GT Zaskar Elite review

Classic name still shines today

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £1,099.00 RRP
GT Zaskar Elite

Our review

Smooth, light and sweet handling speed machine that’s happy tackling marathons or down the local woods
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The Zaskar has been the classic rapid all-rounder in the GT family for decades, and the 2010 Elite won’t disappoint its loyal fans.

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It’s a naturally rapid and responsive ride, thanks to a surprisingly smooth frame, sticky tyres and inspiringly balanced low weight handling. However, it definitely needs a better fork to become the great long distance trail bike or marathon racer it could be.

Ride & handling: Impressively light, smooth and surefooted ride from this classic all-rounder

With its flat handlebar and skinny, low knob Kenda Karma tyres a lot of trail riders might discount the Zaskar as too racey, but that’d be a big mistake. It’s certainly not rigged for tackling the steepest trails, but if you’re spinning the middle ring through flowing singletrack the balance is spot on.

That flat bar is a full 600mm wide and the Stick-E compound tyres make it surprisingly surefooted even in sketchy conditions. There’s also enough weight forward to really push the pace hard, safe in the knowledge that the back end will step out first in a controllable, saveable slide.

The slim seatpost and extended pencil seatstays suck a lot of sting out of the rear end, which increases traction and control from the relatively narrow tyres. Its impressive comfort levels mean it would be one of our first choices for a proper long day out or marathon.

High speed and rapid altitude gain is obviously the Zaskar’s real hunting zone though. Despite some high reliability (and relatively heavy) equipment choices such as the Shimano Deore hubs, the low overall weight certainly helps when you’re heading skywards.

While the sticky tyres slow you on tarmac, the tackiness and compliance in the rear end really help when trying to clean the crux moves of technical climbs. Lock-on grips are worth the extra weight when you’re trying to wring out extra wattage, too.

Frame & equipment: Spec is low for a £1,000+ bike but frame has serious upgrade potential

There’s certainly no shortage of tube manipulation in the frame, with all sorts of shapes squeezed out of the relatively narrow tubes. GT’s trademark triple triangle overlap seat cluster overlap is retained with very narrow stays linking to minimalist 3D dropouts.

Mud clearance is bearable if not massive but the cable routing from top tube to seatstay does look awkward, especially if you slip forwards off the saddle and land on the stops.

The RockShox Tora coil fork is heavy compared with the air versions and the simple TurnKey damping can hold the bike back on faster, rougher descents. We’d upgrade as soon as we could to really exploit the frame’s potential.

The specification is underwhelming considering the £1,100 pricetag but there’s nothing here that doesn’t do the job adequately. Shimano’s officially obsolete Octalink-splined bottom brackets and HollowTech cranks still create a very stiff and reliable pedal platform.

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Soft compound tyres are a rare spec choice on a race bike as they naturally roll slower than a less sticky, hard or dual compound tyre in the same tread pattern. Get the GT’s Kenda Karmas off-road, however, and the sluggish feel vanishes  to be replaced with remarkable grip for such low-profile rubber.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Zaskar Elite (10)
Brand GT

Available Sizes L L L L L L L L L L M M M M M M M M M M M S S S S S S S S S S M L S M L X
Spoke Type Stainless steel
Seatpost 27.2mm 3 D forged
Shifters new Deore nine speed
Stem 6061 cold forged stem, with 6 degree rise, and 4 bolt face plate
Weight (kg) 11.7
Weight (lb) 25.8
Brake Levers Avid Juicy 3
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12
Saddle Rocket V Comp with CrMo rail and Kevlar shoulders
Chainstays (in) 16.5
Seat Tube (in) 18.5
Standover Height (in) 29.3
Top Tube (in) 23.6
Wheelbase (in) 42
Tyres Kenda Karma L3R Pro 'StickE', 2.0in
Front Wheel XC Speed Disc Cross Country rim on Shimano Deore 525 hub
Seat Angle 73
Rims Speed Disc XC with single eyelets
Bottom Bracket Octalink
Front Hub Deore Disc
Brakes Juicy 3
Cassette SRAM 9-speed, 11-32
Chain Nine Speed
Cranks Nine speed Octalink ,
Fork Tora SL Coil, 100mm travel
Frame Material GT/Kinesis Superlight custom
Front Derailleur new Deore
Front Tyre 26"x 2.0 Kenda Karma 120 TPI with kevlar bead
Rear Tyre 26"x 2.0 Kenda Karma 120 TPI with kevlar bead
Grips/Tape Lock Down
Handlebar Pro butted 2014 alum, Flat, 31.8 mm clamp, 680 mm width,
Head Angle 71
Headset Type Integrated, sealed angular contact bearing
Pedals PDM-520
Rear Derailleur SLX shadow
Rear Hub Deore Disc
Rear Wheel XC Speed Disc Cross Country rim on Shimano Deore 525 hub