2015 GT Helion Carbon Team Pro Expert Elite & Comp Mountain Bike Reviews

2015 GT Helion Team Carbon MTB Racing Bike

First Impressions

It makes a powerful statement without being flashy. It reminds me of a US stealth fighter jet.


Paint & Colors

Simple clean, exemplifying the carbon it is made of. The yellow accents work for me.


Frame Design

110mm travel in the front and a 110mm independent suspension system with a Fox 32 FLOAT 27.5 CTD FIT w/ Adjust Kashima, 110mm Travel, 15QR, w/ FIT Damper, Lockout & Rebound Adjust, Tapered Alloy Steerer in the rear is a smart choice, keeping the bike light but offering just a bit more when you need it. The frame is stout and light, with a small loss of the of the seat post length in favor of the suspension design. GT labels their suspension system AOS, and claims it is completely independent of pedal stroke, a great thing.

Smart cable routing.


Frame Sizes

GT offers a nice range of sizing S,M,L & XL. I wouldn’t mind seeing an XS size in the future for their carbon offering like the aluminum models. Also the 27.5” (650B) wheel size might be slightly more appealing to small – medium sized riders than the 29” MTB wheel size, which they made a stab at 2 years ago across their XC race models, switching over to the 27.5”, 650B in 2014.

I really like that GT went with a 69.5 degree head angle across their line to give the bike a slightly more slack XC head angle and in my opinion gives a bit more control on the descents with out making much of a sacrifice to your climbs. With a 1 degree adjustable headset, 68.5 – 69 degress might work well for certain discerning riders as well. The stand over height and bottom bracket height (325mm) 12.8” are very good for an XC bike in its class.

The seatpost angle is 70.5 degrees across all sizes providing a nice balance for climbing while still providing the rider with great control on the descents.

The wheel base (41.81”-45.2”) (1062mm-1148mm) increases with the size of the frame, and makes the bike very flickable offering remarkable control over very rough terrain.

The 12 x 142 rear thru axle is now the standard and I think you couldn’t ask for better rigidity and strength from the rear triangle on such a lightweight bike. A 1 1/2 – 1 1/8 tapered head tube ensure the frame can perform and withstand everything you have to throw at it.


Bike Weight

Not listed. Apparently this is some kind of military secret like the designs of the new steal fighters. I was unable to locate its retail price on the site, and based on the lower pro carbon model, expect it to be in the MSRP $6K range.


Carbon quality

GT has an excellent reputation with it Carbon MTB frames and they seem to be fairly indestructible aside from the inherent limitations of carbon over aluminum in crashes and hard impacts.


Parts grouping

Excellent, the best money can buy! GT has opted for a single 32T ring carbon Raceface Next SL crankset up front with an eThirteen XCX chain guide and a 11 speed 11-40T XTR M9000 rear cassette. This simply is the best racing setup money can buy in 2015, to say the least.

The GT statement single lock on grips are the only option for riding. GT has made a great choice with their stem opting for the Race Face Turbine 35, which has a 0 degree rise and is 80mm in length. It might not be perfect for the real tall rider, but for the shorter to medium crowd we don’t have to invest in a longer one. The Race Face Turbine 35 handlebars have a 10 degree rise which make a great stem / bar cockpit control system. In addition, the handlebars have a 10 degree rise, which is just right. No doubt the 35mm clamping system means super strength. Also the bars come stock at 740mm which is really a nice width.


Brakes

The Shimano XTR brakes and levers (model M9000) with metallic pads and 180mm icetech rotors offer substantial braking power, and have proven to be a very reliable braking system. While many companies have opted for a smaller rotor in the rear than the front size for XC racing, GT is running the same size. A micro amount of weight could be shaved with a smaller rear rotor without losing much braking power, for the true weight connoisseur. I was running the smaller brake rotor on the rear way before it became popular and I was never disappointed with any rear wheel loss of braking power.


Front Suspension

A Fox 32 Float 27.5 CTD FIT w/ Kashima (110mm), 15QR, Lockout and Rebound adjust, tapered alloy steerer is the perfect front fork. Truly top of the line XC suspension.


