PressCamp2014: GT Bicycles

by Chipps 8

Last year, GT Bicycles released the Force and the Sensor – bikes that used its new AOS isolated drivetrain suspension system (a very much modernised take on the original I-Drive idea) with 150mm and 130mm of travel respectively and 27.5in wheels. These bikes seem to have gone down very well since then, but not every rider is after that amount of travel…

A carbon Helion. Fireplace, model’s own.

GT reckons that there’s an XC rider out there who’s not a racer as such; they want a bike that doesn’t weigh much, that goes fast, but that is still fun to ride, whether riding trail centres, doing a fast hour after work, 24 hour racing or actual old-school XC racing. No one denies that a good 29er is probably the fastest race bike out there, but they can be a little too earnest in their pursuit of efficiency and can lose some of the carve and pop that many of us got into mountain biking for in the first place. Here’s where GT’s Helion is aimed. GT points at its evergreen Zaskar frame as inspiration – it was a bike that was used successfully to compete in trials, XC racing and even DH racing in the early days of the sport. GT hopes that the Helion will be seen as a similarly versatile and fun bike.

27.5in, but in a fun way.
Cross country riding is what most of us do, says GT.

GT maintains it’s not a World Cup XC bike, but a fast trail bike. Prices will start (in the US at a mere $1550, going obviously up to ‘how much can you afford?’ with full carbon frame and top-notch components. The higher models will come with the dual Fox CTD lever for instant control of the bike’s attitude.

No mistaking.

With 110mm rear travel, and a 120mm 27.5in fork, the Helion will come in carbon (2.2kg for medium carbon, 2.8kg medium alloy frame) and aluminium. Both have a 69.5° head angle, roomy 23.85 top tubes for shorter stems and a new ‘Lock’r’ pivot system that does away with pinch bolts and which is said to give a lighter, stiffer ride.

 

The alloy frame only weighs 0.6kg more

 

The full carbon Helion

 

Low down suspension and independent drivetrain – GT style

 

Racing XC or just mates, GT reckons this is the bomb.

And finally, here’s a video showing some dusty trails being ridden on a pair of Helions.

And finally, finally… GT did show us a Sensor-X, which Chipps got to ride and declared ‘Wicked fun’ – which is GT’s 130mm Sensor platform, only with a shorter stem, an up-specced 150mm Rockshox Pike and a flamboyant orange colour. The only trouble is, CSG UK isn’t going to bring them in for 2015 (though it will be doing the Enduro-ready Sanction, which is some consolation).

A lot of fun. Not for the UK unfortunately. Maybe next year.
Loving the hooligan colours too.

Comments (8)

  1. When the world seems to be going all swoopy and bendy, I really like the top tube on that Helion.

  2. Don’t understand the decision not to bring in the Sensor-X. Looks like the standout bike in the range to me!

  3. That orange bike is my first real WANT for a while. Why aren’t GT building on the Atherton’s success and pushing the hell out of the UK? Be great so see some GT’s amongst all the Santa Cruz’s on the hills.

  4. “GT reckons that there’s an XC rider out there who’s not a racer as such; they want a bike that doesn’t weigh much, that goes fast, but that is still fun to ride”

    True Dat

  5. Nice idea for keeping the weight low down but what steps have they taken to prevent mud being slung directly at the shock seals?

  6. Can I consider this a trial bike instead of xc bike?

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