GT Avalanche Expert XC Hardtail

DESCRIPTION

    li>Hydroformed 6061 Aluminum Frame, triple triangle design w/ Zero Stack Headtube, Disc Mount & Replaceable Deerailleur Hanger
  • RockShox Sektor RL, 140mm travel

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 16  
[Jul 29, 2012]
OhioPT

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Price/Value
140mm Sector RL air fork
Shimano Hydraulic Discs
Good spec drivetrain
All Mountain frame geometry for climbing and descending
Heavy duty frame

Weakness:

Not the lightest bike (but still under 29lbs, with included pedals)
Saddle is firm
Front brake rotor rubs a little on pads (caliper might need adjusted)
Not a great pavement bike with included tires and 2x9 drivetrain

So I purchased this bike a couple weeks ago and figured I'd give a review.

GT ships their bikes almost totally assembled. Basically, just unpack everything, bolt the rotor to the front hub using a #25 torx bit (the 6 screws with loctite already are in the bag, along with the rotor fixing plates), install the front wheel, attach handlebars to stem, adjust stem so it's straight and loads the headset bearings properly, make sure the cables are routed properly and secure them with the included clips or zip-ties. Attach seat post, inflate tires, attach pedals . I didn't have to adjust my derailleurs; they came set up pretty well. Hydraulic brakes don't typically need adjusted. I added some air to the forks for my 200 lb weight. You can't beat the components for the price. The Sector RL air fork alone goes for around $500!

My size XL Avalanche X weighs 27.5 lbs without the pedals, and 29lbs with the included platform pedals. This was on a digital bathroom scale that only measures in 1/2 lb increments so it's not super accurate. I saw a picture of one weighed with a precision scale and it was like 28.5 lbs, with pedals (size M or L).

At 6' 2.5" (long inseem and shorter upper body), my XL frame fits me like a glove. The handlebars are relatively high so it's easy on my back and neck. It's more of an All Mountain cockpit compared to a pure XC bike. I personally like the handlebar width, but that's probably due to my motobike background and wide shoulders. The stock saddle has little padding, but it didn't bother me much. I'm sure on longer rides with more roads (i.e., sitting) it would be irritating.

I just took the bike out for an intense 2+ hour trail ride last week at Brady's Run Park in western Pennsylvania. The bike performed better than anticipated. I do a lot of enduro riding on my dirtbikes so I'm used to hitting stuff hard with 12" of front and rear suspension. My other mtn bike is a 19" cro-mo KHS Soft tail with 80mm fork. It always felt twitchy on technical downhills. I was very close to buying a full suspension mtn bike, but I couldn't commit to paying twice as much as I did for the Avalanche. Well, this bike feels very solid and composed when ridden aggressively. It's likely a combination of the robust 140mm fork with it's solid 15mm axle, and the bike's geometry (slacker HA and wider wheelbase) and ergos. The hydraulic brakes are awesome and instill a lot of confidence on the long descents. I was impressed how well the bike climbed. I never felt the front end get too light or out of control, unless I was trying to hammer a gear that was too tall. Traction is great. The tires hook up well, but they really seem to slow the bike down on the pavement. It seems to pedal very efficiently offroad, perhaps because of the external bearing bottom bracket/crankset. There were several times when I found myself passing my more experienced friend on his 29er Trek Mamba. Shifting was good, except if you tried changing gears when pedaling hard uphill (I try to always shift before the hills, but I'm a little rusty). Gearing selection is excellent offroad with the 2x9 setup. I never searched for a gear higher or lower than what was available.

The only downside I found so far is some dragging of the front rotor on the brake pads (when I spin the wheel, installed on the fork). I put the front wheel up on my truing stand and only measured .025" of lateral runout on the rim, so I don't think it needs trued. I was reading the Shimano brake instructions that came with the bike, and it appears you can adjust the caliper mounting slightly to stop the rubbing, so I'm going to give that a shot.

Overall, I'm very happy with this bike!!

[Jun 27, 2012]
hi(:

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

i got it for only 763$(including shipping) on nash bar. they were having a 20 percent sale and it was already 50 percent off.

Weakness:

the bars are a little long

awsome bike

[May 14, 2012]
David Z
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

The Sektor RL is KILLER. Geo is good. Descending and overcoming obstacles was effortless. Handles well in tight spaces even with the stock wide handlebar. Closeout price this bike was a no brainer.

Weakness:

stock saddle is pretty brutal. platforms are huge compared to my old clipless pedals. some phantom shifts on first ride.

Recommended for: Weekend warrior or rider on a budget who is looking to get the most bang for his buck and wants a "do it all" bike. I toyed with the idea of going squishy but decided to stay hardtail as long as I could find a good long-travel HT that would be burly enough for A/M riding but not so heavy that I'd hate it on more casual XC rides.

Price: MSRP of $1599 I think is a fair bargain for the package of comps and a sweet fork on a sub-30 A/M bike. If you can find it on closeout still like I did for $850 it's a no brainer.

Handling: Corners nicely even in tight switchback situations. Climbing was good but not great, maybe spent a little more time out of the saddle than I used to; the rear tire is only 2.1" and felt a little slippy sometimes. There were a few moments when I felt the Alu frame was less damp than my old cro-mo but that was expected. Geometry is similar to my old bike so I didn't have much trouble adjusting to it other than the super wide handlebar I might cut off a few cm but I'll give it a few more rides to make that call. strong suit was descending (fast and effortlessly through roots, rocks, etc.) and overcoming trail obstacles like log piles and stuff was really easy.

Brakes: my first foray in to the wonderful world of disc brakes they were nice I can't say they were mind-blowing but I didn't have any trouble and especially through varied conditions (mud, sand, water) they were consistent, although probably need some adjustment still.

