Photos by Ale di Lullo
Hans Rey has been sponsored by GT for longer than most people have been mountain biking. He’s a legend who really needs no introduction. If you’re scratching your head, take yourself off to Google or Youtube now and get up to speed. Along with guys like Ned Overend and Tinker Juarez, he’s been out there pushing the mountain bike envelope seemingly since the dawn of time.
Hans and Dan Atherton have both been heavily involved in the development of GT’s two brand new bikes, the 150mm Force and 130mm Sensor, that launched last month. Both share the new Path Link suspension platform, which is a major update of the long-running Independent Drivetrain (first introduced 13 years ago), carbon fibre frames and 650B wheels. Yes, GT is embracing the so-called ‘goldilocks’ wheel size that many manufacturers appear to be adopting.
Whereas the Force is an enduro/gravity bike with its sights set on descending, the Sensor is billed as a cross-country/lightweight trail bike, built to excel on the climbs as well as the descents. It has less travel with a firmer shock tune to make it more efficient, a lighter frame and lighter build kit. Hans has a big part in the development of this bike, he’s a fan of the travel and weight for the sort of riding he does. Sounds like a good UK trail bike doesn’t it?
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The Hans Rey signature edition is interesting because it takes an aluminium Sensor frame and borrows the Fox 34 Factory Series 140mm fork from the bigger Force, replacing the Sensor’s stock Fox 32. That gives the front end of the Sensor a smidgen more travel but importantly, as the fork has a stiffer chassis, increases the capability over the regular Sensor. It can take more punishment basically.
Hans has then worked with his various personal sponsors to choose the build kit on this special bike. That includes chunkier Kenda Honey Badger 2.2in tyres front and rear, which should stand up to more punishment than the Continental X King tyres on the standard Sensors. It’s starting to sound more like the perfect UK bike now.
Other changes include the Crank Brothers Iodine 2 wheels, Kronolog dropper seatpost, a 65mm Iodine stem and 750mm handlebar. They’re the parts that Hans himself uses on his own bike. The rest of the kit includes a Shimano Deore triple chainset and SLX Shadow rear mech and shifters. The frame has a custom paintjob with GT wing logos and Hans’s signature on the top tube. There’s a Wheels 4 Life, the charity Hans is involved with, on the seat tube. The finishing touch is a pair of Hans signature Ergon grips.
The ‘actual’ bike that Hans rides differs slightly to the one being sold in the States, principally with a Shimano XTR groupset and Kenda Nevegal tyres. Oh and that carbon frame as well. But essentially it’s the same.
I hope I haven’t got your hopes up though, because the sad news is that CSG UK have no plans to bring it into the UK, it’s one just for the US market. Having said that, they have turned decisions around previously with the Distortion from a couple of years ago, so you never know. For now, we can only hope.