Monday, 26 March 2012

March Ride - review of old school GT MTB

At the start of March our son shifted and as sons do he filled a section of our garage with his gear. Unloading his 11 year old mountain bike with "here Dad try and ride that!" Just the challenge a bike obsessed eclectic cyclist needed.
The GT Avalanche 3.0 middle level bike bought new for him in 2001 was well over tyred and a little tired. An hour in the garage saw it rideable and ready for the last month of my ride 365 days in a row started on April Fools Day 2011. Begun because of

The deep blue paint and the GT triple join have long interested me. I like the open weld flow of the aluminium frame to which the paint has adhered with minimum chipping although our son rode it like a typical teenager.
The large size frame is suitable as my daily ride, but does shake its head when riding hands off.
The V brakes are not my personal choice, I prefer the skidability of centre pull brakes, but the V's pull this stead up willingly and there is plenty of life left in the break pads which I suspect I have already replaced (so many bikes.
The first up grade was to raid the parts box and fit a set of front and rear mud guards because the knobbly tyres threw road dirt all over my working clothes during the daily commute.
The whole bike is still dressed with mid-quality Shimano Deore running gear. All units are performing well with only maintenance needed to keep them up to scratch. I believe this bike introduced me to 'indicators' which show the chain wheel or gear position. Handy, but not essential as my body usually lets me know when I can't hold onto that gear any longer!
I did find the V-brakes easy to undo when I had the brilliant idea that a pair of city slicks would be much more rideable than the bulldozer like tracks which shod the bike.
Initial surprise at the narrow tyre profile and small conrtact patch have not been an issue with the bike only letting go on a very short section of gravel climb during the afternoon commute.

The front suspension only manages about a third of it's original travel which is enough to hop a curb or lift onto a centre barrier to avoid traffic. Money could be thrown at this but ....... what the heck. This bike isn't going to be used for jumping.
I remember adding the GT foot cages when the son was about 15 so that he could 'race' and it looks as if I should at least replace the straps. The cages and the pedals are doing a great job and changes would only be cosmetic.
With the advent of autumn I have added a catseye light for mornings and a 'bigas' rear red flashing light for any time I believe the traffic can't see me.
"Why do you ride with your rear red light on", motorists ask. "So, you saw me them", I always reply.
As a commuter the GT Avalanche 3.0 is nimble, climbs well and may just be kept as the winter commuter. Probaly not in snow and ice with the slicks on.
I like it - eclectically cycling towards 365 days of biking.

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