Video: Developing iDrive and the DHi in Episode 3 of 'Full Travel'

May 14, 2020
by Ed Spratt  

bigquotesChapter 3: Lobo, i-Drive, DHi, and the world's first carbon downhill bike!


“Sometimes you throw the dart and it doesn’t hit the dartboard” -Jim Busby.

Jim wasn’t afraid to take a risk with his bikes, but sometimes, the risk wasn’t worth the reward. Jim pushed the boundaries of mountain bike technology even further with the introduction of the Lobo, a thermoplastic composite frame with a lower pivot point. Unfortunately, production technology at that time put limitations on what could be achieved on the racetrack. This led Jim to go back to the drawing board where he came up with the iDrive, a design that would lead the GT team to countless podiums.
GT Bicycles


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43 Comments

  • 12 0
 Crazy to see how far we've come in bike design and tech. I bet we will think the same thing when we look back on today's bikes in 10-20 years from now..
  • 11 5
 Not likely, bikes have got to a point where they work properly now, we will probably see small variations on the theme
  • 5 0
 @zyoungson: Agreed, like road bikes. They have been refined over time once what basically worked was figured out.
  • 1 1
 @zyoungson: I could see engineering coming where we have 1 sided rear triangles like Ducatis or some wild stuff like that.
  • 1 0
 @chillrider199: if you haven't seen it this has already been done on the Millyard v2.

As seen here: www.instagram.com/p/B_c1mJ1nny_/?igshid=rtqndzxc199u
  • 3 1
 Well, the Session from 10 years ago looks pretty much like the Session of 2020
  • 1 0
 Came here to point out that these are really interesting documentaries! I realize they're basically long commercials for GT but they're still good and I'm amazed it only has 8k views?
  • 1 0
 @zyoungson: I guess we will find out in 10 years from now. Bet we see a ton of ebikes once they start looking more like analog bikes and access issues have been addressed
  • 5 1
 My first full suspension was an I-drive , after crushing the stock shock and fork I upgraded to coil spring , a z1, and hydraulic disc brakes. Game changer!! Went through a couple frames before I finally saved enough pennies for a full dh rig. The I-drive changed my outlook and approach to riding and my path as a rider. Thanks GT!!
  • 3 0
 Yes, those were some good old days... I'm always amazed at how many people hate on the I-drive system. Having been in the industry for over 20+ years as a racer, mechanic, and designer I can still say that the original I-drive was way ahead of its time as long as you were competent enough to work on them, which was the biggest draw back because it needed to be tuned correctly in order to achieve the right performance. Fast forward to the Carbon Fury and again, they crushed the market with that bike. The 2010-2014 Carbon Fury was again way ahead of its time, people didn't even know that it could be configured as a 27.5 and 29er DH bike until I raced it at Crankworks Whistler as the very first ever Carbon Fury 29er back in 2014. This was a fun video to watch the evolution of GT bikes but also the different stages of mountain biking...
  • 6 4
 I remember these times. What I really remember was that GT was shi!t hot until they released I drive bikes. Then they went downhill. In the non-race sense. I drive was bad. Even by then standards. IDrive bike with judys on the front. Nasty
  • 8 0
 No clue if the system is good or not but I didn't notice Athertons getting slowed down by iDrive those days. I think their focus towards Walmart-like marked is what made the less desirable.
  • 5 0
 I scrolled down just to see how many people are hating on I Drive.
  • 3 0
 I thought it was their financing that was affecting the company negatively, not the performance or design of iDrive. I tried to order a DHi when they were first previewed and our rep told us it was basically vaporware. They went the box store model to prop up sales IIRC. It diluted the brand for the next decade-plus. See also: Mongoose, Iron Horse, Diamondback, Schwinn, and more.
  • 1 0
 @kanasasa: I had an I-Drive Fury. Awesome bike, but the I-Drive was just a source of creak and play on the dogbone. Pretty sure the bike would be just as good without it.
  • 3 0
 I had a DHI back in 2000, loved that bike and have fond memories of that era of DH... This is a cool video but its sad it see nothing of Steve Peat... Its like GT are pretending he didn't exist?
  • 1 0
 I think he did not like the system !!!! O Santa Cruz will not let him promote GT !!!!
  • 2 0
 I LOVED the i-Drive Team frameset I picked up from SuperGo on closeout. That blue and yellow paint was awesome. That’s the bike I regret selling the most. Wish I could take that one back.
  • 1 0
 Gt idrive just broke and broke and broke I went Thur 4 frames in 8 months I like the bike but did not take the hardest riders and that's way it went bust . I love Gt at the time but Schwinn, Scott ,intense where making extreme bike and stronger to ,so sorry I drive kill GT !!!!! Don't bring it back it's dead !!! Second parts are no good !!!
  • 3 0
 So why did they abandon the i-drive to go with a run-of-the-mill design? Market trends?
  • 1 0
 Probably different people doing suspension design? Luis Arriaz was always a strong proponent of the high pivot with the idler pulley and I recall he didn't quite consider it a clever move from Trek to shift from the Session 10 to the Session 8 bike (which no longer had an idler).
  • 2 0
 I drive is warranty after warranty !!!
  • 2 0
 I remember reading Jeff S from Intense bicycles saying the three greatest designs of all time are horst four bar link VPP and I drive
  • 1 0
 Very cool video, back in the day there was a lot of experimenting with DH racing and bike design and it's funny to see Pros now say that some of their bikes were turds....
  • 2 1
 Looking forward to the next part! hope they give a shoutout to mongoose (the good ones) for the shared patent and their similar version, Free-Drive
  • 1 0
 I owned a 2008 GT DHi Pro... I'm still haunted in my dreams by the rattling sounds it made! RATATAT TATATA RATATATATATATATTTTTT.....
  • 1 0
 Loved the iDrive had an xcr with the extended travel Fox Kit . Way ahead of it’s time riding one of the best days ever on Goat Ridge Brittania. Miss that bike!.
  • 1 0
 Loved the DHI! Don’t know if it was coincidently a time were I improved a lot, but really liked it!
  • 1 0
 I called mine I-no-drive. Talk about cleaning your bushings like airing up tyres every few days
  • 1 0
 Really should have flashed an intro saying “Brian Lopes did not injury anyone in the making of this film”
  • 1 0
 I remember entering a competition to win one of these bikes!
  • 2 2
 How much was the Atherton's asking price to be involved in this documentary?
  • 2 0
 Not enough for them to spell Rachel's name correctly.
  • 1 0
 It's just stock footage so presumably they didn't get anything
  • 1 0
 @lacuna: That's why I asked. It was such a huge part of GT's story to be left out. Gee and Rachel both winning their first two world cups on the new Fury. Gee going head to head with Stevie for the overall. The Fury winning PB's bike of the year. Gee winning World Champs. They could have done an episode just on that alone.
  • 3 3
 Probably the most unreliable bikes ever made. GT persisted with it for way too long
  • 1 0
 Lol....the dumbest concept in bike suspension ever.
  • 2 2
 Good to see GT going back to i-drive.
  • 1 0
 They copied the MAGNA?!
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