he picked the most agile bike instead of the one that would be faster once you got to know the track, and EWS isn’t the same type of racing as WC DH.

Personnally, I’ve just sold my 3.5 month old 2021 Specialized Enduro (to fund an Evil Offering) because it’s too much of a sacrifice on the ups for my liking/riding/trails. It’s great for bike park and stuff, but a DH bike will handle that better. Basically it fell into no man’s land for me.

An idler? Unless it’s on a DH bike, I don’t want one. It will make sense for some people, but my guess is quite a few will get caught up in the hype.
  • 3 0
 @plyawn: Personal Record (setting a faster times against their previous rides) hope this helps Smile
  • 1 0
 @Jvhowube: I'm with ya. My sweet full squish trail bike is in for service, and i've set PR's on my last three rides with my older hardtail.
  • 1 0
 Some people may just like the feel of it. It's not always about beating a time. Though, I'd probably pass on one and always try to smash my previous times.
  • 2 0
 @Y0sh1: I rode one of these for a couple laps of logging road up / natural steep terrain down, and was utterly blown away at how stable it is at speed. The only time it felt remotely odd, as mentioned in the article, was lower speed braking, but once you realize you don’t actually need to be braking on account of the aforementioned stability, it all goes away. Now if my local trails were more flat pedaling/rolling terrain/technical uphills and less fire road up/1000’+ per mile down, I would definitely pick a different bike. Seems like GT had a specific market segment in mind…

I think what everyone’s missing about the idler is that it’s a compromise needed to have good enough pedaling efficiency with a rearward axle path. Sure you could make a 160mm bike with an equivalent rearward path and no idler but it’d be garbage at pedaling.
  • 2 0
 @vanillarice19: Likewise with me on my Dreadnought. I've been injured all summer, and only ridden in the last two weeks. I'm a fat rusty turd right now, and the Dreadnought is smoking my old times, even in the wet.
  • 2 0
 @plyawn: happy you asked, I was going with penis reduction
  • 64 23
 It's slower than the Capra
It's heavier than the Capra
It's a worse allrounder than the Capra
It's worse value for money than the Capra
Some of the spec choices (rims, hubs, tires, dropper, cockpit) are questionable
You'd have to deal with that high-pivot idler faff

But at least it looks cool, right?
  • 20 1
 What is wrong with the dropper? TransX makes a decent dropper.
  • 102 12
 Judging by your tone it’s also less German than the Capra?
  • 8 0
 Can either one of them actually be available for purchase?
  • 37 4
 flag checks out
  • 14 0
 @93EXCivic: Sorry, should have specified that nothing is wrong with the TransX dropper specifically. It’s just a bit of an odd choice for a bike that costs 6 grand. I’d have liked to see a OneUp or a BikeYoke or similar.
  • 9 1
 You make a half dozen extremely valid points
  • 37 13
 @HMBA106: Oh yes of course you’re right. My oh so ignorant attitude towards everything that wasn’t engineered in my country must also be the reason why my personal bike right now is a Norco Optic and why I’m building up a Norco Sight instead of a YT or a Propain. Is that Canadian enough for you?
  • 28 1
 @BenTheSwabian: I still don't understand all the Pinkbike hype around the OneUp post, especially putting it in the same sentence as a BikeYoke. Yes, the low stack height would be beneficial on the Force, but you do realize the guts that make it go uppy-downy are exactly the same as the TranzX, Tellis, Highline, Manic, etc etc...
  • 6 1
 You can't get the capra
  • 4 0
 @ethanshredz: nothing wrong with those guts. They're not fancy, but they go for years without issue. You can get nicer dropper posts, but any of the ones you mentioned will get the job done and lead to the question, why spend more?
  • 18 4
 The big glaring issue with the Capra is the constant warranty issues. The bikes seem to break a lot, which isn't optimal but "ok" if YT is able to sort you out quickly. At least in Canada, this has never been the case. I'd prefer to buy a bike that is:

A tiny bit slower than the Capra
An unnoticeable amount heavier than the Capra
A tiny bit worse allrounder than the Capra
Is better value for money than the Capra when you consider breakage, warranty and service.
Deal with a high-pivot idler that isn't an issue

And have a bike that I can continually ride through a season without the worry of a two month long warranty issue hanging over my head.
  • 6 10
flag stefkrger (Sep 9, 2021 at 10:45) (Below Threshold)
 @islandforlife: Never heard of any carbon Capra breaking. For all I know the constant issue has been the chain stays on the aluminum versions which are a much less common choice for that bike
  • 6 1
 @ethanshredz: I'm not sure why everyone else loves it, but I run them ALWAYS because of the low stack height, how easy they are to pull apart and work on, the price and the fact that I can get it in 210mm, which i appreciate.

