GT’s renowned Zaskar takes ably to the streets in this urban incarnation, but it would be nippier with lighter wheels and tyres.
The GT Zaskar has been around for over 20 years, and the longevity of the frame means there are still plenty of Nineties examples around, many of which have been pressed into service as road machines.
Today’s Zaskar mountain bikes are slinky carbon beasts, but the aluminium frame lives on: in the beautiful limited edition 20th anniversary re-issue, for starters, but more appositely in the ZUM (Zaskar Urban Machine) range, which takes the Zaskar frame to the streets full time.
Ride & handling: lively & agile for quick commutes
The ZUM’s fairly tight mountain bike-derived geometry gives the ride a lively feel.
The bike feels quite agile in trafﬁc and it’s more fun on a short blast than a longer commute. For the long haul, more stretched-out 700c urban steeds tend to perform better.
Frame/Chassis: classic mountain bike layout
That there are so many aluminium Zaskars still around indicates the long-term quality of GT’s design. The ZUM has the trademark triple triangle frame shape in butted aluminium.
The shortish back end of the ZUM has its drawbacks – we couldn’t ﬁt a child seat because there wasn’t enough heel clearance.
Equipment: decent urban selection
The 2007 range was a hotch potch of suspension forks and slick tyres, but the latest models are ﬁrmly planted on tarmac.
Tektro Auriga hydraulic discs take care of the stopping, and there’s a decent mix of GT and branded ﬁnishing kit, including alloy platform pedals and an SDG Bel-Air saddle.
Wheels: some scope to trim fat
If there’s one criticism of urban bikes at this price point that we make more than any other, it’s that the wheels let the bike down. They often bear the brunt of the economising, and we feel that’s the case here.
The WTB Speed Disc rims that are ﬁtted are certainly decent quality hoops, but they’re probably overkill for the streets, and they’re laced to pretty bulky and cheapish hubs.
Add to that the fact that although the Maxxis 1.5-inch slicks are good for ride comfort, and fantastic for dry cornering, they’re not light either.
The wheel package deﬁnitely takes the edge off the performance of the bike as a whole, and the all-in bike weight is average rather than good.
On the plus side, however, they ﬁt with what is a very, very solid machine.
Verdict: solid & dependable
The overall spec for this is good for the money and all the drivetrain components are dependable, while the brakes are truly excellent and set the bike up to take some real abuse from the potholes, kerbs and D-locks you’re likely to encounter.
This is one to look at if you need solidity and dependability over performance.