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Just in: GT Grade Alloy Tiagra

GT's Grade is a versatile road/touring/cyclocross/commuting/gravel/bit-of-everything bike and we've got one in for testing

GT’s new Grade is pitched as versatile, do-everything all-rounder that has in part been inspired by the gravel scene in the US, on which bikes that blur the traditional lines between road and cyclocross bikes are ridden. GT is calling this meeting of road and off-road as ‘EnduRoad’ but snazzy names aside, this is the sort of bike, with its disc brakes, big tyre clearance and relaxed geometry, that is proving appealing to British cyclists wanting a more capable and versatile bike.

The key details are a frame with a relaxed geometry and space for up to 35mm tyres and, of course, disc brakes. It’s available in carbon or aluminium, we’ve got the £849.99 model with Shimano Tiagra and TRP Spyre mechanical discs in for testing. Before we hit the road and dirt, here’s a first look.

You can find this bike online here
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The aluminium Grade shares has the same silhouette as the carbon fibre model, with a similarity in the tube profiles and the same kinked chainstays and seatstays passing around the seat tube and terminating at the top tube. The frame is made from double butted aluminium with smooth welds and a tapered head tube, with a carbon fork and aluminium steerer tube. The frame is available in six sizes from 51 to 60cm. 

The cables are externally routed, very neatly clipped into place alongside the belly of the down tube. The geometry is shared with the carbon models, which is more relaxed designed to promote comfort over long distances with a bit of extra length in the wheelbase to provide stability in the rough and loose.

There are four models in the aluminium range, starting with a Claris specced bike and topping out with a Shimano 105 bike. This Tiagra model is one rung down from the top. Visually, the four bikes are very much the same, but there’s one key difference: the top models have a carbon fork with a 15mm bolt-thru axle, this model makes do with conventional quick release axles at both ends.

There’s space for up to 35mm tyres and there are rack and mudguard eyelets. GT is keen to get across how the bike can be run with any number of tyre choices, from regular skinny race tyres to a wide cyclocross tyre for more off-road exploits. The bikes come fitted with 28mm tyres as standard, in this case Continental Ultra Sport II tyres, which is a good starting point.

The GT Grade is built with a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed groupset with an FSA Vero compact 50/34 chainset, KMC chain and 11-28t cassette. Wheels are Alex ATD470 rims on Formula disc hubs with 160mm rotors and TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes.

GT’s own brand kit is used for all the contact points, including the very distinctive DropTune Ultra Light aluminium handlebar it has developed for the Grade. The drops flare out dramatically with the ideal to increase control when riding in the drops. There’s a two-bolt aluminium seatpost, Bio-Morphic saddle and Velo Cork bar tape. The complete weight is 10.01kg (22.06lb).

Is the GT Grade a jack-of-all-trades or can it deliver good performance on and off the road? I rode the carbon fibre Grade at the launch event last year and was hugely impressed, it displayed good manners on the road and was impressively capable on the dirt and gravel roads as well, with a really stable ride and plenty of comfort.

I’ll be testing this Grade Alloy Tiagra over the following weeks and I’ll be interested to see if the aluminium model shares any of the traits displayed by the carbon version. I’ll be swapping out the tyres to try it in different configurations, and purposely seeking out trails to test its versatility, so watch out for a review soon.

More information at http://www.gtbicycles.com/usa_en/2014/bikes/road/enduroad/2015-grade-all...

David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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