Strengths: * Wonderful classic XC racer geometry
* Best climbing bike I've ridden, flyes up hills
* Light and responsive
* I do think the carbon helps absorb the bumbs a bit
* Supersonic speed capable with the right rider
* Great classic GT Zaskar look
Weaknesses: * Being a classic forward crouch XC racer you have to be a bit more careful on the descents, definitely not a DH bike
* At 1400g frame weight it's plenty light enough for me, but if you're a current XC racer there are even lighter frames around
* Carbon is not the best material if you're inexperienced and/or tend to crash a lot. Go aluminium or steel.
* The wire for the bottom pull front derailleur catches a bit on the frame, I fixed it so it's perfect now but the stock solution could have been better.
* It's quick steering but there are nimbler bikes for REALLY tight single track. Not the bikes fault, it's made to shine on fast open smooth terrain.
I've been riding MTBs for 20 years, it's still my favorite kind of exercise since it's outdoors, keeps me fit and is so fun that I don't really don't think of it as exercise.
When I started riding it was on a 26" non-suspension bike. Back then that was a "regular MTB" and not at all retro or vintage or anything like that. I had two non-suspension-MTBs like this and my technical skill in attacking single track quickly went through the roof. I competed a bit and I still surprise many of today's "lazy-full-suss-riders" when I show them what I can do.
Like many cyclists I'm also a bit of a tech head and I have to admit I've been kind of taken by the technical revolution that's come to MTB:ing in the last couple of years. For a while there I even owned a very fancy full-suss carbon XC race bike.
That full-suss XC racer was a good bike, and I was fast on it, but somehow the more suspension you but on a bike the more you lose than special connection to the trail. Maybe it's because I grew up on non-suspension bikes and actually learned how to do without suspension - but after having owned full-suss bikes for an extended period of time I've finally concluded that they're not for me.
I'm still fast on the full-suss bikes, the overall speed difference for me that's no longer competing is marginal. But somehow I just feel less involved. A full-suss bike is less of a challenge, there is less feedback and at the end of the day I simply have less fun.
And that's why I bought this bike. After having tried/owned a few of the "new-breed" MTBs with more suspension, more upright seating position and wider bars I've finally come to the conclusion that they're not for me. I grew up on classic forward crouch XC racers with narrow bars and that's still how I like them it seems.
So this GT is turning out to be the best bike purchase I've made in years, for me it feels like coming home again. Everyone should own a narrow-bar-race-crouch-xc-hardtail at least once in their life. It may be classic but for me it's still the most fun kind of mountain biking.
Top Tip 1: 26" wheels are perfect on a XC racer, more responsive, less weight and less wind resistance. Don't buy the hype. Get a great deal on a 26" instead.
Top Tip 2: Don't fit wide bars. 580mm is the absolute maximum I would go.
Top Tip 3: Pick a frame size that let's you stretch out and breath, that's what it's all about.
Top Tip 4: Tilt the saddle forward, get that race crouch going. Your back should be a straight line.
Top Tip 5: My personal choice is a 2x10 gear system over 1x11. This bike is meant to go FAST and you don't want to run out of gears. From my experience 2x10 is also slightly more pedal efficient in higher gears than 1x11.
a Weekend Warrior
from Canberra, Australia
Date Reviewed: November 21, 2009
Strengths: This bike is light, agile and highly responsive, climbs like a goat and corners fast.
Weaknesses: Handlebar can swing around and impact top tube. I've had trouble with a slipping seat...may be a manufacturing tolerance issue
I love riding this bike. I've climbed where I never climbed before, ride faster everywhere and can descend rough stuff. This is a great bike, highly recommended if you are looking for a fast hard tail.
Bike Setup: Full SRAM XO, Thompson post & stem, fox terrologic forks, mavic wheels and hubs.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 25, 2009
Strengths: Comfortable, fast downhill, great trail geometry
Weaknesses: Weight for carbon, top tube edges, chainstay clearance
Whenever I ride it in trails it puts a smile on my face, not as quick handling as the Anthem but I'm going faster especially downhill because I have more confidence. The quicker you go, the better it gets. Super comfortable, with 2.2 tires (stans tubeless) is super smooth, like having a little rear suspension.
The bulky frame is no feather light and probably not as good uphill as a Scale for instance, but gives you the impression that it takes a lot of abuse. Chainstays clearance is narrow, 2.2 Race Kings fit is marginal. Frame edges make great look but top tube hurts when it makes contact with knees or quads.
Great frame, I really enjoy riding it, makes you go faster, it suck up most of hitting and let you concentrate in riding. Best all round bike I ever had, if you want one bike to do all this is one of the best. It can be used for racing (XC & Marathons), for trail riding, for weekend rides, epics, road riding
23 pounds 12 ounces stock out of the box! Check it out:
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I was considering getting a carbon Zaskar Team frame to replace my old 2003 Stumpjumper frame. I can't find many reviews though, does anyone have any links to reviews, or even better, have on themselves and have an opinion?
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