GT Grade Elite
- Price: $1,325
- Wheels: 700c
- Tire: 37c
- Drivetrain: 2×8
What we like about it: A gravel road bike that’s more fun to ride, with a more flexible Grade alloy frame combined with a full carbon fiber damping fork, Shimano Claris, 2×8 speed drivetrain, compatible with city commuting and outdoor gravel, nothing more than what he does.
What we don’t like about it: Can’t outrun racing bikes in the face of more specialized terrain
Focused on creating fun rides, GT bikes have always embodied more ease and comfort in the performance of their bikes. If you’re going to get on a more inclusive bike and live life to the fullest, then I suggest the GT Grade Elite. It costs $1,325 and outfitted with a lightweight, rugged Series 3 DSX, 6061 aluminum frame, faster Shimao hydraulics, and a high-performance Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain. A good start is half the battle, and there’s nothing more exciting than choosing it to start a ride!
Whether you need a more affordable city commute, a more exciting outdoor adventure or a hot gravel road, the Marin DSX is fully capable of handling it all.
So if you just want to simply buy a bike and don’t want to spend time comparing all kinds of performance, give it a try.
I’m sure most people who are used to riding mountain bikes or more difficult race bikes will be uncomfortable with the no-frills GT Grade Elite, but who is better for it? But after weeks of testing, I would faithfully recommend this bike to anyone who wants to start riding and wants to try more possibilities.
The 74.5° seat tube angle for easy traversal from the city to the countryside, and a pro-branded WTB, 700X37C tire combination with the same brand of a wheelset that will take you from city roads to the gravel roads. This week, we test the GT Grade Elite on a city commuter ride.
I like to carry out tests for bikes from easy to hard, so I’ll take the Marin DSX 2 for city shuttles at the beginning of my rides. I was able to get into the swing of things pretty quickly thanks to the lightness of the steeper 74.0° seat tube angle. If you are a complete novice, you may understand my experience.
Outfitted with the WTB Riddler, the 700Cx45mm tires will pedal more solidly, with a sense of weight for rolling acceleration, unlike the narrower tires I’ve been riding for years. I have to say the Marin DSX 2 gave me a great feeling.
In addition, with the Shimano Deore 12-Speed Aluminum, 42T steel chainring crankset, I was able to maintain the efficiency I needed even on some of the faster sections of the ride, without the drag of larger tires.
I know that urban commuter riding may feel too easy for the vast majority of pro riders who ride outdoors. But if you look at the matter in terms of the complexity of the terrain, I think the commute still shows how well-rounded the model is.
For example acceleration, on the GTc’s Shimano, 2×8 speed configuration, you can traverse the sidewalk as briefly as possible and face oncoming traffic or crowds without fear of lagging. In addition, for multi-terrain overlays, such as paved roads, with the Grade carbon fork allowing you to get into the bumpy sections of the park and pass through obstacles quickly. This is not a problem at all for GT Grade Elite.
Even without the long travel suspension, the materials are optimized to maximize vibration absorption. That said, reducing body weight without sacrificing damping performance.
For commuters, the GT Grade supports the installation of fenders and a rear rack for added cargo capacity. And there’s no need to worry about riding in the rain.
While mountain biking is prevalent in the city, the gravel road bike is quickly showing its charm again. It has more variation than normal road travel at 200km and can be called versatile now!
The WTB tires are absolute leaders in gravel road riding and the 700Cx45mm tires allow you to run like a kid and go farther than you expect, which is very exciting. So I’m extremely obsessed with gravel riding and when I get out on the paved roads with the Marin DSX 2, I think the real adventure has just begun.
If you really ride the gravel road, you will find its unique charm. Compared to the mountain cross-country, gravel road can fully show its diversity, and the GT Grade Elite mix of fun can be manifested to the fullest.
The combination of a Grade carbon fork, Shimano, and 2×8 speed drivetrain can cope with the soft sand or numerous rocks and bumps. All can cope very well.
As I headed out onto the dry, endless gravel road, all I could see was freedom and enthusiasm for riding. And I couldn’t have done it without the FSA Tempo Adventure, 48/32 crank technology, Shimano, and 2×8 speed drivetrain with the WTB wheelset, even in the face of rapidly changing scenarios I still pedaled with ease and was completely comfortable with it.
