On Test | The 2022 GT Force brings high pivot suspension & adjustable chainstays to the party


Having been teased all throughout this year’s Enduro World Series, the new GT Force has finally been unveiled, and this is surely the biggest and baddest version we’ve seen yet. Overhauled with a brand new chassis for 2022, the Force adopts reworked suspension kinematics, an idler pulley, and a curious take on the geometry flip chip. To see how all the changes play out on the trail and how it compares to the competition, we’ve got a new GT Force to put to the test. Read on for our first look of this big-wheeled, big-travel beast!

gt force carbon pro 2022
With a swoopy silhouette, we reckon the new Force is a great looking bike.

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2022 GT Force overview

The GT Force maintains its place as the Californian brand’s hard-charging long-travel 29er, though rear squish has bumped up to 160mm, while the fork remains 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. Many high pivot designs have utilised a single pivot rear end layout, however in a similar fashion to Cannondale’s new Jekyll and the Norco Range, the Force Maintains its LTS 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.’

Adjustable chainstays

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.

For the new Force, GT has opted to move the flip-chip to the chainstay. This offers you a Short (435mm) and Long (445mm) settings for the rear centre length, leaving the angles and BB height fixed. 

2022 gt force carbon pro
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.

The beauty of this system is that one bike can offer different rear centre lengths without GT needing to develop a new swingarm and tweak the suspension kinematics. This helps riders of different heights to achieve the weight distribution they’re after. As such, Small and Medium frames will come out of the box in the short setting, while Large and X-Large bikes will be in the long setting, though of course riders can easily change setting as desired.

As for the rest of the geometry, GT has slackened the head angle out to 63.5°, and steepened the seat tube to 78°. Both the reach and stack have also increased.

2022 GT Force

High pivot horst link

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 pulley, complete with a chain guide, above the crank. 

2022 gt force pro
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 hopefully improve the poor pedalling performance of its predecessor while also causing less dive and improve braking control.

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 pro
Our test bike is the GT Force Pro, which sits in the middle of the range with its 170mm travel RockShox ZEB and carbon mainframe.

2022 GT Force price & specs

The GT Force will be available in three flavours for 2022: the Carbon Pro, the Carbon Pro LE, and the Carbon Elite. Prices kick off at $5,399 AUD for the base-level Carbon Elite.

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.

Our test bike is the GT Force Carbon Pro, which sits in the middle of the range. We’ll be ragging it in the Victorian High Country over the next few weeks, and we are chomping at the bit to see what the big GT can do! Stay tuned for our review coming soon, and in the meantime, read on for a closer look at the specs and prices on the full range.

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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

2022 gt force pro
How does the GT Force stack up against competitors like the Trek Slash, Specialized Enduro and Cannondale Jekyll? Stay tuned for our impressions of this big travel brawler!

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