The problem with potential boundary blurring bikes is how to define them. And it’s not just us here at grit.cx that struggle. The marketing department at GT even had to come up with a term the defined what the Grade was all about. While we’re not sure about EnduRoad, we understand the meaning and spirit – in mountain biking, enduro sums up the ‘a bit of everything’ school of riding. Potential hashtags aside, we prefer to think of this as sort of thing as simple, old-fashioned riding for fun; Exploring, getting lost, seeing ‘what’s down there’. Whatever the description used, the Grade does look like it could offer a whole heap of opportunity for some truly original rides.
With prices starting at £699 and rising to £2999, the range opens up this potential for fun to pretty much the whole market, and every model shares the same fundamentals. Dubbed maxTreadroom there’s clearance for 35c tyres (and perhaps a smidge more) including knobbly cross tyres; disc brakes are ubiquitous, but obviously vary in type with spec and low bb’s, longer than standard road chainstays and slacker head angles for stable handling on looser surfaces. GT’s Triple triangle frame shape also features on every bike and its claimed to add some performance benefits rather than be simply for looks.
Four lower specced models use a double butted aluminium frame with the Shimano Claris, Tiagra and 105 equipped models featuring an aluminium-steerered, carbon-bladed quick-release dropout fork. The top spec Alloy Grade X shares the same full carbon, 15mm thru axle fork as seen on the Carbon framed top tier models. Both the Grade Carbon Ultegra and Grade Carbon 105 share the same full carbon frame with external cable routing under the down tube. The miniscule profile of the seatstays is possible thanks to a solid core of Glass fibre, wrapped in a thin walled carbon. GT claim this offers more comfort than a thicker walled small diameter carbon tube, without sacrificing strength. GT’s triple triangle design also comes into play here, as the stays are able to run wider past the seat tube, maintaining some lateral rigidity, but also distribute some of the forces from rear wheel impacts into the top tube rather than the seat tube alone, allowing for a thinner seat tube wall and hence some more flex – and therefore comfort. We’ll reserve judgement until we get on board a test bike, but it sounds like a good thing to us.
In order to support such a wide variety of tyres, GT has worked with Stan’ NoTubes to develop the Grail rim. With 28mm tyres fitted as standard across the range, a wide base was needed to begin with, and the Grail comes in at 24.1mm external and 20.3mm internally. Even the widest cross tyres shouldn’t suffer from sidewall squirm at traction friendly pressures. Fitted as standard to the two carbon framed Grade models, these tubeless ready rims offer the potential for a great all-round wheelset, that’s likely to please both Grade owners and aftermarket Grail customers alike.
We’re looking forward to getting a leg swung over a test model later in the season, and keep an ey out for updates some time after October for that. We’ve got some great adventures planned that should test what is possible on the latest generation of off road friendly, drop- barred bikes, and the Grade could well be something we turn to when the terrain and elements come calling.
In the mean time, enjoy the video explaining the whole process of the Grade’s development.