2016 GT Helion Carbon Team Pro Expert Elite & Comp Mountain Bike Reviews

2016 GT Helion Carbon Pro MTB Racing Bike

First Impressions

A very capable XC performance machine with GT’s proprietary and proven independent suspension system.


Paint & Colors

For a cool blue bike, I think it’s very tasteful. Personally I like things on the silver side, but I would have no problem riding this trusty steed around the trails and races.


Frame Design

COR XC Philosophy, FOC Ultra Carbon 27.5 Frame, 110mm Travel Independent Drivetrainᆴ AOS Suspension System w/Forged Linkage, Pivots, 1 1/8″-1 1/2″ Integrated Head Tube, and 12 x 142mm Maxle Dropouts

Intelligent cable routing.


Fork

Fox Factory 32 FLOAT 27.5 Remote FIT, 120mm Travel, 15QR, w/ FIT Damper, Remote Lockout & Rebound Adjust, Tapered Alloy Steerer


Rear Shock

Fox Racing Shox Factory Float DPS, 6.5″x1.5″ Air Shock, w/ Rebound Adjust & Remote Lockout


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. New for this year, GT switched to 27.5” (650B) wheel size and I am very happy about this decision.

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. There is no excuse for not displaying the weight at this price point $5970 I would expect GT to:

  1. Own or budget for a bike scale since I they apparently didn’t buy one for 2016 and failed again to procure one for 2016
  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 double 36/26T combo an 11 speed 11-42T rear cassette. Most 11 speeds these days are grouped with a 1×10, not sure why they went with the 2×10. The overall groupo is Shimano XT.


Brakes

The Shimano XT brakes and levers with metallic pads and 180mm icetech centerlock 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.


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 high quality, as it is based on the success of other motorized two and four wheeling designs.
I believe GT Bikes is truly forging forward with the AOS design and their proven carbon construction for strength and reliability.

You could buy 2016 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 $5970 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.

GT also supports its products with some of the longest warranties in the business and is there for you when you have issues.

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 2016 GT Helion Carbon Pro Racing Mountain Bike while their available.


Rating: 2016 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” Pro review, GT Helion 27.5” Expert review, GT Helion 27.5” Elite 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 Model) or for an Aluminum frame (Pro, Expert & Elite 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:


2016-gt-hellion-pro-mountain-bike-MTB-race-bike-review

Review Summary:

The 2016 GT Helion 27.5” Pro Model Mountain Bike is a truly affordable, great bike. At an MSRP of $3800, 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 carbon 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 model. 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 Performance 32 Float 27.5, 120mm Travel, 15QR, w/ FIT Damper, Remote Lockout & Rebound Adjust, Tapered Alloy Steerer, is a very good model, of course adjustable compression dampening will be missed. The rear shock is a Fox Racing Shox Performance Elite Float DPS, 6.5″x1.5″ Air Shock, w/ Rebound Adjust & Remote Lockout, 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. A slight weight penalty and little less adjustability, but both this suspension package is no slouch and the price of this model is substantially lower.

This model should have a small increase in weight over the Carbon Pro model at an estimated 1lb. for the frame, and possibly 2-3 lbs on components.

The Stans NoTubes Rapid 25, 32H are good 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. I do believe these are tubeless ready.

The cockpit is still race face with the same sizing but this model comes with the ride level category as opposed to the turbine model used on the Carbon Pro.

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 2016 GT Helion 27.5” Pro 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)


2016-gt-hellion-expert-mountain-bike-MTB-race-bike-review

Review Summary:

The 2016 GT Helion 27.5” Expert Racing Mountain Bike is really designed to meet all budget needs, and has an MSRP of only $3250. Enjoy world class performance, and some surprisingly good components thrown in as well.

While the geometry on the frame matches the carbon pro bike, this frame is aircraft 6061 aluminum like its more expensive teammate the pro aluminum model. The same thing I said on the Pro 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 Reba 27.5, 120mm Travel, 15QR, 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 rear shock is quality as well, a FOX Performace Elite 36 Float, 6.5″x1.5″ Air Shock, w/ Rebound Adjust & Remote Lockout

The parts grouping is a mix of Shimano Deore, Shimano SLX and Shimano XT.
The handlebars, stem and seatpost are Race Face, not as nice as the race face turbine series, but nonetheless, not bad for this mid level model. It isn’t so much an issue about strength per say, it is about weight. All and all this is a great mid level model, and it gets you too the races and still allows you to be competitive. If your just a weekend warrior junky, this will be superb bike for many years to come.

If you ride really hard, or get more serious about racing expect to upgrade some components in a 6 months to a year.

Bonus: A solid suspension package and a well rounded components package is perfect and bit more generous in this price range than other vendors.

Buy a 2016 GT Helion 27.5” Expert Racing Mountain Bike and start pedaling in your free time.

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


2016-gt-hellion-comp-mountain-bike-MTB-race-bike-review

Review Summary:

The 2016 GT Helion 27.5” Elite Racing Mountain Bike is really designed to meet all budget needs, and it a true steal with an MSRP of only $2490. Enjoy world class performance, and some super quality components thrown in as well.

I think it is very commendable of GT Bikes to offer 4 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. This year they have removed the fifth model with was their cheapest entry level model, and now the elite is the low end model. Thus if you want a Hellion at the low end of the spectrum, you will need to spend a bit more, but you get a lot more.

While the geometry on the frame matches the Carbon Pro bike, this frame is aircraft 6061 aluminum like its more expensive teammates the Pro and Expert aluminum models. The same thing I said on the Pro and Expert models 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 RockShox Recon Silver TK 27.5 Solo Air, 120mm Travel, 15x100mm Maxle, w/ Remote Poploc Lockout & Rebound Adjust, Tapered Alloy Steerer is the standard front fork with this package. I don’t know much about this fork as I have never owned one, but on the data sheet it appears to have good functionality and nice adjustability with good reviews as well. Its reliability will be based on your aggressiveness, weight and your attention to maintenance. The rear shock is a X-Fusion 02 PRO RL QUICK FLIP, 6.5″x1.5″ Air Shock, w/ Rebound Adjust & Remote Lockout.

The parts grouping is above entry level for sure, but still on the budget side of things. The rims are nice touc,h WTB STP i23, UST Tubeless, 32H with GT’s All Terra hubs which can be improved by switching out the bearings to a good ceramic grade. The groupo is a mix of Shimano Deore, Shimano SLX, and All Terra in the cockpit.

If you ride hard, expect to upgrade some drivetrain components in the future, and if you plan on racing or just shaving a bit of weight, it won’t be hard to do with some pretty inexpensive purchase overtime.

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 is a great bike with lots of potential for the money! Buy a 2016 GT Helion 27.5” Elite 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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