£5,400 / 29in / gtbicycles.com
NEED TO KNOW
The Force is GT’s new 29er enduro race bike with a carbon front end and alloy rear
Ground-up redesign with high-ish pivot idler LTS suspension delivering 160mm travel
RockShox Ultimate level suspension gives maximum control and combines a 170mm-travel Zeb fork with a Super Deluxe shock
GT has a three-model Force Carbon range with prices starting at £3,600 for the Force Carbon Elite
Last month, we predicted a wave of new idler suspension designs, the latest of which to wash up on our shoreline is the 2022 GT Force Carbon. Not that you needed an early warning system to see this one coming, as Wyn Masters has been ripping around on one for months. Designed around 29in wheels, the GT Force is an enduro race bike through and through. Leading the charge on the Carbon Pro LE is a 170mm-travel RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork, the burly fork matched to a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock where the new high-pivot LTS suspension layout boasts 160mm travel. And that’s vertical rear-wheel travel, so the number hasn’t been massaged by any sort of hocus pocus.
Being a four-bar suspension design, the specific axle path on the Force isn’t as obvious as on a single-pivot bike. But it’s clear from the layout that it’s not 100 per cent rearward. In fact, it’s much closer to what Trek has done with the latest Session DH bike than, say, the Forbidden Dreadnought. It’s probably better to describe it as a mid-pivot design, but it remains to be seen what nomenclature is widely adopted.
Whatever we end up calling it, one of the key advantages of using a four-bar design like LTS, or the ABP system on the Trek, is that it allows the suspension engineer to reduce the associated level of anti-rise. Less anti-rise simply means the rear suspension will compress less under braking, so it won’t stiffen as much. This, in turn, helps maintain better traction under braking.
If we take a closer look at the actual axle path on the Force, it’s rearward for the first 90mm of travel, then comes forward slightly for the remaining 70mm. At no point does the axle go forward of the start point, and that’s really what separates it from a more traditional four-bar without an idler. At sag, the chainstay length grows by less than 10mm and even at its most rearward point, the axle is only around 12mm behind the start point. Now compare that to the equivalent size Forbidden Dreadnought, which starts with a 448mm chainstay, grows to 463mm at sag and at bottom-out reaches 478mm. Both very different approaches.
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