Wheelset

The Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Crest 27.5″ tubeless 32h disc wheels make for a great lightweight yet strong, super fast rolling wheelset. They feature DT Swiss 240S, Centerlock, 15x100mm Thru Axle hub in the front and a DT Swiss 240S, Centerlock, 12x142mm Thru Axle hub in the rear. All spokes are tapered DT Swiss Competition 1.8/1.6 stainless steel with alloy nipples


Final thoughts

I love this bike and think I could spend the rest of my life pedaling it. GT Bicycles in my opinion made all the right choices on their 2015 Hellion Carbon Team mountain bicycle. They have truly created one of the most venomous XC Cross Country racing machines in a long time. Expect to win races, and see other riders winning on one of these trusty steeds as well.

You could buy 2015 GT Helion Team Carbon 27.5” Mountain Bike and join me.


Pros

This bike comes from a long line of successful XC racing bikes built by GT, and no doubt this one will be a winner as well. The RaceFace and Shimano XTR parts are the best money can buy. A great choice on the RaceFace Next carbon SL cransket, and the 11 speed XTR M9000 rear cassette with a single ring 32T in the front.

This one is a legendary 5 stars all the way…to the podium

The suspension has all the adjustability and capability needed for the best racers in the world. If I was a billionaire, I would not change a things, except may be opt for 2 of these rides.

Finally, if you don’t win any races on the 2015 GT Bicycles Helion Carbon Tean 27.5” MTB racing bike, might I suggest hiring XC-MountainBike.com as your riding coach. Maybe we can help. Check out our articles on Strength, Endurance and Nutrition at XC-MountainBike.com


Cons

Where’s the claimed weight, I hope it matches or beats its competitors approximate 24 lb. claimed weights on their full suspension team bikes? I didn’t see the MSRP, which is a little scary, but I am sure it will show up soon enough. Finally I think the stem’s length should have been adjusted accordingly to the frame size, i.e. 80mm for Small – Medium, and a 100mm length for Large and X-Large frames. Nothing else, it’s perfect.

Hint: Availability is very limited on these Team Models, so if your serious about winning XC races, buy a 2015 GT Helion Carbon Team Racing Mountain Bike while their available.


Rating: 2015 GT Helion Carbon Pro MTB Bike Review for XC Racing:

Sizing: (4 1/2 stars)
Componentry: (5 stars)
Design: (5 stars)
Performance: (5 stars)
Price Point: (4 1/2 stars)
Overall Rating: (5 stars)


2015 GT Helion Pro MTB Racing Bike

First Impressions

Nice clean and looks like a true XC performance machine.


Paint & Colors

The color scheme is nice, but basic and personally I like things on the silver and white side a bit more, but black is beautiful and always a crowd pleaser for a huge part of the market. Plus it never goes out of style like a lot of other fad colors and graphic schemes do, as they being to look dated even the next year in many cases.


Frame Design

110mm travel in the front and a 110mm independent suspension system with a Fox Racing Shox Float CTD Remote BV, 6.5″x1.5″ Air Shock, w/ Rebound Adjust & Remote Lockout in the rear is a smart choice, keeping the bike light but offering just a bit more when you need it. The frame is stout and light, with a small loss of the of the seat post length in favor of the suspension design, and their proprietary AOS suspension system with the pivot set above the bottom bracket.

Intelligent cable routing.


Frame Sizes

GT offers a nice range of sizing S,M,L & XL. I wouldn’t mind seeing an XS size in the future for their carbon offering like the aluminum models. Also the 27.5” (650B) wheel size might be slightly more appealing to small – medium sized riders than the 29” MTB wheel size.

I really like that GT went with a 69.5 degree head angle across their line to give the bike a slightly more slack XC head angle and in my opinion gives a bit more control on the descents with out making much of a sacrifice to your climbs. The stand over height and bottom bracket height (325mm) 12.8” are very good for an XC bike in its class.

The seatpost angle is 70.5 degrees across all sizes providing a nice balance for climbing while still providing the rider with great control on the descents.

The wheel base (41.81”-45.2”) (1062mm-1148mm) increases with the size of the frame, and makes the bike very flickable offering remarkable control over very rough terrain.

The 12 x 142 rear thru axle is now the standard and I think you couldn’t ask for better rigidity and strength from the rear triangle on such a lightweight bike. A 1 1/2 – 1 1/8 tapered head tube ensure the frame can perform and withstand everything you have to throw at it.


Bike Weight

Not listed. Apparently this is some kind of coveted board room secret and at a retail price of $5420 I would expect GT to:

  1. Own or budget for a bike scale
  2. Post the weight results on their website

Carbon quality

GT has an excellent reputation with it Carbon MTB frames and they seem to be fairly indestructible aside from the inherent limitations of carbon like large rock dings.