They're also more reliable than the reverbs they tend to replace.
  • 13 4
 @islandforlife: A lot of people I know ride a Capra. 6 out of 11 people in my enduro riding group are currently on the last-gen Capra CF 29, one is on a 2020 Propain Tyee CF, one on a 2020 Megatower, one is on a 2020 Specialized Enduro, one on a Kona Process X and I'm on an Optic. None of the Capra owners ever had to claim warranty over a broken frame as far as I know while the Specialized guy had to claim warranty for his S-Works frame twice within a year and Propain guy is on his second rear triangle after about 6 months of ownership.

Not saying that breakage doesn't happen for the Capra - all bikes break eventually - but it's most likely less of an issue than the PB comment section would have you believe.
  • 2 0
 @stefkrger: mine did, kind of. Front triangle replaced after a little crack at the seat dome.
2018 CF, Mk2.
  • 2 0
 Henry doesn’t even think it looks cool. I’m in his camp.
  • 5 4
 It was slower on a relatively easy and flat trail. So you are right, Capra is absolutely the best bike for German middle class riding easy trails on their carbon best value ever machines, it cannot be denied.
  • 5 2
 @BenTheSwabian: I know 3 people who have owned YT capras, 2 of them have broken the frame. In both cases they ended up buying new frames from different brands because the warranty process would have them unable to ride for the entire summer/fall.
  • 1 0
 its all the extra paint that adds up.
  • 3 1
 @BenTheSwabian: All good if you are happy with the capra but it´s far from perfect. Had a few problems with the frame geometry, ratteling internal cables and no waterbottle space. Broke a carbon frame (2020) myself with less than 1 year of use. Took almost 4 month till I had the new frame under warranty. So not that great of an experience. A friend of mine already had 2 broken alu capra chainstays. So you see there are also other standpoints on that bike.
  • 4 1
 @wenedi: I‘m sure the Capra is not breaking more or less often than other carbon frames. After all most of the frames for different bike manufacturers are coming from the same factories, so there cannot be too much of a quality difference. It’s just that there are so many Capras out there that in total there will be more broken frames as well. What I do think however is that people are especially voiceful about YT bike issues because the warranty process seems to have been painful for many
  • 2 1
 @stefkrger: right because the place that a bike is made determines exactly how strong a bike is. Never mind the whole part where they’re all different designs with different failure points and frame layups.
  • 39 3
 I think PB should include a section in all these tests as to whether or not the bike is literally going to be sitting on dealer floors within a certain timeframe, at least until the affects of the pandemic ease off the supply chain. Seems like all this stuff is vapor. I walk into the four bike shops in my immediate area and they look like 80s Soviet Russian grocery stores. Maybe another assignment would be for PB to survey shops and build of lists of models most likely to be in shops for the first half of 2022.
  • 4 0
 3 ranges at my LBS right now :/. Other communities have had none since launch. Too random and variable to know.
  • 3 2
 Ordered my Force Carbon Elite few weeks ago with an expected delivery for mid January so nothing to complain about.
  • 1 0
 Guess it depends... for sure you'll have to wait for the YT. But when I visit my local shops, they're getting deliveries of these bikes all the time. Not a lot of them and they sell pretty quickly, but they're there. Shops ordered these bikes over a year ago and supply is slowly but surely trickling in.
  • 2 0
 My LBS is full of 7.500 to 10.00 € bikes and e-bikes. Non of them are Enduro bikes. Tons of road and XC bikes too,but again very expensive models.
  • 9 0
 As much as I love the idea of surveying shops, right now supply is so unpredictable that we generally don’t know what we’re getting and when anymore. Three months ago I’d have told you right now I’d have 2,000,000 Giant Trance X’s and Kona Process 134/153s in my inventory, those are now delayed till November (hopefully). Somehow by the grace of god I have a constant supply of SC Blurs and Bronsons and Ibis Ripley/Ripmo AF’s in damn near any build you’d want and those aren’t bikes I thought I’d get till February 2022. Bike forecasting hasn’t had true or honest ETA’s since January of 2021, obviously there are certain exceptions to that but by and large even big brands like Giant and Spesh can’t predict what will ship and when because of the absolute disaster that is the shipping industry right now. My bet is this, you won’t see any of these rigs consistently stocked with any retailers until late 2022 at earliest, pops of inventory here and there sure but nothing to count on. Be patient, everyone is trying really hard. Let the people with the coin to throw down months in advance do the first batch product testing, get the second run next year when all kinks are worked out and specs are better.
  • 2 0
 Truest of trues. But all that will do is drive sales on those models even harder and they will just be the next brand to be out of stock. And it's not like companies are going to actually release hard numbers on what they're shipping. And some of the shops are about as in the dark as we are.

