Tough choices in the general duty market.
DIRT ISSUE 145 – MARCH 2014
Words by Steve Jones. Photo by Ben Winder
Six–inch travel, general duty bikes, are high on many riders’ wish lists at the minute. There are numerous offerings, increasingly of carbon variety and fitted up with one or two by ten gearing, air sprung, compulsory dropper post and not forgetting the larger 27.5” wheels.
Over the past month I’ve had no end of people getting in contact asking for recommendations of bikes around the 150mm travel mark. And whilst it’s true that there are many options, nailing it down to the prize bike is slightly more difficult. Price and suspension govern a large part of the decision making. A lot of 150mm bikes are slightly overpriced, and the standard issue Fox 34 fork is certainly not on par with the RockShox Pike… for the time being at least.
With the task of checking out some of the possibles we asked Tim Wild (author of our recent trail centre and bike park features), and who is currently in the market for a mid travel bike to replace his four year old Specialized Enduro, to take a look at a few 150 bikes. Tim comes up with some hard words. Indeed it’s a tough time for making calls on mid–travel bikes and the carbon offerings seems to be a shade heavy on the pricing. I’d certainly be making comparisons to the slightly longer travel, higher spec’d and lighter Trek Slash at a thousand pounds less. But even that bike, like the Force, needs a fork upgrade. These are his first impressions of the GT.
“I really liked it. I first rode it after a few runs on the Lapierre Spicy, and I will compare it against that. I looked at the bikes and put clips on the Spicy and flats on the GT, it just had that look about it.
I wasn’t convinced by the shape of the GT at first, I found my weight too far back, but I put my weight forward in the turns more and it was RAD, almost like it was making me ride faster. It was great in the air and pretty confidence inspiring. I also really liked it on smoother trails.
Having said that I don’t think it’s one of the faster bikes that I’ve ridden, plus I had to adjust my riding more than say the Spicy or my Enduro, the suspension felt limited too, and I couldn’t hit the top bit of ‘Sheep Skull’ in Forest of Dean without getting bounced off line, but I’d happily ride this bike all day but…
Thing is, I don’t know why you would buy one. I believe the price at £5300 isn’t that good value for money. Super bike price, but all XT? The Spicy is around £500 more and I think provides better value”.
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