BEHIND THE BRAND
RETURNING TO ROOTS
Words by Drew Rohde | Video & Photos by Eric Winkler
Few brands have the heritage, history and iconic recognition that GT Bicycles possesses. Whether you’ve owned one or not, chances are at some point in your life there’s been a GT bike that has held a special place in your heart. As a Southern California native, my teenage years spent watching Steve Peat race various GT LTS and Lobo DH bikes at Snow Summit left me full of lust and desire for those beautiful polished and raw carbon frames. For bike fans older than me, riders like Hans Rey or legendary BMXers all the way back to GT’s founding in 1972 could strike chords of nostalgia. Yet somewhere along the way, and after a couple of acquisitions, GT Bicycles seemed to veer off-track and had been bouncing through the cabbage in the eyes of many consumers. Fast forward and it seems like GT Bicycles have made their way back under the tape and are once again on track. After spending a number of years away from their Southern California home and under a shared roof with Cannondale Bicycles in Connecticut, GT has found their way back to Orange County and it’s very clear the team is stoked! Come along as we meet the people Behind the Brand at GT Bicycles.
Located just a couple miles from the legendary mountain bike trails of Laguna Hills, California, GT is currently sharing an industrial building with fellow Pon Holdings brand Cervelo Cycles. There’s no denying that the trail riding nearby will offer GT employees a better test-field for developing their ever-improving mountain bike line. According to GT’s Mike Marro, this was a bit of a temporary landing spot to get GT back to their roots and aligned with their SoCal heritage until they can find their own permanent home that could even feature a demo and bike test fleet.
During our visit we were able to visit with every member of the in-house GT crew from their head of BMX to MTB engineers and even the head honcho, Jason Schiers. With a history that spans beyond the bike industry to his founding of ENVE Composites, playing a vital role with Crankbrothers and their new carbon Synthesis wheel lineup and now acting as the managing director of GT, Schiers was very candid when talking about both his and GT’s history and where he sees things moving in the future.
Of course no Behind the Brand visit would be complete without some trail time and post ride eats! Afterall, the main reason us fools work in the bike industry is because we love riding bikes with friends new and old. One of the best things about being a mountain biker is being able to show up in just about any corner of the world, hop on a bike and instantly be smiling and high fiving strangers as if you’ve known them for years. The crew at GT were no different and their passion for riding is as strong as their passion for making awesome bikes.
After spending a few days in Orange County I can confidently say that I’ve met few individuals who are as excited to be working for their brand as the team at GT Bicycles, and when you have that kind of passion it’s almost impossible to not succeed at your goal. And based on some recent race results we’ve been seeing from the new GT Fury as well as their trail and enduro rigs, it seems they’re not only back on track but picking up speed with the podium in their sight. We’ve got a couple new GT models selected for testing and we can’t wait to get them built up and dirty on our home trails, so be sure to stay tuned for those reviews coming soon.
To learn more about GT Bicycles, or if you want to join a passionate group of individuals, head to gtbicycles.com.