2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE



Words by Sourpatch
Action & Profile Shot by by Dusten Ryen

With the release of the new high-pivot GT Force, it’s safe to say that the year of the idler pulley is upon us. Completely redesigned for 2022, the GT Force carbon not only boasts updated LTS 4-bar rear suspension, but also features a complete overhaul in the geometry and creature comforts departments. While some may say GT Bicycles are hopping on the bandwagon, the brand is no stranger to the high-pivot idler designs as they have been using it on their Fury downhill bike for the last couple of years. Like many other brands however, the performance gains found on the DH track have driven the push to make aggressive enduro rigs more capable than ever.

2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE

The new 160mm travel GT Force Carbon is a vast departure in both geometry and overall design from its predecessor. In typical modern enduro rig style, GT has given the Force Carbon some aggressive geometry that will make it more than capable for some rowdy riding. The 170mm-travel front end gets a degree and a half slacker, pushing it out to 63.5 degrees. In an effort to maintain some pedaling efficiency, GT steepened the seat tube angle to 78-degress from the 77-degrees of the previous Force. A longer reach has been applied across all sizes. Our size large Force Carbon sees a 5mm increase bringing it to 480mm. In an effort to increase bike control, GT opted to go with a lower standover paired with a taller head tube. Wheelbase on this 29er has also been increased to 1,280mm in the name of control and speed. If that’s a bit long for your local terrain, GT’s axle flip chip allow the overall wheel base and chainstay length to be shortened by 10mm, bringing them from 445mm to 435mm.

The new Force Carbon is currently available in three different build specs, ranging in price from $3,800 for the Elite build up to $6,000 for the Pro LE build that we are testing. A rather impressive price tag for a top-tier bike.  The Force is also available as a $3,300 frameset spec’d with a Fox Float X2. All three complete builds come equipped with RockShox suspension front and rear, and different versions of SRAM’s Eagle products make up the drivetrain. Our GT Force Pro LE specs, a RockShox Zeb Ultimate and Super Deluxe Ultimate suspension, a SRAM GX/X01 Eagle drivetrain and a pair of SRAM’s Code RSC brakes with 220/200mm rotors.

GT’s quiet, internal tube-in-tube cable routing helps keep the frame looking clean while also removing the dread from cable swaps. Some other notable features with the Force includes GT’s Ruckus Management, which includes an integrated chain guide plus custom chainstay and seatstay protectors. The system helps keep this bike quiet and protects high abuse areas. Another neat feature is their designated storage area. An open triangle above the rear shock allows riders to use a strap system to secure a tube, CO2 or other packables of their choice.

2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE


2022 GT Force Carbon Pro Le


MSRP: $6,000

Fork: RockShox ZEB Ultimate | 170mm
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate

Handlebar: GT Alloy Riser Bar, 780mm
Saddle: Fabric Scoop Shallow Sport
Seatpost: Tranz X +Rad (S: 150mm, M: 170mm, L/XL: 200mm)

Rims: WTB KOM Trail i30, Tubeless ready
Hubs: Formula (f) / SRAM MTH746 (r)
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai, 29 x 2.5”, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+
Rear Tire: Maxxis Minion DHR II, 29 x 2.4”, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+

Brakes: SRAM Code RSC | 220/200mm
Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette: SRAM XG-1275, 10-52T
Cranks: Truvativ Descendent 7K, Dub, 32t
Derailleur: SRAM X01 Eagle

2022 GT Force Carbon Pro


MSRP: $5,100

Fork: RockShox ZEB Select+ | 170mm
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+

Handlebar: GT Alloy Riser Bar, 780mm
Saddle: Fabric Scoop Shallow Sport
Seatpost: GT Dropkick (S: 125mm, M: 150mm, L/XL: 170mm)

Rims: WTB ST i29 TCS, Tubeless ready
Hubs: Formula
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai, 29 x 2.5”, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+
Rear Tire: Maxxis Minion DHR II, 29 x 2.4”, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+

Brakes: SRAM Code R | 220/200mm
Shifter: SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette: SRAM PG1230, 11-50T
Cranks: Truvativ Descendent 6K, Dub, 32t
Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle

2022 GT Force Carbon Elite


MSRP: $3,800

Fork: RockShox Yari RC | 170mm
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select

Handlebar: GT Alloy Riser Bar, 780mm
Saddle: Fabric Scoop Shallow Sport
Seatpost: GT Dropkick (S: 125mm, M: 150mm, L/XL: 170mm)

Rims: WTB ST i29 TCS, Tubeless ready
Hubs: Formula
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai, 29 x 2.5”
Rear Tire: Maxxis Minion DHR II, 29 x 2.4”

