The nice thing about GT mountain bikes were they were constructed well, and specced well. They also had a cool image tied to their BMX roots. They were affordable and obtainable, and not elitist.
Unfortunately, imho, they had terrible geometry, and the triple triangle idea is purely form over ruling function. it actually makes the rear of the bike overly stiff and introduces more negative handling characteristics than positive.
The top tubes are all way to short, and the head tubes on the 18's and 19's are way too short. Evidenced by how many people had to run lots of spacers, very steep stems and riser bars simply to get comfortable. The head tube angle is way too raked out, especially combined with the short top tube and requisite need for a long stem. steering is atrocious.
I am enjoying seeing the 30 days thread unfold, some superb examples there so far GM.
in my early days where i lived (cairns, FNQ australia) GT was THE brand to ride. due to a heavy influence of BMX being strong there, and the perceived hard core image GT portrayed. In hindsight...perhaps we all had rose (yellow) tinted glasses on.
That said, the form of a high end GT, especially and tech shop bike, and particularly the 1991 1992 era, still gets me excited. As GM speaks of his Cyclone, being able to just stare at it for ages, I can fully understand that. I am a bit that way myself with the Zaskar.
Interesting post. I think if you check geometry amongst the leading brands in the early-mid 90's you'll find that 95% of the industry was running a similar 71-71.5/73-73.5 frame geometry in the middle sizes. Some brands switched to a different geometry to accommodate more travel earlier than others. The triple triangle rear stays had no effect on the top tube lengths. At some point because of geometry the top tube and down tube will meet a head tube and there just isn't that much difference between top tube lengths and head tube lengths when the geometries are within a half degree. Remember also that many suspension forks were designed to be run at a particular front end geometry to function properly and not put added stress on head tubes. There is what, maybe 5-9mm top tube length difference in a half degree geometry difference? The size you rode, stem length and correct saddle fore and aft... all of those may have been an issue. Proper professional fit for the rider is key on any bike. I think if I had ridden a 19" instead of an 18 It'd maybe have seemed more comfortable on the straights but the 18 was just a safer bike to ride and it seemed like it was quicker and better handling and running a 130 stem on those early bikes was not overly long for someone long in the body and shorter in the legs like myself. I also think the overly stiff you speak of refers to an aluminum frame and not the triple triangle hellenic design. Having ridden and still riding a lot on older GT steel and Ti frames I cannot say that they are overly stiff. I think they are solid and do hook up well when climbing but a good part of that is fit and riding skills too. Riding a hardtail aluminum now that's another story. I had a shop employee, RIP Gerard, that rode Zaskar's from the beginning and he was always complaining about the beating he was taking and he eventually switched to a Xizang and I never heard those words from him again.
GT's Spoken here. Current projects: 92 GT Team member RTS-1, NOS 94 GT Edge steel viewforum.php?f=49