GT GTR Sport Carbon  £1999.99

7/10

Good for big mile rides, but we'd expect a better spec for the money

Weight 8300g   Contact  cyclingsportsgroup.co.uk

by Jon Burrage   July 13, 2010  

GT's GTR Sport Carbon is a good bike with a bit of an identity crisis. According to GT, it's a bike for the "recreational rider or beginning racer looking for a carbon racing bike". If that's you GT reckon you need "look no further than the FTR carbon sport…you can rest assured that the GTR Sport Carbon can, and will, make up for any lapses in your own racing ability. See how nice the podium feels”. Hmm… well, we'd agree with the "recreational" bit but we're not sure the GTR Carbon sport is going to bridge the gap between a lack of training, or the wrong sort of genes, and putting you or me on the podium.

 

Don't get me wrong this is by no means a bad bike, sprinting the Sport Carbon up Cheddar Gorge was a joy as the bike moved where I wanted, when I wanted without missing a beat. Churning a gear up Burrington Combe on the return trip was just as efficient, I never felt the need to jump up and add some speed but then again I didn’t feel like I wanted to either. This brought me to the conclusion that this bike is a little too relaxed to be the genuine race bike that GT want it to be seen as. You would need to move up the GT range to the higher grades of carbon weave, much higher component spec and integrated seat masts etc on the GTR Expert Carbon (rrp£3600) for that sort of thing.

Componentry on the Sport Carbon are Shimano 105 throughout with Ritchey Logic offering the cockpit kit. The rims are Mavic CXP22s laced to 105 hubs. On a £2000 bike I would want more. £2k gets you 105 nowadays although I would want Ultegra if possible for this outlay. Take a look to see what Planet X will give you for £2k and decide if 105 is good value for money. Essentially then we are looking at a frame/fork package that you would aim to upgrade over time, is the frame good enough for that? In my opinion, no. I wouldn’t pick this frame over others at the same price point such as the Felt F4 (with Ultegra) or the Pinarello FP2 (with Veloce and £100 in your pocket). Felt, BMC, Bianchi, Scott and Cannondale all have 105 full carbon framed bikes for £1600-£1900 so GT are hoping for a lot with the GTR Sport Carbon.

On the flat the bike feels a tad sluggish, I'd blame the wheels for that, and okay "sluggish" is a relative term for this sort of bike. I couldn’t get it to accelerate as quickly as, say, my Felt AR4 or indeed the GTR Expert Carbon that I tested in 2009 which shares the same frame. The change from 105 to Ultegra and from Mavic CXP22s to Ksyrium Equipes for the extra £300 that the Carbon Expert costs makes a big difference. The upgraded wheels and groupset change the whole feel of the bike. I would struggle to justify buying the Sport Carbon (either as a whole bike or to upgrade) but would seriously consider the Expert Carbon as a whole bike.

On winding roads the GTR Sport Carbon was planted and reliable but it never pushed me to stamp on the pedals and really fly into corners and accelerate out of them like a full on racing machine. The whole sensation of riding this bike was nice, enjoyable, relaxed even - an ideal bike for putting in some big miles on.

The frame has semi compact geometry so there's a decent amount of seatpost on show and plenty of stand over height. The former adds to the comfort. The full carbon monocoque frame delivers comfort and a good degree of speed, it is responsive but not awe inspiring. The tapered stem, press in bottom bracket and carbon dropouts all show detailed work from the GT designers and the neat cable routing on the head-tube works well. Sprinting up cheddar gorge was a joy as the bike moved where I wanted, when I wanted without missing a beat.

Final thoughts – judged purely on its own the GT GTR Sport Carbon is not a bad bike - it's pretty good, but it's not a great bike either and with £2000 to spend you have a whole lot of choice out there. I just don’t think there is enough to pull you to this bike over its rivals or indeed its better equipped siblings. Capable but not captivating.

