GT Zaskar Comp review

Naturally aggressive and punchy smooth-terrain steed

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £1,000.00 RRP | AUD $1,549.00

Our review

Firm back end and flexy fork leave it lacking control and balance on rougher trails
Skip to view product specifications

GT has been involved in mountain bike racing since the early 90s and the latest Zaskar is a naturally rapid – if occasionally rattled – race rather than trail-style hardtail.

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  • Highs: Well balanced, reasonably equipped, power friendly speed bike
  • Lows: Stiff back end and twangy fork get out of their depth quickly on tech terrain
  • Buy if: You want a fast all-rounder for tamer trails and don’t need a 29er option

Frame and equipment: an old dog with some new tricks

The original Zaskar was one of the first properly punchy and punishment-proof alloy frames and became an instant classic among hard riders as a result. There’s plenty of that DNA left over 20 years later too, including GT’s trademark Triple Triangle design, which extends the seatstays past the seat tube and onto the top tube to increase stiffness.

While there’s still generous clearance for muddy conditions, this creates a firmly power friendly rear end that relishes being kicked into action hard at every possible opportunity.

The zaskar’s conventional thread-in bottom bracket is a durability bonus and the clamp on rather than direct mount front derailleur means it’ll look really clean if you single ring it:
Russell Burton

The Zaskar’s conventional thread-in BB is a durability bonus and the clamp-on front derailleur means it’ll look really clean if you single ring it

The low and aggressive attitude created by the short head tube and long top tube is amplified by the parts pick too. Fast rolling, rounded profile Continental Race Kings and tight 32-spoked 650b wheels are a recipe for immediate acceleration snap and smooth trail speed sustain. The remote lockout-equipped RockShox 30 fork is straight off the race-ready menu too, and the overall weight is relatively low for its price.

Shimano Deore gearing means there are no worries about excessive wear over time and the SLX Shadow Plus rear has a switchable clutch to keep the chain from slapping around too hard.

Unlike cheaper Shimano stoppers the Deore M506 brakes have decent feel too. Just make sure you bed the pads in properly on the road before hitting wet and gritty conditions though or you’ll soon be down to the backing plate.

Ride and handling: fun, but skittish when the going gets rough

Hop onto the Zaskar and you’ll soon be taking any opportunity to get out of the saddle, get the power down and get a proper hard charge going on the trail. While the narrow bars are just about wide enough for acceptable leverage of the neutrally balanced frame, however, another 30 or 40mm of width would definitely increase confidence.

Fast rolling but sketchy-grip rubber and the poploc remote control fork lockout point to a bike designed for race work rather than rough play, and the rest of the ride backs that up:

The Zaskar Comp is much happier with race work than rough play

The fork also lets a good deal of flex into the handling. To be fair most bikes at this price range are still using quick release rather than bolt-thru axle forks, but the GT’s lack of commitment when carving harder lines or off cambers was very obvious during testing. The 30mm diameter fork legs twist rather than track under pressure too and the fact there’s no biting edge on the Race King rubber doesn’t help either.

While it’s actually plusher than you would expect for the comparatively high air spring pressures it needs, the rebound also needs careful tuning to stop longer, bigger drop descents becoming an alarmingly bouncy Buckaroo experience.

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The soft front also emphasises the very firm rear end on rough ground, and the Zaskar soon reaches its comfortable limit on rougher terrain.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Zaskar Comp (15)
Brand GT

Head Angle 69.5
Seat Angle 72.7
Wheelbase (in) 43.54
Top Tube (in) 24.02
Standover Height (in) 29.76
Seat Tube (in) 16.93
Chainstays (in) 17.13
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.28
Weight (lb) 27.18
Year 2015
Wheelset Alex GXD 22 650b rim, All Terra QR Disc hub, 9mm QR axle
Weight (kg) 12.33
Stem Kore XCD, 80mm
Shifters Shimano Deore
Seatpost All Terra
Saddle All Terra Colorado
Available Sizes XS S M L XL
Rear Tyre Continental Race King, 650bx2.2in
Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX Shadow Plus
Headset Type FSA No. 42
Handlebar Kore XCD, 700mm
Grips/Tape GT Statement
Front Tyre Continental Race King, 650bx2.2in
Front Derailleur Shimano Deore
Frame Material GT Speed Metal hydroformed alloy
Fork RockShox 30 Gold TK, 100mm
Cranks Shimano Deore M615, 38-24T
Chain KMC X10
Cassette Shimano HG50, 11-36T
Brakes Shimano Deore M506, 180/160mm rotors
Bottom Bracket Shimano Deore
Frame size tested M