Flow’s First Bite: GT Force X-Carbon Expert

Words by Flow | Images by Flowtographer

The not-so-minor details

Product

GT Force-X Expert Carbon

Contact

Cycling Sports Group (CSG)
www.gtbicycles.com

Price

AUD4,999.00

Weight

14.90kg

Positives

Efficient, and burly - two aspects that don't usually come together
Clean cables
Hard charging geometry

Negatives

Dry and sticky fork
Heavy casing tyres
Brakes

You can find our full write-up here.

There’s a bit of a GT fan in every mountain biker whose early years were in the nineties, when GT had a firm grasp on what was rad, cool and desirable. They’ve been through ups and downs, and can be quiet for years at a time but holy moly have they come out the background with guns blazing this year. The 150mm Force, the 130mm Sensor and the wild downhill bike, The Fury are amazing feats of engineering.

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We loved the GT Sensor for its direct and efficient ride plus its crazy appearance is so very unique. And now we have gotten our hands on the GT Force-X Expert, a slightly more aggressive version of the GT Force. The original Force never really made it to our shores, so when GT’s mid-season release of the Force-X came around, the Australian GT importers snagged the opportunity. And we made sure we got our hands on one.

The ‘X’ label essentially means bigger tyres, wider bars, a Float X rear shock, and a double chainring drivetrain.

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The Force-X was thrown in the deep end for this test, we practically set the suspension, ditched the tubes and set the seat height and we were racing. The first Rollercoaster Gravity Enduro race was going to be a great place to break it in.

There's a lot of material making up the burly frame.

There’s a lot of material making up the burly frame.

Race day, baptism by fire.

Race day, baptism by fire.

After a solid day of riding, we made a few quick stern judgements; Formula Brakes are still not our favourites and they take a long time to bed in, the FOX Evolution Series fork was assembled with cous cous instead of lubricant, and the tyres are mighty heavy. But, on the upside we found ourselves hanging on the Force-X down a proper downhill track, jumping gaps, ploughing rocks like mad. The Force-X is a burly bike.

The FOX Float-X is a long way away from your hands, right down in the middle of the frame, if you wish to toggle the little blue Propedal lever when moving it’s a stretch, but believe us, this is one seriously efficient bike. We left the lever in the open setting even when climbing; it’s fantastic how little the suspension bobs when pedalling.

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See how high the main suspension pivot is, this allows the rear wheel to move up in a more vertical plane when encountering impacts.

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A FOX Float X CTD shock handles the bounce.

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GT’s COR – Centered On Rider system is all about keeping the bikes mass centred and low, and they’ve certainly managed that. All the beef is contained in one area.

Note how high the main pivot is, and then think about what happens when a rock comes along and pushes the rear wheel upwards, the rear wheel can track in a very vertical path compared to bikes with pivots behind the chainrings. So, we experimented, and yes it takes fast impacts like a champion.

We’ll lighten the wheels up, slicken the fork seals (a 25 minute job) and probably ditch the brakes to boost the Force-X to the next level. Keep in touch, for a full review soon.

 

 

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