The radical new carbon fiber Fury downhill bike from GT Bicycles will undoubtedly stir up lots of controversy, but there are lots of other GT bikes being released here in Livigno, Italy that we can actually ride. Here's an overview of the new GT quiver.
The Force premiered a year ago as the big brother to the i-Drive 5 model. It's a pure trail bike made for the vast majority of riders. And for 2009, GT has again whipped up a carbon fiber makeover for the Force. The new Force Pro model is a gorgeous curvy raw carbon beast that thankfully rides as good as it looks, after three days of on-trail testing anyways—a long term test is hopefully in the near future.
All Force models feature integrated headsets, replaceable forged aluminum dropouts, 69-degree head angles, six-inches of rear wheel travel and a 3:1 leverage ratio. The rear suspension is no longer being called i-Drive, GT is referring to it as Independent Drive, regardless it works and that is all that matters. The ride is very active under braking, has no noticeable pedal feedback and does not bob, even when out of the saddle and not using low-speed compression damping. I don't like to jump to conclusions about bikes without giving them a thorough test, but my initial impression told me that the Force Pro with the new carbon frame could become a new favorite for me.
Five Force models are slated to be built, two carbon, and three aluminum. I rode the aluminum model too and despite an additional 1.5 pounds, or so, of weight the alloy model rides just as good and will be less expensive—a perfect weekend warrior every-bike.
GT has taken notice of the growing trend in popularity of twentyniner bikes and has redesigned a Zaskar hardtail model specifically for the genre. The Zaskar 9r is an XC platform for serious twentyniner riders. GT previously entered the 29-inch hardtail market with the steel Peace model and will retain that bike for recreational users. The new Zaskar 9r is built for racing and tough riding, letting user take full advantage of the improved traction, better stability and increased inertia of a 29-inch wheeled bike.