GT’s Independent Drivetrain has been honed over the past decade to this current incarnation. This all-mountain format sports slack angles and 150mm (5.9in) of travel, so is it a force to be reckoned with?
Ride & handling: Goes up efﬁciently and down quickly
There’s no doubting that the frame is aimed at hard all-mountain use. It is supremely stiff laterally. The oversize pivots, chunky, triangulated swingarm and large section monocoque front end all combine to keep the front and back end pointing in the same direction, no matter what you throw it into.
The angles on our machine came up slacker than the published ﬁgures, with the head tube clocking a degree less at 67.9 degrees. This worked well for fast descending with the saddle lowered, but the front wheel tended to push wide and understeered too easily on low speed, technical trails.
The bottom bracket is a fairly tall 14.1in, which gave the feeling of being perched on top of the bike, rather than being really involved.
The Force excels with the ProPedal platform damping of the Fox shock turned off, allowing the bike to maintain great traction and transferring your pedal power directly to the rear wheel.
It may not be light at a tad over 30lb (13.6kg), but the extra girth of the chassis isn’t wasted weight – instead it adds to the solid riding traits of this bike both going up efﬁciently and down quickly.
Frame: Burly chassis with efﬁcient rear suspension
At the centre of the bike is the Independent Drivetrain. The bottom bracket is independent of both front and rear triangles. It is mounted to the swingarm on a link just below the main pivot, and connected to the front triangle by the Dog-Bone link.
This seemingly complicated setup reduces the pedal feedback you normally get from the high main pivot. It also increases efﬁciency by negating pedal inﬂuenced suspension input, meaning that your power goes straight to the rear wheel rather than into the shock.
The 6061 aluminium chassis has a monocoque top tube, with a Y-shaped juncture at the seat tube, lowering standover height. The burly rear triangle completes the solid frame.
Equipment: Full Shimano XT groupset, decent fork and superb tyres
This 1.0 model comes with a rare thing – a complete Shimano XT groupset, right down to the hubs.
The Fox Float 32 fork tracks accurately with its 15mm through-axle, but lacks tune-ability, with just basic external adjustments of air pressure and rebound damping.
The Kenda Nevegal dual compound tyres are a superb spec choice, rolling quickly yet hooking up inspiringly through the turns thanks to the softer compound shoulder tread.