In this article, we’re going to check out a relatively new road bike – the GMC Denali. No, not that GMC. It seems to be a popular misconception that the GMC Denali bike is made by GMC. Not so. GMC manufactures the Denali truck line. The GMC Denali bike model is assembled by Kent International, headquartered in NJ. They are the 2nd largest bicycle manufacturer in the US, primarily selling their bikes through large store chains.
In this guide, our focus is on giving you a comprehensive outline and review of the GMC Denali. We’ll start with the basics, and then break down the bike’s overall construction. We’ll then evaluate the bike’s pros & cons, and give you our overall impressions. Our number one goal is helping you decide if this is the bike for you.
Road Bike Basics
Before we examine the GMC Denali, you might be wondering whether you even need a road bike in the first place. With so many bikes on the market, it can be difficult even settling on a category of bicycle, let alone an individual bike. So what are road bikes best for?
As you probably know already, road bikes are bikes which are designed for riding long distances on roads. But what makes them so adept at this task? Basically, there are a few features of their design that really set them apart.
Firstly, road bikes are designed to be fast and efficient. The frames are made of very lightweight material, such as aluminum or carbon fiber. The handlebars are also “dropped”, which allows the rider to lean forward for maximum aerodynamics. The tires are also high-pressure and narrow, which provides for minimal rolling resistance.
Basically, these bikes are ideal for going at high speeds for long distances, but only on smooth surfaces. If this sounds like the type of bike that matches your riding style, then read on and see what we think of the GMC Denali.
Product Overview – GMC Denali Bike
In this section, we’re going to outline all the features of the GMC Denali bike. Surprisingly, in spite of the well known GMC Denali namesake, this bike is positioned as a cheap, entry level bike. It is very inexpensive for a road bike (around $200 depending on the model), and we’re going to review it with this in mind. First, let’s check out this bike’s components:
Road Bike Construction
A bike is only as good as the sum of its parts, and this is especially true of a high-performance road bike. So let’s break down the GMC Denali road bike to see what it’s working with.
First up is the frame. The frame is extremely important in a road bike’s design. Not only does the frame support the bike itself and influence the position of the rider, it is also primarily responsible for the overall weight of the bike (as it has potential to be the heaviest component).
The frame one the GMC Denali is pretty solid. It’s a lightweight 6061 aluminum frame, and is generally quite strong and durable. Of course, this isn’t the type of frame you’d expect from a high-end road bike, but it does the job just fine.
As for the frame design, it’s pretty basic as well. The stack and reach are pretty average for a road bike, and even a tiny bit on the short side. Basically, the result of a shorter stack and reach is that the rider sits a bit more upright than most road bike models. However, this actually might be preferable for a beginner bike, since sitting upright makes the bike slightly easier to control. You sacrifice some speed and aerodynamics, but this isn’t going to be the fastest road bike anyways.
Wheels and Tires
The GMC Denali rides on pretty basic wheels and tires. It comes equipped with 28mm 700c tires, which are pretty standard on a road bike. It is also equipped with high-profile rims, which means they are a bit wider than many rims. This width gives the rims some extra stability and durability, which might be what you are looking for out of a beginner road bike.
These are pretty standard wheels and tires, as you can expect from a bike at this price point.
Of course, brakes are extremely important in a road bike. High speed performance requires the ability to be able to stop quickly and aggressively, both for riding and safety purposes. The GMC Denali features alloy brake levers and mechanical rim brakes. These are pretty standard brake components for a bike of this quality, but they simply don’t meet the usage test very well.
Simply put, you’ll probably want to upgrade the brakes if you purchase this bike. They just don’t work all that well. The rim brakes tend to grip the rims quite poorly, and the result is a bike that takes too long to brake, and doesn’t’ have that “stop on a dime” quality that you are probably looking for in a road bike.
This bike is equipped with a Shimano derailleur and shifters. These are quite good, and Shimano is a reputable bike manufacturer. The derailleur and shifter function quite well, and you can shift gears without taking your hands off the handlebars, which is great for beginners. Surprisingly, this bike actually has 21-speeds, which is pretty high for a bike in this price range.
The 21-speeds might be ideal for beginners, as it makes them able to adjust their ride to various circumstances and conditions. Beginners might be particularly in need of extra assistance on their ride, and it may help to know that they have various resistance levels depending on the terrain they are riding.
Aside from these features, everything on the GMC Denali is pretty standard for a budget road bike. You can check out all the technical specs here. There is nothing highly innovative about this bike, but that’s to be expected of a bike in the discount price range.
Aside from the technical features of this bike’s construction, there are some notable features of this bike that are worth mentioning:
When it comes to weight, the first thing you might notice is that this is a heavy road bike. In terms of a road bike, this is definitely on the heavier side, weighing in at around 30 lbs. Of course, you wouldn’t expect a discount road bike to be on the lighter side. The one advantage of the added weight is that it lends more stability to the ride, which might be ideal for beginners. However, it definitely also makes it much more difficult to generate speed and to climb hills. The GMC Denali road bike is not a comparatively easy ride when stacked up against premium road bikes.
When it comes to comfort, one feature that could use improvement is this bike’s saddle. Basically, this isn’t a high-quality bike seat. It’s another component that we would recommend replacing. A seat is a pretty underrated aspect of a road bike, as you tend to be on these bikes for such long periods of time. This seat is quite stiff, and not very comfortable to sit on. For beginners who haven’t sat on a road bike before, this may immediately turn them off this bike. A replacement would go a long way in improving the quality of this ride.
