GT Sanction Expert – first ride review

Atherton-approved enduro hooligan

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £2,499.99 RRP | USD $2,170.00

Our review

A capable DH rig as well as enduro racer, the Sanction copes with the uphills ready to smash the downhills
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Whispers of Dan Atherton’s enduro race bike going into production got us pretty excited, and when the Sanction was finally unveiled it went straight to the top of our wants list. Would it meet our high expectations?


Frame and equipment: solid kit for serious riding

The Sanction is made from 6069 alloy and GT makes no apologies for it not being carbon – this is a tough frame for tough riding. A toned-down version of GT’s Independent Drivetrain suspension system eats up the bumps, and the tapered head tube and 12x142mm rear end tick all the boxes when it comes to handling the kind of abuse this bike yearns for. A 66-degree head angle matched with a 585mm top tube on the medium size adds up to a more than respectable 1,193mm (47in) wheelbase.

The fox float x shock takes all but the biggest square-edged hits in its stride:
Steve Behr

The Fox Float X shock takes all but the biggest square-edged hits in its stride

The Expert is the most basic Sanction build but features some good, solid kit that won’t be breaking in a hurry. Marzocchi’s 350 R fork is paired with a Fox Float X CTD shock. A Shimano SLX shifter and derailleur take care of the 1×10 drivetrain, with the chain kept secure by a Race Face Narrow/Wide ring and e*thirteen LS1 chain device. A basic Race Face Chester crankset does the job and the Kore bar and stem are super-neat. It’s a heavy build though, weighing in at 14.58kg. You do get an e*thirteen EX 40t sprocket included in the box too for a wider gear range though.

Ride and handling: unleash the brute!

Hit the trails and it doesn’t take long for the hooligan within to be unleashed. The Sanction may not be all that bothered about the climbs, but point it downhill and it’s a knuckleduster wielding thug on a mission to cause trouble!

Uphill pedal-pushing performance is good, even with the Float X shock in ‘descend’ mode and set up with 30 per cent sag. But having to stop and raise the seatpost is a pain, and if you want to upgrade to a dropper, the short seat tube means you’ll need the shortest one possible to make things work.

Tested by dan atherton on the enduro circuit, the sanction expert is ready to race:
Steve Behr

Tested by Dan Atherton on the enduro circuit, the Sanction Expert is ready to race

The bike’s 32lb heft mars its climbing ability, but we found the e*thirteen 40t crawler sprocket a big help. You can definitely feel the missing 17t sprocket (which has to be removed to make space for the extra large sprocket) though, with the big gap between the 19t and 15t cogs very noticeable when shifting.


It’s the downhills where the Sanction really excels though, and the Atherton pedigree is clear in the frame. The long wheelbase and slack head angle give shedloads of confidence through fast sections, while the bike still feels manoeuvrable and quick-handling on steeper, tighter trails. The Float X is sensitive yet still handles big compressions with ease, with the bike only feeling slowed down by the biggest square-edged hits. The Marzocchi fork would benefit from being more supportive and sensitive to match the rear, though once we dialled it in it wasn’t too much of an issue.

Product Specifications


Name Sanction Expert (14)
Brand GT

Description US$ price frame-only, UK price full build
Brakes Shimano Deore
Cranks Race Face Chester, e*13 LS1 chain device
Fork Marzocchi 350 R, 160mm (6.3in) travel
Frame Material 6069 aluminium, 165mm (6.5in) travel
Handlebar Kore Mega, 800mm
Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX
Rear Shock Fox Float X CTD Evolution
Saddle WTB
Seatpost GT All Terra
Shifters Shimano SLX
Stem Kore Mega, 35mm
Weight (kg) 14.58
Wheelset Mavic EN321 rims, unbranded hubs
Year 2014
Weight (lb) 32.15