Moe's GG/DH Review
This is Moe's review that he emailed us after his first month on his GG/DH. It covers his parts swap, dialing in his suspension, and his take on how the bike rides. As part of our rider-direct nature, we always encourage our riders to give us feedback to make sure we're providing the best...
I recently picked up a Long GG/DH as a replacement frame for a medium Intense 951. As with any bike swap I anticipated that, there would be compatibility issues. I set out with this assumption but as the build progressed, I can say that I had no major issues. Everything bolted up with little issue, the cable routing was simple and well thought out. The rear derailleur cable runs through the chainstay to help protect the housing from chain slap. Fishing the housing through the stay was easier than thought. If I were to nit pic, the frame could use an additional cable attachment point on the right side for riders who run a “moto” style brake set-up. I don’t run the moto brake setup so I don’t have a need for the extra guide (less weight for me :).
The only issue during the build was installing the old original MRP G2 guide. Due to the frames shock box the clearance is very small and the older guide required spacers and a chain line adjustment to work. I called GG and with some discussion, we were able to install the guide and get the bike working as it should. I again spoke to GG and found that new MRP G2 SL guides and E13 guides bolt up without issue.
With two years of racing a 951 I opted to set the baseline GG/DH up in as close to the 951 geometry setting as possible. The long frame was set in the short chainstay setting and the high bottom bracket/head angle setting. The Fox 40 was set up with 8 ¼” of space between the lower crown and the top of the fork seal. These baseline settings made the GG/DH feel as if I sat down on the old 951. Another issue I thought I might have was adapting the Long frame size to fit me, however with the I-Beam seat and 45mm stem, I felt completely comfortable with the reach of the cockpit. Given that the GG has many tuning options in it’s base configuration, most riders will find a preferred setting. If you cannot find a setting you like, an angleset would solve most issues.
As a rider, I hear many “known” facts that float around the industry that are actually results of poor designs and rumors. Such as single pivot bikes are poor designs, single pivots are old technology, the frame will flex, pedal feedback is an issue, there is no active braking, and on and on. I can truly say that a well thought out design and clean execution will eliminate all the false preconceptions of single pivot bikes. The GG/DH is a testament to this. In reality the majority of suspension designs are linkage driven single pivots that most people assume are not single pivot because they see links on the frame. One ride on the GG/DH will put all issues to bed.
The GG/DH’s low pivot yields a very nice smooth progressive stroke. There are no weird soft or harsh spots throughout the travel. Shock tuning is very easy. When setting up the rear suspension, there does not need to be any compensation or sacrifices made due to an overly soft initial and harsh ending stroke as with the 951. Because of this, rebound and compression setting changes in the suspension could easily be felt. I was able to tune in a good amount of small bump compliance without losing big hit absorption. I was able to dial in my preferred baseline settings within a day on the GG. It took over four days of riding the 951 to get a good baseline I was happy with. I attributed this to the smooth progressive nature of the GG/DH design.
I do like a little more sag with slower rebound damping and big hit control dialed into my suspension. The recommend baseline GG/DH settings were a little soft and fast for my personal preference but are a great staring point. Using the GG stock settings the bike is 80% dialed for a rider like me. After a few runs the bikes is 100% ready to ride.
The bike pedals amazingly well for a DH bike. Running minimal rear low speed rebound and compression provides a very stable pedal platform and still maintains a supple feel. As with all DH bikes, if you get on it and start hamming up and down you will not be too effective however, the GG/DH does feel as if your effort is transferred to the rear wheel versus moving the suspension when getting on the gas.
The GG rails corners and holds any line you point it at. The large pivot does not allow for much frame flex, which keeps the rear wheel tracking straight and true. When laying the bike over into corners you can feel the frame hold and force the wheels into the ground. In comparison to my 951, the rear did not provide the feedback when cornering. I have not had the opportunity to get the bike on very tight, turny trails, but for fast full on big bike riding the GG/DH is perfect.
A typical bike industry cliché is that the bike felt at home on steep fast rock terrain, it is true in this case. Without a second thought, I pointed the GG/DH down terrain that others would stop and look to consider even riding the sections. The bike was great, it did what I wanted when I wanted it to do it.
Another issue that I hear regarding single pivot bikes that I did not notice was non-active braking. Again, this may be attributed to the design of the GG/DH. Any time I needed the brakes they were there. The bike never got skittish when the brakes were applied. It was simple, haul ass towards a corner, wail the brakes before the braking bumps, rip into the corner and gas out the exit.
For only a few days on the bike, I never felt awkward or that the bike was working against me, everything just worked together.
I don’t know how to put it any simpler, lay the bike over, weight the tires and let it rip. The bike would hold any line I pointed it at. The only issue I had was myself. Through off camber sections the bike would always hold it’s line but I would back off because I doubted it could. Every time I pushed the bike it never came unsettled, it was up to me to keep pushing it harder. I never found the bikes limits, to say the least.
The GG/DH is on par or surpasses many of the current mainstream downhill bikes. A weekend warrior or a seasoned racer can set up the bike to their needs for fun and to win races. I know for a fact that the bike can be built up to a 36.5Lb race bike with basic downhill parts. It is a great bike to ride, rails corners, rips through steep gnarly trail sections and is simple to maintain. Set up is super easy with the GG/DH baseline recommendations, a couple runs to tweak in the suspension to personal preference, and the bike is ready for race day.
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