Bike buying in 2020/2021 is about the same experience as being blindfolded, spun around, and throwing your dart at a board. And whatever it lands on you still get the privilege of overpaying for it. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!
  • 31 0
 Hats off to GT for getting back on the map. The fact that they made into a current PB field test is a win, not to mention a relatively good review.
  • 4 1
 “The GT is not as fast” - then Maes kicks everybody’s ass by 30s.
  • 19 1
 The Mike and Henry combo in this Field Test is one of the best presenter match ups I’ve ever seen. So entertaining! For me it really butters the parsnips!
  • 6 26
flag zerort (Sep 9, 2021 at 10:10) (Below Threshold)
 @Jordansemailaddress I have to disagree. It seems as if @mikelevy carries both of those bookends. If it wasn't for him, those reviews would fall apart quickly. Both look like they are in pain speaking.
  • 5 0
 Henry is the best. But for the videos they really need to up the volume of his voice. Hard to hear that beautiful British voice compared to the other two.
  • 1 0
 Does anyone actually like parsnips? My mom made me eat those as a kid and hate them to this day
  • 5 0
 @endoguru: Roasted and caramelised to perfection, yes. Even a bit burnt they're pretty good.
  • 1 0
 I tagged levy in a comment similar to this and he said they were planning to in future videos now i imagine it wont be these ones as they will have already been completed in terms of editing.
  • 2 0
 @DylanH93: YES! @Brianpark please, please, please have your editor normalize the audio and bump Henry's up. I literally had my fingers hovering over the volume keys on my laptop to bump them up/down so that I could clearly hear what was said.
  • 1 0
 @dubod22: that’s what I didn’t get. My mom boiled the crap out of them until they were mush. I’m going to ask my wife to do some up your way and give them a try.
  • 9 0
 Do you think companies like GT save money on parts like bars abs stems because we’re all fussy and no matter how fancy a bar they put on it we’ll take it off and put our Renthal/One Up/etc of our choice on it anyway? I know all of my bikes over the last few years have always had a Fatbar, DMR grips and Burgtec pedals swapped on before I even ride the thing.
  • 10 1
 If it saves me even $20 on the total price, I'm all for it. Doesn't everyone swap out the bar / stem / saddle on their bike pretty quick (if not immediately)? I always do. I'm all for it.
  • 1 1
 Nope, it's just to make more margin. House branded parts cost next to nothing compared to their bougie branded counterparts. Dorel (the conglomerate that owns Cannondale, GT and Fabric) is real good at downspeccing parts like cassettes, chains, hubs, bars, stems, grips and saddles on their top-end bikes.
  • 2 0
 @phobospwns: making me think I need to switch my bars and stem up. Are one up and renthal really that good? Bike came with nukeproof bars/stem.
  • 2 0
 @DylanH93: My bike also came with Nukeproof bar/stem (Vitus Escarpe VRX). They were fine, I rode them for 2 seasons, in fact. I actually swapped out to a Funn Black Ace handlebar + Funn Crossfire and saved like 1/2 a pound, which was pretty significant- and the Funn stuff was far less pricey than Renthal. I'm quite pleased with them.

I gave my old bar & stem to someone "less fortunate" with their stock setup. Now we're both upgraded.
  • 10 1
 With all of the negative comments about YT's breaking and warranty under the Capra review, it seems obligatory to point out Dorel's (GT, Cannondale) abysmal history with frames breaking and denying warranty to customers by calling clear manufacturers defects "crash related"
  • 4 1
 Abysmal is an understatement.
  • 8 0
 It was mentioned in the intro video that the Specialized Enduro would be included as a benchmark comparison bike for the field test. I’m curious what form that’s going to take. I think there was one passing comment about the Spesh in the review video for the Range, and nothing for the last two videos. Will it be discussed in the final round up video? Does it get its own video? Did it go through timed testing?