Parts grouping

Very good. GT has opted for a single 32T ring up front with an eThirteen chain guide and a 10 speed 11-36T rear cassette. A serious racing setup, to say the least. The groupo is Shimano, with the highest level being XT.

The GT statement single lock on grips are the only option for riding. GT has made a great choice with their stem opting for the Race Face Turbine 35, which has a 0 degree rise and is 80mm in length. It might not be perfect for the real tall rider, but for the shorter to medium crowd we don’t have to invest in a longer one. The Race Face Turbine 35 handlebars have a 10 degree rise which make a great stem / bar cockpit control system. In addition, the handlebars have a 10 degree rise, which is just right. No doubt the 35mm clamping system means super strength. Also the bars come stock at 740mm which is really a nice width.


Brakes

The Shimano XT brakes and levers (model M785) with metallic pads and 180mm icetech rotors offer substantial braking power, and have proven to be a very reliable braking system. While many companies have opted for a smaller rotor in the rear than the front size for XC racing, GT is running the same size. A micro amount of weight could be shaved with a smaller rear rotor without losing much braking power, for the true weight connoisseur.


Front Suspension

A Fox 32 FLOAT 27.5 CTD Remote FIT, 110mm Travel, 15QR, w/ FIT Damper, Remote Lockout & Rebound Adjust, Tapered Alloy Steerer is an excellent front fork. Truly top of the line XC racing gear.


Wheelset

The Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Crest Team 27.5″ tubeless disc wheels make for a great lightweight yet strong, fast rolling wheelset. They feature DT Swiss 350, Centerlock, 15x100mm Thru Axle hub in the front and a DT Swiss 350, Centerlock, 12x142mm Thru Axle hub in the rear.


Final thoughts

I think this is really a great racing package. I think the suspension design is quality, as it is based on the success of other motorized two and four wheeling designs. It appears the Zaskar has returned to its hardtail roots, and that this might be the new UCI World Cup XC race bike. Of course a team member can select a hardtail if they prefer… If your serious about winning races or having an absolute blast on your recreational rides, GT really has produced a winner this year. I believe GT Bikes is forging forward with this new design, a drop more suspension and are going to set the XC racing on its head.

You could buy 2015 GT Helion Pro Carbon 27.5” Mountain Bike and join me.


Pros

This bike was designed to be a serious race competitor, and at an MSRP of $5420 it priced competitively with other manufactures offerings in its class. GT has many professional athletes that are winning on their equipment, proving they have what it takes. Also the bikes have been very reliable at world level XC racing events.

I think their choice for a single ring in the front with the eThirteen chain guide is a very smart choice these days to avoid those front end chain issues that always rear their head during races.

The suspension is top notch, all the components are quality.

Finally, if you don’t win any races on the GT Helion Pro MTB racing bike, might I suggest a new riding coach. Maybe we can help. Check out our articles on Strength, Endurance and Nutrition at XC-MountainBike.com


Cons

Where’s the claimed weight? That would be nice to know at this price range. I am not sure what the military secret is. Finally I think the stem’s length should have been adjusted accordingly to the frame size, i.e. 80mm for Small – Medium, and a 100mm length for Large and X-Large frames. At $5K+ who wants to swop a stem? Hardly a deal killer…though.

Hint:Availability is limited on the Pro Models, so if your serious about racing, and want to win buy a 2015 GT Helion Carbon Pro Racing Mountain Bike while their available.


Rating: 2015 GT Helion Carbon Pro MTB Bike Review for XC Racing:

Sizing: (4 1/2 stars)
Componentry: (4 1/2 stars)
Design: (5 stars)
Performance: (4 1/2 stars)
Price Point: (4 1/2 stars)
Overall Rating: (4 1/2 stars)


Other models in Review

In a nutshell the GT Helion 27.5” Carbon Expert review, GT Helion 27.5” Expert review, GT Helion 27.5” Elite review, GT Helion 27.5” Comp review: Each models is a true racer, and a serious value. The geometry is the same across the line, and you have the option to go Carbon frame (Pro & Expert models) or for an Aluminum frame (Expert, Elite & Comp models).

Each bikes components can be slowly upgraded, either to match the Pro specs, or to your requirements. Each model has a different price point to fit all budgets and intended usage?

