Electric Bike Action Bike Review: GT Force AMP
GT Force AMP
Photos: Jean-Luc Armand and Alex Boyce
With the Force AMP, GT has created an aluminum bike that is focused on trail riding and fun. With 29er wheels and 150mm of travel, it is able to do everything pretty well. In their technical presentation on the bike, GT emphasizes how they took the best, most reliable components on the market and put them all together to create the ride experience that is also accessible to the wide market.
The Force AMP from GT is a conservative but fun bike. The geometry will please all types of riders—from the easy-going rider that wants security but doesn’t want to be stretched out in attack mode on the flats or descents to the rider who is merely seeking a fun day on a bike. With this is mind, the top tube is shorter compared to the latest enduro trends. Pedaling efficiency is maintained pretty well by a fairly steep seat tube angle. The rear suspension is GT’s LTS suspension, which uses a four-bar link design. The use of a Shimano motor gives an expected weight distribution that other Shimano-biked motors have.
The GT uses a Shimano E8000 250-watt motor and a Shimano 504-Wh integrated battery. Paired with a SRAM drive and shifting, the ride will be reliable. Shimano’s motor has been and continues to be one of the most reliable motors on the market. SRAM shifting and chains have been adopted significantly and acknowledged as a standard for smooth shifting under load and reliability.
GT chose Rockshox suspension, giving it a reliable and easily configurable ride. WTB provides the wheels and other components, with Maxxis providing the tires. Shimano’s lower-end four-piston brakes are spec’d with 200mm discs, and they worked flawlessly. Nothing about the package is surprising or controversial. The bike has been built for performance but at an accessible price.
The E8000 motor is Shimano’s most powerful unit that gives a natural feeling in all power modes, can be connected to an app to adjust mode settings and is paired with their 504-Wh battery. This is the first time we have ridden with Shimano’s 504-Wh slimline battery that is quite small and gives the frame designer the ability to make a frame with slim-line looks. The battery is hidden behind a removable battery cover and is released by a key mechanism.
The system uses the E7000 series display, which is monochrome and has the simpler E7000-series power-mode switches. The system is turned on utilizing a power switch on the top tube. This power switch is the first time we have seen an embedded Shimano switch. The frame finish at this point is actually very nice; we like the way the switch is flush to the metal. Small details like this give the end user the sense that even if it is a mid-range bike, each element has been thought about.
The sensation of the Shimano’s power delivery and sound of the motor is an important factor in the ride experience. Bosch and Brose motors are slightly quieter and ride differently. They are also more slimline in design. Reliability of the Shimano unit, though, is unquestioned.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR
The Force AMP is for the easy-going rider who wants a quality brand and a bike that is reliable and fun to ride. It’s not for the extremists, and the price and specifications are good compared to the market competition. If you want a hard-riding enduro bike, look elsewhere. However, if you want feisty, easy fun or a bit of stability and reliance, then take a look at the AMP.
We rode the Force in some loose conditions on rolling hills with plenty of corners and small, short downhills. The bike gives the rider the ability to move around very easily and take tight corners under control in all directions. Climbs are fun, and the bike pops over obstacles with ease. In short, the Force has a good spring in its step. The 29er wheels give a smooth, rolling feel and plenty of grip on rocks and loose surfaces, especially on climbs. Moving around the bike is easy to find the ideal body position to direct the bike where you want it to go, even when technical rock sections precede tight corners.
“If you want hard enduro, head elsewhere; if you want feisty, easy fun, or a bit of stability and reliance, then take a look at the AMP.”
The use of 29er wheels is ideal on long, flat trails, and the bike rolls quickly and smoothly, giving confidence and a stable feel to the rider. The Shimano motor combines with this setup to give a natural feeling, less engine, more bike; although, the bike’s sensations are clearly that of an e-bike with a Shimano motor.
The benefits of speed on flat trails is where this bike is meant to be appreciated. The suspension, though, is well-tuned and can handle fun stuff, with geometry being good for picking the front wheel up, pulling wheelies, and generally playing with the trail and having fun. The Force AMP in this is excellent, and many a good time will be had onboard the Force Amp.
With only two e-bikes in their catalog, GT hasn’t entered the e-bike market in a particularly big way. Their approach has been to let others go first, see what works, produce something that ticks all the boxes of the rider who wants fun and reliability, then put their strong brand on it; hence, their competitive component package. The battery and motor are very well-integrated for an appealing overall look. Overall, the GT proved to be a fun bike to ride, with a good proven brand name and some reliable choices and geometry to keep everyone happy. Nothing will disappoint anyone about this bike.
GT FORCE AMP
Motor: Shimano STEPS E8000
Battery: Shimano E8035, 504 Wh
Charge time: 3–5 hours
Top speed: 15.5 mph
Range: 20–30 miles
Drive: SRAM SX Eagle 1×12
Brakes: Shimano MT420 4-piston hydraulic disc, 203/203mm
Fork: RockShox 35 Gold RL, 150mm, DebonAir, 15×110
Rear shock: RockShox Deluxe Select R
Frame: GT eForce aluminum alloy
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF + DHR
Weight: 51 lb.
Color choice: N/A
Sizes: S, M, L, XL