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2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE Bike

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE
2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE Bike 2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE Bike 2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE Bike 2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE Bike 2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE Bike 2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE Bike 2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE Bike
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Vital Review - GT Force Carbon Pro LE

A well-rounded enduro bike with a penchant for rowdy trails.

Rating: Vital Review
Vital Review - GT Force Carbon Pro LE

GT's all-new high-pivot Force captured our attention long before getting to take it for a spin. The high-pivot suspension and overall aggressive, badass look the bike has screams a damn good time. It is a slack, long-travel 29er with a nice complement of quality parts. Sprinkle in an adjustable chainstay and geometry that leans toward descending, and we smelt a good time was on the way.

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Highlights

  • Carbon front triangle, alloy rear
  • 29-inch wheels
  • 160mm (6.3-inches) of rear-wheel travel // 170mm (6.7-inches) fork travel
  • High-pivot LTS (linkage tuned suspension design)
  • Internal cable routing
  • High-pivot idler arm
  • BSA 73mm, Threaded bottom bracket with ISCG05 mounts
  • 148mm rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Measured weight (size M, no pedals): (34.47 Lbs) (15.6 kg)
  • MSRP $6300 USD

Strengths

  • Well-mannered descender
  • A versatile high-pivot bike
  • Silent on the downhills
  • Robust design and feel
  • A big bike that can be your one bike

Weaknesses

  • Idler noise on climbs
  • Questionable wheel spec at this price

The GT Force is a great-looking bike with an aggressive aesthetic design. It has smooth lines and looks clean. The high-pivot LTS suspension is quite smooth, and we became fans once on the trail. One of the peculiar things we noticed was the cable routing. Though the routing is guided and internal, the rear brake line and the derailleur cable are crossed in an X pattern where the cables transition from the frame to the chainstay. It doesn’t seem to hinder any performance but it was unusual. Our guess would be the routing offers the cables more free range of motion as the suspension compresses.

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The shock position is very open and makes it easy to access all of the adjustments. While the idler arm on the high-pivot design looks clean, we noticed the noise on climbs. After a few miles, we started to tune out the noise and it didn’t bother us. If it weren’t for the noise of the idler, the GT Force would have been dead silent on the climbs. A standout feature of the new Force is the burly nature of the frame. After three months of abuse in winter conditions, this bike stayed very quiet and solid. I think we have all experienced a noisy headset or bottom bracket after a couple of rides, but we did not run into that issue at all with the GT. We actually performed virtually no maintenance on this bike other than the occasional wash, chain lube, and derailleur adjustment.

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Geometry

The GT Force has a modern geometry with a slack 63.5-degree head tube angle and a 78-degree seat tube angle. This makes the descents fun and the climbs not so bad. GT uses industry averages for reach, 455mm on our size medium test bike.

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The high-pivot design also gives the new Force a rearward axle path. GT incorporated a flip-chip on the rear axle which gives the rider an adjustable chainstay length. 435mm in the short position or 445mm in the long position gives riders options for varying terrain and speeds. The flip-chip is fairly easy to adjust and only takes about ten minutes to make a swap.

Setup

Climbing aboard the Force Pro LE was comfortable. The cockpit put our 5'7" test rider in an aggressive stance with the 63.5-degree head angle filling us with the necessary bravado to tackle steep trails. Despite the bike looking tall, the illusion fades away once mounted. We immediately felt at home and knew that it wasn’t going to take much to get the Force dialed in.

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Our tester weighs 160 pounds and started with 54 PSI in the fork and 160 PSI in the shock. At first the rear suspension felt stiff and pretty harsh. We noticed the bike did seem to have a break-in period and after a couple of laps, the suspension seemed to feel plusher. GT recommends that rear sag be set to 25%, but we found the shock felt too stiff. We let out a bit of air to get 30% sag, but we noticed the shock was bottoming out a little too often. Finally, we landed on 27% sag in the shock to hit our sweet spot. Ultimately, we would recommend a volume reducer in the rear shock to get a more plush feel without the compromise of bottoming out easily. Conversely, racer-types may opt for the firmer setup when really hauling the mail.

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Throughout testing, we played around with the compression and rebound settings on both the fork and the shock. After several adjustments, our settings for the fork were: high-speed compression - 11 clicks, low-speed compression - 4 clicks, and rebound 11 clicks. For the shock: low-speed compression - 7 clicks and rebound at 5 clicks.

Tire pressure is very rider and terrain-specific. We chose 28 PSI rear and 26 PSI front for a lot of the hard-packed rocky terrain that we were riding and it seemed to work well. After almost three months of continuous riding, we had no issues with flats or dented rims, and traction in hard-packed, rocky conditions was solid.