Drivetrain: SRAM shifters also have a learning curve but I was getting more comfortable with that towards the end of the ride. There was a little bit of 'phantom' shifting but I think that is expected during the "break-in" period and after I ride a few times I will get it tuned, otherwise shifting was really smooth. The 2x9 drivetrain will take some getting used to because there are fewer options, but for the most part all the gears I need are there. Bashguard is a nice bonus that will definitely save me some teeth.

Fork: The Sektor RL was definitely a standout. Lockout great for riding fire roads and anywhere you don't need 5.5" of travel. The fork was a little squishy but that's my fault for not putting enough PSI for my weight so I'll adjust it for my next ride. I took a few lines that I think I'd never done on my old bike, but nothing super gnar, although I definitely see how that 140mm travel will let me do stupid stuff with less fear of consequence

Bonus: chatted up a few strangers at the trailhead, one of them stopped me to check out the fork (he had just ordered a Sektor RL for himself and wanted to try it quick) all kitted out in their shop shirts they thought my bike was a custom build. Giggity.

[Sep 11, 2011]
bknglvr2
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

This bike is sick , I absolutly love it the geo is great it climbs with ease and when yopu want to go fast its ready, light and quick . brakes are very responsive it can pretty much do whatever you want it to do.

Weakness:

I truly cant think of any.

If your looking for something to ride your trails on this is it, For a hardtail it handles , done some big drops with it and it held up It handles turns like a pro and on the street just give it a little more umph and it will zip, Its absolutely worth the money, cool thing you can go back to 2008 with these bikes and they are essentially the same so do a little searching and you could find a deal and get a bike your really gonna like. Its a really good hard tail.My riding buddy rides a gary and i smoke him on the hills, this bike climbs hills with ease.I recommend.

Similar Products Used:

bianchi denali

[Jul 23, 2011]
nauc
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Build, Weight, Geometry, Looks and Components

Weakness:

None at this price.

I love this thing. It looks awesome, feels nice and solid and gets the job done with ease. I haven't had any problems with it at all. The tires are nice and grippy, the shifting is nice and smooth and the brakes work nice and solid. I will probably be upgrading them to the Elixir CR's tho, sine there's huge hills where I live and it will help make me feel more comfortable, but for the money, the entire stock setup is just awesome. No complaints.

Similar Products Used:

09 Kona Hoss

[Jul 19, 2010]
John Pritchett
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Amazing frame (M) (5'7'') keeps everything in-line resulting in a very fast ride. Smooths trails at any speed with willingness to obey inputs instantly. Gears/brakes very competant. Excellent frame geometery/CoG makes riding effortless.

Weakness:

Bars are wider that my Avalanche 3.0 but may shorten in future, don't need excessive leverage. Uprated tyres to Nobby Nic front and Racing Ralph rear and the bike seems to have responded very positively, recommended!

For the money (£360 Ebay '08 model) it's unbeatable I believe. It's such a joy to ride and has proved very reliable and compliant in many different conditions. Asthetically I haven't seen a more desirable hard-tail and the paintwork, although chipped, is very impressive. Apart from adding Carbon stickers to protect belly/bb and fitting lights, I'm at a loss as to how it could even be improved.

Similar Products Used:

Avalanche 3.0 C/disc L

[May 01, 2010]
hijinx1812
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Bullet proof construction, excellent components, very stable platform, great on and off road

Weakness:

None so far

I had a Yeti for 11 years, and it was great for straight up trail riding. The problem that I ran into was when my daughter started riding a bike last year. Riding a full on, full suspension racebike in the city didn't work for me. I got the GT as a do all replacement for my Yeti. I couldn't be happier with it! On and off road, it's a very capable bike. It's got high quality components right out of the box and the only thing I've swapped out were the pedals (standard pedals for around town). Granted, the tires aren't the best choice for street riding, but I look at it as an extra workout. If you're looking for a bike that's great for whatever kind of riding you do, look no further.

Similar Products Used:

Yeti AS3, Novara, GT outpost

[Mar 31, 2010]
expert
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

The frame is of exellent quality. The welds are all very uniform and asthetically pleaseing to the eye. I love the geometry and the smooth ride it delivers. The components are outstanding, all the top manufacturers.

Weakness:

The only problem I have had is the chain catching on the large front sprocket in 27th gear. I can sense when it's going to happen but if I were'nt ready, some real damage could occur.

Exellent bicycle for the money you pay. GT is the only brand of bike I will ride.

Similar Products Used:

My first love, a GT Rebound with the bomb-proof, triple triangle cromoly frame. I've ridden it hard for twelve years and it continues to deliver fun and excitement.

[Sep 07, 2009]
Whitey2319
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

This bike has a great frame, very light and durable and great geometry. Im really liking the gears, they are very smooth and responsive and dont slip up that much, Sram too a bit of getting used to but i got used to the SRAM shifters. Nice Kenda Nevegal tyres never fail haha, Great hydrolic shimano brakes, all round an AWSOME bike.

Weakness:

None that I have encountered at the present but who knows, i one day wish to chuck some world cup forks on it. But the Rockshox are more than capable.

Overall this bike is a really quality bike with great attributes,I love its speed and its a breeze to ride uphill, i do multipul long distance rides every week on and off road and it does beautifully on both, only if I were mostly riding on the road buy a pair of hybrid tyres the kendas are VERY gripy.

Similar Products Used:

Dunno, didnt really

[Jun 10, 2009]
Rider10
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
2
Strength:

Nice fast bike - very comfortable

Weakness:

Had heaps of problems with the front cogs bending and have not even ridden the bike that hard. I take it back to the shop where purchased who just bend the cogs back but this keeps happening making me believe that there is a fundamental weakness in the system.

Like the bike but disappointed in the components.

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