Aimed squarely at the commuting market, the GT Traffic 2.0 is a good looking urban bike with some neat features for coping with the urban jungle. It's easy to ride and a good low-maintenance option for daily duties.
GT are famous for their triple triangle designs; at the outset they claimed performance advantages for that third triangle formed by the seatstay passing round the seat tube and to join the top tube but over time it just became part of GT's design language, and made the bikes easy to distinguish. These days there are just a few triple triangle designs left in the range of which the Traffic is one– the Zaskar hardtail bringing the triple triangle bang up to date with a carbon rather than metal frame. The Traffic's 7000 series Aluminium frame is matched with a fork cut from the same cloth, and the 2.0 is built up with a low-maintenance, commute-friendly Nexus eight-speed drivetrain.
There's plenty of thought gone into the urbanisation of this bike. For a start, it comes as standard with Pinhead locking bolts to secure the seatpost and front wheel, which makes a lot of sense so long as you remember to bring the special key with you in case you get a flat. There's also one on the stem cap, though I don't expect there's a big trade in low-end Alu forks, but that's easy for me to say and I might think differently if I returned to my Traffic and found it minus the front end. The bike also features bumpers along the top tube, so you can lean your steed against walls and lampposts without doing too much damage to the paintwork.
GT have gone for minimal branding, and much of what is there is reflective. That's a great idea but they've missed a trick by putting most of the reflective decals on the back of the stays and the front of the forks, when it'd have been better employed increasing the bike's side visibility; you're going to have lights at the front and back anyway well hopefully you are - I'd have sacrificed some of that front visbility for more on the side. Other neat urban touches include the integrated rear light in the saddle (emergencies only!) and heavy duty tyres.
Once you're on board the bike is a really easy ride: the position is fairly upright (think Trek FX) and the controls all fall easily to hand. The Nexus hub gear isn't as good as the more expensive Alfine – it can be a bit vague and it's prone to the odd slip if you don't keep it well adjusted – but it's fine for town use and gives a range of gears wide enough to tackle the hills. The back-to-front shifter takes a bit of getting used to if you're already using thumbshifters elsewhere, and it's not the most ergonomic of units, but it works fine.
The Traffic's handling is very stable and the steering reasonably slow, so it's not going to get your heart racing through town but that would be missing the point. If you want to get from A to B without fuss and do it every day, and you're not worried about getting there in a hurry, a bike like the Traffic is what you need. At cruising pace it's unfluttered and simple to pilot and doesn't feel slow. Put the hammer down and it's a case of diminishing returns: the harder you try, the less efficient it feels, thanks to the heavy tyres, hub gear and upright position.
I mostly used the Traffic on 4-10 mile commutes and it's plenty capable over that kind of distance, though the big saddle gets a bit uncomfortable about five miles in. That's easily swapped though. You can fit mudguards and front and rear racks, and I used the bike with a child seat too without any fuss. It's not really a machine built for speed but swapping out the big Schwalbes for something a bit lighter (say a Halo Twin Rail) would quicken the ride, and you could always switch to a flat bar to lower the position a bit if you wanted.
At the RRP of £569 the Traffic 2.0 isn't cheap, especially when you compare it to something like the Carrera Subway 8 or the Revolution Courier Nexus, but it can be had for £100 less than that if you shop around, and at that kind of money it's a good choice for town duties, and a better looking urban machine than most.
The Traffic 2.0 has a lot going for it: it's easy to ride, well thought out and sturdy. It would make a good low-maintenance everyday bike for someone who's mostly making short trips. It's a bit expensive at RRP but available cheaper if you shop around.
road.cc test report
Make and model: GT Traffic 2.0
Size tested: L
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame GT Traffic 7000 series aluminum frame with hydroformed PG top tube, Internal cable routing, forged drop-outs with chainstay disc mounts, removable derailluer hanger and all braze ons, GT TT bumpers
Fork GT Traffic rigid fork with hydroformed alloy legs, V-brake bosses, rack and fender eyelets, alloy steerer
Shifters Shimano Nexus 8spd trigger
Brake Levers Shimano BL-IM65 for Nexus
Rear Brake Direct pull, with 110 mm arms
Grips GT Dual Density Comfort design
Handlebar GT Alloy MTB Riser Bar w/ 25.4 Clamp
Headset 1 1/8" sealed mech Ahead
Pedals Steel cage, alloy body
Rear Brake Direct pull, with 110 mm arms
Seat Clamp Pinhead locking seat binder
Seat Post GT design alloy seat pillar
Stem GT Exclusive Alloy Ahead type w/Pinhead locking ahead cap
Saddle GT Traffic saddle with integrated tailight
Bottom Bracket Cartridge sealed
Chain KMC 610 Rust Buster
Crankset Chainwheel SR Suntour SP-42, crank for internal hub, 42t
Front Hub Alloy with Pinhead locking skewer
Rear Hub Shimano Nexus 8speed internal w/ 22t cog
Rims Alex ACE-17 Double Wall Alloy Trekking, 36h w/ Stainless Eyelets
Spokes Stainless steel 14 gauge
Tyres 700x35c Schwalbe Roadcruiser w/ puncture protection and reflective sidewalls
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: Street smarts pure and simple. New for 2010, the mid-level Traffic 2.0 packs all the commuting features you really need -- reflective paint, puncture-resistant tires, security hardware and a top-tube bumper --and puts them on an agile frame with a taller, more comfortable riding position.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Solidly built with a tidy finish
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
7000 series Alu througout
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Nice and upright for town
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
The bike isn't the most responsive but it's fine for town and towpaths, and comfy enough.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too felxible?
It's a pretty stiff platform
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
The Nexus hub can be a bit vague at times
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
No problems with overlap
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? On the slow side
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
It felt upright and stable, good for pootling but not much fun if you're in a hurry
Wheels and tyres
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes, a good town bike
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes for a day to day short commuter, maybe not at full RRP
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes if they could get a bit of money off
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I\\\'m testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with Ultegra 6700
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track