Not sure if this will be helpful, but I recently was forced out of my 2004 Kikapu Delux and moved on to a GT Force 2.0. The Kikapu was a 3.75 inch cross country bike that I had ridden and tweaked and tuned for 3 years until it was stolen. Really, I could have been happy with the Kik for a long time.
I ride mostly XC but enjoy doing the occasional stunt or small drop (2-3 ft max). I also do the occasional ride up a ski mountain and back down, just for the feeling of satisfaction. I felt like I was reaching the upper limit of abuse that my Kik could take.
I'm 5'6 about 165 lbs and I'm not a "graceful" rider. More of a masher. I'd say I'm an ok rider at best. I'm one of those guys that will clean a section, but it'll look like I'm going to crash just about the entire way.
-The GT eats rock gardens for breakfast. The Kik always seemed to have trouble with them, I credit the suspension for not only keeping the back wheel having traction, but of course the extra travel helps. Possible the suspension on the GT seems more active?
-The Kik climbed slightly better. Really, it might just be me getting used to the GT (had it for about 2 weeks now), but I find the front wheel wants to come up a lot, so I have to be very far forward on the saddle to keep it down on really steep inclines.
-Obviously the GT is better going down. It just sucks up everything I throw at it. I haven't even tuned the suspension really and it just flies! It's also a very plush ride and for some reason I can man handle it around better than the 2008 Dawg Delux I test rode.
-The one thing I found was the responses of the GT are slower. For tight downhill single track switchbacks, it's a bit more of an effort on the GT. I did notice the GT has a much longer wheelbase than my 16" Kik. The responsiveness of the bike might improve as I get more used to the bike.
Overall, I'm very happy with the GT. It's a great "one tool fits all" bike for my style of riding. I would warn people who are "A frame" meaning their legs are the opposite of bow legged, to test ride the bike, as the top "tube" of the bike is wider than a regular bike. I've smacked my knee on it a couple of times.
The Kenda tires are great and the added labor going uphills doesn't bother me too much at all. The downhills are great.
Hope this review helps somebody.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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