This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–http://reviews.mtbr.com/category/enduro-compare-o-2014
Pop quiz: Name the last GT bike that made a splash in the mountain bike world? Stumped? So are we. It’s been a while.
So what do you do when you want people to stand up and take notice? In GT’s case, it’s fully embraced the trend of the moment (27.5-inch wheels), and then rolled out a brand new suspension platform dubbed Angle Optimized Suspension, or AOS. You can find this new technology on both its new-for-2014 model lines, the 150mm Force and 130mm Sensor, which are only available with tweener sized wheels.
The idea behind AOS is that manipulating the wheel path is the key to bike riding happiness. Utilizing a high pivot point, the rear wheel moves upward and backward, which GT claims gets the wheel out of the way of obstacles more effectively, making for a more capable and playful ride. And that brings us to the next question, how well will AOS work and can it change current perception of this once faltering brand? Stay tuned.
The centerpiece of the Sensor Carbon is its AOS suspension system, which has a high pivot point that GT claims allows the rear wheel to move out of the way of bumps more effectively. In the past, bike’s with high-pivot suspension designs were a little sloppy going uphill, but GT says that this bike’s other engineering breakthrough, dubbed PathLink, minimizes pedal feedback by controlling chain growth and isolating rider input from suspension performance. Sounds good on paper. But the proof can only be found in the test trail.
If a bike’s overall worth is determined by the sum of its parts, the GT Sensor Carbon Expert could be in trouble. Among the spec choices that already have us scratching our collective heads, Formula T1S brakes, a RockShox Sektor RL fork, and a triple crankset. Heck, we thought triples were dead. To see one on a bike that costs nearly $5,000 is a big red flag. Same goes for the 32mm stanchion lower-tier fork.
We’d normally associate Continental X-Kings with XC riding, but let’s hope this high volume rubber will provide enough grip on our loose, dusty test trails.
You never known until you try something, but our test rig has some particularly curious cable routing with right angles and odd paths, especially underneath the bottom bracket. If past experience is any indication, this could cause some sticky shifting — especially with three chainrings involved.
Bottom bracket height measures a lower-than-average 13.2 inches, which typically equates to more stability, more precise steering and that coveted “whippy” feel that’s so often bandied about when anyone talks about 27.5-inch enduro bikes. We’ll see if the GT delivers on that promise.
2014 GT Sensor Carbon Expert Key Specs
- Weight: 28.04 pounds (size large)
- Wheel size: 27.5 inches
- Frame Material: Carbon
- Travel/Suspension: Rear 130mm/Fox Float CTD shock; Front 130mm/RockShox Sektor fork
- Drivetrain: Shimano SLX with Race Evolve triple crankset (42/32/22t) and Shimano 10-36 cassette
- Brakes: Formula T1S with 180mm rotors
- Seatpost: KS Lev Integra dropper post
- Wheelset/Tires: WTB ST i23 TCS 650b with All Terra High Flange alloy disc hubs; Continental X-King 2.4” front tire/2.2” rear tire
- Bars/Stem: Kore Durox AL6061 bars 740mm; Kore Cubix 80mm
- Bottom bracket type: RaceFace PF30
- Head tube angle: 68.5 degrees
- Seat tube angle: 73.5 degrees
- Chainstay length: 17.3 inches
- Bottom bracket height: 13.2 inches
- Bike MSRP: $4880
- Frame MSRP: n/a
For more information visit http://www.gtbicycles.com/.
Read our Bottom Line Evaluation of the GT Sensor Carbon Expert here.
This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.