On the second day of GT’s 2011 bike launch in Les Deux Alpes, France, we moved from the Gravity aligned bikes to the more applicable to the UK All Mountain and Endurance ranges. First up it’s the Force, a 150mm travel bike that’s aimed more to the XC side of this travel bracket.
For 2011, GT has respecced the components on the Force with an emphasis on lighter weight for increased climbing ability. As GT say, they wanted it to ride like a “long legged XC bike”. The Force uses the Independent Drivetrain system common to all GT full suspension bikes, providing 150mm of travel at either end but there have been a couple of tweaks for 2011. First of all the shock has had a thorough going over in conjunction with Fox and the result is a new tune which has an increased Boost Valve pressure as well as more compression damping. They’ve also taken a hint from the shorter travel Sensor and used angular contact cartridge headset bearings on the pivots to increase ease of maintenance and parts availability.
The Carbon Force pictured here won’t be coming into the UK but there will three models of alloy Force being brought in, all in a less garish colourway than this example. Interestingly, GT haven’t specced the Gravity frames (as seen in PART ONE) with 10spd, considering it to be unproven in this application but have used SRAM 2×10 drivetrains for their All Mountain models.
Anyway, the alloy Force frame uses a 6061 alloy monocoque with tapered headtube that’s been made lighter for 2011 via improved forming techniques and again there are modular dropouts, although we’re not sure if the UK spec bikes will be coming with Maxle rear ends. The top line Force 1.0 will cost £2799.99 and comes with RS Revelation forks with 15mm Maxle, Fox Float RP2, X.9 2×10 drivetrain with Elixir CR brakes and an X-Fusion HiLo uppy downy post. The Force 2.0 uses a RS Sektor 15mm Maxle, X.7 2×10, Elixir 5 brakes and GT’s own brand All Terra finishing kit, keeps the X-Fusion uppy downy post and it costs a rather wallet friendly £2,199.99. Dropping down to the £1,699.99 Force 3.0 you lose the 2×10 drivetrain, instead using Shimano 9spd with twin and bash up front, M445 hydraulic brakes and a more basic Turnkey damped RS Sektor fork, although it retains the 15mm Maxle.
The Sensor has the least bounce of any of the fully suspended GTs and as such it’s slotted it into the Endurance category, so it’s a bike with a definite climbing rather than descending bias. With 120mm of travel either end it’s not really focused on the racing end of the market and is more for trail riders that might dabble in a bit of racing rather than the other way round. Again, much attention has been paid to component choice to help lose the weight for 2011, the double butted 6061 alloy frames remaining unchanged.
The top end bikes have gone 2x10spd as well, with the top Sensor 1.0 costing £2,699.99 and having a FIT damped Fox 32 Float with 15QR axle, RP23 rear shock and 10spd Shimano SLX shifters and XTR mech. The £1,799.99 Sensor 2.0 has a RS Recon Gold fork but keeps Shimano 10spd, the 3.0 using Shimano 9spd Deore and a lower specced Recon fork with X-Fusion shock. Providing excellent value for money is the basic 4.0, which uses exactly the same frame as the higher end bikes but has Alivio 9spd drivetrain, Tektro hydraulic disks, X-Fusion shock and a Suntour Raidon LR Air fork with lockout and rebound adjustment for £999.99. A rather nice touch is that all of the Sensor models come specced with Maxxis tyres.
GT will also be producing a 29er version of the Sensor, pictured above for the big wheel fans.
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In part 3 we look at the classic Zaskar and budget big wheeler Karakoram..
Posted on: August 3, 2010