GT GTR Series 3 - first ride review£799.99

Entry level race bike for under a grand

BikeRadar score3.5/5

It’s fair to say that the heritage of GT Bicycles is more spattered with dirt than it is with road grime, the company being better known for their BMX and mountain bike output than anything to do with skinny tyres and drop bars. 

There’s a nod to that heritage in the staggered rear triangle of the GTR Series 3’s 6061 aluminium frame, while the squared off, hydroformed top and down tubes look almost big enough to be straight from the off-road division. Despite that, it’s not too lardy, at 9.98kg (22lb). 

The head tube is a standard straight, 1.125in steerer affair with integrated headset, but all that material means the front end is torsionally stiff and the bike merrily carves a line wherever you point it, with its compact geometry sitting neatly between sportive and race.

GT have struck a good, comfortable balance; think safety razor than cut-throat. It’s sharp enough to feel lively, but it’s not intimidating, a point helped by the shallow drop bar, though its shape does mean riders with smaller hands might struggle to reach the levers. The smoothed welds and matte colour scheme also help the impression that it’s a more costly bike than it is. The full mudguard mounts mean there’s winter potential too.

The carbon legged fork does an effective job of muting buzz from the road, and the GT is a pleasant place to be on extended rides, although the oversize seatpost could become tiring if it weren’t for the generously padded saddle. 

GT gtr series 3:
GT gtr series 3:

GT GTR Series 3

The 25c Vittoria Zaffiro tyres do help, and they’re a decently fast-rolling year-round choice. They’re mounted on an unflashy but tough and easy-to-true wheelset, useful for a bike that’s likely to be pressed into commuter service on pothole-strewn roads.

The 10-speed Shimano Tiagra shifters and derailleurs are par for the course on a bike at this price, allowing smooth if unhurried shifts from the hoods and drops. The FSA Vero Compact chainset is an obvious downgrade, though. The shifting is functional rather than slick, and although there’s no significant lack of stiffness from the square taper bottom bracket setup, it’s heavier than an outboard bearing design and more prone to terminal damage if allowed to become loose.

The 50/34 combo is paired with a wide 12-28T cassette, and gives a useful range of gears that will aid anyone wishing to crawl up steeper inclines, though if the climbing medicine has a positive effect then you’ll find it fairly easy to spin out on faster descents. The cartridge pad-equipped Tektro brakes are by no means bad, but don’t expect masses of power or fearsome bite.

The Series 3 is well priced, well specced and handles sweetly. Riders new to the road will have a bike that will happily be a commuting workhorse as well as pleasure-seeking mile-eater, while anyone tempted away from the dirt by the name and sturdy looks will feel instantly comfortable on the balanced geometry.

An abridged version of this article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Jon Woodhouse

Technical Editor, UK
Jon's been working with bikes for as long as he can remember, from spanner monkey to product tester. He's always looking out for new kit that'll give an edge when the going gets rough and is happiest experimenting with geometry, rubber and suspension.
  • Age: 32
  • Height: 173cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 62kg / 137lbs
  • Waist: 79cm / 31in
  • Chest: 92cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: If it involves dirt and bikes, Jon is there, whether big days out in the mountains or steep and technical plummets in the woods. It's all good.
  • Current Bikes: Mondraker Foxy Carbon, BTR Fabrications Custom hardtail, Scott Spark 700 Plus Tuned
  • Dream Bike: Nicolai Ion 16 Longest, made from carbon
  • Beer of Choice: Franziskaner Weissbier
  • Location: Monmouth, South Wales, UK
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