When it was mentioned in the intro, I thought it was one of the most intriguing aspects of the entire field test, but so far there’s nothing there.
  • 1 0
 Indeed, I miss this too.
  • 13 3
 1st, and dammit.. I'm patiently waiting for the WR1 review....
  • 3 0
 Same here!! I’m trying to decide if I should try to sell my Megatower and get an Arrival!
  • 4 3
 Read a Ripmo review?
  • 15 0
 Might save that one for last...
  • 2 1
 I think the Arrival is gonna win this one
  • 4 0
 @freeskool: I would buy your Arrival and THEN sell your Mega...
  • 5 0
 @kootenayrider: it may win as a fan or rider favorite, but it has already been said the YT is fastest bike timed.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: don’t do that to us!!!

@shredddr: oh man, I wish that was an option!! My wife would murder me if I did that lol
  • 1 0
 @kootenayrider: Maybe as the best bike... but the price puts it far out of contention for most people. It will be a much more interesting proposition when they get access to lower priced spec/parts and/or sell frame only.
  • 2 0
 @freeskool: Arrival is sold out for the year according to their website. Good times!
  • 1 0
 @salespunk: sadly, where I live, the bike gets put away in a month/month and a half and doesn’t get to come out till April at the earliest, so as long as I would have a bike by then, I’m happy haha
  • 1 0
 @salespunk: that happened fast! yesterday they still had spots in their later months
  • 1 0
 @salespunk: I had one saved in my cart, so chances are they will come in and out of stock.. the recent bike article about carbon probably sped up sales for them... anyways I'm going to cry now. Recently sold my 2020 Firebird for profit so that eases the pain. I'll tell my fiance I do not want a wedding gift or anything for Christmas now. Should arrive in November/December I hope. Most money I've ever spent at one time on a hobby.
  • 9 1
 Alright, let's do guesses... Fastest to Slowest. 1. Capra 2. Arrival 3. Norco 4. GT 5. Transition
  • 26 0
 Would be interested to know where the Specialized Enduro benchmark bike being referenced places too
  • 4 0
 But the two favorites are the Norco and Transition; strange
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: I know, see we know the 1st, 3rd, and 4th as they've been reviewed now. What we're really guessing on is WR1 vs Transition...
  • 6 0
 @whitedlite: in the YT review it is mentioned that the WR1 is in second place for timed results, leaving the transition in last place.
  • 10 0
 I seem to recall that in one of the previous field tests, an alu $3000 Force was the second fastest bike in the test. Something that was barely discussed in the conclusion video afterwards by our esteemed Pinkbike editors. Instead they were praising the $10.000 Spec Enduro for being the fastest in the field.
  • 7 2
 The test track is a relatively flat(er) section of trail without major moves but with lots of quick corners. It's all about maintaining speed over mild-medium chatter and hitting corners. I don't think its a coincidence that on a spectrum of "more DH-Like" to "less DH-Like" the less DH bikes seem to stack up better for this style of trail.
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: I can agree with that, if hitting 25% DH courses and having a 1 bike quiver you may be more interested in the Norco. If riding gnarly trails that aren't quite as demanding as EWS full courses go with a more modest bike.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: For the downs they would be favorites cuz that's their slant, but hand them off to a someone who rides all around, yeah, not so favorite.
  • 11 1
 I don't put much stock in the lap times. Any given run can vary by 1-2 seconds especially over different days and who knows how much riding before and after. Even tests where they do 3 runs and average the times I still consider statistically insignificant. I'm not saying their totally worthless there is some insight there, but for me I don't attach too much weight to them.
  • 2 1
 @j-t-g: it's funny, last year they chose perfect trails for the enduro bikes. This year they treat the bikes like trail bikes
  • 1 0
 @NinetySixBikes: It was $4700usd. I think that GT just misses on the fine details. High seat post lengths and tallish standovers were a con on the old field test and again mentioned as a con. I think it's a bike that most people on the cusp would want to size up, but the seat post lengths etc make it very hard. Considering the mean average height is 5'9" that makes it a hard bike to recommend to a lot of people. By comparison the large range has a upsize friendly 35mm shorter seat tube length in large and a 75mm shorter standover. I bought and sold a Sensor during the pandemic, it just wasn't a great fit but it was available.
  • 2 0
 @JamieMcL: It would be very interesting if they test the last winner too,just to have a benchmark.I´m loving mine,it is a tank but still do everything well,even in the pump track is still fun hahaha. Very solid do it all bike for me.
  • 2 0
 *fastest for the one rider. Would be interesting to see different average riders time train on different tracks for a more accurate test.
  • 1 0
 @preston67: touche!
Timing and claiming is not just a few runs in the woods..
  • 5 0
 In the last review, you said the YT felt the roughest to ride but was the fastest bike. In this review you said it felt the better and better the faster you went, yet it was the second slowest. So what gives? Was the track you tested it on too flat/easy?
  • 5 1
 Jack doesn't seem to need a high pivot to be fast. It's easier to ride a short bike fast in the straight than it is to corner a long bike in tight stuff. The more you know a track the longer you can get away with your bike being and the firmer you can set the suspension. EWS is a lot different than world cup DH All great things I've learned from Jack.
  • 3 1
 whos jack
  • 9 0
 @mjlee2003: shark attack jack of moi moi TV fame, also known as kev by some.
  • 3 0
 I think there are a few problems with basing bike and geometry choices on pro riders.

