Love 'em or loathe 'em. 29" wheels are here to stay. The benefits of larger-diameter wheels - increased momentum and improved traction - on endurance mountain bikes are compelling enough to have built a loyalist following amongst trail riders across the globe; GT is committed to providing these riders with bikes they want by providing a 29" option for each bike in the Endurance line up.
Strengths: Fox Fork, XT Components, Frame Quality and stand over clearance.
Weaknesses: Heavy Tires and initial setup
I purchased this bike from Nashbar on an killer sale. Dollar for dollar this is an excellent bike but needs upgrades; especially the wheels. It comes with riser bars, fairly heavy wheels and tires, and as someone else says is kinda setup enduro. This is truly a race hardtail. 29er wheel weight is critical and this bike was slow with the heavy Kenda Nevagal tires. I put a carbon flat bar on it, Sun Ringle Black Flag Pro 29er wheelset (excellent wheels) and Maxis Ikon Tires setup tubeless. This totally transformed the bike to be quick and agile. The bike feels light, is quick, its solid with no noticeable flex and has excellent downhill stability. This is a good bike to race as long as the trails don't get too technically rough and rocky. The Fox fork RL is smooth (although it lacks adequate compression damping adjustment) and the XT components work very well; especially the brakes. I use the stock XT wheelset for a backup set and use them on a particularly rocky area located near me called Red Hills.. I also switched the rear cassette from a 32 max gear to a 34 and changed the saddle to a WTB seat which fits my buns. I like the bike; it climbs very well, it handles switchbacks well, and has excellent top tube clearance for my short body. It is my go to bike on fast flowing trails and for the limited racing I do.
Date Reviewed: April 20, 2012
Strengths: Shimano XT drivetrain and FOX fork. Responsive solid ride!
Weaknesses: Wish the rims were tubeless.
First 29er I ever had. Spent the last 10+ years on various full suspension bikes and don't miss them one bit. The larger wheels take care of a lot of stuff the trails through at you. Not sure if it this bike or just being back on a hard tail again but it feels super connected to the trail. This bike has a solid feel that does't mind being shown the rougher side of ride. Stiff ride but not too bad. Very confident this bike can take what I through at it.
a Cross Country Rider
from North Sound, WA, US
Date Reviewed: July 26, 2011
Strengths: It looked nice in the pictures on the internet.
Weaknesses: There were holes in the welds around the BB and seat stays. Yes, truly, holes!
It supposedly had clearance for a 2.3 rear tire, but a 2.2 rubbed on the drive side chain stay when climbing.
Apparently the 13 year-old Chinese welding apprentice was working the torch the day both the frames I had were made. I had to fight with Performance to get a new bike, and the second one came in with the same issues. Then I had to fight with Performance to get my money back. I ended up losing over $100 in shipping, but at least I don't have to ride this p.o.s.
a Cross Country Rider
from San Antonio, TX
Date Reviewed: July 19, 2011
Strengths: Review is for the Carbon 29er Pro
FAST acceleration out of corners, great momentum, bottom bracket height feels great. Rocky sections tolerables with large wheel diameter, carves twisties with 72 head angle..stealth bomber looks
Friend let me ride his Carbon GT 29er. I will be a convert. Got three rides in, first ride got used to feel, second dialed in to my weight, third ride.....bested my mph avg by .7 mph on this thing (and I left a lot on the table still). It carves, comes out of corners and accelerates like a dream (saves energy for steady speed), jumps and manuals small creeks with ease. Felt like the trail was my bit*# on this bike.
Next bike will be the Pro version in the aluminum model (in my $ range)........ Good job GT.
Strengths: I paid an incredibly low price, once in a lifetime deal...the reason I bought it. I was apprehensive about buying a GT, it's not the same company it was in the 80's and 90's, department store crap. I wanted a 29er, and Performance had 0% /12 month financing, can't beat that! Ok, I love the full XT specs, Ritchey bars and stem, all good name brand stuff! I was thrilled to be able to buy this, I've wanted a new bike for 10 years. Rolled it out of the store, and went put it on the roof...and what the hell, no fork dropouts?!? Culture shock, fer sure! The ride: not bad, didn't know what to expect, seemed a bit bouncy in the rear, and I was very cautious throwing it into turns. Feels very light in the rear. Shifting is excellent of course, very precise...very Shimano. I can't understand why I get thrown around so much by this bike, perhaps it's too small for me. Planning to install longer stem and a layback post to get more comfy. I've only had a chance to ride five times on fast, rocky singletrack, and I plan to spend the next few months tuning the fork, tire pressure, and components to my liking. I plan to race Xterra triathlons, and figured this bike would be perfect for that. Time will tell. I loaned my bike to my buddy who's been racing for 25 years, and he absolutely loves it. Final opinion: once it's dialled in, it should be amazing to ride!
