Dirt Rag Magazine

Inside Line: First ride on the new GT Sanction enduro race bike

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When GT unveiled its Force and Sensor bikes last year they were a big hit with their sponsored athletes, but for the rigors of the DH-level Enduro World Series tracks, they knew they had to offer something to bridge the gap between the 150mm Force and 220mm Fury downhill bike. Enter the rebirth of the Sanction, this time as a 27.5, 165mm platform that is designed expressly for the “e-word.”

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While the Sensor, Force and the new Helion bikes use GT’s newer ASO independent drivetrain suspension system, the Sanction has a scaled-down version of the Fury’s venerable i-Drive.¬†With riders like Dan Atherton and Martin Maes throwing down on DH tracks and still needing to be able to ride back to the top, the Sanction was built around the new Fox 36 fork and Float X shock with a remote CTD system.

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Because the bottom bracket is attached to both the rear triangle and the front triangle via a small linkage, the whole rear end is a solid unit, leading to excellent rear-wheel stiffness.

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Like most gravity bikes these days, the Sanction is built around a long top tube and super short stem. Something in the 35mm range, to be exact. Naturally the bars are correspondingly wide. Because the long front center adds to stability at speed, the head tube can stay a relatively “conservative” 66 degrees, something we would have found on a downhill bike just a few years ago. In comparison, the Fury has a 63 degree head tube angle.

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All the #enduro basics: Dropper post…

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Super short stem…

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… and Fox CTD remote.

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Because of the wide range in gearing options these days, and the gravity focused nature of its work, the Sanction is also built without any provision for a front derailleur. The bike I rode was equipped with an E13 booster cog to extend the 1×10 range a bit further than normal though. Since you WILL be going fast on this bike, the post mount rear brakes can accept a 180mm rotor, minimum. There is also routing for a dropper post, because you have to get back to the top, of course.

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I got in two quick laps aboard the Sanction at the Deer Valley Bike Park. While many “enduro” bikes are likely to see double duty as all-purpose trail bikes, the Sanction has clearly been designed to tilt the board toward the gravity side of the spectrum. The dropper post and larger cog do make it possible to climb, but the long front end and supple suspension mean it is more happier pointed down.

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The trails at Deer Valley are mostly tight and twisty, and I didn’t have much chance to let it stretch its legs, but the Sanction could be a great option for people who are self-shuttling or want a park bike without committing to a full downhill setup.

Watch for more details of the Sanction, including pricepoints, when it makes its official debut.

Keep reading

I rode the Sanction at PressCamp, a media-only expo for new bikes and gear. Take a look at the rest of my coverage here and watch for more coming soon.

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