GT is aiming for a resurgence by remaining value-oriented and leveraging its significant brand equity. Heck, I still remember being a BMX kid in the 1980’s and GT Bikes were all the rage. I, like many of you, owned a GT Performer and still hold that up as my first real bike. So, since it all started with GT back in the day, it’s great to see some great new options coming to dealers in 2017. Tops on that list of new bikes is the GT Pantera Expert.
Hopping into the growing crowd of value-packed 27.5+ hardtails, the Pantera Expert comes in with quite the bevy of standard features including:
- T6 Alloy Triple Triangle Frame (GT classic)
- 27.5+ tire clearance (Includes 2.8 Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires)
- Shimano 1×11 drivetrain with FSA crankset and chain guide (narrow-wide??)
- RockShox Revelation 120mm BOOST fork
- BOOST spacing in the rear, but with a quick-release (kind of odd)
- Shimano Deore XT rear derailleur, SLX shifter, FSA 30t crankset and Sunrace 11-42t cassette
- Shimano hydraulic disc brakes
- 40mm wide All Terra 27.5+ wheelset
- Rear rack mounts
- Dual water bottle cage mounts
- MSRP: $1620 (Available Fall 2016)
I didn’t get a chance to weigh the Pantera, but it felt reasonably-light and should be in the upper-20’s, which is on par with other bikes in this category. I like that there are two water bottle mounts and bikepackers will appreciate the rear rack mounts for extended adventures. And with a 120mm fork, it’s just begging for adventure.
The only real head-scratcher is the BOOST rear axle that remains QR instead of going thru-axle. That just feels odd to me, but really won’t come into play unless you plan to turn this into a 29er. I haven’t even looked to see if BOOST 29er wheelsets are readily available with QR endcaps, but I suppose it’s possible.
Still, if you’re on a budget and can’t step up to a full-suspension bike, the Pantera Expert should be a great option. You’ll get gobs of traction, a reasonably-comfortable ride and it won’t require you to mortgage the house. Win, win, win.
More Info: Visit GTBicycles.com