The Aggressor 2.0 sits in the middle of GT’s entry-level range, losing out on the 1.0’s cable-operated disc brakes and slightly longer travel fork, but bettering the bare bones 3.0’s seven-speed transmission. It has potential as a gentle trail cruiser but the basic Suntour fork simply isn’t up to the job as the pace picks up.
Ride & handling: Potentially trailworthy machine is let down by its clunky fork
The Aggressor 2.0 inherits its time-tested geometry from generations of successful and well-loved GTs, throwing in a slightly shorter top tube and a few spacers under the stem to make it a bit more beginner-friendly. Underneath the unassuming paint and basic componentry is a thoroughly trailworthy machine.
At least it would be, were it not for one near-fatal flaw: the fork. In common with every other bike we’ve ridden that’s unfortunate enough to be lumbered with Suntour’s M3010, everything feels fine at low to middling speeds and on smoothish trails. Pick the pace up and get a bit more adventurous, though, and it all comes apart at the seams.
The fork clatters and twangs over the bumps, the harsh top-out sending unpleasant jolts back through the handlebar to the rider’s hands. The range-topping Aggressor 1.0 boasts Suntour’s much better XCT fork. It’d be an extra £50 well spent.
Frame: Sorted geometry with user-friendly touches
GT’s distinctive ‘triple triangle’ hardtail frame design has been around for more than two decades. Originally touted as a way to build a stiffer, stronger frame, the trademark pierced top tube and extended seatstays have long since become a reason in their own right. It probably adds a bit of weight, but who cares? It makes a GT look like a GT.
For riders needing a bike to perform double duty as a commuter, the Aggressor has a set of rack and mudguard mounting eyelets at the rear. Although it’s fashionable to cram in as much suspension travel as possible, GT have spec’ed Suntour’s 63mm (2.5in) M3010 AL fork.
Nothing wrong with that, although this OEM-only fork can’t hold a candle to the more expensive XCT and XCM models in terms of performance. There isn’t even a preload adjuster – although, given the fork’s performance, that’s probably a moot point.
Equipment: Basic fork is easily beaten into submission by big hits or high speed
GT’s product managers have found enough cash down the back of the company sofa to treat the Aggressor 2.0 to eight Shimano sprockets at the rear, allowing closer gear ratios without any irritating jumps. Traction from the 2.0in Innova tyres is decent in dry conditions but as you’d expect from a shallow, small block tread pattern, there’s not much bite when the trails get wet.
Unbranded rim brakes haul the bike reliably to a halt without the weight penalty associated with budget disc systems. Wet weather braking might not be quite up to the disc-equipped alternatives, but your heart and lungs will thank you on the climbs.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine.