GT Bicycles was at the Sea Otter Classic showing the all new Sanction, a model they have brought back now with more travel (165mm) and bigger wheels (27.5″). The old Sanction had 150mm of travel and pretty aggressive geometry and was first released around 2006. It’s been gone for a couple of years, but behind the scenes it’s been in development along with the GT’s popular Fury (DH bike). With the new Sanction, GT wanted a purpose built Enduro Race Bike, specifically.
Atherton racing and Dan Atherton, in particular, was integral to the development of this new bike. Dan wanted something that he could ride that would be world class and get him to the top step of the Enduro World Series podiums. GT’s Head Engineer Etienne Warnery worked on the design of the Fury and he got great feedback from the team about the pedaling and suspension characteristics of the ID gravity design that also included the new, longer front-center concept. Etienne took a lot of what they learned with the development of the Fury and worked with Dan to help tune it for the all new Sanction. Around March/April of 2013, Dan got the first Sanction test mule that was made from off-the-shelf round tubing. The test mule was nothing special but it allowed them to test the hard points and the concepts as far as the geometry settings and suspension design. The test mule helped make sure the bike tune was working to his liking, before they went further into the design process.
Etienne was able to use a lot of the ID design from the Fury (placement of the pivots, etc..) and transfer that over to the Sanction, especially in regards to how the bike is able to pedal over rocks and chunder without sacrificing downhill capabilities. We asked Etienne about the advent of the 1x drivetrain allowing the designers to do things differently now. Etienne explained, “Without the constraint of having to fit a front derailleur…that placement would be very complex with how the rear swingarm moves and how everything now is made to be super rigid with large size frame shaping. If we had to fit a front derailleur we would lose the stiffness. To fit a front derailleur would require parts of the frame to be shrunken down to the point where stiffness would be compromised. For other designs and other bikes, there are other advantages of 1x drivetrains like being able to make shorter chainstays.”
Now, a full year later the results of all the research, design and testing is the all new GT Sanction with a full 165mm or travel and rolling on 27.5″ wheels. It is a single ring specific design and has the same long front-center concept as the Fury but tailored to the Enduro discipline. It runs with a shorty 35mm stem (Atherton model PRO stem, that is) and this same size stem will be spec’ed on the SM, MD, LG and XL size frames. The Sanction is designed around a 160mm fork but it can also take up to a 180mm fork. With a 160mm fork, it has a 66 degree head tube angle and a 74 degree seat tube angle with a BB height of 342mm (13.46 inches). The frame weighs 3125 grams including a Fox Float X Remote and hardware. It is available in 4 sizes (SM, MD, LG, XL) and the current estimated MSRP for the frame is $1999 (not yet finalized). The GT Sanction is a 2015 model and will come in 2 models that will be available in early Fall as well as a frame only option that may become available sooner. There will be two color options, the Team colors shown here and a shiny, turqoise blue finish as well.
One minor issue that GT faced with the development of the Sanction, was how to differentiate it from the GT Force (at 150mm). As they describe it, the Force has more of an equal amount of climbing and descending ability, whereas the Sanction is definitely more gravity oriented with the ability to still climb.
To keep up with the team and find out more about GT Bicycles, check out: www.gtbicycles.com