06 Jul 2018

GT is bringing back the LTS! Yep, an all-new bike featuring adjustable geometry, trunnion mount shock and four bar horst bar suspension, just like it was in the late nineties. Though that’s where the similarities stop, this new 2019 release is vastly different from the old bucket of bolts we still adore.

The not-so-minor details

Product

2019 GT Force and Sensor

Contact

GT Bicycles

https://www.gtbicycles.com/

Positives

Simple, solid, fuss-free.

Negatives

Force feels short in the reach, choose a larger size for racing.

GT is a brand like no other, there’s good reason that a retro tragic like myself has more GT’s in the garage than any other brand. GT is over 40 years old and has pushed the development of mountain bikes so hard, and the result was some very whacky results and some very popular designs that will no doubt trigger a feeling of nostalgia in anyone who’s been riding since the 90s.


Watch the bike in action and hear our thoughts in the video below.


Introducing the new GT LTS range, Sensor and Force.

But that drive to experiment could be blamed for GT dropping out of the spotlight over the last few years, concepts like the i-Drive and AOS had consumers polarised with their abstract looks, and the suspension system was not without its shortcomings in a very competitive market.

Circling back today and GT has released two new bikes that we know you’re all going to say looks like a combination of a Kona, Cube, Trek, Giant, Transition and so on. It is certainly a very familiar shape though we think that’s exactly what GT needed to get back in the game. These bikes are based on a proven design, moving in this direction has given the frame designers complete freedom to do their thing and create a bike just how they wanted.

These bikes are based on a proven design, moving in this direction has given the frame designers complete freedom to do their thing and create a bike just how they wanted.

A proven four-bar suspension design with a horst link pivot on the chainstay.

The new bikes are well specced, low on fuss, there are no proprietary bits, external cable routing, and a refreshing lack of silly acronyms.

Alrighty, so what do we have here then? Two entirely new models, the Sensor and Force. The Sensor is GT’s new trail bike, 29: wheels, 130mm travel front and back, available in carbon and aluminium versions.

The Force is the Sensor’s wilder brother, bumping up the suspension to 160 up front, and 150 out the back, with 27.5” wheels.


GT Force

Yiew, the Force is a playful little thing. Solid, agile and packs a punch.
Double-row bearings at the main pivots and large tubing everywhere, it’s one of the more stiff bikes we have ridden.

This is one very solid bike, with huge tubing, double-row bearings where needed, it rides as solid as it looks. Built around 27.5” wheels and a frame geometry that errs on the shorter side of the spectrum, it is most at home ripping trails for the fun of it.

Suspension is built around a single0ring drivetrain with a focus on traction and efficiency.
160mm forks up front for going bonkers.

We rode some remarkably rough and raw trails on this thing and it took it in its stride really well. Then down to some purpose-built trails in the bike park and we were ripping through the place and jumping gaps blind with great confidence.

This is the bike the GT Factory Race team have been seen using for quite some time now on the Enduro World Series, though unable to really speak about it until now. Both Martin Maes and Noga Korem are here on their team bikes, using the exact same frame.

If we were to take the Force racing, going up one size would give us a longer bike for stability, as we found it shorter in the reach than many of the other 27.5” wheel bikes with the same amount of travel.

If we were to take the Force racing, going up one size would give us a longer bike for stability

The top-end model here is set to retail for $7000 in Australia, the range is quite strong with four Force models, two carbon and one aluminium starting at $4000.


GT Sensor

The Carbon Pro model isn’t an Australian spec model, damn it!

The Sensor shares the same construction and frame design as the force, built around 29” wheels and 130mm of travel at both ends.

After a solid day on the trails we’re confident that this bike is going to be very popular in Australia, while it doesn’t feel like a featherweight it climbs technical trails so very well, and with a robust frame and tough tyres we had the confidence to hammer the descents. The rear suspension feels so supportive, we surprised ourselves by climbing up steep ledges, lunging forward and clawing our way up the Sensor nails it.

We surprised ourselves by climbing up steep ledges, lunging forward and clawing our way up the Sensor nails it.

The Sensor is a brilliant all-round trail bike.
A beefy linkage for a solid bike.
Horst link suspension for a dialled ride.
The lower shock mount can be flipped for geometry adjustment.

Unlike some lighter carbon frames on the market that have a little give or ‘good flex’ in the frame but risk feeling too light and shaky under heavier riders or hard terrain, both these bikes feel solid as a rock. So solid that it’s worth taking the time to dial in the suspension settings and tyre pressures for a smoother ride. Heavier riders will appreciate the robust chassis, for sure.

Like the Force, the frame flip geometry gives you the option of a high and low setting. Lift it up for more pedal clearance and sharper angles that make it climb easier or opt for the lower setting for a lower and slacker bike for better descending and cornering.

The Sensor will be available in four models also, starting at a very appealing $3000 for the base model with an aluminium frame up to $5999 for this groovy maroon and tan model – Expert below.

Verdict

While only spending a few hours of riding on each, we’re pretty impressed with new LTS bikes. Our advice would be to consider upsizing on a Force is racing is your thing, and experiment with the flip chip to dial the geometry for your trails.

The LTS is back, baby!

GT have cut away all the mumbo-jumbo and have gone after the rider who wants a solid suspension bike without the complexities and fuss that can be a distraction from why we ride in the first place.