2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the first GT Zaskar and to celebrate, the US-based off-road specialist has totally redesigned this iconic hardtail – drawing on a rich R&D history along with the newest innovations to create what GT calls “mountain bike perfection”.
In the last quarter of a century, the Zaskar has proved itself a top-flight performer and GT is proud of its place in mountain biking history as the only bike to have won World Cups in cross country, downhill, slalom and trials. But these accolades are highlights from a pre-full-sus world, so how is GT keeping the hardtail Zaskar relevant for 2016?
For the 2016 models, GT has ditched the choice of 29er or 26in and plumped for 27.5in exclusively. The more relaxed “new school” geometry puts the Zaskar in line with modern competition; lengthening out the frame and utilising a slacker head angle paired with wider bars (740mm) and shorter stem (60mm) – all designed to produce a playful feel out on the trails.
There are three alloy and two carbon models being brought into the UK, with prices starting at £850 for the Zaskar Sport (Australian pricing is TBC at time of writing).
Pictured is the Zaskar Carbon Elite (£1,700), which weaves GT’s traditional triple triangle design around an oversized BB96 Raceface bottom bracket. A RockShox Recon Gold TK 27.5 Solo Air fork offers 120mm of travel for the UK market (100mm in the US) while a wider Maxxis High Roller 2 / Maxxis Ardent front / back tyre pairing will replace the internationally-specced Racing Ralphs seen here. The rims of choice are WTB STi23.
The bike doesn't come with a dropper post, but there's internal routing for one, while another cool design detail is the integration of slot-in post mounts, which are replaceable in case of threading the bolts.
There's routing for a dropper in case you want to upgrade
The 1x10 drivetrain uses a RaceFace Ride 30t narrow-wide ring up front with a Sunrace 11-36t block on the back. Shimano SLX takes care of shifting while GT has employed Deore brakes too.
For an extra £200, you trade in the squint-its-so-bright paintjob for cool black with green decals along with a RockShox Reba fork and XT shifting. Deore makes way for SLX in the brake department.
The entry-level Zaskar Sport £850 uses an SR Suntour Raidon fork and a 2x10 Deore drivetrain.
Find out more about the range at www.gtbicycles.com/gbr_en.