When I first saw the new GHP's a couple of years ago I was excited that Greg Hill was having another go at the frame market, I was also a little worried that it was just another brand revival and that it wouldn't last. They didn't hit the market with all the hype you see surrounding some brands. I sat back and watched from a distance, the old schoolers were the early adopters of the frame and then they slowly made their way right across the spectrum of young and old.
When I had the opportunity to review a GHP frame I was like a kid in a candy store because it was something new to me. I had no expectations, although I had noticed there were some good riders putting up some good results on these frames. Out of the box the pearl black finish looked great and the frame was quite light, so we were off to a good start. The one thing that sets it aside from other frames is the bend where the rear triangle meets the seat mast, it doesn't seem to make a whole lot of difference to the way the frame feels but it sure does look different.
Curiosity got to the better of me, I had to find out how the frame weight compared to another popular frame. The measurements weren't exact however the GHP came in at around 120grams lighter than the Pro XXL Intense Podium frame. It was explained to me that I have the latest frame, which has a lower top tube at the seat mast that allowed GHP to reduce the weight of the frame but they added the top tube gusset for additional strength.
The GHP looked great out of the box, but looked even better built up. We added some Sun Ringle super stock wheels, Tioga PowerBlock tires, Profile Cranks, S&M Grand Slam bars, S&M Redneck XLT stem, Funn Pedals, Tektro Brakes, Supercross forks, seat and chain tensioners, Alienation Ratchet grips and a Tank headset. Not exactly the lightest build, but I was more worried about using parts that I knew I could rely on.
I had no idea that the GHP was going to stand out in the crowd, maybe the pink pedals and grips that help. I was surprised by the number of people asking about the frame and how it rides. I have been racing BMX since 1982 and it makes me smile when the new generation of BMXers ask what GHP stands for, not because I think they should know it's Greg Hill Products, but that the brand was quite big in the 80's and as a community there are only some fringe dwellers that really hold on to the history of the sport.
From my first ride on the backyard track I knew the GHP was something special. For me, at 6' 2" tall, it felt great. The rear end was long enough so it felt stable manualling and accelerating. The bottom bracket height felt nice and low, perfect in fact. Even under my weight, 105kgs, the frame felt very stiff. When I took it to the race track it felt very comfortable, I think the best word to use would be "natural".
The Victorian Interclub race was coming up, I thought we'll it's only a fun day, I'll race the GHP, which would normally be the end of the review, but I kept riding the GHP even at the Victorian State Championships and with some good results. It was a third but hey, you have to be happy with a podium finish right?
So what do I think of the GHP? To be honest I originally thought it would just be an "also run", just another bike brand with generic dimensions and feel. It's obvious that Greg Hill wanted a whole lot more from his brand than that, he's been doing his homework and the GHP has exactly what's needed for todays tracks. It's lightweight, strong, looks good, and handles very well. The GHP far exceeded my expectations and is now right up there as one of the best rides I have ever had. The Pro XXL is a great big boys bike, and if it's anything to go by I'm sure the rest of the frames in the range will be great too.
|Value for money:||5/5|
Check out www.ghpbmx.com for more info
GHP is distributed in Australia by Flow Distribution (www.flowdist.com)
Reviewed by Shane Jenkins/bmxultra.com December 16 2009