GT Bicycles has brought back the Xizang for 2013 with all new features, which include making the Xizang a 29er and being available as a frame only.
I recently had the opportunity to get some trail time on the Xizang 9R to put it to the test. This was my first time riding a 29er, and I was expecting a much slower handling bike from my own mountain bike which has 26 inch wheels. However, this was not the case. The GT Xizang 9R felt very nimble for having such large wheels and a larger frame, which is due to having more aggressive angles.
I liked the way the GT Xizang 9R felt when I was climbing. It felt like I didn’t have to push quite as hard compared to my bike with 26 inch wheels. I also like the feel of the Ti on the small bumps. In addition, the Xizang felt stiff when climbing and standing out of the saddle.
The steering on the GT Xizang 9R felt confident and very stable up front for having such a large wheel. I didn’t feel much wheel drift when descending, which I have heard riders complain about when using a 29er. This is a benefit of the oversized tapered head tube.
Photos © Christy Nicholson / EchelonDesignPhoto.com
The down tube is hydroformed and flared out near the bottom bracket to make for a responsive ride when stepping on the pedals. This is also complimented with GT’s legendary triple triangle to add to the frame’s stiffness factor.
When riding the GT Xizang 9R, I found myself wanting to go on long mountain bike rides and just have fun on it. This is where I think the Xizang will excel. I just had fun riding this bike.
The craftsmanship on this frame set is incredible. The welds are super clean and the different tube shapes make the polished look of the GT Xizang frame very eye catching and stand out from the many bikes on the market today.
The GT Xizang 9R I tested was built up using a Shimano XT drive train, Rock Shock fork, Magura disc brakes and Easton wheels.
The GT Xizang 9R uses 3/2.5 titanium and includes a tapered head tube and is set up for disc brakes. The frame is comprised of a hydroformed down tube, chainstays and top tube and keeps it’s legendary triple triangle. It also comes with a replaceable rear dérailleur hanger and uses a 31.6 seat post for good power transfer.
The GT Xizang 9R only comes as a frame set, so you can build it to your riding style or needs. The GT Xizang 9R retails for $ 2,200 for the frame only and is available in S, M, L, XL sizes.
You can find more information on the GT Xizang 9R and find a dealer near you at GTBicycles.com.
Review by Frank Sarate / SoCalCycling.com