I still remember my ride through the countryside to the gravel, in the beginning, despite the winding road, but the 39.4cm trail still let me into the steering very sharp, not lost in the endless turns. If you are walking with me, then you will find that the WTB, 700x37c tires did not cause a lot of resistance to my forward movement.
As I traveled into the more slowly ascending hilly terrain, I was completely overwhelmed by such a long non-stop uphill and downhill, which was a great test of stamina. Luckily, the frame of the Grade Alloy Frame was able to support me with enough luggage installed, including the 2 full-size water bottles I was carrying.
I stopped this adventure after almost 4h of riding, and the addition of the Tektro Mech Disc coupled with the 28.6cm of BB height also allowed me to stop easily, which I think was a perfect ending.
When I first saw the GT Grade Elite’s styling, I was immediately drawn to his exaggerated Floating seat stays for more compliance. As he elaborates: Our iconic Triple Triangle frame with floating stays ensures the best ride on any multi-terrain adventure. Although I traversed multiple overlapping terrain during the test, I didn’t feel any sense of drag.
I also noticed that the Grade Elite is more relaxed on the external frame, so even if a woman is riding as a daily commuter, she can still stretch out well with the skirt support.
In addition, despite the choice of frame material, the Grade Alloy is chosen as the backbone, but compared to the expensive carbon fiber frame, the alloy material is more aggressive to face the roughness of the outdoors.
And in the simplicity of the embodiment, the whole bike uses internal wiring to run cables and hoses through the frame and fork, so that even if we shuttle on the forest road or fast acceleration riding will not bring more tangling and dragging.
As I said, GT is definitely a whimsical company, and the use of the GT DropTune RS, Alloy, and 10° Flare on the handlebars instead of the straight handlebar design like the Marin MTB makes me ride like a high-level pro, and I think it’s more noticeable.
You can’t love riding without a good start. When I sat on the GT Grade elite bars, I could feel that the steeper seat tube angle (72.3°) allowed me to sit close to upright, in addition to finding a great balance: I was able to ride farther without my muscles dragging, but also able to maintain the right angle on some graded climbs without making pedaling more difficult, in addition For newbies, more confident to face some descending terrain.
The head tube angle (62.3°) rides under this standard and will make you more responsive in the face of greater steering, and will not cause you a more difficult adaptation if you are on a downward trend. In addition, with the added benefit of a shorter trail (59cm), I did not sacrifice stability in the face of winding gravel road riding.
In the five-way height, I obviously feel that 28.6cm is very important for riding stability, such as facing some slippery roads or the increase of confidence during outdoor driving, I can see that GT is careful consideration for each model.
Components and Specifications
WTB Riddler, 700C x 37mm
WTB is very leading in the fancy gravel road bike riding. Compared to the 700x37c tire size, this size can face the countless rocks on the gravel road, and the crushing force is no less than the tough trek slash, 29×3″, which I believe can impress you a lot when I test the gravel ride.
In contrast to the 27.5″ tires, the agility is not at a disadvantage either. In spite of overlapping terrain in the city, it didn’t lose any performance. If there is a downside, it’s that it’s completely in the middle, and doesn’t want to break it in the slightest.
The WTB, 700X37C is the perfect solution if you are looking for more terrain compatibility and I believe that the middle of the road is the best solution, just like you need a more versatile bike.
Shimano Claris, 2×8
If you’re a year-round rider, then you’re sure to trust the Shimano brand. Most mountain bikes use 2x or 3x drivetrains to increase their acceleration momentum, although 1x single-disc drivetrains are now all the rage.
With more varied stacked terrain, whether you’re in the city or on gravel roads or even forest trails, you can’t go wrong with a richer drivetrain.
I was able to handle the city roads, the fast-moving sidewalks, or the uphill forest trails. We were able to switch to larger gears when climbing, and the 2x option was free and wide enough as well as the benefit of the dense gear ratios to preserve our strength.
The smooth, butter-like shifting gives me enough confidence to keep moving forward on long endurance rides.
Tektro Mech Disc
What should I focus on first when looking at a car with good enough performance? Honestly, I would look at the brakes first, better brakes definitely add more confidence, and the Tektro Mech Disc is a moderate braking series from Tektro.
