|Professional Tweaks, Tips & Reviews By "AJ" Picarello
|I hope you find my Tweaks and Tips section helpful. If there is something you want to know about, send me an email and I will try to add that to one of my upcoming articles.
Cycling Sports Group (GT, Mongoose, Schwinn, Cannondale and recently Iron Horse) invited DOWN Cycles and other select shops to a multi day seminar/dirt demo in Park City Ut this past June. I extended my stay a few days and took a road trip down to Moab with a couple 2010 GT’s locked and loaded.
Other than parking lot tests, I never properly thrashed around on a new GT. I always admired GT’s attention to detail and trick suspension design. Ironically, before I was a dealer, I primarily rode only GT bikes. For crying out loud, GT was my first grass roots sponsor!
In park city I tested the GT Sanction on lift access runs at Deer Valley. The Sanction was a spot on bike for this type of riding. 6” travel was enough to bomb almost all the runs and hit them fast and clean. I took it down the national course. I rode ninety percent on the track, but walked it through the Barney Rubble rock garden. I also didn’t feel confident enough to hit the big drops. I tried not to fall in love with the bike since it will only be available as a UK bike for 2010. Say good bye in 2010 to the Sanction state side.
I also tested the GT carbon Zaskar. This bike is scary fast! It rides extremely light and has stable geometry for high speeds (this is a good thing because you will only ride at high speeds). If you’re in the market for a lightning fast XC racer, consider the Zaskar. It is an unfair advantage on an XC loop as far as I’m concerned (even though I took the town lift to the top). Every other bike you ride will feel like a pig after riding a carbon Zaskar. I won’t be right for a while after that experience.
Moving on to the bike that stands out as my favorite of all time, a new model for 2010, the GT Sensor! I tested it out in Park City and fell in love. This is the bike I took to Moab along with a Force. The Sensor is a 5” trail bike with perfect geometry, a longish stroke rear air shock (low leverage ratio) and a rock solid build kit. The bike I tested had a full XT build, Fox air rear with lock out and Fox Float RL, 15mm fork.
From what I was told, the GT Sensor will be priced very competitively. The frame is alloy and is not available in carbon fiber. Handling is superb and the suspension is absolutely perfect! GT got the suspension balance nailed down on this new design. 5” trail bikes should be quick to accelerate and this bike rockets to speed thanks to the stiff swing arm and dialed in, no slop suspension links. What amazed me most is the positive rider to ground feedback. In other words, this bike does not feel like mush at all. The rider can feel what is happening beneath him, but is not being punished. The bike can be pumped back up to speed without any loss/absorption from inefficient suspension. I feel that the long stroke air shock has a lot to do with the Sensors dialed in ride quality. The shock is not working hard thanks to a low leverage ratio.
The Sensor’s ride is lively and inspirers confidence. I actually liked this bike much better compared to the more expensive 6” travel GT Force. I’m not sure how keen I am about 6” travel XC rigs. They just feel like too much bike for XC. The GT Sensor is my next trail bike for sure. Get ready to read crazy positive reviews when they’re released. The 2010 GT Sensor is simply fun to ride, easy to ride at speed and crushes anything you throw at it!