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Old 05-01-06, 12:07 PM   #1
48yearoldN00b
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Any cycling savants here?

Hi folks, I haven't had a bike since my Schwinn Varsity Sport, back in Junior highschool.

Now I'm 48, retired, and after borrowing friends "spare" bikes just to ride with them, decided to buy a bike for my own use.

New bikes in the price range I was willing to spend were pretty pathetic, so I shopped around for a better value on a used bike.

Ended up buying a GT Timberline I-Drive, for less than $100, and it seems to be the perfect value for me

But, I was wondering if any highly knowledgable folk here could shed some light on exactly what it is that I bought, let me begin by listing what I think is correct, based upon info that I've googled together.

As best I can determine, GT went bankrupt in 2002, has since reorganized, and sells a few mid range($300-$500) bikes (including the contemporary "Timberline" comfort bike) and a few bikes that range up into the $800-$3,000 range.

GT, at their site very openly states that they have no information available on their pre bankruptcy products, and have no intention to make any available.

Nowhere in their product information can I find evidence of them offering their higher end "I-Drive" system on the midrange "Timberline" model So, it seemed that I had a $300 (when new) bike, with a $500 custom option.

Until I found a link to an old issue of popular mechanics, stating thet GT was going to add the I-Drive system to the Timberline model, for the 2001 model year. with a suggested retail of $699.00


So, it LOOKS to me like I got a "one year oddity" offered by a company with one foot in the grave, perhaps in an attempt to offer their higher end products at a more afforadable price? (just my guessing/monday morning quarterbacking)

Does than logic track with what may have actually been going on at the time?

What is the general opinion of GT bike quality from that time period? Finding out I bought a bike from a company that was sliding into bankruptcy , at the time my bike was made, has given me hope that it was something other than warranty claims that drove them to the poor house?

And, since the I-Drive is somewhat unique, what reputation, if any, does this system have in terms of holding up well, hopefully it's not a maintenance nightmare.

Any thoughts, guidance, and input much appreciated, thanks in advance
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Old 05-01-06, 02:34 PM   #2
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The general condenses was that the design was a good one but the execution (frame manufacture) was less than adequate. In other words the frames are alum alloy that was not properly sized and hardened so they crack at the stress points, the bottom bracket and seat stay areas. Hopefully you have a frame that has not yet cracked. Cracks at the bottom bracket cant be seen but manifest themselves by the I drive beam securing screws backing out an becoming loose. The frame must in many cases be disassembled to see the cracks. If you do have cracks, they can be fixed by an accomplished aerospace welder.

So that’s the bad news. Here is the up side. If you are jut a casual user and don’t go off drops and are under 150 lbs then there is a fair chance that your type of riding will not crack the frame.

For 100 beans you are not out much and have the potential to own a pretty nice ride.
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Old 05-01-06, 02:50 PM   #3
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GT was a very good brand before the bankruptcy. The I-Drive was an excellent suspension design, and the only negative thing I've ever heard about it in terms of function is that the original design was a little heavy for pure XC bikes. My brother-in-law has a 2000 year model, I believe, and his has been absolutely bullet-proof. He's a big guy (200-plus lbs), and rides the heck out of a bike, a very fast and agressive mtb rider, and the bike has held up through it all. It seems to me his bike is not the top-of-the-line that was offered at the time (maybe a model 2.0?), but it's a nice bike; it came with a mix of XT/LX/Deore components, Mavic wheels, etc. I have no idea about the Timberline model, but my guess is that if it's in rideable shape, you got a good deal for $100.
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Old 05-01-06, 03:59 PM   #4
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>>Cracks at the bottom bracket cant be seen but manifest themselves by the I drive beam securing screws backing out an becoming loose.<<

OK thanks, when you say the I-Drive beam, are you talking about the flat bar I see extending from the front of the bottom bracket, up into the fat bottom rail of the frame?

I'll keep a look out for that, now that I know.

Heck, I am by no means what one might call an extreme enthusiast, I've got more of a "bike trail" ambition for riding.
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Old 05-01-06, 04:11 PM   #5
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I have no idea about the Timberline model, but my guess is that if it's in rideable shape

That was the weird part for me, when researching the bike, finding reference to GT having ever done the I-Drive on the Timberline model.

Had I not found that one Popular Mechanics article stating it was being done for 2001, I would have wondered what the deal was.

Guess I got an "oddball", which should be a perfect match for me made for each other.

I was out doing some bike path riding today, and decided to take a short cut across an open meadow, and was surprised how well the bike handled through some of the rough parts.

When I first got the thing I had no idea that the crank makes that elliptical movement inside the bottom bracket to compensate for rear wheel movement. Heh, I'll never be able to ride a "mongoose" again.
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