On paper this bike looks a real winner if your looking for a bike in the £800 range, be it a bike to train on or as your main bike if thats your budget, With mostly 105 parts, fsa cranks,shimano wheels and some tidy GT finishing kit it all looks good, The weak link might be the frame? its been around for a number of years and so maybe not as cutting edge even if it was designed off the blue print of GT's old carbon race frame that they have only just stopped making? Only one way to find out and the trigger was pulled and the bike was ordered (online price £599!!).
Out the box the bike looks cool in its matt colour and cool graphics, The seat tube/post do look a little chunky in todays skiny era, but other than that the welds were tidy and the low slung seat stays look on point. Sadly the straight bladed forks from the last few years have been switched to a new carbon legged fork. The bike built up its a low weight bike for this price point but we we were a little gutted to find the shimano rear wheel some way out of true.. It was time to spin some miles and after the first ride we started to like vibe or lack of on this bike, GT do a great job and spec 25mm tyres and all the thoughts on the fork were gone along with the big seat post what we thought would rattle us about as we click the miles off.. This bike has a very smooth ride for a alloy frame and i dont think its down to the big tyres but more the new high mod forks what feel almost Roubaix zertz like in how smooth they made the front of the bike feel as we hit some badly maintained lanes and the low slung (very bmc/giant like) stays in the rear seem to put the road chatter in to the frame rather than up the post and in to the rider. It was clear that maybe the Sportive logo on the top tube has its place after all, This might not be the long/slack and tall diesel mile muncher that most grand fondo bikes are made to look and feel like in the last five years but its more a grand fondo than a low end race rig after all, think of it as not a F1 or a diesel but more of a Golf GTI, It can do the long miles and its a fun and sporty feel that makes you want to go on the attack. Compact FSA crackset will get you up just about any hill and the 105 gearing at this price will out shine almost any bike in its price point and a few £100 above. The GT's a great bike to train on as a second bike if your a racer or as a sportive bike if your limited to how much you can spend. So we will run this as a long term test and report back, right now all we can think of has to be if this is this good.... GT has just spent the last three years developing the new Grade range! How good are those bikes! Gt may no longer focus on World tour race bikes but don't be fooled, The GTS alloy frame might be the sleeper in its class and get less press as its not a new model, But it still kicks ass bike and well worth adding to your wish list.