GT’s entry-level GTR Sport is a budget-friendly bike that combines a dropped handlebar, full-carbon tapered fork and cable disc brakes, and comes with GT’s “iconic” (GT’s word) triple triangle.
The claim about the triple triangle’s “notoriety” (GT, again) is that by shrinking the rear triangle and welding reinforced seatstays to the seat tube on their way to the top tube, it would “help reduce unwanted lateral frame flex and improve acceleration”.
However, on its GTR Sport the seatstays aren’t attached to the seat tube, which – if my understanding is correct – creates a larger ‘virtual’ rear triangle. This will maximise ‘vertical compliance’, which means comfort, rather than stiffness.
Triple triangle design should equal more comfort. David Caudery / Immediate Media
The 2020 GTR Sport is similar to last year’s model: wide-range Shimano Sora gears, thru-axles, 28mm Zaffiro tyres, but the Alex ATD470 rims are tubeless ready.
Road tubeless dates back to 2006 when Hutchinson and Shimano brought it to market. It’s been a slow take-up since, partly due to its lack of use by professional teams. For those of us riding without a support car – nearly all of us – the reduction in punctures, including the absolute absence of pinch punctures, makes tubeless a practical proposition. Lower tyre pressures, greater comfort and grip are also potential advantages.
The GTR Sport’s budget Promax disc brakes aren’t noticeably more powerful than caliper rim brakes on bikes at this price, but modulation is good, they’re quiet and the 160mm rotors work consistently in all weathers.
The other big benefit is that the wheels stay working even when the rims are knocked out of true. The brakes certainly worked a treat when a suicide-squirrel made a darting appearance skittering just in front of me across the hard-packed grit of Sustrans’ Two Tunnels route. A sharp pull on the levers and a quick, quiet, controlled halt, and rider and rodent survived.
34×32 pairing gives a lower bottom gear. David Caudery / Immediate Media
The Zaffiro tyres aren’t designed for full-on gravel but certainly coped with towpath and light gravel easily, as did the bike. I wonder whether some of the comfort over rougher surfaces is down to the ‘decoupled’ – rather than welded – rear triangle; there’s clear daylight visible between seatstays and seat tube.
There’s no obvious unwanted flex when you’re riding although there is an excellent smoothness to the GTR generally. The dramatically kinked chainstays should also add a little vertical give.
The groupset is a little below that of some other similar bikes – 8-speed Claris, rather than 9-speed Sora, for example – but the 34×32 pairing does provide a low bottom gear, which helps to haul the slightly weighty GTR Sport up hills.
An adventure and commuter-friendly bike. Robert Smith
There are neat mudguard fittings on the inside of the carbon fork and at the rear, but no rack mounts, which I would have appreciated on this adventure and commuter-friendly bike. They add little in the way of cost and I wonder whether the fact that the seatstays aren’t welded to the seat tube is a factor in this.
If you look at the figures, the weight and the components, GT’s GTR Sport looks slightly outshone by the opposition, such as Carrera’s Virago and Triban’s RC120 Disc. But I liked this modestly equipped bike a lot.
Yes, the 28mm tyres and wheels are basic (though the latter are tubeless ready, remember), but it’s comfortable over a variety of surfaces and copes with rolling terrain well, aided by a low bottom gear and decently performing disc brakes. I also think the silver and blue looks better than last year’s white-with-black-logo look on a bike that, to use a tried-and-trusted cliché, is more than the sum of its parts.
GT GTR Sport geometry
Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
Head angle: 72.5 degrees
Seat tube: 48.5cm
Top tube: 54.5cm
Fork offset: 5.1cm
Bottom bracket height: 27.6