GT’s i-Drive floating suspension is one of the longest serving systems still in use. Add some crackling kit for the cash and you’ve got a very capable and enjoyable technical trail bike.
The all-new frame takes advantage of the latest hydroforming techniques to sculpt reinforcing spines into the down and top tube as well as creating the seat tube saddle gusset. The head tube is ring reinforced, while lower swingarm front piece, distinctive slotted triangular uprights on the upper swingarm, plus shock mounts, chunky dropouts and a new kinked i-beam arm are all forged for maximum strength too. Cable/hose routing is neat too and there’s plenty of standover clearance and reasonable mud room.
GT i-Drives have always had a very friendly, constantly connected-to-the-ground character that immediately puts you at ease even in the most unnerving trail situations.
The bottom bracket and cranks move slightly not just in relation to the rear wheel but also the mainframe, which can leave pedal push feeling a bit soft if you stomp. It gives astonishing traction and very balanced cornering drive, though, and if you can keep the cranks turning it’ll chew up pretty much anything.
For a £1500 bike with a genuine 140mm of travel it’s not a bad weight at 30lb either. This helps you lurch or muscle up crux trail moves or spool up to speed on the getaway, flatter sections.
Big bar, short stem and steep (73.9 degree) seat angle means handling stays responsive and surefooted even at walking speed, and it’s a natural on really tricky technical terrain.
As long as you dial the rebound right there’s very little kickback over big drops or rocks either, with steep seat angles making it easy to lean off the back. The only glitch is a real kick and clatter when you’re braking hard down steps, but every system has a compromise somewhere.
Marzocchi’s new XC600 fork is a great ‘glued to the ground’ match, with a typically plush stroke and squelchy damping control. The loose TST lever seems shoddy, but the twist down travel reduction is useful for really steep climbs.
Truvativ’s Stylo crank is a steal at this price, mixed Shimano gears work well and the Avid brakes are excellent with increased 180mm rotor power up front. Kenda’s classic Nevegal/Blue Groove tyre pairing works okay all year round, yet they impact puncture easily if you’re not careful. The well shaped SDG saddle is a classic XC couch.
A totally proven suspension system and the latest frame building techniques combine to make the i-Drive 5 a real technical trail star. Ride is super succulent with rough trail nonchalance plus it’s got great kit for the price. It’s not too heavy either making it ideal for upgrading into a light mid-travel mountaineer.
|Name||i-Drive 5 2.0|
|Max. Fork Travel||130mm|
|Rear Tyre Size||26x2.35|
|Front Tyre Size||26x2.35|
|Available Sizes||L M S XL XS|
|Fork||XC 600 SL|
|Rims||WTB SpeedDisc All Mountain|
|Rear Shock||Float RP23|
|Spokes Brand||DT Swiss|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano XT|
|Handlebar||XR Cross Country 6061|
|Front Derailleur||Shimano Deore|