GT Karakoram 29er Hardtail

4.21/5 (28 Reviews)
MSRP : $820.00

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Reviews 1 - 15 (28 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Justin Wallace a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: June 22, 2014

Strengths:    Cheap, great looks, good on pavement, good starter bike

Weaknesses:    Cheap, clunky fork, shifting is a pain on trails.

Bottom Line:   
this is for my new 2014 Karakoram sport I bought on sale for $500 from Performance.
Good bike to start out on. Upgraded to this from a Huffy I bought to see if I would get I to riding a bike again. Using this as a stepping stone to a higher level bike in the future. This bike looks amazing and is a really good bike.... Riding to work on pavement. Off road the fork makes a lot of clunking noises and the rebound dial is seemingly there for looks as it doesn't do anything. The shifters are ok but I think the weaklink in the system is the crankset. The brakes work well but are very noisy. The seat is uncomfortable initially but I already had a WTB Speed V so I put it on the day I bought the bike so I can't comment on how comfortable it is on long rides.
Overall a great entry level bike to get into mountain biking to see if you're going to stick with the sport. I'm going to replace the crankset and fork and ride it until the wheels fall off then I'll upgrade to a nicer model.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   John Bryan Park, MoMBA

Duration Product Used:   About 150 miles

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   Performance Bike

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by nomad220

Date Reviewed: May 22, 2014

Strengths:    Can't beat the bike for the price and components included. Great looking bike. Shifts well.

Weaknesses:    Pedals and grips substandard. Seat not even used. No markings in handlebars, making alignment more work than necessary.

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike on sale for about $400 from Nashbar. Wanted to get a 29er for my wife but ended up giving her my 2011 Giant Talon 2 because that bike has about one inch less of standover height and I knew she already likes that bike. So, Happy Mother's Day for me. The price on this bike was too good to pass up. I have always felt that GT's were cool bikes so I had to have this. So far, I like the bike alot and the cons have almost been resolved. Fortunately, my neighbor had some Shimano platform pedals that he gave me that are now on the bike instead of the resin originals. I swapped out the seat for a Cloud 9 that I had on the Talon. I am in the process of getting new grips. I bought some WTB Tech Trails but I think those are too small for my XL hands. I plan on returning those and getting some Lizard Skin North Shores. I think I will be all set at that point. Then, I look forward to riding the heck out of this bike. Can't wait.

While this bike has some better components than the Talon (fork, brakes, 9 speeds) the Talon had way better grips (Giant lock-downs that feel great) and pedals (Wellgo Magnesiums) and stock seat. Still, once I am done setting this up my wife won't have to worry about me stealing her bike. And the GT was considerably less money than the Talon.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Dirtydogg a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: May 10, 2014

Strengths:    Strong frame, double wall rims, Kenda tires that are listed as 1.95 but actually measure 2.05", You can upgrade to disc brakes. All components on bike are cheap and readily available to replace.
I bought the bike as a left over in 2012. I paid $369 for it from a LBS. CANNOT complain about this much bike for the money!! At full retail, now way.

Weaknesses:    Comes with V-brakes, Fork is not so great, cheap plastic pedals. Heavy (33lbs). I think the newest 3.0's have different style frame and come with Disc brakes.

Bottom Line:   
I purchased this bike because I was not sure if I wanted to get back into MTB'ing. It gave me that flexibility to get into a relatively inexpensive bike that I could upgrade if I liked.
I upgraded:
X-fusion fork, Cane Creek Z40 headset, WTB Freq i23 rims, wider Tioga Physco Genius tires, Deore & XT deraileurs, Shimano disc brakes 180/160

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by matadorCE

Date Reviewed: March 21, 2014

Strengths:    Great durable frame with killer paint/graphics, and a comfortable 29er geometry. Decent mid level components and hydro brakes. Overall great value, very beginner friendly, and ready to hit the trails right out of the box. The frame is classic and definitely worth upgrading!

Weaknesses:    Derailleurs need adjustment often, seat is hard, very narrow and uncomfortable. The pedals are plastic and feel clunky. The Suntour fork is very heavy (~6lbs) and not meant for any significant trail riding. The Alex wheels are low end but still decently durable.