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We left the rear chainstay in the short position for the first several rides. In the short position, we felt the bike was easy to manage in tight turns. Lofting the front end took little effort, especially when coming up to steep drops where speed wasn’t an option. In comparison, we found that in the long position the bike handled a little better in steep, fast descents and the rear suspension also felt a little plusher. The bike was still well-mannered in tight situations and getting the front end off the ground was still not a chore. Overall, we found more positives running the GT in the long position than in the short, so long was our preference for the better part of our testing.

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Our GT house brand bars were uncut at a length of 780mm. We are a fan of wide bars, so we left those as is and it gave the cockpit a confidence-inspiring and aggressive feel. While 780mm is our preference for a 5-7 rider, taller riders may need to size up. If brands are going to do one size for bars, 800mm makes the most sense to us. Aesthetically, the GT bars buck the fat, low trend we so often see. With an aggressive rise and immediate taper, there was a bit of a throwback feel here.

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On The Trail

Trails Ridden

To give this bike a fair review we tested it on all types of terrain and in all types of conditions. Auburn, CA is known for some pretty rocky and rowdy descents. There are also plenty of hard-packed, high-speed trails. Additionally, it has some large features if you know where to look. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we also rode trails higher in the Sierra Nevadas with some steep, fast, and loamy descents. And finally, we were able to shred some local flow trails and jump lines with some big hits. The GT Force suited the wide variety of trails, but we were able to suss out some relative strengths and weaknesses.

To start, the steep, rowdy descents are where the GT Force really shows its true potential. After getting the suspension dialed the bike was buttery smooth over all types of terrain and the suspension tracked very well. We were never thrown any surprises and found the GT to be very predictable. Our medium frame fit very well with room to move on the bike without being too cramped or stretched out. We were immediately right at home on this bike. On the steep descents, the GT's high pivot seemed to squat down in the rear and just smash over some of the larger rocks and roots.

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Getting into faster jump trails, the GT excelled and was a confident flyer once airborne. Despite being 34 pounds on the scale, the bike also rode light and was easy to throw around. It was also easy to maneuver on tighter sections of trails. On the fast, steep descents and the fast, flowing jump lines, we couldn't find anything that this bike didn't handle with ease.

GT's Force is an aggressive enduro bike and really wants to be ridden like one. Trails with a gradual decline were a standout weakness for the Force. It did not seem to roll fast and took more effort to get up to speed than some of the other enduro bikes that we have tested. Mountain bikers looking for a long-legged bike to ride on mellow terrain may not get the most of the Force because the GT really shines on more advanced trails.

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DH/Technical Performance/Fun Factor

In short, the GT Force is a blast to ride. Once we had the rear shock sorted, the GT was easy to loft and pop down the trail while still retaining that signature bump-eating nature of a high-pivot design. With how reliable and quiet the GT was on the downhills, it made for a confidence-inspiring ride. We found ourselves able to charge trails and try new lines with newfound quickness and little hesitancy. We will reiterate though that this bike is not for the faint of heart. It demands that you ride it with confidence and speed. The more you push the GT's limits, the more it will reward.

Rear Suspension Performance

GT went with the RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate for the rear shock. Overall. the rear suspension felt awesome in almost all situations once it was dialed in. The one issue we did find (as discussed earlier) was the possible need for a volume reducer in the rear. When running with higher pressure in the rear and sag at 25% the rear end seemed harsh, but at 30% sag it felt really smooth but seemed to bottom out fairly easily. It was definitely a give and take and 27-28% sag seemed to be the sweet spot.

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On the climbs the rear suspension was well mannered and there was very little need to use the lockout on the Super Deluxe. When we did use the lockout it allowed us to stand up and smash the pedals with virtually no pedal bob.

Another plus that deserves mentioning is how well the rear end felt on large drop to flat landings. Most riders are not fans of large drops to flat but sometimes it is either necessary or just an accident. Either way, the GT handled them with ease, which just furthered the confidence in the GT’s capabilities.

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Unique Features

The rear chainstay adjustment is a unique feature but we almost felt that the bike could do without it. We felt the Force had more benefits in the long position. Perhaps riders on small frames would want the shorter chainstay, making it more costly for GT to produce various backends for different sizes. It also just gave the rear end more bolts that you will need to ensure stay snug.

Geometry

After looking at the numbers the GT Force is very similar to other long-travel 29er enduro bikes that we have ridden. One of which is the new Transition Spire (our personal bike). The Force and the Spire's numbers as far as seat tube angle, bottom bracket height, and head tube angle were all quite similar. The GT does, however, have a shorter reach at 455mm and a taller stack height at 636mm. When looking at the Force sitting next to the Spire, the GT is visibly taller. But when you get on the Force and start ripping down the trail, the taller height is unnoticeable. Our tester does have short legs and a long torso so generally, a slightly longer reach is preferred. This may have also conttributed to the GT's relatively nimble nature. When getting in the steeps the 63.5 head angle inspired confidence and you can tell this is where the GT feels right at home.

