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How good is GT's I-Drive design?

3699 Views 19 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  illwill88
I've been window shopping for a new FS frame. I was considering the following bikes:
-SC Blur LT 2
-Canfield Sauce/One
-Banshee Rune/Spitfire

Recently I have been looking at the GT Force that is on closeout. I've read some good things about these bikes and they sure are cheaper than any of the above bikes with the exception of the Canfields. Anyone have experience with these that have also owned/rode a VPP or DW Link? How do they compare? Please share your opinions.


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I have a Force 3.0 and it has been great. Sorry, I had a hardtail before hand so I cannot compare. The frame has been great. I have updgraded the components though. The frame is under 8lbs. I have had it for 6 months.

Hope it helps. I would buy it again.

My dream is to get the force carbon at some point. It looks awesome...
i owned an 09 gt force 3.0 for about 2 months and then got rid of it.

On the whole the I-drive system is as advertised. It is a very good pedaling platform. I'd say it's about as good as the vpp or dwlink bikes I've ridden (turner, pivot, santa cruz). I wouldn't say it's as active in the descents as the vpp bikes. However for putting miles in the saddle it's certainly a very capable trail frame.

I would not call it an AM frame per say. The geo simply does not lend itself to being ridden overy aggressive in gravity situations. The steep HT angle is great while climbing but not so great in drops, highly techy situations or stuff like that. In addition the force frame that I had was a maintenance nightmare. It has a constant creaking problem and required a lot of attention in both the pivot and dropout area.

If you must buy a GT I think the sanction is the only one I would own. The force simply isn't AM enough for me.

On the other hand, the Rune, or Blur LT2 with a 160mm fork will tear in all situations. I ended up getting a pitch pro because of budget constraints (as it turns out not a single part on the bike is stock now and I could have just gotten a better frame to begin with but i digress) and I'm much happier.

Long story short, the force simply isn't in the same league as the other bikes on your list.
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thanks minimum. that's exactly what I thought I'd hear as far as feedback.
I love my i-drive. I have not ridden a Force, but I have a 2001 XCR3000 and its has been nothing but amazing. I just recently bought my father a 2003 I-drive 3.0 and that too has been a fantastic bike. My XCR handles the climbs like a pro and really feels great coming back down as well; it makes me feel confident. I recently demoed a 2009 GT Marathon 9r and it felt great as well. At the same time, I demoed a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR and I was not trhilled with it at all. My advice would be to go to your LBS and demo a GT FS bike so you can at least get a bit of a feel for the I-Drive system; also demo somee VPP and DW Link bikes so you can compare them personally.
i had a i drive they are a b**ch to fix when they get messed up, and mine always squeaked no matter how much grease i put in the bearings. but it was a 06 i bought new as a left over so who knows, they may have gotten better
just say no

I work for one of those lbs, namely performance bikes, i will not say which one. And as far as they go, they are great for the beginner crowd who dont look for major performance and reliabilty from their frames. I have ridden everything from the fisher hifi, the specialized fsr's, giants full suspension stuff, as well as rocky mountains stuff. The basic ones come poorly equipped, tektro brakes, suntour forks, funny thing is gt loves to throw money away on ritchey stems, handlebars, seats, and seatpost, instead of putting it into the suspension or drive train components. I have ridden these things in many conditions, over the area, like mentioned above they do climb well, but on the descents they are poor, often sinking into the turns, sluggish on the pickup among other things. Servicing isnt too bad though they do often have noisy pivots. the plates are removable with a shimano bottom bracket tool so they come off easily enough. If you can afford the santa cruz go for it, well worth it
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snarefire, thanks for the info. I wouldn't consider rocking a suntour - ever. If I did get a GT I'd swap out the entire bike, less the frame. Looks like I'll be sticking with my original 3. Will most likely go with one of canfields unless I find a good price on the Banshee. The SC is just too much for a frame that is made in Tiawan. If it were a few hundred less...
I had considered Giant. When I checked them out a few years ago I was in between sizes. Plus, I'm really trying to find a frame only. I have a grip of parts at XT/LX level and a few good sets of wheels. Just need a frame and fork. However, if I can find a package deal on a complete bike that would allow me to strip off what I want and sell it to get my money back, I'd consider doing that.
Well there are alot of dealers out there, have you considered transition? they have alot of their 09 frames on sale on there website, one of my freinds got a 5" travel for 300 or so. Yeah Santa Cruz tends to be up there, i have there chameleon as my am bike, and i love it, best hardtail on the market as far as i am concerned. As to taiwan, good luck finding anything made in the usa at a decent price, its not that the taiwan frames are anyworse, its just the qaulity control put into them, thats why a marathon sport is so cheap, compared to a giant, or santacruz. Be careful with the banshee stuff, they are great frames and great designs but tend to be heavy ass things, not rediculously heavy, but not that light either. Is there anything specific you are looking for from the frame and fork?
Jenson has the Titus Motolite at $1,099, and the FTM at $1,249.

