Joining hardcore hardtails like the Ruckus in GT's line-up, this long-travel, burly trail rig is as current as it gets in all-mountain stakes. The Sanction is not shy of the big stuff, yet is happy to be spun up any climb
The Sanction is the successor to bikes like GT's old suspension Ruckus (before it became a hardtail to keep everything nice and confusing) and reflects input from World Cup downhill racer Bryn Atkinson and the legendary Hans Rey.
Ride: torsional stiffness gives accurate tracking
The most notable feature of the Sanction's ride is the torsional stiffness for a bike of this style. The swoops and curves of the front triangle are not for vanity – a supremely well tracking chassis is the result.
The I-Drive system gives its usual excellent pedalling performance, while giving adequate traction and control through the rough stuff.
The stock 90mm stem gave great position for climbing, but felt like it put us too far forward in singletrack and descending. We fitted a 50mm stem and the bike really came alive. It turned out to be a gem in singletrack and descending too – exactly the places where the longer stem had hindered it! The super stiff front triangle just wanted to be thrown into corners so it could show off its direct tracking.
Given the intended hard line use, we would definitely switch to a stem no longer than 70mm, and a more freeride profiled bar. Then you will be able to fully explore the rough and ready traits of this excellent rig.
Frame: flowing & purposeful
The frame is certainly visually appealing. Constructed from 6061 aluminium it has a flowing, purposeful look. A combination of hydroformed tubes, a bifurcated top tube, sculpted frame components and gussets galore give an artistically industrial feel.
GT’s I-Drive system is here, in a revised 152mm (6in) travel guise. The drivetrain essentially floats independently of both the front and rear triangle to give predetermined pedal feedback to reduce pedal-induced bob. That allows the rear suspension to stay as active as possible under pedalling – something that wouldn’t otherwise happen with the high pivot point of the I-Drive.
The high pivot point gives a fairly significant rear axle path under compression, which is great for those square-edged hits.
Equipment: picked for riding hard
The majority of the component package points to the harder side of all-mountain riding. Shimano’s bombproof Saint cranks, XT drive train and brakes are superb choices. The 6in rear wheel travel is kept in check by a Fox DHX 4.0 Air shock, with a very effective on/off switch for the ProPedal which is a cinch to operate.
Up front the capable RockShox Lyric fork offers a bucket full of features and adjustments to set it up to complement the back. The exquisitely finished Thomson Elite seatpost and stem are a nice classy touch.