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Perceived Weight

As far as long-travel 29ers go the GT Force Pro LE is in the mid-weight range. With that said the weight of the bike was never an issue while on the trail or while lifting it out of the back of the truck. The bike is very responsive and it will pop off of berms and jumps with ease. Something that was mentioned earlier was the bike's acceleration out of turns and rolling speed in mellow terrain. The Force does not feel like it rolls fast and feels slightly sluggish on mellow terrain. We think this was more of a factor of what this bike is made for. The GT Force is an enduro race machine, not a mellow cruise through the park ride.

Sprinting

One downfall of the GT Force was the ability to get this bike to speed. It is probably one of the main reasons that it does not excel on moderately gradual terrain. Once you get the bike to speed it’s great, but if you have to brake hard or take a hairpin turn, the bike feels heavy and sluggish when you’re trying to recover that loss.

Climbing

With the 78-degree seat tube angle the bike gave a pleasant riding position for the climbs. For most of our ascents, the use of the lockout on the RockShox Deluxe was not needed. In technical climbs or if you wanted to stand up and really smash on the cranks the lockout made it to where there was virtually no pedal bob. The Force also wasn't a rocket going uphill but it also did not feel sluggish. We would give the Force an average rating for the climbs.

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Build Kit

Our test bike is GT's top-shelf build for the carbon Force. For $6,300 riders will get a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain (X01 derailleur) with SRAM Code RSC brakes. Suspension is courtesy of RockShox and the Zeb Ultimate and Super Deluxe Ultimate fork and shock. Though GT lists a Trans X dropper post, our bike came with a OneUp dropper and lever. Overall, the parts selection is solid. Our one quibble would be with the more entry-level WTB wheels. This is GT's top offering and we would have like to see at least a mid-level wheel spec here. Particularly given the GT's final price tag and its carbon front/alloy rear frame combo. Other brands (even GT's sibling Cannondale) are besting GT at this value proposition.

Fork Performance

We are a fan of the RockShox Zeb Ultimate and we felt that it was an excellent choice for the GT Force. It suited the bike well for its intended use. Our fork felt smooth and was very easy to quickly dial in. The adjustments on the Zeb are also user-friendly and when paired with the RockShox Super Deluxe it gives the bike a balanced feel.

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Tire Performance

The Maxxis Assegai front and the Minion DHR II rear make for an awesome tire combo. We didn’t experience a single flat with our EXO+ casing over the duration of our test. As usual, these tires gave us excellent traction in all types of terrain. We are very familiar with this tire combination and we were pleased that GT went the extra mile and put some good quality rubber on this bike.

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Wheel Performance

The WTB KOM Trail i30 aluminum wheels held up during our testing. The hub engagement was average. Because this is an OEM-only model, we were unable to find a weight for these wheels on WTB’s website. For being GT’s high-end model we would have liked to see them go with some mid-range wheels. While the KOM Trail's held up on this test, they did not fare so well in a forthcoming review. The WTB KOM’s are also tubeless compatible and the GT comes tubeless and ready to go.

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Brake Performance

GT went with SRAM Code RSC brakes with a 220mm front rotor and a 200mm rear. This setup with the 220mm front gave stellar stopping power when you apply enough pressure. Codes tend to cater to those that like more modulation but for us, they got the job done and worked well on the GT Force. Despite plenty of steep, wet descents, the pads showed minimal wear. We had no issues with brake fade and no need to bleed the brakes at any time.

Drivetrain Performance

For the most part, our GT used a SRAM GX drivetrain. The loan exception being the X01 rear derailleur. Overall, our drivetrain worked well and shifted smoothly. We found no problems and it only occasionally needed minor adjustments. The idler arm was a tad noisy but after we rode the bike for a bit we were able to tune out the whirring.

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Noise

Aside from the idler noise on climbs, the GT Force is a stealthy bike. Not a single rattle, squeak or creak was heard which is very pleasing and gave us the sensation of confidence that we were on a solid, well-built bike.

Long Term Durability

The Durability of the GT Force Pro LE was one of the things that we loved most about this bike. Over three months of abuse in wet and muddy conditions and this bike held up great. No creaky headsets or bottom brackets. No noisy drivetrains. This bike just kept on delivering an awesome ride while only requiring minimal service. If you wash it down, lube it up and occasionally adjust the derailleur, the GT will continue to keep you smiling while you are smashing down the trails. The paint on the GT seemed to be holding up pretty well too. We did notice a couple of paint chips by the end of our test but they were on the chainstay where we’re sure we smacked a few rocks. Additionally, the rubber protector at the rear linkage was starting to peel.