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike as a '13 closeout model and it was a killer deal in terms of what I got! I had a '13 Avalanche 3.0 so I had a good idea of what kind of bike I'd be getting. This bike makes a great beginner's bike out of the box, and the frame is legit and worthy enough to build up if you choose to go that route. I'm a heavy rider so the beefy frame is a plus for me, but if you're looking for a featherweight bike then this bike definitely isn't for you. The geometry fits me very well, and the bike climbs like a mountain goat and is no slouch on descents as well. I've already upgraded the fork and wheelset on mine and it definitely brought the frame to life -- it almost feels as flickable as a 26er! The Tektro brakes did not work well for me out of the box, so I upgraded those as well for some Avid BB7s. Maybe I got a bad set of pads but I felt that the Tektro brakes did not have nearly enough clamping force to slow me down, and I'm not a fast rider.
I would not hesitate to recommend this bike to a beginner. someone looking for a second bike, or someone looking for an affordable and durable frame to build up on. The value is great, the geometry is comfortable, and the handling is predictable and forgiving.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by peteer01 a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: November 11, 2013

Strengths:    A good 29" bike with good components, including Shimano hydraulic disc brakes

Weaknesses:    The fork is definitely the weakest component on the bike, heavy and ineffective

Bottom Line:   
The GT Karakoram 2.0 2013 bike is not a bad bike by any stretch of the imagination, but it's value is going to be based on what you pay for it. I've seen MSRPs listed for it that range from the low $900s to $1000, but it's available for a significant discount off of those numbers now that we're nearing the end of the year. I picked mine up while it was on sale, and while I was pleased with the price, I was surprised by the subpar performance of the XC 28. I had issues with two separate XC 28s on my Karakoram, both of which became very rigid and stopped providing any meaningful suspension and I am in the process of waiting for a Manitou Tower Pro 29er to arrive, which should both shave weight and substantially improve the ride of the bike. (I suspect the issue with both forks is related to the 1 mile commute to/from work, where I hit a very, very small step transitioning from asphalt to a concrete bridge at reasonably fast speeds while the fork is locked out, but my old XCR on my 26" bike has put up with that hundreds of times without complaint)

The biggest concern I have with giving this five stars for the value is that if you're looking at a mountain bike in this price range, you'd ideally like to find one with a better fork, and while you can upgrade the fork, unless you have one sitting around ready to use, at that point you could have likely bought a better bike.

As far as riding the bike goes, I am satisfied with everything but the fork, and I've put about 250-300km on it in the two and a half months I've had it, probably a 60:40 mix of road and trail riding. However, it's worth noting that if you're putting this on a bike rack/hitch on the back of a car, the "triple triangle" design means you cannot easily rest the top frame bar easily, although it's easier with the XL frame than it is with the L frame. I would not want to try to put this bike in an M or S frame on a bike hitch carrier.

If you're just riding on the road, bike paths and some walking trails, this bike might be a great match, if this is your budget. If you're looking for a XC or trail bike, the main component I would look at with this bike is the fork, and identify if you can live with it and/or upgrade it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Luther Forest

Duration Product Used:   2.5 months

Price Paid:    $599.00

Purchased At:   Nashbar

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Pierre

Date Reviewed: October 4, 2013

Strengths:    Strong frame and overall very trusting bike for MTB .

Weaknesses:    Because I am tall would like a larger frame then XL.

Bottom Line:   
My Karakoram's frame, just above the crank which goes up to the saddle,broke completely off and was replaced with no charge. Its great to know that all frames have lifelong guarantees. Will definitely buy it again.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Mheary a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: September 11, 2013

Strengths:    Price. Weight. For a bike that price, it is light. Handles well on fast tracks. Climbs very well. Breaks well so far. Feels very balanced. Shifts very smooth. I am very happy with this purchase. I plan to keep this GT for a long time. I can really feel the benefits of the 29er on steep hill climbs. Bike also jumps very well

Weaknesses:    None so far. Only ridden it 6 times

Bottom Line:   
All the reviews were spot on. Thanks for the help picking this bike

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   North Park. Pittsburgh

Duration Product Used:   1 month

Price Paid:    $650.00

Purchased At:   Pro cycle, pittsburg

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by James Haag

Date Reviewed: August 5, 2013

Strengths:    The bike has great geometry, climbs extremely well and feels lighter than my 26" hardtail.

Weaknesses:    I find myself tweaking the drive train constantly. I have had good experience with the Shimano Alivio on every bike except this one. The rear tire (Kenda Nevegal) didn't have the grip I wanted, I found myself on the ground quite a few times as a result of this (I ride mostly on eroded granite that is coated in gravel and coarse sand from time to time). I also feel like the BB drop is a little small and I found myself sitting too high off the bike to really dig into the downhill.

Bottom Line:   
I purchased this bike new in 2011, and I would do it again. Take my paragraphs of weaknesses with a grain of salt. I plan to hang on to this bike and slap some new components on it, maybe convert it to a single speed. It has treated me well for the ~700 miles I've spent on it.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by COREY

Date Reviewed: April 19, 2013

Strengths:    FRAME, FORK, COMPONENTS AND PRICE!!!!!!!!!!


Bottom Line:   

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by inspector

Date Reviewed: February 16, 2013

Strengths:    it's a 29'er. it's my 1st 29'er and i'm pretty happy with the purchase. it is faster than my 26'ers and more responsive. the suspension is very impressive. the shifting is responsive. the color scheme is very good.

