Bike check: Martin Maes' GT Force Carbon

18 November 2020

Over the years we’ve seen the shape of enduro race bikes find its stride and evolve from the ‘beefed-up trail bike’ look that was so prominent seven years ago when the championship first burst into life. The wheels have gotten bigger, the geometry has both slackened and lengthened and the suspension tech marries near-DH travel with XC weight savings to produce some searingly fast machinery. 

That said however, look a bit closer at some of the fastest machines in the pits and you begin to spot details which stand out from the crowd. GT Factory Racing’s Martin Maes’ Force Carbon has perhaps some more noticeable nuances than most.

Here’s GMBN Tech’s Neil Donoghue to talk you through them:

Bike Spec List:

Frame: GT Force Carbon (Large)

Rear Suspension: Fox Float X2

Front Suspension: Fox 36 150mm

Wheelset: Stans Flow (29”F) (27.5” R)

Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary (F) Big Betty (R)

Brakes: Shimano Saint

Rotors:  Shimano 180mm

Handlebars: Race Face SixC Carbon

Stem: Race Face Atlas

Headset: FSA

Grips: ODI Elite Pro Lock-On

Shifters: Shimano XTR 12 speed

Crankset: Shimano XTR (170mm) - 32T Chainring

Pedals: Crankbrothers Mallet E LS

Chain:  Shimano XTR

Cassette: Shimano XTR (10-45T)

Rear Mech: Shimano XTR

Seatpost: Fox Transfer

Saddle: Fabric

As Neil rightly concluded, there are a few really notable spec preferences on Maes’ bike from Vittoria EWS Pietra Ligure. For a start, there’s the size. Maes is easily tall enough to ride a size XL frame but instead prefers a more compact machine. This is one of the big trends that we’ve seen slowly become widespread throughout 2020; pro’s taking a step backwards in sizing to make the bikes easier to turn and adapt to sudden, often unexpected inputs.

Next up, ‘just’ 150mm of travel? Enduro race bikes have inched ever upwards since the series’ inception with most top flight rigs now edging nearer to 180mm. Martin is also running Fox’s 36 chassised fork as opposed to their new 38mm which he was one of the first to debut at the tail end of 2019. Likewise, he runs the slightly smaller of Shimano’s rotor options available to him with 180mm discs front and rear.

Find out more about Shimano’s revolutionary new XTR drivetrain here.

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