GT’s 2022 bigger, badder, better Force Carbon has a high-pivot idler and bike-park-ready geometry. And it doesn’t suck on climbs.
The GT 2022 Force Carbon full-suspension mountain bike makes riding through rock gardens a breeze and jumping off features and landing drops as smooth as riding manicured berms. The bike has 160mm rear and 170mm front four-bar suspension with a high pivot for traction and a ground-hugging, controlled ride that smooths out the most teeth-chattering terrain.
GT’s high-pivot design is uphill-friendly thanks to the addition of a high-pivot idler that makes this one of the season’s most fun enduro bikes to ride downhill. And it climbs up for the next lap just fine.
“We wanted to bring something fresh to the race scene,” said John Barreira, product manager. “Our team wants to go fast and have fun. Enduro tracks are more like downhill courses this year, and this bike is the bike that will put riders on the podium.”
We tested the Force Carbon Pro LE in size M.
2022 GT Force Carbon: Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger
Not only does the new version have bigger wheels and more travel, but GT engineers also fine-tuned the bike’s kinematics for better anti-squat. That means that the bike feels like a downhill bike on descents, but it doesn’t bob around when pedaling uphill.
Besides its sleek lines and sexy paint job, the Force’s idler pulley, a cog that looks like an extra-large jockey wheel positioned above the front chainring, is the bike’s most eye-catching feature. A high pivot in the four-bar suspension makes this single-crown enduro bike soar seamlessly through the most chunder-y rock gardens, across fields of baby-head boulders, and over mats of wheel-grabbing roots.
In high-pivot bikes, when the wheels roll over a trail obstacle, the bike’s wheelbase gets longer. That creates chain growth when you’re in the saddle, which can feel jerky and like it’s pulling unpleasantly on your legs.
GT solved the chain growth problem with its idler pulley. It keeps the chain a fixed length as you pedal and gets rid of that jerky, energy-sapping feeling.
2022 GT Force Carbon: Design
The Force Carbon’s design is sleek, durable, rugged, and sporty. The triple triangle gave me a perfect place to strap a tube, CO2, a tool, and some levers. And the bike’s dropout flip chip is significantly easier to use than past GT designs.
Two pucks slide into dropouts and change the rear center length by 10 mm. The longer mode gives the bike a more stable platform. The bike also has lower standover than previous versions.
An integrated chain guide, as well as custom chainstay and seat stay protection, keeps you pedaling and protects the frame when things get rowdy. And tube-in-tube cable routing keeps the bike’s lines clean and the ride quiet while also allowing easy maintenance when a cable needs to be replaced.
“We had the DNA and know-how to take it to the next level,” said Barreira. “We struck a balance between an agile, fun bike and a bike that can roll over anything.”
Barreira said that the Force Carbon’s 33-pound 12-ounce (size M) weight is on par with the weights of previous GT 29ers. “These days, bikes are bigger and bigger. The weights creep up,” said Barreira. “Where the Force Carbon sits is an aggressive weight target.”
2022 GT Force Carbon: Specs
- Sizes: S, M, L, XL
- Model code: G22102U
- Frame: Force Carbon 29″ frame, high-pivot LTS suspension, 160mm travel, tube-in-tube cable routing, BSA 73mm, boost 12 x 148mm thru-axle, 230×65 shock, ISCG05
- Fork: RockShox ZEB Ultimate, 170mm, 15x110mm boost, 44mm offset
- Rear shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, 230x65mm
- Chain: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
- Crank: Truvativ Descendant 7K, Dub, 32t
- Bottom bracket: SRAM DUB
- Pedals: Not included
- Rear derailleur: SRAM X01 Eagle
- Shifters: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
- Cog set: SRAM XG-1275, 10-52T
- Rims: WTB KOM Trail i30, tubeless-ready
- Tires: (F) Maxxis Assegai, 29 x 2.5″, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+ casing, tubeless-ready / (R) Maxxis Minion DHR II, 29 x 2.4″, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+ casing, tubeless-ready
- Wheel size: 29″
- Front hub: Formula, 15x110mm
- Rear hub: SRAM MTH 746, 12 x 148 mm
- Spokes: Stainless steel, 14 g
- Brakes: SRAM Code RSC hydro disc, 220/200mm centerline rotors
- Handlebar: GT alloy riser bar, 780mm, 30mm rise
- Stem: GT alloy
- Grips: Fabric FunGuy
- Headset: FSA No. 57
- Saddle: Fabric scoop shallow sport
- Seat post: Tranz X +Rad 31.6mm, adjustable height — 150 mm (S), 170 mm (M), 200 mm (L/XL)
- Chain guide: Force idler guide
- Frame material: Carbon/Aluminum
If you’re an enduro-focused rider who wants to take your descending up a notch — you pedal the uphills but revel in rolling from the top as fast and furiously as you can — this is the bike for you.
On downhills, it gave me the confidence to go faster more aggressively. I’ve ridden other enduro bikes that pedal better up, but this one did just fine. All I was thinking about as I climbed was how to get more air and speed — and have more fun on my next lap.