Can the GT Force 29 Pro barge its way into the ever competitive realm of the long travel enduro 29er? Lewis has been finding out.
A bike with a trophy cabinet of wins under its belt from EWS racer Martin Maes, is the new GT Force can certainly perform at the sharp end. Lewis has been testing GT Force 29 Pro to see if it can deliver outside the tape.
GT have said that the Force is “Developed for riders that seek out big hits and a lot of gravity. The all-new Force is built for the fun of it.” Hinting that this bike is more for the big descenders and uplift weekenders, rather than the enduro racers out there. This can easily be seen in the build quality of the Pro, the aluminium frame with solid components makes it perfect for a range of riding capabilities and terrain.
Build and spec
The big 29er boasts a 170mm Fox 36 Performance fork along with 150mm of rear travel, again provided by Fox’s Float X2 Performance shock which blends a capable pedalling platform with big mountain riding abilities. GT’s Linkage Tuned Suspension (LTS) with their Horst Linkage and a Flip Chip allows you to get the suspension perfect for the type of riding you are tackling.
It offers great traction from the rear of the bike when getting up to speed on your favorite trail in the bike park or on your best secret trail. Stans Flow MK3 wheelset and Maxxis minions provide a great mixture of strength and grip too.
The drivetrain is provided by SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed kit, giving it the range to climb the steepest of climbs and get up to speed on the faster trails. The stopping power is again provided by SRAM G2 brakes, a good balance of power and durability for an all-round bike. It is also worth mentioning that the cables are external routed, I am personally a fan of this as they can be easily maintained.
The bike is finished off with a cockpit provided by SPANK Oozy bar at 780mm wide and a 30mm rise. I haven’t seen a Spank cockpit on a stock bike for a long time. The finishing kit is rounded off by a Fabric Scoop Elite saddle and a KS Lev Si 125mm dropper post. A 150mm dropper comes on the L and XL sizes.
I spent a long time trying to find the ‘perfect’ position while climbing on the GT Force Pro. You will find yourself trying to find the correct stack height on the stem so that the weight feels balanced while climbing. Too high and it feels like a motocross/chopper bike and makes things tricky while riding longer and steeper climbs.
The Climb Switch on the Fox Float X2 came in handy on most of the climbs while riding, the low % sag on the shock meant that it was quite active while climbing. The weight of the bike was another factor, it’s not a light bike at 35.6lbs (16.1kg).
On the flip side, the 150mm rear suspension and LTS system allows the bike to have plenty of traction while riding more technical climbs and terrain. It performed very well on old-school climbs such as the ‘Whites Level’ climb in Glyncorrwg and made it very easy but not fast.
I would recommend adding volume spacers in the shock if you are fast or ride hard as it is easy to use the whole of the rear travel without them. The recommended sag level is 12.5 – 15%, allowing the suspension linkage to work well, but I would consider tokens to get the best out of the Force Pro 29.
The suspension package and LTS linkage system provides an amazing setup that allows the bike to perform well on steep and natural singletrack. I had no issues riding down the most technical of tracks in the Afan Valleys, South Wales. I did slam the stem so that the cockpit was as low as possible. This was due to the tall stand over combined with tall Spank Oozy 30mm riser bars. This allowed me to get better weight over the front wheel.
Although I didn’t do any uplift days, the GT Force 29 Pro is at home in the bike parks. It’s versatility to adapt to the easiest or hardest trail really puts the enjoyment into the ride, from the flow trails to the hardest downhill trail, the bikes geometry is easy to get used to which allows for a stress-free day at the bike park, chairlift or in the Alps.
If you are considering multiple uplift weekends and alps trips, the GT Force is definitely one to consider. Easy to maintain, good performance components and a bomb-proof frame that can tackle the gnarliest of trails.
If you are more of the hardcore and old school trail centre rider, you may want to look at the GT Sensor range, a very similar frame and suspension linkage, but less travel.
The Force Pro is built for bigger hits, bigger trails and days at the bike park. But don’t let you put this off this bike, its suspension platform does allow it to work well on old-school descents and singletrack but you will find yourself working hard to get the Force up to speed on the flatter trails.
When at Nant yr Arian, the bike handled the new and old trails well but was pedalling a lot more than I would have liked. I wanted the bike to do more of the work but it would feel slow on some of the flat traverses where the gradient starts to level out.
What do we think?
To sum this bike up, the GT Force Pro is a bike that can almost everything. It’s ready for anything, from the biggest of hits to the longest of rides in the UK or in the tall mountain alps and climbing traction is good too.
The price is good for the components on the bike, it’s very rare to see such a bomb-proof frame, suspension package and a strong wheelset for under £4,000.
You may be looking at how to make the bike a tad lighter and the bike doesn’t carry speed well on flatter trails.
Versatile for such a big bike
Could do better:
Not the lightest bike
Odd climbing position
Needs gravity to come alive
Check out the GT Force 29 Pro and the rest of the range on GT’s website here.