GT Sensor review£2,199.00

Stable but overweight ride

BikeRadar score2.5/5

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.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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