GT has gone a long way to recapturing the magic of the old Zaskar
Being the old gits that we are, we owned a GT Zaskar when it first came out, back in 1995. What set it apart from the rest back then was not the Triple Triangle frame (still a feature to this day), but its ability to do everything.
They were omnipresent, whether at an XC race, at the dirt jumps, on the dual slalom course or even hopping around urban street furniture. Recently, however, GT has cast aside this endearing versatility and given the contemporary Zaskar a pure XC racing slant.
Two years ago we criticised the Zaskar for this very reason, and said it would be infinitely better as an all-round trail bike. Thankfully, GT’s UK arm has also recognised this, and freshened-up the attitude with some thoughtfully chosen components.
Fork travel has grown to 120mm, there’s a single-ring drivetrain and wider bar mated to a shorter stem. GT has also shrunk the Zaskar onto 27.5in wheels (from 29in) to bring it more in line with the market.
In doing so, it has redesigned the frame with shorter chainstays and — big sigh of relief — a much slacker head angle. It’s lighter too.
Combined, these changes have transformed the Zaskar. It’s far more capable on a wider variety of terrain, inspires a lot more confidence, and feels significantly livelier.
GT has gone a long way to recapturing the magic of the old Zaskar. Yet it still falls short of the latest crop of hardtails in terms of geometry and sizing, which leaves it constantly playing catch up on the trail.