Also I found a Custom Motolite Complete at Backcountry for $2,449. That is the Motolite frame with the carbon seatstays, and completely built up.

Me and my girlfriend both have been riding Motolites for a couple years now, and they have been very reliable, and good all around bikes. More of a do it all trail bike than a big drop, hucking bike though, so it depends on your riding terrain and style.
I am looking for a general trail bike. I have a XC FS and a HT. Looking to replace the XC FS with something that is a bit better on the downhills.
Cam Burnes from Transition is selling his v2 Covert for 2500$
just look here . i think its swet deal
I owned a 04 I-Drive and loved it, climbed great and did well on the descents, I had the 5th element coil shock that made the descents very smooth. the only problem I had with the I-Drive was the dog bone linkage was alway loose and couldn't get tight enough. Wonder what type of terrain you are going to be riding because I beleive the force is a 6" travel bike that should handle most anything other than park or DH riding. If your looking for something with a more slack HA and on the light side I'm riding a Chumba VF2 (Horst link design) and have had real good luck with it, also the price isnt bad I think you can get the frame and shock for $1400. Also the Sata Cruz Heckler is a great option, classic single pivot design and bombproof. Goodluck though buying a bike can become difficult, but if you have the option to test ride then it should make it easier.:thumbsup:
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I have an Idrive 5, it's a superb bit of kit... Though it does have a weight penalty because of the extra ironmongery. Best long travel XC bike I've ridden, it pedals well and finds grip everywhere, and stays really fluid on the descents. But GT's geometry seems to run on the steep side, I see the Force is the same... And that's put me right off it, if I'm going to drag around 5 or 6 inches of travel I don't want the head angle of an XC bike. If they'd build me an Idrive with a zesty's geometry I'd have one like a shot though.
A comment on Maestro: those that ride it (myself included), know it's the best suspension design out there.

I've also heard Diamond Back's new knuckle box is fantastic.
I have a 04 idxc. It has been a great bike. I did upgrade the fork to a 130mm travel Manitou and that helped slacken the head angle a bit, made it a much better descender. As my skills improved and I began to ride harder terrain, I found the suspension linkage to have issue after issue. Bearing in mind that I was using what GT named an XC bike for a lot of "all mountain" type riding, so maybe a burlier version would hold up.

As far as performance of the suspension design it is awesome. Great climbing and worked nice in all situations until something broke. Recently I broke the metal plate that connects the two pivots. Then I broke a bolt that hold the new plate in place. This was after a few other breakdowns.

Good luck. For the money the GT is a great buy. If I were looking for a FS replacement at this stage I would look hard at the Diamond Back Mission series with the new knucklebox suspension design. There was an article recently in a magazine about how they arrived at it and reeviews are great.

Best of luck.

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gt bikes are making a comeback. the force is a nice ride but it isnt any cheaper than what you are already considering. personally i'd get the blur LTc.
i have the force i like it a lot and its awesome but its also my first FS so i cant compare to anything. if u have the money i would go banshee rune cause they are super bada$$!!
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