The first question when preparing the Grade for a test ride is, which pedals shall I fit, road or off road? That alone should be an indicator of the choices this bike offers you.
Well over a year after its launch it still looks fresh – proof, if it were needed, of GT getting it right first time. That’s why it’s ended up back in the lineup for our sibling magazine Cycling Plus’s Bike of the Year awards for 2016, having scooped ‘Best Debut’ last year.
It’s not a conventional road machine, nor a cyclocross, gravel or adventure bike, according to GT. The maker instead calls it ‘Enduroad’.
One thing is for certain – little about the Grade is conventional – which is precisely why it works. There are cheaper aluminium-framed models, but this is the all carbon Shimano 105 version, sitting second in the specification stakes below the range-topping Ultegra machine.
The handlebar is usefully flared, and remains practical all the way to its 50cm wide tips, via the levers, which are spaced a more standard 42cm apart. It’s fantastic for maximising control on fast, bumpy descents, the added width ensuring millimetric adjustments are simple and confidence-inspiring. Everywhere else, getting on to the drops just seems to incite a more flamboyant, grin-inducing riding style, since the action needed to swing the bike from side to side is accentuated by the bar’s width.
Quality kit and buttery smooth ride
An all-road machine that performs on the actual road
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