First Impression: GT Performer 26

By Adam Lipinski

Many companies have products from their pasts that are icons of their brand. One of GT’s is the mid 80’s Performer BMX bicycle. If you rode BMX bikes in the 80’s chances are you desired a Performer. GT has decided to make a retro induced 26-inch wheeled version of their classic ride, as part of their Adult BMX line. They intend you to use this bike as a simple town cruiser, or take it to your local dirt jumps and track.

The fact that I’m a forty-year-old kid made opening the box for the first time almost unbearable, I could not wait to see this bike. The chrome-plated frame shines as the container is opened. The frame material grabs your eye after the initial reflective shock of the chrome subsides, it’s constructed of high tensile steel. I was initially concerned with this, until a brief conversation with GT and recognition of my past experiences.

High tensile steel can be just as strong as higher end versions of steel, you simply must use more of it. This procedure makes a strong, but heavy bike. With the pegs installed the rig topped the scales at 34 pounds. GT uses this material to remain true to the original construction and they subject it to the same testing as all their current mountain bikes frames. Some of the parts are picked for the retro flare, others purely to meet the $495 price point. The most blatant of these parts picks are the Mohawk hubs and the seatpost. The hubs bring back the super-stylistic ridge in the middle, while the seatpost simply keeps the price down.

The first few rides where done cruising my neighborhood, jumping curbs and trying to hurt myself on the pegs. I don’t think I’ll use the pegs, because I plan on taking the bike to some indoor parks that do not allow them. It handles very much like a mountain bike. It’s a one size fits all machine and I’m 6′ 2", so it feels a bit small at first. Jumping around on the bike is very predictable, it’s a good mix of BMX agility and mountain bike familiarity. I anticipate some good times at the local skateparks.

Look for my full review in Dirt Rag Issue #163, on sale May 15. Subscribe now and never miss an issue.