Great geometry, sizing and suspension
In the low position the new 29er GT Sensor Carbon Pro sports a 65.5 degree head angle, which is pretty slack for a 130mm travel bike.
GT Sensor Carbon Pro need to know
- 29er trail bike with 130mm travel
- LTS suspension linkage is a genuine 4-bar design
- Grove tube in carbon front end conceals cables
- Flip-chip in the lower shock mount offers two geometry settings
- Fully compatible with 27.5 Plus wheels
- Five models; starting with the entry-level Sensor Sport at £1,599
GT Sensor Carbon Pro first ride review
Over the past 25 years GT has developed multiple suspension platforms. It all started with RTS; a short-travel design with a high single-pivot and linkage actuated shock. It was GT’s second suspension platform however that really revolutionised full suspension bikes, transforming GT into an MTB powerhouse with the likes of Nicolas Vouilloz piloting the LTS (linkage tuned suspension) to multiple title wins.
LTS then made way for the more complex and less effective i-Drive design that later morphed into GT’s Angle Optimised Suspension, which was basically a highbred design combining a Horst link pivot with i-Drive. And while these floating BB designs pedalled exceptionally well, GT trail bikes became less relevant in the modern ear.
Now GT has almost come full circle as it reintroduces LTS on its longstanding Force and Sensor platforms. The new suspension layout looks nothing like the original but it retains all of the key features that made LTS so effective, including a Horst link pivot on the chainstay and a Trunnion mounted shock. Granted, the shock is now a Metric design and rather than threading the shock through the mount to adjust the geometry, the latest version has a simple flip-chip that offers two settings, high and low.
The sizing is progressive, the reach number on the size L a generous 470mm. It gets a threaded BB of ease of maintenance and GT had shunned internal cable routing on the carbon front end. Instead, it uses a Grove Tube, which is basically a recess in the upper side of the downtube that gives the smooth sleek appearance of internal cable routing without any of the hassle.
The build kit on the Sensor Carbon Pro ticks most of the trail bike boxes. SRAM Level LT disc brakes with 180mm rotors front and rear mean you’ll have no issue modulating your speed and they will get you out of trouble just a quickly as the Sensor can get you into it. Control is enhanced further with the whopping 800mm Race Face handlebar. If you think that’s overkill, it’s not a problem as you can simply cut it down to your desired width.
One area where I found the Sensor’s build kit to be somewhat lacking was tyre choice. The 2.35in Addix Speedgrip Schwalbe Performance tyre is okay on the rear as it rolls well, but given how hard the Sensor can be ridden I’d like a softer compound tyre up front for optimum control.
The frame and fork are both Boost, and unlike some 29ers the Sensor has sufficient clearance to swallow 27.5in wheels with full-blown 2.8in Plus tyres fitted. That’s where the geometry flip-chip really comes in handy, the high setting compensating for the reduced size of the 27.5in Plus wheels. It’s also why the alloy stays on the rear of the Sensor are a little wider than some and why I ended up rubbing the heel of my shoe on them. Not while pedalling though, and it was just my back foot, so it must have been happening when carving corners, and boy does the Sensor love to carve corners.
In fact, this bike feels superbly balanced, the combination of the modern geometry, generous sizing and dialled LTS suspension combining to put the rider in a very neutral position on the bike. As such, it can be ridden much harder than its 130mm travel suggests. It pedals well too; not in a hardtail firm kinda way, but it remains settled in the sag position providing good traction on lose climbs without too much movement at the shock.
It’s a great 29er trail bike and while I’m not sure if the latest LTS design is going to be enough to bounce GT back to the dizzying heights of its success in the 90s, the new Sensor 29er platform puts it squarely back in the running.