Feature

Pro Bike Check: Martin Maes’ GT Force Pro

Halfway through the season Martin Maes swapped his GT Sanction for a GT Force Pro and has been riding on a carbon frame since. The Force Pro also features a more conventional rear-end than the Sanction and doesn’t have 29″ wheels. Read all about Martin’s nduro weapon here!

Unfortunately luck wasn’t on Martin’s side in the last race of the Enduro World Series which is a shame because the 2018 racing season could have been spectacular for him. After his victory at the sixth EWS race in Whistler he won the UCI Downhill World Cup in La Bresse and also took second place at the World Champs in Lenzerheide racing with the GT Factory Racing Team jersey. Not only has Martin proved that he’s one of the best mountain bikers in the world but he also wrote a piece of MTB history.

Martin Maes on Friday afternoon after his training session for the last race of the Enduro World Series in Finale Ligure. At that point things were still going well for Martin: He was second in the overall standings and had a good chance to take home the 2018 EWS Champion title.

He entered the last EWS race in Finale Ligure with a strong chance of taking the overall victory but unfortunately things turned out differently. On the second stage he hit a tree and injured his right hand. But giving up was never an option for Martin: Despite the strong impairment he finished the race and ended up in 131st place. In the overall ranking of the EWS 2018 however he only managed an ungrateful fourth place.

Recently Martin extended his contract with the GT Factory Racing Team by three more years. Whether the friendly Belgian will focus on enduro or downhill in the 2019 season is still unclear. But one thing’s certain: Martin is thirsty for a title and wants to become world champion!

Martin rode the new GT Force Pro at the EWS race in Whistler for the first time – and he won! The new GT Force Pro has a carbon frame with an aluminium swingarm, 27,5″ wheels and sports a more conventional look than Martin’s previous GT Sanction.
For comparison’s sake: Martin’s previous bike the 2017 GT Sanction.
Whilst the standard bike features a 160 mm fork Marti’s racing-machine sports a 170 mm FOX 36 FLOAT Factory with GRIP2 damper. In Finale the fork was set up with 77 psi.
In Finale Martin rode his 150 mm FOX X2-shock with 152 psi.
The LTS rear suspension link (Linkage Tuned Suspension) is based on a classic four-bar linkage design with a Horstlink.
Martin relies on Crankbrothers Mallet E pedals. Go to our clipless pedal grouptest to see why they prevailed over seven other pedal models.
In Finale Ligure Martin used a 34 t OneUp Components chainring, an E*thirteen chain guide and 170 mm Shimano XTR cranks.
A flip chip on the lower shock mount lets you adjust the geometry of the GT Force Pro between 65 and 65.5°. In Finale Martin opted for the slacker 65° head angle-option.
In Finale Martin was still running his old XTR-drivetrain with an 11–46 t XT cassette.
A Hope seatclamp holds in place the 150 mm Kind Shock LEV INTEGRA seatpost.
Martin likes a tidy cockpit. He combines a 780 mm Race Face SixC-bar with a Race Face Atlas stem. In the headtube hides a OneUp Components EDC-Tool.
Martin runs Shimano XTR brakes with 180mm rotors both front and rear. According to his mechanic the 180mm rotors are more than enough for Martin riding style; he brakes hard but only for short periods of time and therefore his rotors never get too hot. The smaller rotors also save a substantial amount of weight compared to 200mm versions.
Team manager and mechanic Mark Maurissen clipped the shoulder lugs of Martin’s Schwalbe Dirty Dan rear-tire which he runs with 1.75 bar. On the front wheel Martin uses a Schwalbe Magic Mary which he runs with 1.6 bar.
Martin uses a CushCore Inner-Tire Suspension System in his rear wheel to protect his rim and optimise puncture resistance.
When will Martin Maes finally win the EWS overall?

We wish you all the best for the upcoming season Martin!

Words & Photos: Manne Schmitt

About the author

Manne Schmitt

As the father of Robin and Max-Philip, I’ve been the ‘grey eminence’ at ENDURO since the get-go. Back in my primary school days I won my very first bike race at the school sports’ day. The after a less successful foray into football, I finally got hooked on long-distance marathon riding in 1989. For ENDURO I keep a close eye on developments in the industry for exclusive news and product launches, particularly by lesser known brands. After all, some of the most interesting stories happen a long way from the mainstream. As a social media expert (yes, it’s possible even for an old man like me!), I help out with communication and spreading the reach of ENDURO’s content far and wide. It’s always a real treat to meet digital friends in reality too!