Verdict

Good for big mile rides, but we'd expect a better spec for the money

road.cc test report

Make and model: GT GTR Sport Carbon

Size tested: M

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Frame and forks are full carbon fibre. Semi compact geometry, carbon dropouts, asymetric head tube and press in bottom bracket.

Groupset - 105 throughout except rims. 20 speed with 12-25 cassette

Rims - Mavic CXP22

Bars and Stem - Ritchey Logic Pro

Tyres - Vittoria Zaffiro

Saddle - Fizik Arione with Manganese rails

Steapost -GT Carbon

Grips - Black cork

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

GT say that the GTR Sport Carbon is aimed at those who are taking up road racing and want a professional machine to match their ambitions. I think that GT are over stepping the mark a bit by suggesting this bike can make up for any lack of talent or training, the truth is that it cant. It is a nice bike but not one that made me feel any faster at all.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
7/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

The frame was very good, not super light but not heavy to pick up. On hills the frame was fine, didnt feel any noticable power loss and the semi compact geometry helped the bike feel secure in tight situations.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Full carbon fibre construction. Force Optimized Construction increases strength and stiffness where needed and minimizes weight where it can.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

Semi compact geometry, the medium test model had an effective top tube length of 55cm which felt ideal for me, 5ft 10" with a 32" inside leg. With this geometry, the standover height is increased in comparison with a 'traditional' frame. This gives the bike quicker handling

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

I didnt feel cramped or stretched out, it fitted slightly better than my own bike.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Yes, it was perhaps too comfortable. As mentioned in the main body of the review, where I would be throwing bikes into corners on a normal high tempo training ride I just felt too relaxed to do that on the GT GTR Sport Carbon, it didnt make me ride fast, it made me ride comfortably.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

There was no obvious flex in the frame but the wheels did feel like a weight being dragged around with me. If you get this bike change the wheels

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

There was not much in the way of power loss. Yes it did feel efficient apart from on hard accelerations on the flat, hilly sections were handled without fuss.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

Only a slight bit but it never troubled me

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Reliable, neutral.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

It was honest, it didnt push me to do daft things but then it didnt challenge me either. I felt calm while riding which is great on tricky decents but a little boring on the flats of North Somerset

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The saddle was fantastic, the 105 groupset performed as we know 105 should but I would expect a better wheelset for £2k.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The frame was the standout here, it was very nice to ride up hills but like I say the frame also felt sluggish in accelerations when paired with those wheels.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

Im afraid I come back to the same things, good points - the frame was reliable and did its job without complaints but the wheels are ripe for changing

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10

fine when on an incline but a little lacking on the flat.

Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
7/10

The GTR Sport Carbon didn't bully me into accelrating, it was happy at a steady pace which given the build up was somewhat of a disappointment.

Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
6/10

Not great when it doesnt like accelerating on the flat. I got up to speed and held it but didn't get there quickly – I blame the wheels for that

Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
8/10

On the flat and descending it was fine, the position made me feel secure and in control. High speeds werent a problem for the GT GTR Sport Carbon but it is a bike that is very much more suited to 75%-85% efforts

Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
9/10

This is where the Sport Carbon was at in its element

Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10

The geometry of the frame meant I could whip in and out of cars in the city centre with ease.

Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
7/10

Didnt push me to go in fast

Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10

Better when decending than on the flat, very nimble

Rate the bike for climbing:
 
8/10

I did like this frame for climbing, not the lightest but very comfortable both in and out of the saddle churning away at a gear

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
9/10

105, you get your money's worth

Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
9/10

Hard to test on such a limited run but we know how good Shimano components usually are and I have no reason to doubt this set up.

Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
8/10

Not superlight but not lardy

Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
7/10

On its own great value but other bike manufactuers can spec Ultegra 6700 at this price point

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

It all worked very well as I would expect, the levers are a very comfortable design.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
5/10

Sluggish, the tyres are proven but the wheel set up just didnt match the hype GT created for the bike.

Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
9/10

They are strong wheels made by Mavic and Shimano so you know you are getting quality. This was never in doubt.

Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
6/10

Not as heavy as they feel when riding but certainly no match for some wheels to suit a fledgling racers career.

Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
8/10

When rolling at a steady pace the wheels were at their best.

Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
5/10

I would expect more on a £2k bike.

Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?

The wheels were the major sticking point for me with this bike, if I was paying list price I would want more from the specification that GT are offering. I would look at upgrading the wheels or, if possible, getting the Expert Carbon  at £2300 with ultegra and ksyrium's.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10

Ritchey cockpit gear, very smart and very reliable.

Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10

When 105 shifters are matched with ritchey logic bars and stem the front end will feel reliable and strong without feeling slow.

Rate the controls for weight:
 
8/10

On a par with other bikes in this price range.

Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10

Matched to the frame well, as I said previously, this whole bike fitted me very well.

Rate the controls for value:
 
8/10

Some other £2k bikes spec own brand stems, bars and seatposts. GT have gone branded here and it works.

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

The shimano 105 units are very well designed from an ergonomic standpoint, Shimano refine their grips and shapes year after year so it is no suprise they fit well. The bars are fairly wide for this size of bike, I prefer slightly narrower but the bars on this bike are not a problem.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? At times

Would you consider buying the bike? No

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? I would try and convince them to find an extra £300 on the Carbon Expert

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
6/10

Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?

A bit of a mixed bag. If GT hadn't suggested it was the missing piece in my dream of being a pro racer then I would probably have cut it more slack judged purely on performance it is a good big mile, all day kind of bike, the problem then is that there a lot of that type of machine about many offering a more competitive spec for the money than the GTR Sport Carbon

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 24  Height: 5ft 10  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: felt ar4  My best bike is: i like my felt and my orbea ora tt bike equally

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb, triathlon

2 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Nice spec and bike but the review is spot on-it's far too expensive for the spec/bike vs. competition!
What type of carbon are they using?
There are higher spec carbon frames in the Gt brand meaning this is not their top frame with low spec parts as other manufacturers are dishing out.

I like my bike but it needs a hidden 25cc motor Smile

Fish_n_Chips's picture

posted by Fish_n_Chips [325 posts]
14th July 2010 - 16:19

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Like (22)

Thanks for the review, I was very interested in the comments comparing this model to the Carbon Expert for a few dollars more ... Do you have a review of the Carbon Expert hidden away somewhere ? (cant find it with the search function).

I am just in the process of upgrading myself from my original alloy roadie, so I saved up my cash and ordered a BH G5 with Ultegra 6700. Unfortunately, they sold out of these in my size (in the whole of Australia), so my friendly LBS offered me a GT bike at the same price.

Interesting ... I knew GT make great mountain and downhill bikes, but didnt know about their line of roadies. Something different from the flock indeed. He said there are only 4 of these in the country, so thats gotta be pretty unique.

I pick my GT up tomorrow, and havent even taken it for a test ride yet, so Im keen to read up on them as much as possible. My bike is the 'GTR Carbon Team' model, which I believe is not included in the GT range in the UK. Dura Ace 7900, Integrated Seat Post, Ksyrium SL wheels, Ritchey Carbon bars, Fizik Arione with carbon rails, Time iClic titanium pedals, Elite carbon cages x 2. Nice spec ! Great price.

Until I can ride it properly tomorrow, all I can say is that the GT looks great in the flesh - much much better than the photos - and after we did the setup and fit session (cutting the ISP, etc), the bike weighed in at a UCI defying 6.68Kg incl pedals and bottles cages.

Really looking fwd to taking it for a blast in the hills tomorrow. If the bike goes as well as it looks, then I might just ring up work on the mobile to resign, and keep on riding instead.

Cheers

posted by steveoc [1 posts]
15th November 2010 - 4:21

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