Since their founding by Gary Turner in Southern California in 1972, GT Bikes have remained true to their BMX and mountain bike heritage. GT mixes performance with durability and is still considered one of the best brands in the woods. There are GT mountain bikes for the newest rider and the most seasoned professional.
There are many bikes referred to as mountain bikes, but they aren't all built for regular off-road riding. True mountain bikes are capable of many types of riding. Having said that, you'll want to buy a bike that best suits the type of riding that you do most of the time. Hardtails are fast and agile, but they won't handle the tight trails and big drops like a full suspension bike. There are no bikes that look as sinister as a full-on downhill bike, but they are designed for serious gravity runs and are not well suited for much else.
GT Mountain Bikes FAQ
1. What Is a Mountain Bike?
Mountain bikes differ from other bikes in that they incorporate features designed to increase durability and improve performance in rough terrain. The first mountain bikes produced looked a lot like cruiser bikes with bigger tires. Over the years, mountain bikes have evolved to look more like off-road machines capable of riding with speed up and down rough terrain.
Most modern mountain bikes have some kind of front suspension with 26, 27.5 or 29-inch diameter tires. They have a wide, flat handlebar that allows a more upright riding position for more control. They have a smaller, heavier, reinforced frame. Tires usually have a much more aggressive tread and are mounted on stronger, often double walled, rims. Most mountain bikes use either mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. They also have lower ratio gears to climb steep hills and ride over obstacles.
2. Are There Different Kinds of GT Mountain Bikes?
Cross Country or Trail riding generally means riding point-to-point or in a loop including climbs and descents on a variety of terrain. Trail riding is recreational mountain biking on dedicated, often marked, trails. It rarely involves extreme obstacles like other forms of mountain biking, but it requires control to maneuver through the trail which can be narrow or "single track." Trails incorporate winding paths and banked turns to allow more speed in turns. A typical cross-country or Trail bike has a front and sometimes rear suspension.
All Mountain or Enduro bikes have suspensions with more travel than a cross-country bike and beefier frames. Though heavier, they are still light enough for climbing as well as descending. Mountain biking is not confined to man-made trails, it also makes use of the mountain’s natural features, drops, and jumps.
Downhill or Gravity courses include large jumps and drops and are generally rough and steep from top to bottom. The goal of downhill riding is speed. Unlike cross-country trails that involve curves, dips, and rises, downhill trails are usually straight down through the mountain terrain. Riders don’t ride up the mountain. They either walk their bikes up or are taken up via a lift system. Downhill bikes are not designed to climb. They are always equipped with front and rear suspension, large disc brakes, and have more substantial frames than other mountain bikes.
Freeride, as the name suggests, is a style that encompasses everything from downhill to jumping and riding trails that require more skill and aggressive techniques than cross-country or trail riding. Freeride bikes are heavier and more suspended than cross-country bikes but usually with shocks that have less travel than downhill bikes, retaining much of their climbing ability.
3. What Components Are Important?
One part of your bike that you don't want to cut corners on is the frame because you can't upgrade the frame without buying a new bike. The two aspects of mountain bike frames to consider are material and geometry. Here are the most common frame materials, along with their pros and cons.
High-Tensile Steel is inexpensive and strong, but very heavy. Chromoly Steel is a different alloy than high-tensile steel; it's lighter, more rigid and costs a bit more. An aluminum frame is lighter than chromoly, but not quite as strong. In recent years, advances in the production of aluminum have lead to significant improvements in weight and strength. More mountain bikes have aluminum frames than any other material. Carbon fiber is extremely light and rigid but very expensive and prone to impact damage. Carbon fiber frames are for serious, competitive mountain bikers.
The two most popular shifter manufacturers are SRAM and Shimano. Whichever brand is spec'd on your bike, it will be a rapid-fire, ratcheting style shifter.
Since the 1980s, mountain bikes have had anywhere from 7 to 27 speeds, with 1 to 3 chain rings on the crank set and 5 to 12 sprockets in the cogset. 1x11 and 2x10 are beginning to emerge as the most popular gear configurations for mountain bikes. The 1x is characterized by lightness, a neat look, and ease of operation. While the 2x drivetrain is a no-compromise system, it retains a wide gear range with smaller gaps between the gears.
Most modern mountain bikes come equipped with disc brakes. There are two kinds of disc brakes: hydraulic and mechanical. Hydraulic brakes use a closed system filled with fluid, similar to the brakes you’d find on a motorcycle or car. Mechanical brakes use a steel cable to activate the caliper at the disc. Hydraulic brakes offer more stopping power and better modulation.
Front suspension is also called a front shock. Shocks integrated into suspension frames are called rear shocks. All mountain bike suspension systems, whether front or rear shock, have two main functions performed by the spring and the damper. The spring provides resistance, while the damper provides the control of that resistance. There are two types of springs: air and coil. The advantage of air springs is their light weight and tune-ability. The coil spring is just that, a steel coil that provides the resistance. The coil shocks can be a full pound heavier than their air counterparts and have less adjustment range. The advantage is that they are much cheaper and require less service.