We invoked the XC-MountainBike.com Rating System to Review all the other GT Helion 27.5” Mountain Racing Bikes:

2015 GT Helion 27.5” Carbon Expert XC MTB Racing Bike

Rating: 2015 GT Helion 27.5” Expert Carbon Racing Mountain Bike Review:

Review Summary:

The 2015 GT Helion 27.5” Expert Carbon Racing Mountain Bike MSRP is $4450, which is almost a $1000 cheaper than the pro model. This a real affordable opportunity to get on one of the best Carbon frames on the market, and still get a great components package. The claimed weight is not provided, so it is impossible to know the difference in weight between the Pro and Expert. I find this a very useful tool in general to determine if the overall costs savings and the apparent component model reductions of some parts justifies the purchasing savings of buying a lower end model.

On the bright side, the expert carbon model shares the same premium carbon frame as the pro bike, so your set, and the weight penalty is probably only 2-3 lbs maximum.

The drivetrain is a small step down from the pro bike, which is to be expected of each subsequent model. The 2015 GT Helion Carbon Expert model runs some Shimano SLX (shifters, front derailleur, crank, hubs and brakes / levers), and features 2 chain rings in the front, which many riders actually prefer over the single ring setup.

The rims are tough and are the Stan’s NoTubes Rapid 25, Tubeless, 32H rims, perfect for aggressive XC racers.

Your still in good hands with the very capable RockShox Reba RL 27.5 Solo Air, 110mm Travel, 15x100mm Maxle, w/ Remote Lockout & Rebound Adjust, Tapered Alloy Steerer as a front fork. The rear is a smart choice as well with the Fox Racing Shox Float CTD Remote BV, 6.5″x1.5″ Air Shock, w/ Rebound Adjust & Remote Lockout rear shock.

For both national level racing and weekend warrior riding, this really is a true winner for the money! The price savings may just offset the extra weight. Interested? Buy the 2015 GT Helion 27.5” Carbon Expert Racing Mountain Bike here.

Sizing: (4 1/2 stars)
Componentry: (4 stars)
Design: (5 stars)
Performance: (4 stars)
Price Point: (4 stars)
Overall Rating: (4 stars)


2015-gt-hellion-expert-mountain-bike-MTB-race-bike-review

Review Summary:

The 2015 GT Helion 27.5” Expert Model Mountain Bike is a truly affordable, great bike. At an MSRP of $3470, it is priced right to make your desire to race a reality, while still providing a competitive aluminum frame package, with some real quality components.

While the geometry on the frame matches the pro bike, this the frame is made of 6061 aircraft aluminum. The aluminum frame, and lower level components no doubt will contribute to increasing the bikes weight, when compared against GT’s carbon models. On the bright side, this frame is probably much stronger than the carbon frame if you are truly going to pound on it and mostly ride recreationally, with occasional national racing events.

All aluminum models are available in XS as well, perfect for the smaller rider, or youth.

I would feel comfortable jumping on this frame harder than its carbon cousin, and be less afraid of rocks dinging the frame form those rocks that jump up and try to bite you.

The Fox Float rear shock with CTD Remote lock out & rebound adjust, is a very good model, of course adjustable compression dampening will be missed. The rear shock is a Fox 32 FLOAT 27.5 CTD Remote O/C, 110mm Travel, 15QR, w/ Open Cartridge Damper, Remote Lockout & Rebound Adjust, Tapered Alloy Steerer. This is a great match for the front fork, and adjustable compression dampening would be a bonus

This model should have a small increase in weight over the Expert Carbon model at an estimated 3-5 lbs. The parts grouping is close to the Expert Carbon as well, running some XT and some SLX from a slightly older model / less expensive M670 series.

The WTB STi23, UST Tubeless, 32H are great rims, slightly heavier than the higher end models, but the trade off is they are a bit tougher, and will require a little less often truing if they are built well.

For both occasional national level XC, Super-D racing and weekend warrior riding, this really is a true winner for the money! Get your hands on one of these today if it’s in your price range. Buy a 2015 GT Helion 27.5” Expert Racing Mountain Bike today.

Sizing: (5 stars)
Componentry: (3 stars)
Design: (4 stars)
Performance: (3 1/2 stars)
Price Point: (4 stars)
Overall Rating: (4 stars)


2015-gt-hellion-elite-mountain-bike-MTB-race-bike-review

Review Summary:

The 2015 GT Helion 27.5” Elite Racing Mountain Bike is really designed to meet all budget needs, and has an MSRP of only $2550. Enjoy world class performance, and some surprisingly good components thrown in as well.

