Sign In:


Last Step!

Please enter your public display name and a secure password.

Plan to post in the forums? Change your default forum handle here!


GT’s Grade Rides Like a Mountain Bike: With a Bad Attitude

Question 1: Do you want a road bike?

Question 2: Do you want that bike to feel like a mountain bike: with disk brakes, slack geometry (for a road bike), long wheelbase, the right amount of compliance, wide tires and a bad attitude?

Question 3: Do you want that bike to descend like a monster?

3 Yeses? Well, I offer you GT's Grade. It is the drop-bar bike mountain bikers should buy if they want to crush it on road, gravel and smooth dirt.

40mph can be fun. Cynthia Izoldi photo.

I never really considered getting into "gravel" riding, mostly because I think it's marketing bullshit. Sure, riding a road bike on gravel might be fun—I enjoy a cyclocross race every now and again—but this whole “open road/freedom/adventure/bike-camping/gravel” feels targeted to millennials dancing around a bonfire to Lumineers songs.

However, GT has serious MTB cred. They make gravity-focused race rigs that haul. So if they put out a road bike, it’s a safe bet it’ll be capable of some bad-ass-ery and abuse. And the category is not their fault. To their credit, they just put out the best gravel-capable bike.

Also, road cycling really helps your mountain biking. Steady-state power, endurance and long miles; Train yourself to pump out 300-400+ watts consistently over an hour and a half, and that’ll pay huge dividends on any trail ride. Also, I love seeing how fast I can go on the road, mashing out power while trying to hit 50mph is kinda awesome.

The GT Grade is the bike that makes road biking feel like mountain biking. That is... lots of fun.


The Grade has a lot of not-quite-standard features for a road bike: 32c tubeless Clement Strada tires are super fat (until recently 23c has been the norm). Recent science has proven wider tires offer lower rolling resistance (MTB kind of led the way there). So instead of the harsh, 120 psi skinnies on road tires, the Grade has fat rubber running 50 psi.

Mount whatever you want, plenty of room back there. GT photo.

Mavic Aksium carbon wheels are light, have beefy hubs with straight-pull spokes and disk brakes. This all means hoops which don't flex under cornering at speed.

Great stopping power and a really visible fork. GW photo.

And...damn, the Shimano R785 disk brakes feel nice when you’re hauling ass downhill and want to dive hard into a side street. The sketchy proposition of hard braking at speed with rim-brakes is sketchy no more. These are smooth and powerful.

The vertically-compliant rear triangle and fibreglass seatstays. GW photo.

For stiffness, the Grade’s frame has a massive down-tube and wide bottom bracket. The seat-stays feature fiberglass cores wrapped in carbon fiber to deliver a sweet amount of vertical compliance. Suspension, basically. The flex takes the edge off bumps but can hold a line like it's on rails.

Up front a beefy carbon fork keeps the Grade’s braking power in line and its bright yellow color makes sure cellphone-addicted drivers have at least a decent chance of seeing you.

Wide bars make it to the roadie market. GW photo.

If you like wide bars on your mountain bike, the Grade’s flared drops provide leverage for aggressive descents and body-english on climbs. Truthfully, descents are where the bike is the most fun. I consistently pedaled hard as I could down hills just to see how fast I could go. That’s how comfortable this bike makes you feel. It’s plush, the tires stick to the road no matter what and the bars are wide… so have at it.

The beefy down-tube and ultegra cranks. GW photo.

The Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, with 52/36 chainrings and an 11-32 cassette, fit every situation. Though the bike begs you to put power into it—this isn’t a rig for twaddling around to the store.

The Grade's stock 90mm stem is a little long. I toyed with going full-on douche and putting a 35mm stem on it, but that would be too short. 70mm worked well for me.

It's really light too. GW photo.

Finally, the carbon seatpost added vertical compliance to an already plush package.


Gettin' used to it, trying to blend in. GW photo.

I’m grateful to GT for letting me swing a let over the Grade. Giving me a high-end road bike is casting pearls before swine. I asked “are you SURE?” at least twice when they offered it to me for review. They assured me that, yes, they’d like me ride it, and even threw in some Sugoi roadie-wear so I’d fit in a little better (GT and Sugoi are owned by the same company, so it's the MTB-est of roadie gear). I still don’t own a pure road helmet, shoes or those gloves without fingers, but I think I passed most days.

I refuse to buy fingerless gloves. Cynthia Izoldi photo.

My first ride on it was a “what the heck, roll it out of the garage and see what happens” ride. I threw a water bottle in the cage as an afterthought. Not even sure I had a multi-tool and a tube. Without realizing it, I hammered 30 miles in a little over hour and a half. For me that’s a ton. I kept looking at the next hill thinking “not a problem, I’ll get over that and FLY down the backside.” When riding the Grade, at some point you'll realize you’re REALLY thirsty and turn around, loving that you still have 15 miles until you get home.

The 'endurance' geometry doesn’t bend you over like a hardcore race bike—your eyes and chest stay up, dropping into those flared bars when you want to get aero. It opens your chest to vacuum in as much air as possible when you need it.

It climbs awesome. Cynthia Izoldi photo.