Weaknesses:    the bike is a bit heavy (32 pounds)'s a hard ride on the rear side...the seat post would not set properly...stock pedals were cheap and would not accommodate straps...rubber plugs on the water bottle inserts...

Bottom Line:   
this is my 1st 29'er and overall, i'm very happy with the GT. it certainly is faster than my current 26'er's....the shifting is quick and responsive...the disc break's are great.....the tires and rims are very adequate.....the handle bars are a bit wider than i would prefer....they refer to this bike as being a "hard tail", and it is....front suspension is great...i'm happy with the upgrade to to this GT!

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steven Smith a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: November 5, 2012

Strengths:    A wonderful bike with value added componets and frame. Works as well,if not better than my friends 1500 dollar bike. Smooth shifting and easy to ride. Looks great also!! My first Mt bike in 20 years and I am very happy with it overall!!!

Weaknesses:    Slight more heavy, but moot point for a big guy like me!

Bottom Line:   
I would buy it again in heart beat!!

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ultramonkey a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: November 3, 2012

Strengths:    * Price of course.
* Relatively light bike. Mine(2012 L) came in at 31.2 pounds using combo(rider+bike) weight trick.
* Decent componentry for the price. I have ridden about 20 miles on it and the shifts are on the mark. I mainly use the front derailuer. I have a spare XT front derailleur that I might install if I run into problems. I am 5'11 and the large fits me well.

Weaknesses:    * Handle bar was too long
* Shock could be better. Entry level Rock Shox (28TK).

Bottom Line:   
I have put in about 20 miles on this bike. This is my first 29er bike. Wanted something mid level that I can upgrade if needed. I also have a giant trance x2 w/ tubeless which comes in @ 28 lbs. When I first rode the GT I wasnt all that impressed. But this was because I was just getting used to the bike and was very cautious. But I have equalled my 26er in about ever technical aspect on the trail and outdone it on some. Keep in mind this is after my 3rd time riding the 9er. On bigger rocks I am still on my 6er mindset and keep expecting to loose balance and stop pedalling. But this guy just rides over them and I am caught out of speed. So my challenge now is just keep the pedals spinning and the bike will do the rest.
Shock: I am not an extreme biker. Max jumps on my trails are around 2 ft. So the travel that is on the rock shox is plenty. If I need more I can upgrade. I have fox 32rl on my 6er and the response on that one is much better that the rock shox obviously.
Tires: Since my 6er had tubeless (loving the 20psi pressure) I wanted to do the same for my 9er. LBS declined to do tubeless on the alex 24td rims. But I was able to do it ghetto style for just $35 bucks (stans solution + 2x24" bmx tubes). I used the same stock rims and tires. So I can now lower the pressure to around 20 psi and get the increased traction w/o pinch flats.
Handle bar: The handle bar is way to wide for me. I cut off 1" on either end and now its perfect. With this I have mitigated the lesser maneuverability of the bike and dont see much of a diff between my 6er. But at the same time I have seen some instability on rocky downhills. But all in all I much prefer the shorter width.
Climbs:I have noticed that I am climbing better with this bike than my 6er. The biggest factor could be HT vs DS. But also I have kept away from a trail that is more technical and has many climbs. Will get to it this coming week. But for now, climbs have been better on the 9er.
Downhills: Downhill has been better on my 6er. Here also HT vs DS is a major factor. Its nothing huge. I just need to slow down a bit more. Although I havent tried this with running lower tire pressure (since I am just 1 day on tubeless). I would imagine with running lower pressure, my downhill will be better although this will impact my uphills. But I prefer that since it will help me build my muscles and stamina :)
Summary: I am extremely pleased with my bike for the price. Orginally I thought going back to a HT is a bummer. But I hate routine and having a 6er full suspension and a 9er HT is an extremely interesting combo imo. Trails now are much more fun coz I need to alter my style based on my bike also. HT also makes you a more technical rider. Now I need to force myself to go back to my DS bike every now and then :)

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   20 miles so far

Price Paid:    $650.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   2009 Giant Trance X2 w/ 2.35 Tubeless, XTR front derail 28lbs (alt)
Motobecane Fantom Elite 26er HT (10-11)
Schwinn Mesa HT (01-10)

Bike Setup:   Tubeless on Alex 24TD and Maxxis tires.
31.2 LBS

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ron

Date Reviewed: September 15, 2012

Strengths:    Geometry
Overall comfort
Overall components

Weaknesses:    Pedals
Little heavy

Bottom Line:   
Overall comfort is awesome. I'm 6'5" and this bike is a great ride for the money. I feel this is one of the best values in the 29er market.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by daniel

Date Reviewed: August 5, 2012

Strengths:    The triple triangle frame is,and has always been the best hard tail frame there is.Bike looks like a million bucks!29er's re the only way to go,very fast up and downhill.The value was amazing!!no way you can find a better bike for $300!!

