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GT GTS Sport review

GT GTS Review Side View
26 May 2015
Verdict:

Offering a sprightly, exhilarating ride the GT GTS Sport is perfect for aspiring racers.

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£500
For 
Sporty Geometry
Against 
Budget-Specced, Sticky Saddle

‘You can’t judge a book by looking at the cover,’ sang Bo Diddley back in 1962, a sweeping statement (if ever there was one) but one that remains every bit as true today as it was back then. And while we unpack new bikes every month and try to remind ourselves of this indisputable sentiment on a regular basis, when we picked the GTS Sport out of the box we were bowled over. This thing looked right in every way. Would its ride live up to the initial promise? 

The frame

Hydroforming is a technique where hot oil is forced through the tubes, changing their external shape. It’s a technique that frame designers use to create tubes that are oversized and stiff at one end – for instance, at the load-bearing junction with the bottom bracket – but retain a level of compliance elsewhere to boost rider comfort. The technique has been used extensively by GT on its GTS Sport frame and the result is the impression of a purposeful machine, built for speed. The geometry is towards the traditional end of the spectrum, with steep angles and a relatively short head tube. We’re all for that: a £500 bike is likely to be someone’s first foray into drop-bar cycling, so why patronise them with geometry that will hinder them when they want to progress? When we first hopped on the GTS Sport, it felt exactly the same as the best £1k to £3k bikes – the position of the saddle, handlebars and pedals was just how we liked it. Front and rear mudguard eyelets and a carbon fork with an aluminium steerer tube complete the package. 

Components

GT has specced the GTS Sport with a fairly tight ratio 12-25 eight-speed cassette combined with a 50/34 chainset. This was definitely our favourite eight-speed set-up on test, providing small gaps between gears. Having ridden this bike back-to-back with the Norco Valence A4, it was noticeable when cresting a hill only to find a long, draggy false flat, how much easier it was to accelerate on the GTS Sport – the small gaps mean you can build the speed without having to drastically alter your cadence (pedalling speed), which helps when keeping up with faster riders. The Claris brake levers and Tektro brakes work well together and despite being the same as those used elsewhere, outperformed some of the other bikes.

Wheels

Reliability is our number one priority for the wheels on bikes at this price, weight being the sacrifice. GT comes up trumps with a sturdy wheelset comprising 32 spokes front and rear (crossed three times – nothing fancy, just sensible) and hubs from Formula – a Taiwanese giant that builds hubs for hundreds of other brands. High-quality 25mm Continental Ultra Sport II tyres finish the package in style: far more voluminous than the 23mm tyres that were the norm until fairly recently – they roll quickly and give extra comfort and grip, both for braking and cornering. 

GT Continental Ultra Sport Tyre

The ride

The GTS’s geometry suited our 5ft 10in (178cm) tester perfectly, placing the rider in a familiar, confident and fast position. As we set off on the same 33km Dorset loop we’d just ridden to test the Norco Valence A4, the differences were obvious – the tightly spaced gears meant getting up to speed at the top of the climbs was less awkward, and the familiar, racy position made it a pleasure to churn along in a big gear on the flat. The fairly low handlebar position keeps the rider’s centre of gravity low and places weight over the front wheel, which makes for confident cornering. The result was that we covered the 33km three minutes faster than on the Valence. Our only gripe was with the grippy material covering the saddle, which made it awkward to change position. In short, the GTS Sport performs exactly as we’d hoped. GT hasn’t equated ‘entry level’ with dumbed-down – this bike is no lightweight and the tight gear spread won’t help in really mountainous terrain, but in most of the UK, the GTS Sport will give new riders an authentic taste of road cycling, allowing them to progress through the sport from a solid foundation. Looking for your very first road bike? The GTS Sport will do you proud.

Geometry

Geometry chart
Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 545mm 544mm
Seat Tube (ST) 510mm 514mm
Down Tube (DT) 595mm
Fork Length (FL) 378mm
Head Tube (HT) 150mm 140mm
Head Angle (HA) 72.5° 72.1°
Seat Angle (SA) 73.5° 73.2°
Wheelbase (WB) 978mm 988mm
BB drop (BB) 70mm 74mm

Spec

GT GTS Sport
Frame Valence X6 butted aluminium, carbon fork, alloy steerer
Groupset Shimano Claris 8-speed
Brakes Tektro R317
Chainset FSA Tempo, 50/34
Cassette Shimano HG200, 12-25
Bars GT Shallow drop
Stem GT
Seatpost GT Alloy
Wheels Jalco DRX-20, Formula hubs, 32h
Tyres Continental Ultra Sport II, 25c
Saddle GT Bio-Morphic
Contact gtbicycles.co.uk

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