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As far a warranty goes the warranty per The GT website is, “Frames of Gravity, Freeride, Downhill, Dirt Jump and other ASTM Category Five Bicycles: Three years from original retail purchase.” We would put this in the less-than-generous category when compared to other brands.

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What's The Bottom Line?

Whenever we look at the bottom line while reviewing a bike, one of the questions we ask is, would we buy this bike for ourselves? That answer is yes with the new 2022 GT Force. We may have some misgivings about some of the parts spec or the value proposition but those concerns are drowned out by a ride quality that is hard to deny. Our strongest endorsement would be for the enduro race crowd and big mountain bashers. The GT Force can take on all the rowdy terrain in a commanding fashion while leaving room for some fun at the end of the day.

Visit gtbicycles.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Ryan Lummis - Age: 36 // Years Riding MTB: 18 // Height: 5'7" (1.702m) // Weight: 160-pounds (72.7kg)
I grew up racing motocross and started riding MTB at the age of 18. I started racing local DH races and dual slalom and quickly fell in love with the sport. From riding over the last 18 years I have had the joy of being able to see the sport develop and the technology improve. I have witnessed and experienced many different types of ideas, technology, suspension designs, and bike geometry and I have seen what has worked and what has not. Being from a motocross background some of my favorite trails are fast, flowing trails with large hits and different line choices. Over the years though I have grown to also love the natural, raw and challenging dh trails of the Sierra Nevadas and the PNW.


Specifications

Product GT Force Carbon Pro LE Bike
Model Year 2022
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
SM (Short, Long), MD (Short, Long), LG (Short, Long), XL (Short, Long) View Geometry
Size SM (Short, Long) MD (Short, Long) LG (Short, Long) XL (Short, Long)
Top Tube Length 563mm 590mm 617mm 654mm
Head Tube Angle 63.5° 63.5° 63.5° 63.5°
Head Tube Length 110mm 120mm 130mm 140mm
Seat Tube Angle 78° 78° 78° 78°
Seat Tube Length 380mm 410mm 445mm 500mm
Bottom Bracket Height 347mm (30mm drop) 347mm (30mm drop) 347mm (30mm drop) 347mm (30mm drop)
Chainstay Length 435mm, 445mm 435mm, 445mm 435mm, 445mm 435mm, 445mm
Wheelbase 1211mm, 1221mm 1240mm, 1250mm 1270mm, 1280mm 1309mm, 1319mm
Standover 725mm 730mm 740mm 760mm
Reach 430mm 455mm 480mm 515mm
Stack 627mm 636mm 645mm 654mm
* Additional Info Chainstay and Wheelbase lengths adjustable via flip chip at rear dropout
Wheel Size 29"
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Carbon front triangle, alloy rear triangle; molded seatstay, chainstay, and down tube protection
Rear Travel 160mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, 230mm x 65mm
Fork RockShox ZEB Ultimate, 44mm offset
Fork Travel 170mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered, 1.125" top, 1.5" bottom
Headset FSA No.57
Handlebar GT alloy riser, 780mm width, 30mm rise
Stem GT alloy
Grips Fabric FunGuy
Brakes SRAM Code RSC, 4-piston, SRAM CenterLine rotors (220mm front, 200mm rear)
Brake Levers SRAM Code RSC
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
Front Derailleur None
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
ISCG Tabs ISCG05
Chainguide Integrated idler pulley guide
Cranks Truvativ Descendant 7K DUB
Chainrings Truvativ Descendant 7K, 32 tooth
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB, 73mm English/BSA threaded
Pedals None
Chain SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette SRAM GX Eagle XG-1275, 12-speed, 10-52 tooth
Rims WTB KOM Trail i30, tubeless ready
Hubs Front: Formula, 110x15mm Boost
Rear: SRAM MTH 746, 148x12mm Boost, XD driver
Spokes Stainless steel, 14g
Tires Front: Maxxis Assegai, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, TR, 29" x 2.5"
Rear: Maxxis Minion DHR II, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, TR, 29" x 2.4"
Saddle Fabric Scoop Shallow Sport
Seatpost TranzX +Rad dropper
Drop: 150mm (SM), 170mm (MD), 200mm (LG/XL)
Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp Single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 148x12mm Boost
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts One inside front triangle
Colors Gloss Indigo with Silver
Warranty Lifetime front triangle; 5 years rear triangle; 1 year components, paint, and decals
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous • High Pivot LTS rear suspension design
• Chainstay and wheelbase lengths adjustable via flip chip at rear dropout
• Tube-in-tube internal cable routing
Price $6,000
More Info

GT Launches All-New 2022 Force Carbon Enduro Machine (press release)

gtbicycles.com

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