GT Bicycles is a manufacturer that developed in the 1970s and 80s largely as a result of the boom in BMX riding. Today they produce mountain, BMX and road bikes.
- address: 16 Trowbridge DrBethel, CT 06801
- telephone: (714) 481-7100
- fax: (714) 481-7111
- website: http://www.gtbicycles.com
- e-mail: [email protected]
Like many of these bike companies, the story of GT’s beginnings is just golden. Basically, the story goes that Gary Turner (the GT of the brand) had a son that was getting into BMX on the Californian circuit and wanted a better frame. Gary made him one and other people saw and wanted it. And so GT Bicycles began.
Just to flesh it out a bit more, Gary Turner was also a former drag racer and had been building customized bike frames in his garage since 1973. Richard Long, who became his co-founder, was a BMX racetrack operator and engineer. He had noticed how popular Turner’s frames were and offered to act as a retailer. Richard covered the business end of GT Bicycles while Gary got down to making innovative frames.
Turner’s experience in drag racing made him realize how fragile and heavy BMX bikes were. So he began to utilize the same kind of chro-moly tubing in the frame and chassis. By 1981 their sales had reached $4 million and they were still manufacturing in Turner’s garage. GT became the king of the BMX world and delved straight into mountain biking when interest in BMX waned. In 1984 they went head to head with Cannondale, the leader in the field at the time. By 1996, 60 per cent of sales were derived from mountain biking. However GT bikes were being manufactured in Taiwan, whereas Cannondale manufactured locally and could respond quickly to market changes. So GT opened a distribution facility in France and things began to look up. In fact at one point their bikes were so fast they were deemed illegal by the powers that be.
GT Bikes sponsors teams in BMX, Mountain and Road competitions. Australian Mick Hannah currently rules the podium in downhill racing on a GT Fury carbon bike. In the first Olympics with a mountain bike event, the 1996 Atlanta Games, GT brought home two silver medals (on bikes that cost $70,000!). And at the 2008 Olympics with the inaugural BMX race, GT clinched a silver and bronze. However not all bikes are this expensive, most are in the mid to premium price range. GT is a leading supplier of dirt-track racing, BMX, adult mountain bikes, parts, and accessories. However, their road bikes have also come a long way. In terms of numbers, there are more mountain (48) and BMX (73) models produced, but some 22 road and specialty models are also sold. Their first road bikes were produced in 1993 along with cruisers and tandems. GT bikes received a lot of free publicity in a 1997 remake of “Leave it to Beaver.” Similarly, GT saw considerable profits from their bicycle version of Harley Davidson motorcycles.
One of the great things about the GT road biking range is that their bikes reportedly seem to perform as well as the higher priced competition. Many riders of their road frames say the old adage of getting what you pay for doesn’t ring true here. They said they’d rather lose the 1lb extra weight themselves and not break the bank than pay up to $3,000 to $4,000 extra for similar bikes from other brands.
In 1998 GT joined forces with the famed Schwinn Bicycles, but filed for bankruptcy in 2001. Pacific Cycles purchased the Corporation later that year. In 2004 Dorel Industries purchased Pacific Cycles.
Hours of work
Monday – Friday
9 am – 5 pm
- Standard Frames: Yes
- Custom Frames: No
- Retrofitting old bikes: No
- Year Established: 1979
- Products Made In: Santa Ana, California and Taiwan
- Availability: online & local retailers
- Types of Bicycles: mountain, road, women’s, BMX (race and freestyle), kids
- Construction Methods: force optimized
- Frame Materials: carbon fiber