While the geometry on the frame matches the pro bike, this frame is aircraft 6061 aluminum like its more expensive teammate the expert aluminum model. The same thing I said on the Expert model applies with this heavy duty aluminum frame, it is tough and can handle a lot of abuse, hitting really aggressive trails with big decents.

All aluminum models are available in XS as well, perfect for the smaller rider, or youth.

I am a big fan of the front RockShox XC32 TK 27.5 Solo Air, 110mm Travel, 15x100mm Maxle, w/ Remote Lockout & Rebound Adjust, Tapered Alloy Steerer. The internals are great. I owned the 26″ wheel, 1.5″ steerer 180mm 36mm stanchions on my 34 lb. Cannondale Gemini do it all bike. This should be a nice touch on the Elite model.

The parts grouping is a mix of Shimano Deore and Shimano SLX.
The handlebars, stem and seatpost are All Terra, not as nice as the race face turbine series, but nonetheless, not bad for entry level parts. It isn’t so much an issue about strength per say, it is about weight. All and all this is a great entry level model, it gets you on the trail and the geometry feels just right. It is no biggie to upgrade drive train and other little parts as you can, its pretty affordable. See what I mean.

If you ride hard, expect to upgrade some drivetrain components in about 6 months to a year. If you are more on the mellow side, these could last you for 1-2 years, and that’s a lot for an entry level package.

Bonus: A solid entry level front fork is real a plus when your new, or on a tight budget.

For weekend warrior riding, and with a few drive train upgrades you can will be ready to participate in your first local national race. This really a great bike with lots of potential for the money! Buy a 2015 GT Helion 27.5” Comp Racing Mountain Bike and start pedaling in your free time.

Sizing: (5 stars)
Componentry: (3 stars)
Design: (3 1/2 stars)
Performance: (3 stars)
Price Point: (4 1/2 stars)
Overall Rating: (3 1/2 stars)


2015-gt-hellion-comp-mountain-bike-MTB-race-bike-review

Review Summary:

The 2015 GT Helion 27.5” Comp Racing Mountain Bike is really designed to meet all budget needs, and it a true steal with an MSRP of only $1680. Enjoy a bit of world class performance, and some quality components thrown in as well.

I think it is very commendable of GT Bikes to offer 5 models in their line to meet every rider’s budgetary needs and get them out on the trail, and / or into the next XC race near their hometown.

While the geometry on the frame matches the pro bike, this frame is aircraft 6061 aluminum like its more expensive teammate the expert aluminum model. The same thing I said on the Expert and Elite model applies with this heavy duty aluminum frame, it is tough and can handle a lot of abuse, hitting really aggressive trails with big decents.

All aluminum models are available in XS as well, perfect for the smaller rider, or youth.

A Raidon XC RL-R 27.5″, 110mm Travel, Air Spring. QR Dropout, w/ Remote Lockout & Rebound Adjust, Tapered Alloy Steerer is the standard front fork with this package. I don’t know much about this entry level fork as I have never owned one, but on the data sheet it appears to have good functionality and nice adjustability. Its reliability will be based on your aggressiveness, weight and your attention to maintenance.

The parts grouping is entry level. The rims are not tubeless and pretty heavy for what they are. In my opinion, this would be my first future upgrade with something like one of these XC mountain bike racing tubrless wheelsets. This will shave 2-3 pounds hopefully and get you into the world of tubeless tires / performance. All and all this is a great entry level model, it gets you on the trail and the geometry feels just right. It is no biggie to upgrade drive train and other little parts as you can, its pretty affordable. See what I mean.

If you ride hard, expect to upgrade some drivetrain components in about 4 months to 6 months. If you are more on the mellow side, these could last you for 6 months – 1 year, and that’s a lot for an entry level package.

For weekend warrior riding, and with a few drive train upgrades you can will be ready to participate in your first local national race. This really a great bike with lots of potential for the money! Buy a 2015 GT Helion 27.5” Comp Racing Mountain Bike and start pedaling in your free time.

Sizing: (5 stars)
Componentry: (2 1/2 stars)
Design: (3 1/2 stars)
Performance: (3 stars)
Price Point: (5 stars)
Overall Rating: (4 stars)



GT Karakoram Elite 29 in. Bike 2017
$699.99
24% Off

was $921.00



GT Verb Comp 27.5 in. Bike 2017
$899.99
17% Off

was $1080.00



GT Karakoram Elite 29 in. Bike 2017
$699.99
24% Off

was $921.00



GT Verb Comp 27.5 in. Bike 2017
$899.99
17% Off

was $1080.00


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