Pros: i-drive system kicks but!
Cons: More experience will tell.
Hi there! Want to know why I got this bike? Well, let me tell you why...
Back in the fall of 2000, I was shopping for a new bike when I found that full suspension bikes were great to ride over bumps, fall through large heights, and ride along great distances. The idea of a full suspension bike, at first, was somewhat ludicrous. Spend thousands of dollars on a bike with shocks? Yeah right! Got to be rich and full of yourself to do that...
Well, it turns out that full suspension bikes are actually very neat. With the right frame design, selection of components (i.e. shocks, brakes, etc.), weight balance and cost, one can buy a very nice, new set of wheels.
Choice of Components
When it comes to bike parts, I only trust Shimano. Call me biased toward Japanese products, or whatever you wish, but Shimano is the best manufacturer of bike parts and accessories. The XCR 3000 has a number of components made by Shimano.
Shimano makes high-quality products with strong materials, exceptional design, and ?muscular? performance. With the exception of the brake levers and clipless pedals, Shimano makes all the chain/brake components on this bike. The result is a bike that you can rely on at 60 mph going down a hill, has good braking performance with little fade (V-brakes), and a set of chain parts that are easy to maintain and customize.
:o( Lost in time? If you find that you don?t know what a term means, check out the glossary I included at the bottom of this review.
In addition, the bike has Ritchey clipless pedals and Michelin tires. The pedals are very nice, though I?m still getting accustomed to using this system. Also know as death pedals, it?s easy to fall on my side each time I lose balance -- the shoes just won?t leave the pedals fast enough! The tires, on the other hand, are too thin, and I have had several flat tires. Looking forward to changing them...
The people at GT knew what they were doing when they set up this bike. It carries Deore LX derailleurs, Deore brakes, a Rock Shox Judy XC front suspension, a Rock Shox Dual Air SID rear shock, and a frame and set of wheels that are disk brake-ready.
Regarding the Rock Shox parts, I believe they make a good pair on this bike. The front suspension has 100 mm of play and can be adjusted as soft, medium, or stiff. I always have it set on soft as I like to make full use of the spring range. The fork also does not bend sideways on the vertical axis, as I found some that do.
The rear shock on this bike has dual air valves and a knob for easy adjustment of how fast you want the shock to return to its original, extended position. I find that the rear shock doesn?t leak much and only needs an input of air (by pump) every 4-5 rides -- which is acceptable for most bike riders. I have yet to bottom out on this shock.
Now the main feature on this bike, or attraction if you will, is the design of the rear suspension. Compared to all other bikes I rode, the i-drive system is awesome! Virtually all the thrust I put into the pedals ends up at the rear wheel. This means the rear shock doesn?t absorb much of the pressure I exert, leading to a smoother, easier ride. Some suspension designs were made to push a company quickly into the full suspension market, rather than fulfill its true calling. GT did not make this mistake, and the i-drive works great.
Note that all GT bikes on the 1000-5000 series have the i-drive system.
The frame on this bike is very nice. It is made of aluminum, has a lifetime warranty, and has the unusual thick welds that are becoming more common now a day. The result is a sleek-looking bike that grabs people?s attention right-a-way.
Also noteworthy to mention, the tube for the seat post doesn?t have a limiter, so one can move the seat down very far below the tube length before there?s any risk of touching the rear shock. I find this appealing as I couldn?t ride some bike models due to the position of the seat; the store would have had to cut the length of the seat post just for me to test the bike (and I?m 5?8!).
In addition, whenever I ride over some troubled road, there are no complaints from the frame. On other bikes I tested, the whole bike made noises (chain, shocks, etc.), rattling over so much of a pothole in front of the bike store. This frame is good!
In terms of weight, this bike has about 23 lbs. It is no road bike, but it is light for a full suspension bike!
Overall Selection ? why this bike?
Overall, I chose this bike based on a number of factors:
- Choice of components
It was only during my research that I learned about GT. It is a brand that's extremely well regarded for its bikes; posting good standings in recent bike competitions and known as a reliable and trustworthy company. Positive bike reviews all over the web and the general appeal of their bikes initially made me opt for their 4.0 i-drive 2001 model.
:oP The Competition
Also on my list was a bike from Giant. It had a similar range of components, but included disk brakes. Call these guys nuts, but disk brakes are now in bikes, too! The Giant was also cheaper: $900 vs. GT?s 4.0 i-drive for $999. I?m not going to dwell much on the Giant, though, because it?s at a lower level than the bike at hand, the XCR 3000.
As I mentioned earlier, the design of this bike is awesome: the i-drive system works great, the appearance of the bike looks great, and all the components are made by good brands.
Finally, cost. As fore mentioned, I went to the store going after the 4.0 series. It had a lower level of components, same i-drive design, and was for sale at $999. Well, turns out the store had a sale of 30% off on older bike models; which put the XCR 3000 model year 2000, at $1099. What a grab! After a little convincing onto my parents (this was my 21st birthday gift), I got it!
I really like this bike, so if you are considering getting a full suspension bike around $1000-$1500, I highly recommend an i-drive. The only problems I had so far were:
1. The tire walls are too thin and I got many flats due to this. I put one of those plastic reels inside the tire, in between the tire and the tube, and this has worked well on the past five rides. The threads on the tires also don?t provide much traction. Can?t wait to change!
2. On the second ride, SECOND!, I was riding down a hill and the front rim bent so far as to lock the brakes and throw me over the bars. The guy at the store didn?t think it was the wheel, but I?m still unhappy about spending $110 on a new rim and spokes for a brand new bike. I wasn?t going that fast... bad luck I guess.
Clipless Pedals -- The type of pedals where the shoes clip onto the pedals.
Disk Brakes -- A brake system that uses ventilated disk brakes on the hub of the wheels. The best systems go for about $100 online (for each wheel), but you need a frame and wheel hubs that accept its installation.
Hub -- This is the center part of the wheel where the spokes are attached to.
Oscillation -- Say you put a piece of tape on the tire. As the tire rotates and you look at the position of the tape from the side of the wheel, the curve forms by the motion of the tape is called an oscillation.
Rim -- This is the outer part of the wheel.
V-Brakes -- V-brakes are better than the older brake design as they exert more pressure on the wheel. They also take longer to fade out, as some designs literally crush the rim walls. Very powerful stuff!
Derailleur -- The mechanical system that holds the chain in place over a certain gear.
For further information, check out the following web sites:
o Consumer Reviews
PS: Hey, if you are shopping for a GT, feel free to e-mail me with any questions!