Review: Gitane Rocks 1.1

One of the brands that has gained recent popularity in the Egyptian bike market is Gitane. We’ve owned the Gitane Rocks 1.1 (2007) for about a year and a half now, and we decided to review it for the benefit of riders looking to purchase a new entry-level bike in Egypt.

A little about the Gitane brand:

Back in the 1950’s and 60s, the name Gitane was synonymous with quality road bikes. The bikes were handmade in France and cycling legends like Greg LeMond raced on them. Gitane has since been sold to the Cycle Europe group, and the bikes are made/assembled in China. The Gitane brand of today is nowhere near its weight in the cycling world back in the day.

The Gitane Rocks 1.1:

The Rocks 1.1 is an entry-level hardtail mountain bike meant for light trail riding.

How we used this bike:

We rode the Rocks 1.1 on and off-road (mostly in the Wadi Degla trails) regularly for about 18 months.

What we liked:

  • The frame is decent for an entry level hardtail. Double buttedĀ  Aluminum and light enough (but we have worried about its long-term durability)
  • The fork has a lockout.
  • We were surprised that the wheelset held-up to some off-road abuse, considering the relatively unknown brand (Spectra)
  • The saddle is not bad for longer rides.

What we disliked:

  • It is severely overpriced! For the same price we can easily get an entry level Specialized or Trek hardtail with disc brakes.
  • The stock tires are absolutely horrible. They’re probably the lowest quality MTB tires we’ve ever seen. The tread was gone in about two weeks of light riding. They were replaced witha pair of IRC Trail Bears.
  • The SRAM SX4 derailleur gave us a hard time. Even after multiple adjustments, mis- shifts were frequent (a problem that others who purchased the same bike echoed)
  • Very short fork travel (75mm)
  • The stem (generic 2-bolt) , handlebar and seatpost are generic. The handlebar is too small for good control and handling on rough trails. We replaced them with a wide, low rise handlebar and a Specialized 90mm four-bolt stem.

Final thoughts:

If it wasn’t for the price, the Gitane Rocks 1.1 would be an OK entry level bike. Bear in mind that many of the stock components are of low quality and will need replacement if you ride regularly, especially off-road. Be ready to change the tires as soon as/if you make the purchase.

The drive train components on the Rocks 1.1 are the lowest tier available from SRAM and Shimano. If you mostly do city/urban cycling and need a heavy duty bike, this bike would not be a bad choice (at a cheaper price, though). If you are serious about trail riding, your money will be better spent elsewhere.

MTB Egypt rating: 2.5/5