For one, they are strong enough and committed enough to ride fast on a less stable bike than most riders. For me, the extra stability of a longer bike more than makes up for any unwieldiness, both on the straights and often in the corners too.

For two, how do you know they wouldn't be even faster on a longer bike? Jack in one of his blogs said he decided to switch to a size large for the tight tracks in Europe, but didn't say he had done any testing to confirm he was faster on it (as far as I know). People who have tested a lot of different geometry setups include Fabien Barel and Greg Minnaar, both of whom rode pretty long bikes. I know that's downhill, but the idea that a shorter bike is faster when riding blind (while it might be true) is pretty much impossible to prove as you can only ride blind once. My point is the evidence that shorter bikes are faster is hardly scientific.

Also, it's easy to cherry-pick riders who are downsizing and ignore those who aren't. Leigh Johnson for example was pretty nowhere on Marin, then the following year was getting top-ten EWS results on Pole. In downhill, once you account for the rearward axle path, Pieron's Commencal had a pretty huge wheelbase when he was winning a lot. Minnaar is running all the adjustments to maximise wheelbase and doing okay too. I'm not saying that proves anything either, but you can cherry-pick counter examples to Jack Moir.
  • 6 0
 Sounds like it's best at enduro type riding things, and not great at not enduro riding type things. Not bad for an enduro bike, I guess!
  • 2 0
 GTFO with that type of irrational logic in the PB comments…
  • 6 0
 it doesn’t matter how many photos you guys post of that hideous AF helmet, it’s still hideous AF.
  • 3 0
 Honestly I payed more attention to how hideous that helmet is than the article itself. Looks like something straight out of Spaceballs in the second photo.
  • 3 0
 It seems to me that Henry hit the nail on the head with his comment about park riders on Enduro bikes. They may be a category named after a specific race discipline, but it seems that the majority of them are sold to people who mainly ride park but want some ability to pedal, or people who want to ride DH style terrain and have no/limited access to uplifts. So it makes sense that these bikes are getting heavier, longer, more travel etc. Look to what people are using the bikes for, not the type of racing they're supposedly designed for.
  • 5 0
 Contrary to popular belief, this is not a dirt jumper. @randy I’m looking at you
  • 4 0
 35.77lbs for the Force with a SuperDeluxe shock. A DHX2 with a standard 600g steel coil pushes the weight of the GT over 37lbs
  • 7 2
 idler's just look cool I want one
  • 7 0
 Idler bikes are the best-looking bikes. Remember the P-Train? Wowzers.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: review the CNC p-train!!
  • 2 0
 @Habaden: I'd love to get it in for review. Maybe soon.
  • 1 0
 @Habaden: They already tested the early version with the welded front triangle.

www.pinkbike.com/news/field-test-actofive-p-train-not-your-typical-trail-bike.html
  • 6 4
 Is it just me or has GT lost its luster years and years ago? Bought my first and only GT mountain bike in the early 90's, and was stoked on the brand. Now? I would never buy a GT.
  • 14 0
 If you were saying this before this bike came out, I'd agree. They've been in a bit of a rut. Now? I think they're coming back full Force™.
  • 2 0
 It’s been downhill ever since they cut Eddie Fiola from their freestyle team.
  • 1 0
 They sponsored Phil Kmetz so I imagine they might get some business/ luster from that.
  • 1 0
 "the cabling does favour those who ride with their front brake on their left."