Again, the Grade descends like nobody’s business. Grippy tires and a long wheelbase make you invincible. On fast, swoopy bits of road, you can roll over cracks and crud with impunity. If you have a bike computer, you WILL mash as fast as you can downhill to see what you can get the number to. Tubeless tires, flexy chainstays and carbon seatpost take pretty much all the road chatter out of the experience.

Again, the compliant seatstays take a lot of the harshness out of any surface. GW photo.

The disk brakes are powerful. A ton more powerful than the rim brakes on my CX bike, and those don’t suck. Interestingly, overheating is more of an issue on road descents because of the faster speeds and generally smaller rotors (though 160mm disks on the Grade match what you can find on some XC bikes). The cooling fins on the disks and calipers mitigate head and I never experienced any fade.

You’d think a bike with these kind of descending chops would feel slow on the climbs, but no. The stiff bottom bracket and downtube transfer power really efficiently. As I mentioned, wide tires provide less rolling resistance than skinny tires (something about a larger volume of air in a wider tire holds a better profile under weight). In the saddle or out, push the cranks uphill without any rattles or feedback from the road.

Sick of seeing me in Spandex yet? Cynthia Izoldi photo.

Yes, I took it on dirt. But because I don't normally ride ‘gravel’ I don’t have a lot to compare it to. It’s fun... but it’s not mountain biking. If you do take it on a dirt road, it’ll feel perfectly normal. You won’t worry about your tires or brakes or frame.

I guess what this bike does is let you give no shits about whatever is in front of you. Fast road: awesome, beat everyone on the descent and pedal all day. Gravel: no problem.

Could get used to it. Feels good. GT photo.

If you’re a mountain biker who wants to ride on the road, this bike is your jam: Aggressive, holds its line descending, strong brakes, plush, poppy on the climbs. Buy this bike.

And yes, it’s adventurous. With a Grade you can bang out really fun fitness training before work or whatever. It will increase your mountain bike skill and fun. Though be careful, you might just start riding the road for fun. Then where will you be?

The Deets:

And it looks great. Cynthia Izoldi photo.

Fork: GT Carbon with tapered carbon steerer, 15mm thru axle
Bars: New GT DropTune Ultra Light with a 16-degree flare 
Drivetrain: Shimano Ultegra 11-speed
Rear Mech: Shimano Ultegra
Chainrings: Shimano Ultegra 52/36
Cassette: Shimano 105 11-speed 11-32
Bottom Bracket: Praxis Works PF30 BB
Brakes: Shimano R785 hydraulic w/ cooling fins, 160mm IceTech centerlock rotors
Wheels: Mavic Aksium Disc Allroad Wheelset
Tires: Tubeless Clement Strada USH 700x32c
Seatpost: FSA K-Force Light carbon 27.2, 25mm setback
MSRP: $3,730

From The Column: TGR Tested

iOS 11 is set to become the most advanced and the most secure operating system of the Apple devices.
Indeed, we have no hesitation in believing that when the iOS 11 releases, it will be appreciated by one and all.
Besides, it also has a host of new features, including a new dark or night mode. Want to know more about it? Please visit my website

nice bicycle, it worth to buy. is it available online or we should go offline. You have right information about this so thanks buddy for this work
ssup update status

You can easily pay your Metro PCS Bill Pay via online, over the phone, through the mail, or at select authorized payment centers. In this article, we have updated you with the complete information regarding the metro pcs payment Login and the various methods to pay your bill.

How the Pandemic Created a New Path for the Bike Industry
Up Next Bike

How the Pandemic Created a New Path for the Bike Industry

How the Pandemic Created a New Path for the Bike Industry

A view of Hoff's Bikesmith, Jackson Hole, WY. The mechanics here welcomed me easily and it was especially at Hoff's I found myself missing working in a bike shop. Izzy Lidsky photo. In November of 2020, I took my old commuter bike from college for a ride on the park road in Grand Teton National Park. All the singletrack trails here in Jackson were too snowy and muddy to ride already so for one last two-wheeled hurrah, I decided this was the best option before setting my bikes aside for

​TGR Tested: Dynafit Radical Boot
Up Next Gear & Tech

​TGR Tested: Dynafit Radical Boot

​TGR Tested: Dynafit Radical Boot

Dynafit's brand-new Radical Pro boot is a ski touring boot built for skiers. | Max Ritter photo. Ski touring boots are arguably the most hotly-contested niche sector of the industry, with consumers demanding all manner of things from what they put on their feet for big days in the mountains. We want them to be as light as a skimo boot. We want them to be as stiff as an alpine race boot. We want more range of motion than our ankles even allow. We want space-age materials that can be molded

TGR Tested: Women’s Spring Backcountry Skiing Favorites
Up Next Gear & Tech

TGR Tested: Women’s Spring Backcountry Skiing Favorites

TGR Tested: Women’s Spring Backcountry Skiing Favorites

TGR staff writer Katie Lozancich out for a spring walk in Grand Teton National Park. Charlotte Percle photo. Ah, spring. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and it’s now the season for 5 AM wake-ups to go corn hunting in the alpine. While the temptation to head south for some desert adventures might seem alluring, it’s worth putting them off a little longer to squeeze those last spring turns from the mountains. Plus, not having to worry about frostbite or wearing a gazillion