It's not that often that we're sent cross-country bikes to review here at Spoke, it's not our choice. Mind you, Brett used to be a hard-out XC racer and Leif and Mark both have XC racing in their blood. So when Dave at GT here in New Zealand suggested we review the new 110mm travel Helion, we jumped at the chance. Now as you can see, the Helion is one very cool and modern XC bike, in fact it's more a marathon/trail bike than a hard-out XC rig. A nice Race Face Turbine stem at a respectable 70mm length, 180mm rotors front and rear and a 1x Race Face Turbine 32T narrow/wide chainring mated to an XT 11 speed setup hint at this bike's trail leanings.
Like most of the new GTs it features their new Peter Denk-designed, super-efficient Path Link suspension but there have been a few changes since the Force and Sensor dropped. Oh, and this bike features a single handlebar-mounted remote to shift the front and rear Fox shocks through their CTD settings! This bike is trick and we can't wait to get it out on the trails!
Race Face's proven Turbine cranks and their popular narrow/wide chainring look after power transmission, while E13's lightweight XCX guide ensures that your chain ain't going anywhere! And if you decide you didn't want it, you could always fit a Spoke X MRP Decapitator in its place.
The non-drive side gives you a good look at GT's 110mm travel Path Link. It's the same as on the Force and Sensor that we have ridden and reviewed and it's a super efficient platform that wastes very little of your pedal efficiency. We can only imagine how good it's going to be with the shorter travel!
And as we mentioned up top, the linkage has changed a little from the current Force and Sensor; the pivot bolts are now expanding axles very similar to the current RockShox Maxle, for increased stiffness and light weight.
The handlebar mounted CTD remote looks a little funky but after a spin around the carpark it's in the right place and is so easy to change the fork and rear shock, especially considering how low the shock placement is on the the new GTs. I would have loved this on my Sensor!
A real world 70mm stem length that you won't have to change! I should mention the numbers eh? So the head angle is 69.5º, the seat angle is 70.5º and on our test medium we have a 606mm top tube with 438mm chainstays.
Although the bike comes with Shimano, GT thought they would also throw in a SRAM dropout as well. And they even include (with this model at least) an E13 42t EX cog, with required B tension screw to boot. Now that is a nice touch!
We'll have a full review of this trail weapon in the December issue, but if you're lucky Leif might post up some early impressions!