The triple triangle has been a trademark of GT Bicycles for decades. Originally, the design was a structural advantage when GT was making bikes out of metal tubes. When carbon bikes became part of GT’s line, the triple triangle was retained for its trademark look, but did not serve the structural purpose it previously did since carbon frames are often tuned and reinforced in other ways.
GT introduced the Grade Carbon gravel bike in 2014 when the gravel road segment was just gaining momentum. With the carbon Grade, the triple triangle returned as a structural element bracing the pencil thin seatstays that are solid glass fiber composite wrapped in carbon. GT wanted to achieve vibration damping and a softtail suspension effect and was able to achieve this using this innovative design once again.
The Grade Carbon has cyclocross bike-like geometry with a modern 7.0 BB drop and a medium front center. But the bike is stretched a bit with 43.0cm chainstays and a slack head tube angle for longer days in the saddle for gravel and adventure rides.
The frame remains unchanged for 2016 with a 15mm thru-axle all carbon fork with fender eyelets and quick release rear end with post mount brakes. The bike comes speced with 28mm tires, but can officially fit 35mm tires, though we know of 38’s being squeezed into the Grade without issue.
The Grade comes in a number of different models with different specs. There are no fewer than five alloy Grade models, from the $880 USD Grade Alloy Claris, with Shimano’s entry level drop bar group, to the Grade Alloy X, which we first saw at Press Camp last year and which features a SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain and retails for $1,840 USD. The Grade Carbon comes in two trims, the Grade Carbon 105, with Shimano’s venerable workhorse group and a retail price of $2,710 USD and the bike we see here, the $3,800 USD Grade Carbon Ultegra.
The Ultegra model utilizes a mechanical drivetrain paired with the R685 hydraulic brakes from Shimano. As a result, the shift/brake levers are BR-R685 units. The only non-Ultegra level drivetrain components are the 105 11-32 cassette and the KMC X11 chain. While Fizik provides the seatpost and saddle, GT uses their own alloy stem and its own bar, which has a slight flare like that we saw on many new gravel bikes introduced at the 2016 Sea Otter Classic.
More Info: gtbicycles.com