GT Zaskar Comp review

GT’s long-running trail hardtail

Our rating 
2.5 out of 5 star rating 2.5
GBP £999.99 RRP

Our review

It won’t set anyone’s pulse racing, but the Zaskar’s pedigree means it’s worth a look
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The GT Zaskar is one of mountain biking’s longest-running hardtail success stories. Cropping up in various incarnations over the years, it’s been ridden by pros covering the gamut from trials to cross-country racing.

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This isn’t a bike that’s going to set pulses racing. It’s neither light enough to win races nor nimble enough for extended sessions of rock-dodging. What it is, though, is a thoroughly sorted all-rounder that’ll do most things well.

Ride & handling: Efficient ride position makes mile munching easy

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It may be a well-worn cliché, but GT’s designers haven’t tried to redefine the trail hardtail with the Zaskar Comp, much less reinvent the wheel. The geometry is based on a tried-and-tested, cross-country friendly set of numbers that deviates only slightly from the NORBA norm of the 90s – and it’s all the better for it. Riders used to shorter cockpits may initially feel a bit stretched out, but the GT’s a comfy place to be for long periods of pedalling.

Perfect front-to-rear weight distribution makes getting the power down easy, while a frame that won’t sacrifice your fillings on the altar of pedalling efficiency works in tandem with the supple fork to keep the wheels stuck firmly to the ground. A shorter stem would make it easier to haul the front wheel from line to line in fast-changing situations, but there’s something to be said for the stability of the stock set-up.

Frame: Tried and tested formula

The remarkable thing about 2011’s Zaskar is that it would be immediately recognisable to a mountain biker from 20 years ago as a GT. There have been some geometry tweaks and tubing profile changes, but the distinctive GT ‘triple-triangle design’ – more of a design flourish than a functional benefit, despite the company’s early 90’s claims – makes it stand out from the crowd, even today.

In keeping with the trend to mould every tube in sight into a shape that’s anything but round in profile, the Zaskar Comp’s top and down tubes get the full hydroforming treatment. The cross-sections are gratifyingly narrow by current standards, though, hinting at an emphasis on comfort over outright rigidity. And, despite the high-tech tubing wizardry, there’s still a neat box-section reinforcing gusset up front.

Equipment: GT finishing kit looks a tad cheap

Unlike some of the competition, the Zaskar doesn’t get the 10-speed treatment. To be honest, the only time you’re likely to miss the extra sprocket is when winching yourself up the steepest of climbs. And the payback is that the cheaper transmission has left room in the budget for an air fork, in the form of a RockShox Recon. It’s head and shoulders above the coil alternative and well worth a bit of extra grunt on the climbs.

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Finishing kit is mostly own-brand stuff, which works fine but lacks the kudos or finish of some of the brand-name competition. Oh, and  the undeniably bright yellow and blue accents are only slightly marred by the fact that none of the anodised components match the blue of the graphics, saddle or grips.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Zaskar Comp (11)
Brand GT

Available Colours BLUE/WHITE
Pedals GT SLIM LINE FLAT PEDAL, CAST ALLOY
Top Tube (in) 23.57
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12
Spoke Type 14G STAINLESS
Brake Levers AVID ELIXIR 3
Stem ALL TERRA 1 1/8" THREADLESS, 3D FORGED, 4-BOLT W/ CNC FACE PLATE, 5° RISE, 31.8mm CLAMP
Shifters SHIMANO DEORE, SL-M590, RAPID FIRE
Seatpost ALL TERRA AL2014
Seat Angle 73
Saddle WTB SILVERADO COMP
Rear Tyre MAXXIS ASPEN, 26"x2.1", FOLDING BEAD
Rear Shock NIL
Rear Derailleur SHIMANO SLX, RD-M662-SGS
Headset Type FSA INTEGRATED, 1 1/8"
Available Sizes L M XL M L S S M L S M L XL S M L XL S M S M L M L XL M L XL S S
Head Angle 71
Handlebar ALL TERRA FLAT TOP RISER, DOUBLE BUTTED AL6061, 685mm WIDTH, 15mm RISE, 31.8mm CLAMP
Grips/Tape GT WINGS W/ WAFFLE
Front Tyre MAXXIS ASPEN, 26"x2.1", FOLDING BEAD
Front Derailleur SHIMANO ALIVIO, FD-M430
Frame Material HYDROFORMED 6061-T6 ALU
Fork ROCKSHOX RECON SILVER TK SOLO AIR, 100mm TRAVEL, W/ REBOUND ADJUST & TURN KEY LOCKOUT
Cranks SHIMANO FC-M521, HOLLOWFORGED, OCTALINK, 44/32/22T
Chain HG53
Cassette SHIMANO CS-HG50, 9 SPEED, 11-34T
Brakes AVID ELIXIR 3, W/ 165mm ROTOR
Bottom Bracket SHIMANO BB-ES25
Wheelbase (in) 41.9