2022 GT Force | We sense a high pivot, carbon fibre disturbance in the force


The last time GT overhauled the Force in 2018, we saw the bike move from the brand’s I-Drive suspension to a more conventional Horst link design, and it was only available with 27.5in wheels. About a year later, the brand added a 29in model, which was essentially a scaled-up version of the frame. 

The 29er was only available in an alloy frame, and this big-wheeled Force was a rock gobbling, enduro crusher. It was composed on chundery descents and flying through the stratosphere, but it was heavy, and the active rear suspension was not overly efficient when the trail pointed up.

For 2022, GT has totally revamped the Force with a plastic fantastic frame, new suspension kinematics, a non-traditional take on the flip-chip, and more.

2022 GT Force
With a swoopy silhouette, we reckon the new Force is a great looking bike.

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2022 GT force overview

The Force maintains its place in GT’s range as a hard-charging long-travel 29er, and the rear squish has bumped up to 160mm, while the front stays at 170mm.

We have officially entered the era of the high pivot, and the GT Force is the latest to join the club, placing the main pivot of its Horst link rear end and an idler above the front chainring. Traditionally high pivot designs utilise a single pivot rear end layout, however in a similar fashion to Cannondale’s new Jekyll and the Norco Range, the Force Maintains a four-bar design.

You won’t find a mullet or a small wheel here, with the Force only available with 29in hoops at launch. In previous product cycles, we have seen the Force adapted to other wheel sizes in subsequent launches, so it’s in the realm of possibility there might be a mullet or 27.5in version in the pipeline.

GT has opted for tube-in-tube cable routing to offer clean lines without the hassle of trying to fish housing out of the black hole inside your downtube. To keep your chain quiet and the paint mostly chip-free, there is ample protection on the chain and seat stays. 

The brand has also pitched the support strut on the seat tube as integrated frame storage. It’s a great spot to strap your spares, and there is room for a tube, multi-tool, and CO2 in the little nook, but ‘integrated storage’ might be a bit generous. 

2022
We’ll admit it’s a good spot to store your spares, but we wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s ‘integrated storage.’

2022 GT force geometry

On full suspension bikes nowadays, when a frame has a flip-chip, it’s usually somewhere in the suspension linkage and designed to alter the BB height, seat and head angles. The previous version of the Force saw one in the lower shock mount that raised or lowered the BB by 7mm and changed the head and seat angles by half a degree.

2020 GT Force
We struggled to come up with any other full suspension bikes made in the last decade with a flip chip at the rear axle only.

GT has opted to move the flip-chip in the new Force to the chainstay, offering +/-10mm of adjustment leaving the angles and BB height fixed. The industry is divided on flip chips at the moment, with some bikes like the Cannondale Jekyll (Cannondale and GT are both owned by Dorell Sports Group) most of the Norco’s don’t utilise flip chips. Other brands like Santa Cruz and Rocky Mountain have flip chips in the linkage and the chainstay — Specialized even has an angled headset cup on the Stumpjumper Evo. 

Only offering chainstay length adjustment means that one bike can offer different rear centre lengths without GT needing to develop a new swingarm and tweak the suspension kinematics. In that same vein, when you flip the chip, the suspension rate also changes slightly — a taller rider using the long setting ends up with a higher leverage rate than a shorter rider in the short setting. According to GT, the small and medium frames will come out of the box in the short setting, while large and XL bikes will be in the long setting.

2022 GT Force

As for the rest of the geometry, GT has slackened the head angle to 63.5-degrees, steepened the seat tube to 78-degrees and lowered the standover height in size M.

In the long setting, the chainstays gain two millimetres over the old frame, now measuring 445mm, and the stack and reach have increased to 455mm and 636mm in size M frame. 

High pivot horst link

2022 GT Force

GT has been playing with four-bar, high pivot idler designs for some time on its Fury downhill bike, and has now trickled this arrangement down into the Force. This suspension layout is designed to create a rearward axle path to boost its bump devouring prowess. To lessen the effect of chain growth as the axle moves away from the bike, GT has employed an idler pully, complete with a chain guide, above the crank. 

2022 GT Force
The Force is the latest long-travel 29er to join the high pivot with an idler club.

The previous iteration of the Force was tuned with a relatively low level of anti-squat to provide a supple and slightly progressive suspension, especially under power, creating a bike that excelled in steep and spicy descents. But, when it came time to pedal, the bike was wallowy and inefficient, made worse by its 16.64kg weight.

With the redesign, GT has increased the anti-squat and anti-rise, which should address the poor pedalling performance of its predecessor while also causing less dive and improve braking control.

GT tells us the new Force is ready for air and coil shocks.

GT has increased the shock stroke length by ten millimetres (65mm) to lower the overall leverage ratio, and the brand tells us the bike can be set up with an air or coil shock. 

2022 GT Force price & availability

The local GT distributor, PSI Cycling, is bringing three models of the Force to Australia: the Carbon Pro, which is due to land later this month; the Carbon Pro LE, which is arriving in September; and the Carbon Elite, which is scheduled to be available from December. 

Each model shares the same frame and is spec’d with either a Rockshox Zeb or Yari on the front, a Super Deluxe air shock at the rear, SRAM mechanical drivetrains and four-piston brakes. Rolling stock comes in the form of various WTB rims that are packaged in a Maxxis Assegai, Minion DHR 2 tyre combo. For a closer look at each model and local pricing, read below. 

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2022 GT Force
The 2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE is the top-spec build.

GT Force Carbon Pro LE

2022 GT Force
The Force Carbon Pro is a mid-range build and will be the first model we see locally.

GT Force Carbon Pro

2022 GT Force
Priced at $5,399.95 AUD, the GT Force Carbon Elite is the entry-level build. 

GT Force Carbon Elite

 

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