Weaknesses:    pedals,derailers need adjusted often,I dont really like the handlebars(to wide and very little rise)a bit heavy

Bottom Line:   
I've been mountain biking for over 20 years.This is my first 29er,I will never get on a 26" bike again!Yes the front forks are lower end,but Im surprised just how stiff the are!A lockout would be nice and Im currently switching to a rigid fork(just cause im training and do more road and cross country than trail right now)I have done some hardcore trail riding on this bike and was very happy with it,I out rode guys with $3000.00 bikes!(but again ive been riding a long time,and do like 40 miles a day)I waited 3 months to review this bike..1000 miles later..Its a winner!Buy this bike hell buy 2!The crankset is very strong,I put some clippless pedals on the first day it arrived.Have not broke any teeth off the chainrings(which i've done on almost every stock set of cranks i've ever owned)Im 6-1 180lbs and I ordered the xl size large prob woulda been better for offroad/trail riding.The Alex wheelset is great the all-terra hubs roll very nice, I did wreak this bike on the Umpqua trail(mott section) broke a spoke and bent the rear wheel just a tiny bit,but still rolls great!The brakes are ok,I will be switching to disc.Love the saddle. This is the third GT ive owned and by far my favorite,Just needs a few upgrades,but for the price who cares??

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Acerty a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: July 30, 2012

Strengths:    29 inch tires
Great Saddle
Shifts great when in tune and tends to stay in tune for a little while
Aspen tires grab everything it rolls over
24 speed so it has more gears than you could possibly need

Weaknesses:    Not sure that there's much one can do about this aside from going tubeless but its worth mentioning. Since purchase I went through 2 tubes so far and 1 or 2 patches due to do thorns and rocks no pinch flats. Only real issue I've had with the bike so far.

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike close to 2 months ago now and have been waiting till I got a lot of rides to make a review. I came from a walmart bought XR-75 (I know I know). I got 3 rides in with that where I'd need to tighten the handle bar clamp just so they'd stay in while i was riding, and I'd have to do this before and during a ride. A ride that only got me to about a mile at best. That said, it would be pretty hard to get worse than that. Prior to buying this bike I test rode a fuji nevada 2.0, while the compononents may have been a little better I must say the karakoram rides better than the fuji and cost me 650 verses the 1000 dollars the other shop wanted for the fuji. I can't say enoug how happy I am with the karakoram. I typically ride trails loaded with roots, rocks, and water crossings or I ride some of the rail to trail program trails. This bike handles everything I throw at it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Red Trail in Green Lane, PA

Duration Product Used:   Almost 2 months

Price Paid:    $690.00

Purchased At:   Scooters Bike Shop

Similar Products Used:   Old bike was a mongoose xr 75
Test rode: Fuji Nevada 2.0 Jamis Trail X3 2011 and a few others I didn't like that I don't remember the names of anymore.

Bike Setup:   My Karakoram is all stock currently

Reviews 1 - 15 (28 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Tapered steer tube adapter, GT Karakoram 3.0.

I recently purchased a ROCKSHOX Recon that has a tapered steer tube, (my GT has straight 1 1/8 zero stack) I'm trying to determine if I can buy a cane creek ec 44 adapter to use this fork. Does anyone have any experience if so is this adapter the only part needed?Read More »

GT Karakoram Sport 2014 - Need help choosing Small or Medium Bike

Hello, I'm very new to the forum and trying to get into MTB. I have decided to purchase the GT Karakoram Sport which fell right into my budget. Sportchek also had a 100$ rebate on any goods so i used that to purchase items like gloves, helmet etc. I rode both the small and medium bikes in the ... Read More »

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Hello:) Im new in the forum and this is my first post. I suppose this is the right section to my question, sorry if not and please help me. I just bought a new GT Karakoram Comp in a LBS and when I got home that day I started looking for photos, info, parts etc etc of the bike and I encountered a di ... Read More »

Help with choosing new tires-GT Karakoram

I have had my 2013 GT Karakoram 3.0 for two weeks now. I am getting close to getting the bike more comfortable for me (new pedals and grips). I went on my first extended pavement ride on it (10+ miles) and am now looking at more pavement friendly tires. The bike currently has Maxxis Aspens on it. ... Read More »

2013 Giant Talon 1 29er Vs 2014 GT Karakoram Sport 29er

Local shop 700 for the Giant msrp 875.00 and local performance 500 msrp 690.00. Im new to this mountain biking thing hope to hit a trail soon . Any recomendation... Thank youRead More »

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