Who rides with right hand front brakes? I believe the Australians do. In Japan, front brakes are normally on the left although they drive on the right. Is this also true in Britain? Is there correlation between right hand drive and right hand front brakes?

Motorcycle riders might to keep the brake position consistent between bike and moto. I know every time I ride a moto I crush the clutch looking for a front brake.

Are there any other groups or is it just a matter of personal preference?
  • 2 0
 In general I think there is a correlation between brake on the right and driving on the right. I'm sure someone will correct me that this isn't actually the case but I think historically is was to do with which hand you signal with in traffic. So the idea is you can't signal, turn and grab the front brake all at the same time....
  • 1 0
 It’s pretty much only the British and some people who do it out of preference.
  • 2 1
 English ride left brake back
  • 1 0
 I ride right rear but most here are the opposite. Generally if you drive on the left (most former British colonial countries) then you have your front brake in the right.
  • 1 0
 Can vouch for Wales riding with the front on the right.
  • 2 0
 the idea is the dominate hand (ie your hand with most control that most of the world has being right handed) is the control hand and in biking/driving your most important hand should be on the most important thing ie steering wheel or front brake.
The left side of the road/right side of the car) is technically correct for the way a human brain works
  • 1 0
 @mtbtrekracer: That must be why everyone in North America drives in the F****n fast lane all the time!
  • 1 0
 @Tmackstab: haha, maybe, im not going to argue which is correct, but the way our brains operate ie one side is more dominate should be on the most important part.
you could argue similar thing about MM vs inches, the only thing you should measure in inches is tyre/tire width and manhood size lol
  • 4 3
 Lots of complaints over the seat tube, but based on eye-balling it from the picture it appears that the seat tube is about as long as the base of the modern 170mm dropper seat post anyway. (The seat tube appears to be about equal to the eye-to-eye length of the shock) The engineers probably thought to themselves, "Why make the seat tube shorter and less strong, only to have lots of seat tube exposed at max insertion?".
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy I purchased a Norco Sight 29 alloy this year, and while I'm happy with its performance in most areas one thing I'm really not enjoying is how noisy the frame is due to the poorly secured cables and somewhat flexy rear end. If having a super quiet and smooth bike was a big consideration which bike would you recommend - the Ranger or the Force (or maybe one of the other ones)?
  • 1 0
 interesting comments, I own a Sight 29er, and dont have any cable noise infact its probably the quietest bike i've owned/own. (yours could be from the cable entry points by headtube).
Im not sure i've noticed a "flexy" rear end on my Sight but i havnt ridden it alot as been riding some others recently.
curious what your thoughts are around this?


Based on videos i've seen the Range reminds me of those old DH bikes, rattled your teeth out sound, it has very bad cable slap inside the downtube and even with foam it doesnt help much.
Skills with phils videos and his Force is noisey as - HP bikes are probably not at the top as far as quietness goes, i think the highlander though is probably the best.
  • 1 0
 @mtbtrekracer: that’s interesting too cause my C1 29 was noisy as until i put some foam cable sleeves on the cables inside the frame.
  • 1 0
 @mtbtrekracer: I'm coming from a Capra Pro Race which was carbon everything and very stiff and quiet, so the more mid-level alloy A2 was always going to be an interesting change. I think the flex I'm feeling comes from the independent rear seatstays and 29er rear wheel - it's not too bad just noticeable by comparison. My plan was to get inside the frame and foam it up nice and tight to get rid of the cable movement, however there aren't any easy ways to get into the downtube on the alloy model so no easy fixes unfortunately.

I spent a few days in Whistler with a rental Fury and got along with that very well, so quite interested to try out the new Force. Ideally I'd love to spend a bit of time with both options to see which one works best, though based on the current market I'd be lucky to see either in the flesh any time soon!
  • 1 0
 Yep, moto guy here - I've always had my mountain bikes set up moto-style so I just react and didn't have to think about it. Had my son's bikes set up the same way from when he was on 20" too. I wish I would have done the same for my other son, but he doesn't ride moto yet.

