2017 sees the return of a classic bike from the GT stable. The Pantera was last seen in the mid-1990s, and now, around 20 years later, is back reincarnated as an aggressive aluminium 27.5-plus hardtail.
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GT says it has "the manoeuvrability of a traditional trail bike, which allows the rider to shred on flowy singletrack and technical descents, but it also has the increased stability of 27.5 plus wheels to take the bike over rooted, rocky and rutted-out sections."
The three-bike range starts at £800 for the Comp, the mid-range Elite is priced at £1,100 and the top-of-the-range Expert comes in at £1,400 (US and Australia pricing not yet available).
Geometry is bang up-to-date with a long front centre and slack 68.5 degree head angle. A c-shaped section joins the seat stay to the chainstay, which GT says translates forces from knocks and bumps into the chainstay, adding compliance lower down to make for a stiff yet comfortable rear end.
GT Pantera Expert, Elite and Comp
Up front, a RockShox FS-Revelation RLA5 fork gives 120mm of travel, and the Expert features a Shimano 1x11 groupset with a mixture of Shimano Deore XT derailleurs and Shimano SLX shifters, plus Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. It also features a wider-spread 11-42t Sunrise cassette
The mid-range Elite has a nifty retro military green paint job, and has front travel courtesy of RockShox FD-Recon Silver RL-B1 120mm fork with SRAM NX 1 x11 speed gears and SRAM DB-Level brakes.
Finishing off the range is the Comp with Suntour XCR32-Air 120mm forks, Shimano Alivio gears, Tektro Hydro Disc brakes, and WTB Trail Blazer tyres.
Both the Expert and Elite have Schwalbe Rocket Ron Performance tyres in a 27.5" x 2.8” size, and all three bikes feature thru-axles on the forks and quick release on the rear, although it’s unusual to see a Boost quick release end.
A versatile ride
The Pantera is aimed squarely at the serious hardtail trail rider, rather than being cross-country specific, and seems to be part of a wider trend for hardcore hardtail.
“The Pantera is a bike that is happy anywhere and everywhere”, said Tim Inall, General Manager, GT Bicycles.
And while it may be at home on gnarly natural terrain, it has enough versatility built in to make it adaptable for different uses. It has all the right hardware to allow pannier mounts to be fitted — perfect for those with a penchant for backpacking — and also includes a mount for attaching a front mech should you want more gears, and is dropper-seat compatible.