In 2014, the GT Grade took home a prestigious Eurobike award. That was 2014 and, at the time, gravel hadn’t come into its own. Heck, disc brake road bikes hadn’t settled on any standards yet. Still, the original GT Grade turned heads and set a path that others have followed.
Since as long as I can remember, GT’s iconic “Triple Triangle” design has been a hallmark of their frames. It’s come and gone and been knocked for making for a stiff ride, but this attribute alone sets a GT apart from a mile away. A key part of the 2020 GT Grade is turning this into floating stays — significantly increasing the frame compliance while remaining laterally stiff. You’ll notice that they completely float now.
To do this, the stays aren’t 100% carbon fiber, but instead employ a solid fiberglass tube at the core, surrounded by shaped carbon. Fiberglass flexes a ton and also reduces road chatter while the carbon wrap adds the necessary stiffness. It’s a unique design that certainly adds weight (still only 980 grams), but should provide a quality ride.
Further, the 2020 GT Grade features a flip chip to change the ride characteristics, as needed. This is a first in the gravel category and allows the new Grade to go from stable bikepacking steed to gravel racer in a matter of minutes. To do this, all it takes is removing the front axle and swapping the chip fore or aft. You want stability when ladened with frame bags and bottles galore; check. Or, you want a nimble handler for road or gravel assaults; check. It simply swaps the offset from 50mm to 70mm for a longer wheelbase and less sharp handling.
Adding to that is up to 180mm front rotor compatibility, which will aid on long descents when fully-loaded on a self-supported adventure. Of course, the new frame uses the latest thru-axles and Flat Mount disc brakes too. Oh, and droppers… yup, it all works internally.
But, you’ll notice that the new GT Grade doesn’t have any proprietary anything, so you can customize it as you like. Additionally, all routing is external, unless you have Di2. Dropper post is stealth-routed, of course (and only on carbon models).
The all-important tire clearance is stated at 700x42mm measured. Nothing stated on 650b, other than it’s compatible. If I were to guess, I’d say it’s likely 2.1x650b (but we’ll verify).
The new GT Grade is available at compelling price points from $1,000 – $3900 with two alloy and three carbon models.
Read More: 2020 GT Grade Carbon Pro Review