The Sensor is GT’s all-new trail bike platform ﬁlling the gap between the 100mm travel Marathon bikes and the 150mm Sanction models. Unfortunately, weight and restrictive handling are not on its side.
Ride & handling: Excellent traction but no speed demon
The major downside of the Sensor's complex frame is the high weight, creating a deﬁcit of a couple of pounds over the lightest comparably specced and suspended bikes. This means despite a relatively long, XC-style position and a ﬁrm feel from the small volume Boost Valve-equipped Fox shock, it’s not a naturally eager accelerator or speed holder on long stretches. The long stem and narrow bar plus noticeable twist from the front end make it less conﬁdent on steeper descents or in tight technical situations too.
Where it does shine is slow, steep climbs. Here, high levels of traction from the I-Drive set-up offset the weight to crawl tenaciously over the most testing crux moves with impressive surefootedness. The steady steering set-up and a relatively steep seat angle keeps weight forward for excellent front wheel connection when you’re clawing your way upwards.
The high pivot point for the rear swingarm gives a distinctive up and back wheel path that combines with the BV shock and semi-isolated drivetrain to handle big ﬂat-faced strikes and block wallops surprisingly well too. The same applies to the 15mm screw-thru axle Fox 120mm fork – although our sample came with a 2009 unit, not the 2010 FIT cartridge damper version.
The Sensor has outstanding traction and big-hit capability for a 120mm bike. It’s very heavy though, and the technically tenacious suspension doesn’t mesh well with the restricted leverage cockpit. It’s low on UK practicality and the loosening bearings on our sample were a worry.
Frame & equipment:Ringing the changes with a new design
GT has been using the I-Drive system with a separate crank-carrying subframe linked to rear swingarm and mainframe for 13 years. The Sensor is a totally new frame though, with hydroformed triple butted tubeset and trademark penetrated top tube/seat tube junction. Clamp-in bearings under the CNC machined ‘ﬁlm reel’ covers facilitate easy tightening and replacement.
They rattled loose very quickly on our test sample, though, which doesn’t bode at all well for long-term reliability. GT has also used a conventional head tube rather than a stiffer tapered steerer style, and there’s a front mech on a short stub pipe instead of a Direct Mount’style.
There’s no convenient bottle mount, and the barrel adjuster for the cable is mounted on a mud-collecting, tyre clearance-limiting crossbridge as well. It’s well priced for a full suite of Shimano XT kit, though.