Bike of the Week: GT Grade Comp Gravel Bike

GT Grade Comp Gravel Bike Review
GT Grade Comp Gravel Bike Review

GT has been around since the 1970s, and has undergone several changes as a company since then. Originally known for rugged BMX and mountain bikes, they have made a name for themselves in the gravel bike industry with their Grade lineup of gravel bikes. The Grade lineup includes budget-friendly models, as well as full carbon. Today, we’re going to be looking at the mid-tier model that, I think, offers quite a bit for the price.

Probably the first thing one notices about all the GT Grade models is the unique frame design. GT calls it a “Triple Triangle” frame design that features floating seat stays, resulting in 30 mm of travel. This unique frame style makes the bike more comfortable, especially in the rear. Couple that with the carbon fork up front, and you got a more supple bike over bumpy terrain.

The frame also has wide tire clearance for a variety of wheel sizes. The GT Comp (available at Jenson USA) comes with 700 x 37c tires, so it’s going to be efficient on pavement, but remain fairly sure-footed on gravel. You could switch to wider tires for even more grip and comfort.

The highlights of the GT Comp is that it is equipped with Shimano GRX components, which are gravel-specific. This means, you’re getting a derailleur that can handle bumpier and more challenging terrain. In contrast, many gravel bikes come with road bike derailleurs that may be susceptible to frequent chain slaps and chain drops.

The Shimano GRX 400 drivetrain features a 2x front derailleur and a 10-speed rear derailleur, making it a 20-speed. There’s a debate in the gravel biking world of whether a front derailleur is better or not on a gravel bike, but I prefer the 2x system. It gives you more gears to choose frame, making it more likely that you’ll find that perfect gear for your preferred cadence and speed. It’s also going to provide good hill climbing ability for most conditions, except super steep hills.

1x drivetrains, meaning that there’s a single chain ring and no front derailleur, can still be quite capable. They do have the advantage of not needing as many adjustments and being lighter weight, but generally I still prefer having more gears, as opposed to less.

The most important thing is the gear spread. As long as you have a high enough high gear and a low enough low gear and plenty of choices in between, you’ll have a capable bike. That’s why I have included a comparison of the GT Grade Comp and the more affordable GT Grade Sport below. The GT Sport has a 1x system, but a nice wide range of gears.

With both the GT Comp and GT Sport, you’re getting an aluminum frame, carbon fork, and plenty of mounts to go bike packing or bike touring. The GT Sport has the less expensive but still quite good MicroShift Avant X drivetrain. It also has a nice 11-48 tooth cassette, making it a very good hill climber.

The brakes are the other main difference. The GT Comp has Shimano GRX 400 hydraulic disc brakes, while the GT Sport has PROMAX DSX mechanical disc brakes. The handlebars on the GT Comp are also flared a little bit more than the GT Sport.

With both bikes, you’re getting tubeless ready tires and wheels, and that’s usually not found at this pricepoint. The frame geometry is identical as far as I can tell.

There is also the GT Grade Carbon X which is pretty sweet ride! It’s one of the few gravel bikes on the market that is equipped with a front fork. If comfort is what you’re looking for in a gravel bike, it’s definitely one to consider, but it is more pricey with a suggested retail price of $4k, though you can often find it on sale at various times.

Overall, the GT Grade lineup differentiates itself with its unique frame style. It’s not such a rigid ride in the rear, so if you have a sensitive back, it’s a gravel bike worth considering.

I’m releasing this article a few days early because, as I’m writing this, the GT Comp is on sale through Jenson USA at 30%. It’s also available at a variety of other retailers. Check it out, here.

GT Grade Comp

  • Triple Triangle Frame Design, 30 MM of Travel
  • Aluminum Frame w/Carbon Fork
  • Several Mounting Points
  • Shimano GRX 400 2×10 Shifters
  • Shimano GRX 400 Front Derailleur
  • Shimano GRX 400 RD-RX400, Shadow Plus Rear Derailleur
  • Shimano HG 500 11-34 T Cassette
  • FSA Vero Pro 48/32 T Chainring(s)
  • KMC X10 10-Speed Chain
  • WTB Riddler TCS Light, 700 x 37c, Tubeless Ready Tires
  • WTB ST i23 TCS 2.0 Tubeless Ready Rims
  • GT DropTune RS, Alloy 16-Degree Flare Handlebars
  • GT Alloy, 27.2 x 350 mm (400 mm larger frame sizes) Seat Post
  • GT Pavement Steel Rails Saddle
  • Pedals Not Included
  • $1950 Suggested Retail

GT Grade Sport

  • Triple Triangle Frame Design, 30 MM of Travel
  • Aluminum Frame w/Carbon Fork
  • Several Mounting Points
  • MicroShift Dual Control AvantX Shifters
  • No Front Derailleur
  • MicroShift AvantX w/Clutch, 10-Speed Rear Derailleur
  • MicroShift CS-G104, 11-48t, 10-Speed Cassette
  • Prowheel Charm 40T Chainring
  • KMC X10 10-Speed Chain
  • WTB Riddler, 700 x 37 c Tubeless Ready Tires
  • WTB ST i23 TCS 2.0 Tubeless Ready Rims
  • GT DropTune RS Alloy 10-Degree Flare Handlebar
  • GT Alloy, 27.2 x 350 mm (400 mm larger frame sizes) Seat Post
  • GT Pavement Steel Rails Saddle
  • Pedals Not Included
  • $1500 Suggested Retail

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