I have a couple of buddies that ride MTB and moto, and their brakes are opposite. I don't know how they do it, but they don't seem to have an issue with it.
  • 4 0
 Bring back I drive Smile
  • 2 0
 GT iDrive, literally the best mtb commercial of all time.

youtu.be/2bNDBGww1wg
  • 2 0
 @DylanH93: How were those iDrive bikes to ride? That commercial was pretty epic BTW.
  • 2 0
 @ohbmxer: unfortunately haven't got to try one. I've heard some good things with a fair amount of negatives haha. Someone showed me the commercial and now I always think about it lol.
  • 1 0
 the last iteration of it on the Sanction was effin' great(the harder you let it go, the - even more- faster wanted to go and the square hits were from bed time stories, not from reality).... and the AOS version on the Helion fvecking rocked. Two great bikes I would like to have them back with modern geometry.
  • 3 0
 Question, Does a rearward Axle path reduce chances of rim damage?
  • 2 0
 That's actually a cool comment on here for once. I never thought of that. I'd imagine it reduces rim wear and tire wear with certain scenarios and terrain. I don't like the idea of the bike getting longer pushing through corners.
  • 1 0
 I ride a Slayer, and have had the chance to ride the new Range for a few days on my local trails as well. I would say definitively that maybe it helps. My local is very rocky and rough, and I tend to go through wheels pretty quickly. I normally run DH casings, inserts, and relatively high pressures to avoid denting my rims. With the Range, I was able to ride at my normal speed pretty quickly and actually managed to avoid denting the rim. I was running the rear at 32psi with a tube because the guy who had the bike before me did dent the rim and couldn't get the tire to seal. Like I said definitely maybe.
  • 2 0
 6 foot 2 inches tall is 188cm. At 183cm, Henry is almost 6' tall, probably 5'11" w/o shoes. Thats a big difference!
  • 1 0
 I noticed his math was wrong as well
  • 2 1
 tell Henry to speak from his chest. I wanna hear about mtb he sounds like he's judge trynna sweet talk a competitor in a baking reality tv show.
  • 1 0
 I'm looking forward to the control test laps where the pilot manages to lay down five consecutive runs of precisely the same time.
  • 1 0
 And how does this GT compare to the new Nukeproof Mega 290? I am very interested in this. Or maybe someone has ridden the new Mega and can write something?
  • 1 0
 Welcome to the end of the comments section where you get to see my opinion: I wish GT stuck with the floating drivetrain high pivot. Best of both worlds
  • 1 0
 FYI, this article is tagged "Pinkbike Field Test" vs just "Field Test" so it's not showing up if you click the "Field Test" tag.
  • 2 0
 @randy this aint a dirt jumper
  • 2 1
 When do we start the lighter, shorter, simpler trend so we can all go back to buying fast and fun bikes again?
  • 2 0
 "butter your parsnips" lmao, Henry's witty commentary is great
  • 2 0
 these reviews have told me not to get an idler bike in SoCal
  • 1 0
 Actually cool for cheap bars and stem. I like to color my bike so usually buy my favourite bars and stem and pedals.
  • 1 0
 I get stressed out by how on the outer edge of the pedal Henry's back foot is
  • 2 0
 Is there some Top Gear (Clarkson, Hammy, May) vibes here??
  • 2 0
 delete.... multipost
  • 2 1
 May the force be with you...
  • 4 5
 Hi I'm looking for an idler pulley for my 2022 GT Force Carbon. "no sorry we only have the idler pulley for the 2025-2029 force carbon e bike in stock. you can try on ebay?"
  • 2 0
 Geometry table?
  • 3 2
 What the hell is a Jankier Trail?
  • 1 0
 My last GT was because of Gary Ellis. Other than that I'm out.
  • 4 3
 A 6k bike is "affordable". Mkay.
  • 1 0
 The amount of orange peel tho...
  • 1 0
 Henry speak with more volume please your voice is hard to hear.....
  • 3 3
 Imagine paying $6000 for a bike with Formula hubs and WTB rims... can't believe that wasn't mentioned.
  • 2 0
 It is mentioned.
  • 1 0
 You guys are killing it with these videos
  • 1 0
 @Henry - 6’2” is actually 187 cm. Never do math in public.
  • 1 0
 I'm no mathuhmagician but I'm pretty sure it's closer to 188cm.
  • 1 0
 170mm of travel? Obviously downhill bike.
  • 1 0
 That’s a hefty weight!
  • 1 0
 Best color for the Win!
  • 1 2
 No Penny Farthing set up? Fad is dead!! Thankfully.
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