The GT Zaskar LT is one of the most historic names in mountain biking. First introduced way back in 1991, the Zaskar has won world cup championships in so many different mountain bike disciplines. In recent years, the GT Zaskar has been revamped, and in this post we look at the old, but new GT Zaskar LT.
The Zaskar LT has been designed from the outset to be a very aggressive hardtail mountain bike. Running on 29" wheels, this mountain bike takes a 130mm fork and has an alloy frame. The geometry of the bike is up to date, and the frame has a low profile. Uniquely, this bike when introduced was only available in the UK and EU, not the US.
Looking at the frame of the bike, those who know the GT brand will instantly recognise the famous triple triangle. The triple triangle on the Zaskar LT does have some slight differences, it’s been redesigned so that the seat stay is only connected at the top tube - making for a longer seatstay. This makes the Zaskar 50% more vertically compliant than before, and the result is a bike that it’s incredibly stiff and incredibly efficient.
There are two budget friendly options available, with the two bike options providing similar attitude and capability, with the Expert version sitting at the top of the range, with the Elite version being around £300 cheaper than the Expert. In this post, we mainly concentrate on the Expert:
Zaskar LT Expert
As mentioned, the Zaskar LT expert has an alloy frame, with a triple triangle construction - which means that the seatstay runs straight past the seat tube and into the top tube. This seatstay has been labelled as a floating seatstay by GT and provides great levels of vertical compliance. The bike is designed to accommodate a 130mm fork, but it can also take a 140mm fork. There’s internal cable routing, an external bottom bracket as well as plenty of clearance for larger knobblier, off road tyres. On the downtube of the bike, there are two bottle cages.
When it comes to the geometry of the bike, the Zaskar LT Expert is classed as a trail bike. The geometry of the frame is similar to what you would find on a full suspension trail bike - it has a 450mm chainstay, a relatively steep seat angle of 75 degrees and a head angle of 66 degrees. The bike itself is big and burly, it has 130mm of suspension travel from the brilliant Rockshox 35 Silver TK Fork. The bike is connected to the ground with a pair of Maxxis Minion Tyres, which are mounted to WTB rims and Formula hubs.
Braking is provided by Shimano MT410 brakes with 190mm rotors. The drivetrain of the bike is provided by SRAM and components are mostly from the NX eagle group, although there are SX items and components to keep costs down.
Zaskar LT Expert Trail Performance
We have a fair bit of experience in thrashing around on the Zaskar LT Expert here at Westbrook Cycles. Firstly, the bike climbs incredibly well - there’s no rear shock or suspension to worry about - and the 75 degree seat angle places you right on top of the cranks - meaning that each pedal is incredibly efficient. On some climbs, we missed rear suspension - which would have maximised grip across the full ascent.
The bike performs incredibly well on descents, and this is what the bike has largely been designed to do - the bike has a slack head angle and tough forks, along with wide and knobbly off road tyres. On the bike, we felt completely in control heading down technical trails - the bike also feels nice and low to the ground, so it’s a bike which inspires confidence. Although the large tyres provide some cushioning, we did miss a rear shock on many trails, but it’s unfair to keep comparing this bike's performance to that of a full suspension mountain bike. The front fork works well, with plenty of travel and ability to soak up impacts and rough ground both large and small.
Overall, we think this bike is a fantastic choice for those looking for an aggressive trail bike, on a budget.