First Ride: 2020 GT Grade

Gravel better

Since  the initial Grade release in 2015, the gravel scene has exploded into the largest growing market in cycling.  GT used their early start to set the bar of what to expect in a gravel bike, and now the second generation of the Grade is available.

It’s an easy bike to spot featuring GT’s triple triangle frame design. The floating seatstays are a key piece to the new frame, they are made of a low modulus carbon that dampens vibrations. Instead of sending the vibrations to the seatpost they are delivered to the top tube for an impressive reduction of trail noise and an improved ride quality.

GT looked to make the grade capable for all day adventure riding by adding more mounting points. The grade has mounts to carry up to 8 water bottles as well as fenders. Instead of all 8 bottles the grade can handle frame and bento bags and panniers.

Press release: GT Bicycles, a premium brand of Dorel Industries, Inc. (TSX: DII.B, DII.A), today announced the all-new Grade. Redesigned from the ground up, the new GT Grade is built for adventure right out of the box; more compliant, versatile and adjustable than ever before. With a new, leaner look, and a purposeful redesign of the iconic Triple Triangle, the Grade has been engineered to ride further and faster.

“GT went rogue back in 2015 when we introduced the first Grade. GT was at the forefront of this emerging gravel scene and became the first brand to develop disc brake equipped carbon gravel bikes,” said Patrick Kaye, GT Senior Product Manager. “The increased performance and added adaptability that we’ve engineered into the new Grade meets the needs of today’s gravel and adventure rider.”

The new Grade, which features a completely redesigned Triple Triangle with floating seat stays, offers all day rideability.  With more vertical compliance than the previous generation, the Grade provides an even more comfortable time in the saddle, no matter the terrain. A flip chip fork gives riders the flexibility to adjust their ride and geometry and adapt to their terrain, providing extra stability or sharper handling. 15 mm of adjustability lets riders to go from 55 mm to 40 mm of fork offset. The 55 mm offset is perfect for gravel race days while the 40 mm offset or “low trail” setting is ideal when the Grade is loaded up with cargo for a bike packing adventure.

The Grade’s seat stays are comprised of two lightweight fibers – carbon and fiberglass. The solid fiberglass core provides toughness and damping; the carbon fiber outer layers act to control stiffness, resulting in Dual Fiber Dynamics. In the end, riders are left with a bike that provides lot more control and less fatigue.

In it for the long haul, the Grade also has all the frame and fork mounts for all the bags and bottles needed for a never-ending adventure. It even comes with top tube feedbag bosses and fork leg “anything cage” bosses. The alloy Grade frame even features bottle bosses on the seat stays!

The Grade is designed with smart cable routing in mind, which means shifting and brakes are routed externally for easy upkeep, while Di2 and stealth dropper posts are routed internally for a clean look. In addition, no proprietary parts allow riders to modify their stock set up with ease.

The all-new GT Grade will be available in 3 carbon models and 2 alloy models. For more information on the Grade, visit www.gtbicycles.com. Check out GT Bicycles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

FIRST RIDE

GT launched the Grade in Girona, Spain ahead of Sea Otter Europe. The variety of roads in Girona allowed for a handy test of the bike’s qualities on many different asphalt and unpaved conditions.

The tuned vertical compliance from the seatstays is immediately noticeable. Once you put you weight on the bike the seat stay flex is visible. Our 37mm WTB Riddler tires at about 35psi added another layer of cushion we would’ve liked to test the 42mm max recommended tire size but the 37mm proved to be enough for the ride.

We hit a long gravel descent which highlighted the 105.5cm wheelbase of our size 55, the bike flew down the hill and nearly all but the worst road imperfections can be ignored. When we had to climb back out of the canyon on singletrack, we had to push the bike a bit more than usual on the tricky sections.

During our 30 mile ride we faced a few more conditions than we expected and the Grade responded appropriately on the dirt. Our next ride on the Grade will be with Troy at Dirty Kanza tomorrow. He let out his inner bike geek and went all in with his personalized Kanza spec, check it out below.

Troy’s DK bike equipped with a Lauf fork and a combination of Shimano Di2 with a SRAM  Force AXS  power meter for the drivetrain.

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