Weaknesses: I need the frame to be a half-size bigger, I have a small, and a medium is too large. I have to replace new stem and post to fit me (5'8") tire selection is not the best for my terrain, poor performance from Performance's techs...this bike was not set up and assembled properly, very bouncy in the rear, very unstable. There is a huge lack of through-axle racks on the market, but it's slowly coming around, too many "standard" size axles, I reckon. And finally, no one forced me to buy this, so shame on me for complaining about it now!
Would I recommend you buy one? Absolutely. The parts alone are worth much more than the entire bike itself. $800 fork and the $360 cranks are the same price as i paid for the entire bike. The retail price is around $2700, but Performance Bike offers it for less, frequently. I believe the exclusive retailler for this bike is Performance, even on eBay.
Similar Products Used: 1995 Specialized Stumpjumper converted to a single-speed.
Bike Setup: Full XT, including hydraulic brakes and hubs and pedals, Fox fork, Ritchey bar, stem, post. Mavic rims
a Cross Country Rider
from Berkeley, CA
Date Reviewed: January 30, 2011
Strengths: Stiff responsive frame, great XT package, smoking fast on dirt ruts and rocks, fast ride! A lot of bike for the price.It zooms on rolling singletrack and downhill. Won't replace my full suspension in the big stuff, but solid.
Weaknesses: Fizik makes a great seat, but wasn't for me, swapped it out. Kenda tires are ok, I put a small block 8 on the rear for Cali conditions, works great. Getting used to the Niner ride, not as quick on steep climbs, I just need to get stronger.
I plan to use this bike in several endurance races this year, 8 and 12hour. Want to see if the reason everyone else was on 29ers last year matters..Great price, great bike, great brand. No regrets after 200 miles of riding it. You will not find the same components on another brand, you will pay more. GT rules!
Similar Products Used: I own a Specialized elite full suspension stumpjumper
Bike Setup: swapped out rear tire, changed seat, added a setback Thomson seat post, just personal preference.
a Cross Country Rider
from Wenatchee, WA, USA
Date Reviewed: June 11, 2010
Strengths: Reasonable weight with a solid frame build. Great component spec. Full XT package. 15QR Fox Fork. Ritchey Pro Cockpit.
Weaknesses: Wheelset a bit on the heavy side. Great wheels though!
There is not a 29er on the market that can compete with the component spec offered on this bike. GT does a great job building a quality bike and offering a kit that would cost thousands more with a Trek or Specialized emblem. I was a little nervous shying away from one of the big bike names and going to GT...I have no regrets! When you get on this bike and feel the ride quality it doesn't matter what the sticker on the frame says. Nice job GT and Performance Bike!
a Cross Country Rider
from Central Virginia
Date Reviewed: March 5, 2010
Strengths: Value, Component Spec is great for the Price. This is my first high end bike and first 29er, the 29er wheels roll great. The Full XT is great as well the cranks and Drivetrain feesl almost as smooth as my road bike. The Ritchey Pro specs are great as well. I have the small which has great standover clearance. I was going to go Medium but was in between sizes, had to lengthen Stem and that seems great. The Fizik Saddle is super comfy (use fizik for raod as well). The Fox Air Fork is huge improvement over old Dart 2 I was using experiment with different Air Pressures I seetled on 90 psi and wiegh 185. The Nevegal Tires are very slow rolling and Heavy, replace them.
Weaknesses: Very Little Tire Clearance in the Rear. Mus Ckaes the FD clamp and Chain Stays.
Value, Value, Value at the Price Point Very Stiff and Great way to jump into the 29er.
Strengths: Full XT crank, hubs, brakes, and Fox fork
Weaknesses: Wheel set and tires are a little heavy. Seat was way to narrow for me. Only comes in white.
Awesome bike for the money. No other bike comes close for full XT under $2k. I have never owned a GT and was a little worried about the quality of the frame, but I have been very impressed with the build and ride of this bike. The ride of this 29er is very close to my epic, it almost feels like it has full suspension, but is so much faster. I'm 5'6" and I got the small frame, which fits me perfectly.