The Float 32 RL on the front of the GT feels so much better than Fox Talas forks on test. Its spring curve is progressive without being harsh and steering precision is first-rate. We never used the lockout as it actually makes the geometry of the bike worse for climbing. Also, Fox forks need to be cycled fully to keep the bushings lubricated, so extended use of the lockout can accelerate wear. When will product managers learn that more dials isn’t always better?
On the rear, we always ran the Fox RP2 shock in the minimum ProPedal setting and even then the suspension on the GT was lacking.
In simple terms, the GT with minimum ProPedal felt like the other bikes with maximum ProPedal. It’s fine for climbing but the back end of the GT felt harsh on out-of-the-saddle descents where the handling was only saved by the superior performance of the fork.
While the Truvativ handlebar and stem serve their purpose, their bulbous nature seems out of place with the slender profile of the front end on the GT. Also, with the longest cockpit on test, the GT is one bike here that would really benefit from a 70mm stem.
The Kenda Nevegal tyres give the GT plenty of traction while adding some much needed cushioning but, as with any soft compound fat tyre, you notice the drag on fire roads.
Like Iron Horse, GT has fitted a larger volume 2.35in front tyre to raise the front end of the bike, slackening the frame angles a touch.
The i-Drive suspension design has virtually no pedal feedback in the middle or granny ring, but occasionally when sprinting out of a dip while in the big ring you get a bit of chain slack that causes a delay in acceleration. Surprisingly, you can’t feel the bottom bracket moving when you are riding, even though it moves back by almost 3/4in and up by 1/2in.
But that’s not to say that its effect goes unnoticed. By having to move the bottom bracket up by 1/2in the rider’s weight also has to be lifted over the bump, increasing the unsprung mass and reducing the effectiveness of the suspension. We feel that this may have more to do with the poor suspension performance on the GT than the shock valving.
Either way, the GT was the only bike of the eight on test that left us with sore feet at the bottom of the Skyline descent. One rider likened it to riding a hardtail, while another who spent most of the time sat down thought the suspension was OK. The GT handles well in spite of the suspension, but if you really want to attack the trails look elsewhere.
When we tested the ID5 3.0 back in January we gave it eight out of 10 on the proviso that the suspension on the production bikes would feel better. Well, six months down the line we’re still struggling with rear end harshness so the GT ID5 1.0 is getting a seven. We recently received some revalved shocks to see if we can improve the suspension performance, so we’ll bring you an update on that next month.
MBR RATING: 7/10