GT Bicycles have plenty of new product coming down the pipe for 2012 and last week’s PressCamp in Deer Valley Utah offered a season preview from across their mountain and BMX lines, carbon 29ers, throwback BMX and an alloy Fury downhill bike.
GT claim Zaskar the only model in mountain biking to claim world championship titles in both cross-country and downhill - granted that was more than 20 years ago and before the disciplines specialized. Now Zaskar represents GT’s fastest endurance bikes, both hardtail and full suspension, which are welcomed to the line for 2012.
Chris Hopwood, GT’s US marketing manager, told BikeRadar that the previous Marathon model was often discounted from cross-country racing simply because of its name. Now he hopes that riders will better understand the new full suspension model, since many know Zaskar’s racing pedigree.
Hopwood previewed the new Zaskar 100 Expert model, the only 26in full suspension bike GT will bring into the US for 2012 bearing the Zaskar moniker. The new bike is derived from the previous Marathon design with significant changes to the frame, including a tapered head tube, monocoque molded one-piece rear swing arm and a change to a non-proprietary shock length and stroke. This should give better small bump compliance and offers riders interchangeability should they want to upgrade or replace the shock; previously Fox made custom shocks for the Marathon models.
GT's new full-carbon Zaskar 100
Like all of GT’s full suspension bikes, the suspension linkage uses standard headset bearings and can be serviced quickly and completely with 4mm, 5mm and 6mm Allen keys; the cross-country models use 45˚ 1-1/8in bearings and the downhill and freeride bikes use 1 1/2in headset bearings.
The US$4,200 Expert model is built with a mix of Shimano SLX and XT that’s supplemented with SRAM 2x10 cranks and Formula’s RX brakes with external reach adjustment. The cockpit package is a mix of crankbrothers Cobalt 2 (bars and seat post) paired to a Syncros AM stem. A 100mm travel RockShox Reba RL handles the front suspension duties. Out back a standard Fox Evolution Series Float RL shock offers rebound adjustment and compression lockout control.
GT also showed a new Zaskar 29er Pro model, which features an all-new carbon frame developed for racing and around 29in wheels. The entirely monococque molded carbon frame uses GT’s highest quality carbon blend that relies on significant amounts of high modulus fiber to bolster stiffness.
Zaskar 29 Pro
The frame features a tapered head tube and internally routed shifter cables; the rear brake line is routed externally. Hopwood said that GT designers decided to stick with a standard bottom bracket because they weren’t completely comfortable in the longevity — in terms of what will become a true standard — of the press fit options currently on the market.
The Pro version will cost $4,200 with a 100mm travel RockShox SID 29 RCT3 fork, Shimano XT 2x10 drivetrain, mated to the same cockpit as the Zaskar 100 full suspension bike.
While GT is quick to profess the technology behind their Fury Carbon downhill bike and what carbon brings to the table, they’re also willing to acknowledge the cost. The least expensive "budget" 2011 Team carbon model costs over $5,000.
For 2012, GT will offer an alloy model with the exact same geometry, and suspension design for a more palatable $3,150. “We want to bring more people into gravity riding and racing,” said Hopwood. “The Fury is a performance driven bike and we did not want to skimp on that. This bike is a Xerox of the carbon bike with an alloy frame.”
GT's new alloy Fury downhill rig
GT designers started with the Ruckus 7 frame, which then adopts the carbon Fury’s geometry and 210mm of suspension travel. The proprietary 6000-series monocoque alloy front end features larger gussets when compared to the freeride bike and a new cold forged pivot block assembly.
Marzocchi’s basic 888 and Rocco R fork and damper feature adjustable rebound, while a mix of SRAM’s X5 derailleur and FSA’s Gravity X-Moto crank make up the drivetrain and include e*thirteen’s steel LS+ chainguide. Avid’s Elixir 3s with 200mm rotors handle braking.
Throwback BMX styling with 26in wheels: Interceptor and Performer
We all remember the models from GT’s BMX heyday, the ones we coveted as kids, models like the Interceptor and Performer. Well, the company have brought them back for 2012, but with 26in wheels.
The 2012 GT Performer with 26in wheels
Hopwood says that while he and the GT staff have taken their prototypes to the dirt jumps and cruiser night at the BMX track, these models are made for those who remember the originals and appreciate the style the replicas will bring to around-the-town cruises.
The Interceptor tops the line with a 100 percent chromoly frame and integrated headset. Component highlights include the three-piece crank with an English bottom bracket and machined alloy chain wheel. The color-matched kit includes Mohawk hubs, Alienation ‘plain black rims’ and custom SDG Patriot saddle; the package sells for $679.
The $479 Performer mixes some high-tensile steel into the back end to add some economy to the package, but maintains all the style. It features stamped tube caps and its own color matched kit. A three-piece crank comes standard, but without the alloy chainwheel. The bike also comes with two sets of oversized pegs, which Hopwood refers to as ‘homie haulers’.