The Avalanche 1.0 is recognisably part of the long line of GT hardtails stretching back over more than 15 years - with its distinctive 'triple triangle' design. It's been brought bang up to date, but can this classic design still cut it among the big boys?
There are two things that immediately strike you when you first climb aboard the Avalanche and start turning the pedals. For starters, the ride position is relatively compact. Riders used to the old-skool of arse skywards, flat-backed masochism that used to typify cross-country bikes may feel a little bit out of place here. Second, the fork works pretty well for a budget unit, soaking up bumps with an alacrity that belies its price.
Hayes' entry-level Sole hydraulic discs are now the must-have spec for mid-range bikes: they work well and they're easy to adjust. GT's own-brand finishing kit lacks the high-class appeal of some of the name brand alternatives, but it all works fine enough when you're on the trail.
Appearances can be deceptive. Although the Avalanche looks like it'll deliver a bruising ride, GT deserves credit for finding room in the budget for one of the best low-cost bump munchers. The RockShox J3 is all the fork that many riders will ever need. More importantly, it's a perfect match for the frame, helping to endow this bike with the kind of ride-by-wire handling and liveliness we normally associate with much more expensive off-road machinery.