The new GT Zaskar LT – Is This GT’s Definitive Hardcore Hardtail?

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The GT Zaskar LT – a new hardcore hardtail and a new way of looking at that iconic Triple Triangle

The GT Zaskar is one of the mountain bike world’s longest-running names and one of the most versatile. Introduced in 1991, the Zaskar has seen World Cup victory in downhill, cross country, slalom and trials. And now, GT is introducing a more playful, almost UK-spec bike in the form of the new GT Zaskar LT.

The Zaskar LT has been designed from the ground up to be a hard hitting, alloy framed 29er that takes a 130mm fork. With a very modern geometry and a long and low frame profile, the Zaskar is aimed at that very UK-centric ideal of the ‘hardcore hardtail’. And initially, the Zaskar will only be available in the UK and Europe. Take that, Yankeedoodles!

It’ll do this kind of stuff too…

The heart of the Zaskar LT is the alloy frame. The signature GT ‘Triple Triangle’ is there, but there has been a subtle turn around as to how it is implemented. Previous Triple Triangle frames have had the seatstays welded to the seat tube where they cross, in order to give a super short, rigid back end. Now, GT has realised that if the stays only connect at the top tube, the effect is to have seatstays that are several inches longer and therefore more compliant. GT claims that they’re now 50% more vertically compliant than before. And why have they not done this until now? Because us lot all wanted super stiff, efficient bikes over comfort. That’s why. It’s all our fault. 

This bit – seatstays no longer welded to the seat tube
The GT Zaskar Elite. Comes in this fetching blue.

Geometry-wise, the Zaskar LT is pretty contemporary, with a size-medium offering up a 66°/75° combo with a reach of 445mm (465mm on the Large). The frames come in S, M, L and XL. The frame will take up to a 29 x 2.4in tyre (no 27.5Plus here we’re afraid) and that 130mm fork could be upgraded to a 140mm if you really want to get rad. 

There are two Zaskar LT specs available: the £1299 LT Expert and the £999 LT Elite

Who is the bike for? GT Reckons that that Zaskar LT is for trail riders who prefer the simplicity of a hardtail — and one that they can ‘aggressively ride and take their skills to the next level.’ along with riders who want a decent bike for a budget, or just because. Which is as good a reason as any in our book.

Zaskar LT Expert

  • Price £1299
Zaskar LT Expert – comes in this nice light green.

The pistachio-coloured Zaskar LT Expert features a RockShox 35 fork up front and Formula/WTB wheels with Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR (2.5WT and 2.4WT respectively) tyres. Gearing is 1×12 courtesy of SRAM’s NX Eagle, running a 32T chainring and 10-50T out back. There’s a Trans-X dropper supporting a Fabric Scoop saddle. Fabric appears up front for the grips while the cockpit is GT – a 45mm stem and 780mm bars.

Brakes are Shimano MT410 hydraulics with 180/160mm rotors. And, well that’s your lot. There is even a fork-mounted mudguard specced, just to show its UK intentions.

Zaskar LT Elite

  • £999
Zaskar LT Elite in a cool dark blue.

Back when we used to race XC, an Elite racer was higher up than an Expert racer, but GT has turned it on its head and the Zaskar LT Elite has a lower price and spec than the Expert. That aside, it’s good to see a quality hardtail come in under a grand. 

Spec on the Elite includes an SR Suntour Zeron 35 coil fork, SRAM SX Eagle 1×12 gearing and the same Shimano MT410 hydraulic brakes as on the Expert. There’s still a TransX internally routed dropper and wheel components come this time from Shimano and WTB, with WTB 2.3in rubber. 

Here are the scores on the doors. Nothing too radical…

GT has great hopes for this new addition to the Zaskar family and the new GT Zaskar LT should be in shops by the time you read this… 

And if you want to see what we thought of our first month on the bike, check out Chipps’ review here.

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