Brakes: TRP Slate T4 | 203/203mm
Shifter: SRAM SX Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette: SRAM PG1210, 11-50T
Cranks: Truvativ Descendent 6K, 32t
Derailleur: SRAM SX Eagle

2022 GT Force Carbon Pro LE


Due to a last minute delivery, we had all of two days to get any sort of riding in so our first impressions on the new Force Carbon are limited to one long day at Mt. Bachelor Bike Park. Whenever we get a new bike and I am going to be the first to ride it, I typically take it from the box straight to the trail with minimal setup. I’m sort of a ride it and learn it kinda guy. However, GT was kind enough to include a thorough and easy to use recommended suspension setup guide that includes different rider weights and the corresponding air pressure, compression and rebound settings for both the fork and shock. It also gave us a good starting point for suggested volume reducers. With the suspension dialed in to GT’s recommended starting point it was time to hit Mt. Bachelor for a day of laps and filming.

Although I usually prefer to run a shorter bike, I decided to start out with the Force in the long setting for the first lap of the day. The bike felt great out of the gate and GT’s suspension guide offers a near perfect set-up for the Zeb Ultimate and Super Deluxe Ultimate package. The Force ate up much of the rocky terrain with ease, no surprise there. In my limited trail time it seemed that the Force does not play around well in the long setting, it just wants to track around corners as best it can while supplying as much traction as possible. A similar sentiment can be said when hitting jumps in this setting, a good yank is required on some of the less than ideal lips, but the Force will take to the air nicely over when you’ve got a bit more of a lip to pop off.

Unfortunately during this warm up run, as we’ve probably all experienced, I was not riding as attentively as I should have been and ended up smoking a rock coming off of a paver jump resulting in a very dented WTB KOM rim that required some fixing before continuing for the day…rider error on my part.

While our riding buddy Alex fixed the rim, I decided to flip the axle chip to shorten the bike up a bit. The flip is a fairly simple process with only having to flip the non-drive chip, followed by removing the lock screw on the drive side chip and relocating it to the alternative mount and adjusting the brake caliper mounter for the short position. Back up we went and WOW! What a difference 10mm can make. I instantly appreciate the shorter rear end as it turned the bike into an absolute rocket ship on numerous sections of trail. It seemed to pick up tons of speed through hard pack corners while also being more playful and quicker to react. While navigating some slower, tighter corners on one of my favorite trails, Rattlesnake, I felt like I was riding at a notably faster pace than other bikes I’ve been on this year. Boosting jumps and blasting rock gardens were definite highlights of my day on the new GT Force. The way the high-pivot LTS platform is able to swallow impacts and seemingly increase rider speed from pumping G-outs, bumps and even rebounding off landings is quite impressive.

Although the suspension performance, outright speed and fun factor on this bike have me really excited for more, it’s not all perfect, at least not yet. I found that when braking in rock gardens or applying brakes through some of the whooped out corners, the Force felt like it stinkbugged a bit and shifted my body weight forward. This made it feel like the bike was decelerating very quickly and made for some slightly uncomfortable corners. While this could potentially be a lack of time and not having the fork 100% dialed in terms of compression, it felt more like the result of the rear end stiffening up and extending slightly. I look forward to more time on the bike and experimenting with low-speed compression settings on both the shock and fork while also working with GT’s team to get some tips from them.

Switching gears a bit, the new GT Force is a solid pedaler. Even though we were at a bike park there are still some segments of trail that require traversing and there is even a short climb up to the lift, the 4-bar LTS platform does very well. There is minimal pedal bob and it feels like there is almost no power loss from the legs to the wheels, maximizing efficiency. The X01 / GX Eagle is always a solid combo when it comes to the drivetrain, although a nasty crash at the end of the day did end up making this unit’s life quite short. You’ve heard of liquid courage? Well this bike gives Force Courage and as I kept my fingers off the brakes more and more, enjoying the speed and confidence as the bike gobbled up the terrain, I ended up running out of talent after a long day of pushing the envelope.

Overall GT has done a great job with the new Force Carbon. It’s been a while since we’ve been excited about a GT and this bike could definitely do a lot for the brand’s desirability among the hip-crowd. Beyond having that high-pivot look, it has the performance to boot. This bike hauls ass, is super compliant over the chatter, takes big hits well and will have you wanting to push harder. We may suggest GT put a warning label on this bike though…After getting a bit too comfortable and confident at speeds I probably shouldn’t have been riding at in the terribly dry and blown out conditions, my aching body quickly realized this bike can do a lot more than my skills can. We can’t wait to put this bike up against some others in the category and see how it stacks up when the clock is running.

To learn more about the new Force Carbon, visit GTbicycles.com