Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Most of the unorthodox suspension designs of our sport’s awkward 90s stage have not aged well. The unified rear triangles, softails and elastomer shocks seem nearly unrideable by today’s standards. But if you were to hop on a first-generation GT I-Drive today, apart from the outdated geometry, it might not feel that bad.
Despite its convoluted appearance, I-Drive bikes worked pretty much as advertised. They were efficient, supportive pedalers that remained relatively active whether or not you were on the gas. And in a timely twist, they offered some of the benefits of a high main pivot because … well … they had a high main pivot … technically.
Because the bottom bracket moved with the rear triangle, it didn’t purely isolate suspension movement from your body weight, but it came close. And the axle path, relative to the rest of the bike, was more rearward than traditional bikes of the time. Basically, it worked well enough for the concept to evolve into a couple other versions of the same general principle until GT finally abandoned it in 2018. But the I-Drive stood for well over a decade as proof that it’s ok to get weird once in a while, and there’s no better evidence than the launch video. It was made in a time before youtube, so it’s hard to imagine where it was going to get seen, which is maybe a good thing.
After watching that, maybe you’ve had enough history for the day, so we can talk a little about what we were actually fixing on this bike. This particular I-Drive had a little tweak in its front wheel. In a nutshell, a simple truing job is the act of loosening the spokes on the side of the wheel the rim is bent towards and tightening those on the side it is bending away from. But as with anything we don’t know how to repair, it’s easier to learn in a video.
Photos: Satchel Cronk