Of course, the price is a huge consideration, and probably the main appeal of this bike. At under $300, it is much cheaper than what you would expect to pay for a typical road bike. The question is whether this lower price sacrifices too much quality. Next, we’ll check out the pros & cons to evaluate this issue.
Pros & Cons
In order to make an informed buying decision, you have to look at the positive and the negatives of a product. We want to give you an objective look at the GMC Denali, so we’ll evaluate both sides of the argument. Our primary goal is making sure you make an informed choice.
Let’s start with the most obvious pro first. This bike is highly affordable. At under $300, the cost is much less than you would spend on a typical road bike. Road bikes typically cost thousands, and can even go into the tens of thousands. Finding a bike this affordable is a rarity, and finding a quality bike this affordable is an even bigger rarity. So let’s address the quality next.
Good Quality for the Price
With the GMC Denali, we pretty much have to qualify every positive statement with “for the price”. But it still holds true, this bike is good quality for what you are paying for. It has solid, reliable construction, and uses components from reputable bike manufacturers like Shimano. It’s really all about keeping your expectations in check. It’s not the best bike you could buy, either in performance or in quality, but it is a good bike considering how inexpensive it is.
The components are durable, they work properly, and the bike can get you through long rides with relative ease. This is really all you can hope for out of a budget road bike, and this one gets the job done.
Takes Some Work, But Pays Off
We were a bit undecided as to whether we should include this as a pro or a con. Basically, this bike will probably require a bit of work. As we mentioned above, it would really help to replace the brakes, and the seat is pretty uncomfortable as well. However, after you put in a bit of work, you’re left with much higher quality bike that functions much better. So if you’re willing to put in a little bit of work, you can really get the most out of your investment.
Good for Beginners
One of the most important ways to buy a bike is to buy the bike that suits your needs. This bike is really only suitable for beginner to intermediate riders. But for these riders, it is pretty good. If you’re an advanced road biker, you will surely require a bike of higher quality and performance. However, if you’re just getting into the sport, and are unsure whether you want to commit a big investment, then this is a great way to try it out. You can always upgrade to a better bike if you really enjoy it.
You Get What You Pay For
Simply put, the number one drawback of this bike is that it’s a cheap bike. You get what you pay for with bikes, and this one is no exception. It’s definitely not the worst bike in the world, but you’re getting a budget bike for a budget price tag. We’ve covered this pretty extensively up to this point, so it’s just important that you keep your expectations in check.
This bike really shows its budget status when it comes to the brakes. Simply put, they aren’t what you’d want out of a road bike. If you’re planning to upgrade to high-speed riding, then you might want to take the bike into the shop and have the brakes tuned.
You may have noticed this as a pro and a con in this article, and that’s because it’s kind of a double-edged sword. You’ll probably need to upgrade this bike to get the most out of it. Specifically, the brakes. And while this will leave you with a higher function bike and an easier ride, we won’t deny that it’s a big pain! Once again, it’s all about keeping your expectations in check, and this is very much a budget bike.
At risk of repeating ourselves too many times, we’ll only say this one more time – “you get what you pay for”. The GMC Denali is a budget road bike, primarily sold at Walmart stores, and you can’t expect premium performance from a budget road bike. That being said, this is a very inexpensive road bike, and it performs quite well all things consider. As long as you don’t expect top-of-the-line performance or technical innovation, you might be happy with this bike.
The bike works well, and can hold up to long rides, and that might be all you need out of a road bike. It can be a great introduction to riding for beginner riders up to intermediates. The bike itself is pretty well designed, and has all the features you’d expect in a road bike. So as long as you aren’t expecting premium performance, then you might be very happy with this!
That being said, the brakes are a definite issue. They simply aren’t up to par with any road bike. Our recommendation is to have the brakes either tuned up or replaced (and you might want to replace the seat while you’re at it).
Overall, this is a great bike for the price. That’s definitely a pretty solid review all things considered. If you want a budget road bike that performs, then the GMC Denali might be your top choice. It has positioned itself in a certain category of bikes, and we think it is one of the top bikes for its category!
Before we wrap up our comprehensive review of the GMC Denali, we thought we’d check out some customer reviews as well. Our opinion of the GMC Denali is important, but we find that with “discount” products it tends to help to look at various customer experiences. This is because the quality of discount products tends to vary quite a bit, with different customers potentially receiving products that have different issues or flaws.
Overall, the positive customers reviews tended to echo our thoughts on the bike. It’s a good bike for the price. Most of the satisfied customers were happy with the bike’s performance overall, and were surprised that it worked as well as it did. Many were happy, and said that it’s a good bike for its price range.
Of course, seeing as how this is a discount product, there were a fair share of negative reviews. The negative reviews tended to focus on components that weren’t up to par. Many focused on the brakes, and commented that they simply didn’t stop fast enough. They stated that they didn’t grip the rims effectively, and it took too long to come to a complete stop.
Overall, reviews were definitely mixed. Some were very happy with this bike’s handling and performance, and some were less than impressed. This is to be expected with a discount version of a premium product.
Making Your Choice
Our top piece of advice is that you know what you are looking for when it comes to purchasing a road bike. You really need to buy a bike that fits your riding preferences. Don’t buy the GMC Denali expecting premium performance. But if you’re a beginner looking to get into the world of road biking, it might be a great choice. It’s an inexpensive way to test the waters before you dive in.
Read through our article, and see what’s offered by this bike. It’s really most important that you keep your expectations in check. After all, the best bike is really just the best bike for you. So if all you want is a road bike that functions, without the added high-performance capabilities, then you might be more than satisfied with the GMC Denali!
Last Updated on November 15, 2020 by Matthew Carpenter