Words by David Arthur.
Dan Atherton has a brand new bike to ride, as GT Bicycles last recently officially unveiled the majorly updated Force. Of course, keen readers will know that Dan has been riding a prototype bike for some time – GT have spent the last two years developing this new platform and Dan’s input has been vital – but now the cat is out the bag and this is our first close look at the 2014 Force.
GT have spent those two years updating the Independent Drivetrain (ID) suspension that has been an integral element of their bikes for 13 years since they first introduced it. Getting Peter Denk involved (who designed the Cannondale Jekyll and Scott Genius before that) has seen the most dramatic redesign of ID in its history.
In essence, it’s still an ID, but the new Path Link replaces the previous assembly and cuts down on weight while increasing the stiffness and simultaneously reducing the complexity, so it’s now easier to service. There are 15mm axles throughout, something Denk borrowed from the Jekyll. These, along with the oversized frame tubing and tapered head tube, ensures maximum frame stiffness.
This new Path Link houses the bottom bracket and connects the front triangle to the swingarm, allowing the BB to swing backwards to counteract chain growth as the rear wheel path follows a rearward curve. There’s a pivot located on the chainstay near the 12x142mm Maxle axle. The upshot of this redesigned suspension platform is one much less affected by chain growth with far improved pedalling efficiency, a good thing for an enduro rider with the important transition stages to take into consideration.