GT's i-Drive floating suspension is one of the longest serving systems still in use. Add some crackling kit for the cash and you've got a very capable and enjoyable technical trail bike that'll handle most of what you throw at it.
The all-new frame takes advantage of the very latest hydroforming techniques to sculpt reinforcing spines into the down and top tube, as well as creating the seat tube saddle gusset. As you'd expect, this gives the bike a very solid feel.
These bikes have always had a very friendly, constantly connected-to-the-ground character that immediately puts you at ease, even in the most unnerving trail situations. For a £1500 bike with a genuine 140mm of travel, it's not a bad weight at 30lb, either. This helps you lurch or muscle up crux trail moves or spooling up to speed on the getaway.
As long as you dial the rebound right, there's very little kickback over big drops or rocks either, with steep seat angles making it easy to lean off the back. The only glitch is a real clatter when you break hard down steps, but it's not a deal breaker.
A totally proven suspension system and the latest frame building techniques combine to make the i-Drive 5 a real technical trail star. The ride is super succulent, with rough trail nonchalance, plus it's got great kit for the price. It's not too heavy either, making it ideal for upgrading into a light mid-travel mountaineer.