GT BMX: 2017 Complete Bikes | Ride UK BMX

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GT BMX: 2017 Complete Bikes

Last year, GT Bicycles announced their big push back into the world of freestyle BMX with a new team and the promise of new products. With guys like Jason Phelan and Brian Kachinsky on the squad, you know they mean it.

The GT team at the product launch with Ben Ward, right.

GT launched their extensive 2017 range of complete bikes a couple of weeks ago at 5050 skatepark in New York, saying it pays tribute to the brand’s heritage and brings new life to old favourites like the 26” 1986 GT Performer, Four Piece Bar, Low Profile LP-5 Tires, and Power Series Cranks. We caught up with Product Manager Ben Ward and quizzed him on what’s what.


Phelan Team Comp

– What were you aiming to achieve with the design?

“With each step up in price through the line, we wanted to deliver improved build and spec. The bones of the bike are straight forward, more Cr-Mo in the frame fork and bars to add strength and bring down weight. Double wall rims and sealed hubs all around, but added in the female front hub for a modern twist. When it came to the color and graphics I worked closely with Jason Phelan and our graphic designer Yunho (You Know?) to help Jason sell the idea of dreams and that his line could help you achieve them. With a very outside of the box approach from Jason and Yunho’s knowhow, I think we delivered a bike that is both visually striking and reliable.”

– Which design features are you most proud of?

“The color and graphics… Jason had a wild idea and I wasn’t sure it would be achievable and our graphic designer Yunho brought the vibrant color blocks to life and topped them with his own illustrations based on Jason’s input.”

Trans Red Slammer

– What were you aiming to achieve with the design?

“The Slammer is our opening price point in the freestyle line and it’s spec’d out with a semi-sealed 9t cassette hub, 1pc seat and post combo, detangler and tubular 3pc cranks. It features a purpose designed frame fork and bar; meaning the components are designed to be as strong as possible with the materials they are made from, in this case steel. The chainstays on the frame are “Ovalsized” and ultra-tapered allowing extra tire clearance and for added stiffness to increase the frames durability. The geometry also features a 13” slammed rear end length to allow the bike to react quicker for young riders who haven’t developed the strength to muscle a bike around. In the 2016 line we had a Trans Red Brian Kachinsky Team Signature bike that people loved. If the color did well as the most expensive bike in the line, it’s bound to kill it at the entry level.”

– Which design features are you most proud of?

“The Alloy Sealed Mechanism 9t Cassette Hub. It has a 4 bearing sealed drive side with 1pc 9t driver for durability and one non-drive loose ball bearing that is easy for a shop to service. The hub allowed us to achieve great cost savings for the rider and still allows them to have a genuine BMX freestyle experience.”

Black Performer with Junk Food Saddle / Graphics

– What were you aiming to achieve with the design?

“The Performer is one of the oldest names in freestyle. Over the years a lot of fun has been had with this line and we wanted to continue the tradition. We partnered up with rider and Illustrator, Chris Piascik for the Junk Food seat and the seat turned out so good we decided to build a bike around it. Featuring an integrated head tube, mid bb, sealed front hubs and the new LP-5 tires, this bike is meant to be ridden. Instead of going crazy with colors on the bike, we decided to keep it all black and let the Junk Food details stand out. With the added splash of color in the teal hubs, we delivered a bike that checks off both the mild and wild boxes.”

– Which design features are you most proud of?

“Chris Piascik’s Junk Food pattern being adopted into a complete bike. It’s fun to stoke people out and I know Chris, even with all of his successes as an illustrator, is little kid stoked to have his artwork on a GT. High Five buddy!”

16” Lil’ Performer in Neon Yellow

– What were you aiming to achieve with the design?

“When I see this bike next to its two big brothers, the 18” and the 20” I honestly giggle. It’s that cool! Haha. I love the idea that dad and kid could be cruising the park on matching bikes! For the color we dug back into the GT archives for the neon yellow and black splatter and gave a modern tweak with the geometric pattern in the downtube logo. A sealed mechanism cassette hub on 16” wheels, short top tube, mini 3pc cranks and chocolate wall tires, this bike not only looks cool, its ready to shred. The shortened head tube allows for some weight savings on the front end of the bike and 3/8” axle front and rear are plenty for the little one if they discover pegs.”

– Which design features are you most proud of?

“This one is so small I’m going to group the entire thing into the feature. Having a bike for a little one to shred on that their dad is also stoked about makes me smile.”

BK Team Signature in Trans Yellow

– What were you aiming to achieve with the design?

“The BK line is consistently some of the most fashion forward models in the line and we wanted to push the limits in the fine details with each model. From the BK saddle featuring the Chicago train line map, the frame graphics that take inspiration from the details in the seat and the head tube decal that pays homage to Brian’s home town in Wisconsin, these bikes are BK through and through. The Signature is the highest end offering in the BK line and the model most like the bike BK himself is riding.”

BK talks through his signature bike.

“Featuring a full chromoly frame, fork, and 4pc GT bars, with the aftermarket BK Elevated stem holding them in place. The bike rolls on double wall rims, sealed female front hub, sealed 9t free coaster and is wrapped with GT Patina Pool tires. The Patina line of tires start out black and change color as the top layer of tread breaks in. The hotpatch on the side, is matched to the color of the tread underneath. In this case, the under layer is classic GT yellow. Yellow is a color known to GT for many years, but it is also one of the standard colors you constantly see on the streets and that is why the frame is fished off with the vibrant translucent version.”

– Which design features are you most proud of?

“Bringing the GT 4pc bars back to a complete bike, the 2pc Power Series Cr-Mo crank you can only find on the Team Signature line.”

– Were there any big challenges or surprises while working on the new range?

“Overall things went pretty smooth. The surprises came once we finally saw the bikes all built up and together and how excited and supportive everyone non-BMX were for the line.”

– How much input the riders have into the bikes?

“I give the team full discretion when it comes to their line. I start with a rough outline of what the models will be and what we need to achieve each model and I work directly with the team to fill in the blanks. I think it’s a crucial step to the process. If the rider is stoked on their product, it a lot easier for them to tell the story, especially when they are involved from the beginning.”

– What sets the new GT complete bikes apart from others on the market?

“The focus for our line was to deliver bikes a rider can afford and have confidence in. At the entry level, bikes that the rider can feel confident on and stand out with a bike that looks as good as the highest end models in the line. A bike line a shop can carry with confidence; with price points that make sense and have a story for each model that is easy to tell.”


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