Chipps reports from Norway as GT launches some new suspension bikes that it is very proud of.
The new GT Force and Sensor bikes aren’t just last year’s bikes with a bit of a tweak, they’re a complete ground-up redesign with a new suspension system that looks nothing like GT bikes of old. And rather than offering a big selection of travels and wheels sizes, it has kept things pretty simple:
The new GT Force – a 27.5in wheeled, 160/150mm travel trail bike and a new GT Sensor – a 29in wheeled 130/130mm trail bike.
Gone is the complicated looking suspension linkages and the like, and in has come a familiar-looking modern silhouette of a rocker-actuated four bar linkage with a pivot on the chainstay. However, rather than just keeping things that simple, GT has aimed to include a lot of its heritage and DNA into both bikes. There is a new ‘Groove Tube’ cable management dimple on the downtube, allowing full external cable routing while still allowing space on both bikes for a water bottle. The GT trademark ‘Triple Triangle’ beloved of classic GT owners is represented in the seat tube support, giving a good space for an inner tube (or a giant Toblerone).
While the Force and Sensor share the same look, GT reckons they are very different bikes. The Force is a hard-charging, 160mm forked, 150mm travel trail bike. We’re not going to say ‘enduro’ but it will help to see that GT’s Martin Maes has been riding a Force recently to post a couple of enduro podiums this spring.
The Sensor, meanwhile, is a 130mm travel 29er that sounds slack enough (65.5° in the low setting) to be an enduro machine, yet is composed enough for cross country rides.
So, let’s start by looking at the Sensor. We were lucky enough to spend a couple of days riding both of these new bikes and there’ll be a ‘First ride impressions’ feature along in a day or so, but for now, we’ll keep to the facts…
2019 GT Sensor
The Sensor is, foremost, a 29er trail bike. It’s not a long legged XC race bike, nor particularly an enduro machine, so it falls under the umbrella of all-round trail bike, though with the slack 65.5° head angle of a pretty aggressive one. With a choice of carbon or alloy main triangles (with alloy rear triangles on all frames), complete bikes start at £1599 for the entry-level Sensor Alloy Sport, rising to £3999 for the Sensor Carbon Pro, with full X01 Eagle 12 speed, a KS carbon Lev and a Pike fork/Deluxe rear shock
The new bikes all come with a ‘flip chip’ which can be easily swapped around on the trail with an Allen key. It gives a .75° change in the head angle and a +/- 6mm difference in the BB height. The 29in Sensor will take 27.5in Plus tyres, so this is handy when swapping over to those, or just to make your bike feel more nimble or more rad.
Both the Force and the Sensor have a new LTS – or Linkage Tuned Suspension – system. Harking back to those titanium link LTS bikes of the 1990s, it’s nonetheless a brand new system and the linkage this time is aluminium, though interestingly, still with a trunnion shock like those old LTS bikes. It’s designed to work with only 25% of sag, rather than the 30% or more of other systems, yet still gives up 130mm of travel on the Sensor and 150mm on the 27.5in wheeled Force. We’ll be along shortly with our first ride impressions story…
Pricing on the Sensor and Force is pretty keen for the amount of bike you get. The top-end Carbon Pro comes with X01 Eagle, Pikes, SRAM Level brakes and some good finishing kit for £3,999, but alloy models start around £1600. And, as GT is keen to point out, that’s the price in a real-world bike shop, where you can go and try the bike and talk to someone if you ever have any issues.
2019 GT Force
The Force is the longer travel, 27.5in wheeled bike of the pair. With the same design features as the big wheeled Sensor, the Force runs the same 65.5° head angle and relatively steep 75.5° seat angle. Reach is 440mm on a medium (in ‘low’ position) and 465mm on a large. Frame sizes will come in XS to XL.
And while it would be easy to suggest that this is an enduro bike (Martin Maes has been using it for just that) GT is keen to point out that it makes a pretty good all-round trail bike too. Many of the features, like the full external cable routing, full bearings on all pivots and sturdy linkage make it ideal for a bit of bike park weekend hooligan behaviour, while its technical climbing abilities would also suit it to some big mountain adventures.
GT Force Elite
This bike stood out from the range a little. As the top-spec alloy framed bike, it comes with a RockShox SuperDeluxe R coil shock, NX Eagle 11speed and Tektro Slate 4-pot brakes. It’s the kind of bike we expect to see doing laps at Antur Stiniog or BikePark Wales. Comes in at £2499 too.
So those are a few highlights of the new 2019 GT Sensor and Force ranges. We got to spend a couple of days on both of them in the fabulous Trysil bike arena in Norway. Look for Chipps’ first ride impressions on both bikes in a separate story. For now, though, we’re happy to say that GT has an impressive looking 2019 lineup (that’ll be coming into shops in mid to late August) with a new suspension system that is simple and effective enough to lure back to the brand anyone who was frightened off by the complexities of the I-Drive. With prices for the Force Alloy Comp starting at £2199 and the Sensor Alloy Sport at £1599 they look to definitely be bikes to look out for this autumn.
Join us shortly for our First Ride Impressions story on both bikes. And in the meantime, here’s a shot of PK getting rad on the Sensor.
Chipps’ flight, accommodation (and £11 Norwegian beers!) were paid for by CSG UK