I wasn’t too surprised by it before I rode it, but its simple and practical nature makes it the perfect choice for the GT Grade Elite.
What I mean is that liquid discs can be both wallets unfriendly and confidence-inspiring to ride in the face of most newbies who choose this model because of the high price and maintenance complications. Of course, if you are a seasoned rider any brake will be the same for you.
Other Versions of GT Grade Elite
2022 GT launched the Grade series, besides the ones described in this article, I am also very interested in the other two models: Carbon Expert and Grade Expert. Next, I will elaborate on the comparison of components and riding experience about these two models.
GT Grade Carbon Expert
Regarding the Carbon Expert, if we look at the shape of the model, except for the color, the geometry is smooth and the size of the wheelset is almost indistinguishable from each other.
The Grage elite, on the other hand, is made of a more economical alloy.
Including the drivetrain, Carbon Expert uses Shimano, 2×11 speed, compared to the Grage elite’s 2×8 speed, a wider range of options, and greater power support, which also means you can challenge more difficult outdoor.
With a $3,525 price tag, it also makes a big upgrade to the braking system, opting for smoother and more expensive liquid disc brakes.
So if you like the streamlined geometry of GT’s 2022 bike, and have a bigger budget and greater riding ambitions, you can also go with the Carbon Expert.
GT Grade Expert
Comparing it to the other, more price-friendly Grade Expert ($2275), we can see that an effort has been made to optimize the components.
With a wider range of Shimano 2×10 speed combo FSA Vero Pro with 48/32 cranks, not only can you face terrain with further difficulty, but adjust the speed regulation to the maximum for more effort if you are climbing an upward section.
And, for the braking system, a more agile and higher maintenance liquid disc brake was chosen compared to the Tektro Mech Disc of the Grage elite.
In terms of appearance and riding experience, both choose 700x37c tires, and in several important values, such as the seat tube and head tube angle, and even the five-way height, they are basically kept at the same 72.3° and 62.3° and 28.6cm values as the Grage elite.
What do we like about it?
- Value for money gravel bike with wider compatibility for riding.
- The full carbon fiber shock absorbing fork maximizes the absorption of bumps from the ground.
- The simplicity of the internal wiring enhances the efficiency of the ride.
- WTB, 700x37c wheelset can maintain a strong grind without sacrificing speed.
- Shimano, a 2×8 stage drivetrain, gives you faster acceleration power.
- Lightweight alloy with the Floating seat stays for more compliance for a great riding experience on any terrain.
What we don’t like about it?
- Unable to provide more options in terms of color.
- No further enhancements to the component are possible within the price framework.
- What is the tire size of the GT Grade Elite?
The tire size of GT Grade Elite is 700x37c.
- What is drivetrain of the GT Grade Elite?
The GT Grade Elite drivetrain is Shimano Claris, 2×8.
- What are brakes of the GT Grade Elite?
GT Grade Elite brakes are Tektro Mech Disc.
|Grade Alloy Frame, Triple Triangle Design feat. Floating Seatstays, 12×142 Thru Axle, Flat Mount Disc, Tapered Headtube, External Dropper Compatible, BSA 68mm
|Grade Carbon Fork, Tapered Carbon Steerer, 12×100 Thru Axle, Flat Mount Disc
|KMC X8, 8-speed
|FSA Tempo Adventure, 48/32
|Cartridge, Square Taper
|GT Plastic OPC Body
|Shimano Claris, Braze-on
|Shimano Claris, 2×8
|Sunrace, 11-34, 8-speed
|WTB ST i23 TCS 2.0, 28h, Tubeless Ready
|WTB Riddler, 700 x 37c, Wire Bead
|Formula RX-512, 28h, 12×100 Disc
|Formula DC-142, 12×142
|Stainless Steel, 14g
|Tektro Mech Disc, 160/160mm Rotors
|GT DropTune RS, Alloy, 10° Flare
|GT 3D Forged Alloy, 31.8
|FSA No.44, Integrated, Sealed Bearing
|GT Pavement, Steel Rails
|GT Two Bolt Alloy
|Canyon Grail 6 WMN
|Shimano GRX RX400
|650b / 700cx40c
|Tektro MDC550 Mechanical
|Trek 520 Grando
|TRP Spyre C 2.0 mechanical disc
|Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon
|SRAM Rival, hydraulic disc
Canyon Grail 6 WMN vs GT Grade Elite
On the basis of the price increase 2022 Canyon Grail 6 WMN also shows a relatively high standard, for example, the brakes are better Shimano series, and in the speed range is also more abundant, the choice of Shimano GRX RX400, 2×10 drivetrain.
