GT Force X
Snow in June? GT's 27.5-inch-wheel Force X Expert finally gets the one-by transmission it deserved, with a Race Face Evolve crankset and 32-tooth, narrow-wide crankset, an e-thirteen chain guide and an 11/36 Shimano cassette. GT ships the Force X with a 42-tooth e-Thirteen booster cog for riders who want lower gearing.
into 27.5-inch wheels with its Force and Sensor AM/trailbikes with great fanfare just over a year ago, but the promising performers had a bit of an identity crisis, as both models overlapped in their abilities and purposes. We learned that GT will drop the Force as we know it and replace it with the new Force X - a more well-defined and technically capable trailbike that is pegged to be the one bike for an AM rider who may want to get rowdy on gravity trails. The Force X features a one-by drivetrain powered by Shimano SLX, with a Race Face crankset and cockpit appointments. The dropper post is an internally routed KS LEV item, and the suspension is powered by Fox, with a 150-millimeter-travel rear end and a 160-millimeter fork. GT retains its AOS suspension, which is a derivative of its Independent Drive system. The aluminum-frame Force X Expert that GT showed was impressively appointed and at $3399, it is in the hunt for AM/trail customers who want pro performance in a more affordable package. Those with discretional spending can purchase the Expert carbon version for $4499.
Up front, the Force X gets a 160-millimeter-stroke, Fox 34 Float 27.5 160 CTD fork. The AOS rear suspension (right) keeps the wheel on the ground without interfering with pedaling forces.
GT Sensor X
GT's Sensor X
What may be GT's best trailbiike ever - the Sensor X Pro is slack enough to roll with the big boys, but it has the pop and nimbleness that make dedicated traibikes far more fun to ride on the lion's share of the trails we ride. Big, 2.4-inch Continental Trail King tires underscore its edgey mission statement and an included e-Thirteen 42-tooth cassette cog will satisfy most riders's needs for a stump-puller low gear.
was one of the stars of GT's presentation. There is an emerging trend that is seeing accomplished riders stepping down to a chassis wth less suspension travel in the rear and pairing it with a longer-travel fork. Using assymetrical suspension, along with a lighter weight component build and its 27.5-inch wheels, a good bike-handler can gain an advantage on pedally enduro stages or trail rides. GT's Sensor X Pro seems to fit that bill quite well, Fitted with the fork of the moment - a 150-millimeter-stroke RockShox Pike Solo Air and a Fox Float CTD-powered, 130-millimeter-travel GT AOS rear suspension, it has enough travel in the bank to handle technical trails at high speed, but not so much suspension that its rider will be constantly searching for a lockout lever to boost pedaling performance. A KS LEV dropper post is standard equipment, and the drivetrain is a one-by ten, driven by a Race Face Evolve crank that is backed up by a Shimano XT derailleur and SLX shifting. Race Face 785-millimeter bars and a 45-millimeter stem tells us that the Sensor may be a trailbike in its soul, but it can get down to business on the chunky stuff. GT offers the Sensor X at Pro and Expert price levels, with the Pro that we were shown falling in at $3999 USD.
Armed with the fabled 150-millimeter-stroke RockShox Pike Solo Air fork, the Sensor X becomes a magnitude better for riders who prefer their trails served up rough and fast. AOS rear suspension keeps the rear tire pinned to the ground, which adds to the effectiveness of the Sensor X's already strong Shimano SLX ICE rear brake.
GT's Helion Team is its all-new cross-country/marathon racer. Its carbon chassis sports 110-millimeters of suspension on either end, and has frame numbers that should make trail riders happy
All new for 2015 is the Helion, GT's first dedicated XC dual-suspension bike that it has produced since we can remember. GT is banking on the notion that many riders will be opting for a lighter weight, minimal travel design when they consider their next trailbike purchase. GT says the lightweight Helion, with its 110-millimeter AOS rear suspension and 110-millimeter-stroke Fox 32 CTD fork, "is the bike that most consumers ride," but its numbers lean towards those of a dedicated XC racing chassis. The had angle is 69.5 degrees, and the bottom bracket is low, at 12,97 inches (329mm)
and its top tube is quite long. The top tube of the large-sized frame we were shown was stated to be 24.9 inches (608mm)
, which is over a half inch (20mm)
longer than normal. The rest of the sizes follow suit, with the stated reason being that GT wanted to use a short, 80-millimeter stem and thus needed a bit longer top tube to keep the cockpit roomy enough for serious climbers.
Starting with 27.5-inch wheels, the Helion uses a one-by-ten Shimano drivetrain with an 11 x 36 cassette - tall gearing for the average rider, but, as in most of GT's trail offerings this year, the bike is shipped with a 42-tooth e-Thirteen booster cassette cog
. We expect that some of these may "disappear" when the bikes are sold, so don't be shy about asking your LBS for it should you purchase a Helion. Suspension is all Fox, with the top drawer models sporting a dual-remote lockout lever which locks out the Helion's fork and shock with a single push of the left hand lever. Three carbon models are planned, along with four aluminum-framed versions, with prices starting at $7000 for the XTR equipped Carbon Team seen here, and as low as $2349 for the Shimano SLX powered Elite model.
Fox's 32 Float FIT Remote fork is paired with a matching shock. The Dual Remote lever on the left side of the handlebar switches both ends of the suspension simultaneously.
Offered as a complete bike, like the Pro model shown here, or as a frame and shock in North America, GT's Sanction is a wicked, purpose-built enduro racing machine.
The race bike that GT developed with Dan Atherton for the Enduro World Series is now available as a complete bike in Europe and the UK, and as a frameset in North America. The Sanction is a sturdy, 160-millimeter-travel, aluminum-framed trail slayer, built around 27.5-inch wheels. The stated reason for the lack of a complete bike in the US and Canada was that racers usually want to customize their builds - which strongly suggests that GT either believes that riders in the UK and Europe are either less sophisticated and can't, or are too lazy and won't, build up their race bikes from scratch. It's nonsense any way you look at it - and it would be wonderful if GT offered North American's at least one of the two versions of the Sanction that it plans to sell overseas.
Sanction frames are suspended with a version of GT's Independent Drive linkage and are built with a tougher, 6069 aluminum alloy, compared to the 6061 alloy that the Force X is constructed with. Frame geometry is slack, but not excessively so, which is a surprise, because Dan Atherton is a proponent of slack. The Sanction's head angle is 66 degrees, Suspension up front is the new Fox 36 remote fork and the shock is a Float X Remote reservoir type. As is the practice in Pro Enduro competition, a remote lever switches the shock and fork. The dropper seatpost is a KS LEV. Complete bikes also feature an oversized, 31-millimeter Race Face Atlas handlebar and stem, and the drivetrain is protected by an e-thirteen chain guide. Of course, all that means very little if you live in North America, so I'll skip to the end. Sizes are available in small, medium, large and X-large, and the cost of a frame with a Fox Float X CTD remote shock is $1999 USD. GT says that a pro build will weigh close to 30 pounds (13.6kg)
With the re-release of its 36 fork, Fox is back in the long-travel trailbike game with a vengeance. Shimano ICE brakes, an e-thirteen chainguide, and the Fox Float -X reservoir shock are additional reminders that GT's Sanction is all business.