How We Chose the Top 5 Best GT Mountain Bikes
We began by putting together a representative group of GT mountain bikes from entry level to expert. We highlighted the key features of each model. Then we listed the pros and cons and price for each bike, which should give you an idea if this bike is the best choice for how and where you expect to be riding. Remember, the best bike for you might not be the best bike for someone else.
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Because they are from the same manufacturer, some things remain the same for all of these GT mountain bikes. After we present our reviews of all five bikes, we'll let you know where they can be purchased and what the GT Warranty is on all the bikes.
Overall Price Range of GT Mountain Bikes
The price range of these GT mountain bikes starts with the model GT calls its "sport utility bike", the GT Aggressor Sport. It's their entry level bike and the first bike in the line which has all the components we think any mountain bike should have. The GT Force Carbon Expert is their high end all mountain bike just a step below what GT considers their professional level bikes. These GT mountain bikes start with a basic aluminum frame and take us right up to a lightweight carbon mainframe. Compare the bikes on our list, and you will see the same kind of progression in all the other components such as drivetrain, brakes, and suspension. These GT mountain bikes offer the basic equipment for the beginner right up to the high-end specs for the most dedicated shredder.
GT Mountain Bikes We Reviewed
GT Aggressor Sport
This beginner mountain bike has a durable 6061 aluminum frame with a 75mm Suntour front shock and agile 27.5 in. wheels. It has a wide-ranging 3x7 Shimano drivetrain with mechanical disc brakes. It is everything you need to get off the bike path and into the woods.
GT mountain bikes are sold through their network of retailers.
GT Karakoram Comp
The Karakoram Comp has a light and durable aluminum frame with the same geometry as the elite performance GT mountain bikes. This is the perfect 29er for a new rider wanting to get their first capable trail bike. A very nice Shimano drivetrain, the 9 speed Deore derailleur is "bullet-proof." The hydraulic brakes are a nice upgrade at this price point. It has a solid Suntour shock with additional travel at 100mm, and the lockout gives the rider a firm, fast ride on hardpack and pavement.
GT mountain bikes are sold through their network of retailers.
This bike is one of the longest-running GT models. It has a high-end aluminum frame and geometry similar to the Zaskar. You will be out riding hard without busting your wallet. The Avalanche has a 100mm Suntour fork with a lockout and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. A wide range 3x9 Shimano drivetrain makes this bike fast on flats and a strong climber.
GT mountain bikes are sold through their network of retailers.
GT Zaskar Carbon Pro 29
The Zaskar Carbon Pro is the only bike to have won World Cups in Cross Country, Downhill, Slalom, and Trials. This bike will handle everything you throw its way. It is built on a Carbon Frame with Triple Triangle™ Frame Construction with 12x142mm Thru Axle Dropouts. Up front is a RockShox Sid RLC, 100mm DebonAir with a remote lockout on the handlebar. The drivetrain is a 1x12 SRAM X01 Eagle, 10-50, 12-speed. SRAM Level TL hydraulic disc brakes provide all the stopping power you'll need.
GT mountain bikes are sold through their network of retailers. The Zaskar Carbon Pro is not available in the US.
GT Force Carbon Expert
The Force Carbon Expert is a 27.5 This mountain bike is built for good times on rough terrain. The frame is a super light carbon front and alloy rear frame. GT specs RockShox Debonair suspension front and rear. There is 150mm of wheel travel in the rear and 160mm of compression in the front.
GT mountain bikes are sold through their network of retailers. GT Force Carbon Expert is advertised at $4,200
Where to Buy GT Mountain Bikes
GT is committed to working with your local bike shop. Whether it's an independent retailer or a larger chain store, they've partnered with the best in the industry. The bikes are sold only through authorized retailers. GT will not sell or ship directly to any consumer or unauthorized retailer. Here is the link to help locate your nearest GT retailer: https://dealerlocator.gtbicycles.com/
GT frames, 2015 model year and newer, are warranted by GT Bicycle Corporation against manufacturing defects in materials and/or workmanship for the lifetime of the original owner. GT frames for Gravity, Freeride, and Dirt Jumping bikes (such as Fury, Sanction, Distortion. Ruckus, and La Bomba) are warranted against manufacturing defects in materials and/or workmanship for a period of three (3) years from the date of original retail purchase.
All other components, frame fixtures, and finishes (paint and decals) are warranted against manufacturing defects in materials and/or workmanship for a period of one year from the date of the original retail purchase. Suspension forks (other than those made by GT) are not covered by this limited warranty but are separately covered by the stated warranty of their manufacturer.
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GT mountain bikes, over the years, have become synonymous with innovative design, durability, and winning. They have also managed to be the lowest priced entry in their category. And, so it is with the bikes we have reviewed here. The Aggressor Sport is one of the most durable and reasonably priced entry level mountain bikes on the market. Likewise, the Karakoram is a solid cross-country hardtail with great components for the money. For riders looking for more agility and speed on technical trails, the Avalanche, one of the longest-running GT models, has more than kept pace with the competition. When a rider steps up to a carbon frame, there is no faster or more versatile race bike for the money than the Zaskar. And finally, the all-mountain Force Carbon Expert is priced much lower than comparable bikes from other manufacturers. So, the verdict is that wherever and however you plan to ride, each of these GT mountain bikes represents an outstanding value in each category. Each one is worthy of your consideration depending on the your level of experience at any given time.