And in my opinion, it is not easy to choose the more expensive liquid disc on the basis of $1699, although not the most advanced for the model.
The Canyon Grail 6 WMN is also a strong contender compared to the GT’s Grade Expert ($2,275), which has some brake and drivetrain upgrades. Although a little behind in version.
Wheelset sizes are wider, such as 650b / 700c x 40c. If you need a bike that combines urban and outdoor riding, I think the GT Grade Elite’s 700x37c tires would be more suitable.
Compared to the fast traversing of urban roads, the 40c tires will cause some hindrance to the speed increase while increasing the friction. Although he is more suitable for crushing in outdoor obstacles.
Kona Rove vs GT Grade Elite
I have to say that at first glance I was attracted to the unusual 650x47c tires of the Kona Rove. Compared to the 700x37c tires of the modest GT Grade Elite, I would have a question, is it really suitable for city commuting? If I were to do the riding, the 73.5° seat tube angle would be perfect for novice pedaling and very posture friendly. But on a fast-crossing sidewalk or double track, I think it would be a huge drag on speed.
Although the loaded Shimano, the 2×9 drivetrain is also sufficient in power support. But compared to the lighter and more efficient Grade Elite, Shimano, 2×8 combination FSA Tempo Adventure, 48/32 cranks with 700x37c wheelset to see, or slightly strained.
In addition, in the response of braking, both use mechanical disc brakes, and the comparison version and brand are too close. So in this respect, the two are almost tied. On balance, the Kona Rove is a bolder design, but in terms of riding, I’m more inclined to the GT Grade Elite, which has a better fit.
Trek 520 Grando vs GT Grade Elite
Compared to the powerful champion brand Trek 520 Grando, I honestly would have thought at first that the GT Grade Elite would not have any advantage. But in the gravel road bike piece, I think the GT Grade Elite has done enough, with more compatible WTB, 700x37c wheelset, more efficient Shimano 2×8 speed power drivetrain, and more stable the Tektro Mech Disc mechanical disc brake is simpler to maintain and has a full carbon fiber shock fork.
On the contrary, I didn’t find more surprises in the Trek 520, which has been expected to have a smaller range of Shimano, a 1×10 drivetrain combined with mechanical disc brakes, and the choice of an uncommon front rack in the geometry.
It actually puts some pressure on its own not too wide 29×2.00″, although the 2.00″ can reach faster speeds in accelerated driving. Although the 2.00″ can reach faster speeds during acceleration, it also means the possibility of drifting in the face of slippery roads.
However, you have to admit that the Trek-butted Chromoly disc touring on the body is really a chic and tough bike, and I believe it will perform well on outdoor rides.
Comparing the seat tube angle, which has a greater impact on riding comfort, and the head tube angle, which is related to steering and climbing, the two are basically a tie, with no major differences. Of course, if we look at stability, the Grade Elite with its shorter BB height will be easier to handle.
Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon vs GT Grade Elite
Allow me to be a little selfish, but being the same gravel road model – the Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon is something I’ve always wanted to know about. So when comparing it to the GT Grade Elite, at a heftier $4,200, I’ll be highlighting its s component upgrades have an impact on the price.
The Pathfinder Pro, 400x42c wide tires are able to ignore obstacles on gravel roads and not get caught in a passive position of inching up, plus the more expensive, swifter SRAM Rival, the hydraulic disc is a confidence booster for riding more difficult forest roads.
Includes Future Shock 2.0 full carbon fork combo with 20mm of shock travel Specialized Diverge FACT 9r carbon fiber frame. In my opinion, this is the real outdoor gravel bike. It won’t let you settle for just city commuting options. Although at $1325 the GT Grade Elite already does more than enough.
All told, I would recommend the GT Grade Elite if you are in need of a more wallet-friendly, comprehensive bike. And if you are not satisfied with simple riding needs and like to challenge yourself to a higher level, you can go for the Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon.
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