Review: GT Performer

By Adam Lipinski

The Performer 26 is a big wheeled version of the famous 80s Performer BMX that many of us lusted after as kids. The Performer 26 is one of two models in GT’s adult BMX line, the other is the $735 Interceptor, which features a butted chromoly frame and modern components. The Performer 26 is designed to be a functional blast from the past, built for riding in bike parks and general cruising around town.

The Performer

The old-school details are what garner the most attention. The chrome-plated frame and fork can’t be missed. (The Performer is also available in white.) The Frame Stand, the distinctive area where seatstays join seat- and toptube, was a feature of the old Performer, and was used as a foothold for freestyle moves. This junction of tubes is not quite as large as it was on the original 20-inch Performer.

Distinctive components include the Mohawk Hubs. These have a ridge around the hubs’ center—pure retro-style. The Performer 26-inch came with four forged-steel pegs, I spent very little time with the pegs on the bike; removing them brought the bike’s weight down to 32lbs.

The Performance

I really enjoyed the Performer’s 26-inch wheels. There is nothing wrong with 20-inch BMX wheels; I just don’t feel at home on them anymore. BMX bikes are just too twitchy after many years spent riding bigger wheels. The one-size-fits-most frame has geometry that splits the difference between a mountain and BMX bike, and it handles accordingly. If you ride BMX bikes the Performer 26 may feel a bit awkward.

The “traditional” mountain bike size wheels paired with the smaller frame make for a good jumper. I flipped the stem to give myself a higher bar and more room. My test bike spent a few days at Ray’s Indoor MTB Park in Cleveland. The GT Freestyle 2.1 tires are perfect for the wooden jumps and trails at Ray’s. The Performer 26 is has a very predictable personality when airborne—there are no surprises or odd quirks when jumping.

There are a few value-oriented parts that some people will upgrade, but if the bike is only used as a cruiser, the stock form is fine. The plastic pedals provide decent grip, but the spindles bent after a few days of jumping.

The seatpost is definitely old-school—when is the last time you rode a bike with separate seatpost and saddle clamp? There are more modern 25.4mm diameter posts out there, should you desire to upgrade. One downside to the one-size-fits-most sizing: taller riders will be unable raise the seatpost enough to get full leg extension. The highest position was enough to make the bike pedal-able for cruising.

Final thoughts

This bike brings classic BMX riding to the present day, especially for older riders that have moved on to mountain biking. It brings a mountain bike style handling along with its big wheels. Anyone looking for a bike to cruise around the neighborhood, hit the local skatepark or dirt jumps will enjoy this bike.

Vital stats

  • Price: $495
  • Weight: 34.5lbs.
  • Sizes Available: One size fits most
  • Country of Origin: China

Tester stats

  • Age: 40
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 200lbs.
  • Inseam: 34”