Taken from the 25 Years of World Cup Racing book.

By the mid 1990s the name GT was one that had become synonymous with the cutting edge of downhill bikes and full suspension in general.

The big names such as Mike King, Eric Carter, Steve Peat and Nico Vouilloz all rode for the American brand. It became THE team to be on, not just because of the bikes but the image too. One man not so worried about the corporate identity was Nico Vouilloz.

The Frenchman had won the inaugural World Cup in 1993 but it wasn’t until 1995 that he won the series for GT. In fact Nico only won a few races on GT, but his ’95 victory in Cap d’Ail still stands as the biggest winning margin in men’s downhill World Cups. The famous Cap d’Ail world cup track drops from a high cliff overlooking the affluent Monaco bay and hosted the first race of the season.

It was from nearby here that a young Nico grew up and learned his trade among some of the most inhospitable limestone tracks in the world. The GT Team is one of Nico’s first factory GT bikes and the very one that he won the famous event on.

Some of the most striking features of the bike are its weight and head angle which puts it on par with many current top enduro bikes, Nico had to rely on that slack head angle for support as good hydraulics were still being developed, it was a time of crude damping.Nico was yet to get anywhere near 100mm travel up front and here he was running some of the first Judy DH single crown forks.

Nico is still on cantilever brakes, quick release wheels and yet already has Michelin prototype rubber and tough Mavic rims.

The Frenchman won two titles on the GT bike in ’95 and ’96 shutting out strong American challenges from Mike King, Myles Rockwell and of course Shaun Palmer. Interestingly Nico’s bike steepens over the year but gets the first triple-crown factory-only 6” Boxxer. He’s still relying on V brakes in ’95 during a period when Warner and Peaty are on Hope hydraulics, the same year Steve managed his first podium and Rob the first ever British win. The following year Nico makes a mount and begins running a rear Formula disc brake however.

In terms of geometry, in ’96 the Frenchman gets a slightly lower bottom bracket, slightly longer wheelbase and chainstay, yet the bike has only gained a pound in weight. It’s the year that Thomas Misser wins a couple on a Kona, and where a round was held in Hawaii, a podium dominated by American racers. Overall, however, Nico wins from German Marcus Klausmann, it’s a season dominated by the Europeans.

From this period on, ‘97 and beyond, there was a significant change in travel and also weight. In an interview Nico talks of the difficulties in adapting to the longer-travel heavier bikes as he thought his skill was with the lighter bike and shorter travel.

Taken from the 25 Years of World Cup Racing book. Buy your copy here.

Nicolas Vouilloz’s 1995 GT Team

RIDER HEIGHT: 1.76m 
RIDER WEIGHT: 67kg

TRAVEL: 120mm (4.7”)  
CHAINSTAY: 432mm (17”)
FRONT CENTRE: 692mm (27.24”)
WHEELBASE: 1124mm (44.25”)
BOTTOM BRACKET: 343mm (13.5”)
DOWNTUBE: 610mm (24”)
HEAD ANGLE: 65
BAR: 660mm
STEM: 90mm
BAR HEIGHT TO FLOOR: 1003mm (39.5”)
WEIGHT: 13.17kg (29.04lb)

Nicolas Vouilloz’s 1996 GT Team

RIDER HEIGHT: 1.76m
RIDER WEIGHT: 67kg

TRAVEL: 120mm (4.7”)
CHAINSTAY: 445mm (17.5”)  
FRONT CENTRE: 685mm (26.96”)  
WHEELBASE: 1130mm (44.5”) 
BOTTOM BRACKET: 337mm (13.25”)  
DOWNTUBE: 635mm (25”) 
HEAD ANGLE: 67
BAR: 660mm
STEM: 75mm
BAR HEIGHT TO FLOOR: 1010mm (39.75”) 
WEIGHT: 13.63kg (30.07lb)