By Josh Patterson
The Zaskar 100
The Zaskar 100 is new for 2012 and replaces the Marathon in the GT lineup. GT designed this bike as a race-ready bike for the weekend warrior looking for a performance-oriented ride with that requires a minimum of maintenance.
GT’s engineers were able to reduce the frame weight by 25 percent while maintaining the same level of stiffness. The rear triangle was completely redesigned, simplifying the swingarm—the entire rear end is one piece.
The iDrive suspension was also adjusted. Gone are the old suspension pivot fasteners, which used the once common Shimano-splined 20-tooth bottom bracket interface. This was a convenient method for securing the bearings at home or in a shop—when cartridge style bottom brackets were more common—but the system relied on a tool few riders carry with them on the trail. GT has replaced this with pinch bolt pivot clamps that use common 4mm bolts that thread into replaceable inserts.
GT’s suspension system used a flexing link, connected to the front and rear triangles to manage the bottom bracket’s motion through the suspension’s travel—this was necessary because the bottom bracket is attached to the rear, rather than the front triangle.
The new carbon I-Link is designed to pivot, rather than flex. GT claims the new pivoting I-Link is more durable and improves frame stiffness.
GT will only be importing the $4,200 Zaskar Expert, one of three 26-inch Zaskar 100 models, to the United States. One of the reasons cited for introducing one of three bikes in the line was the growing popularity of 29-inch bikes in the XC-race category in the States.
GT is also introducing a “budget” DH racer. Downhill racing is not a cheap sport, and the Fury Alloy retails for $3,150 but includes as much bang for the buck as GT was able squeeze into a bike. The frame is constructed of hydroformed 6061 aluminum with a monocoque front triangle. Suspension duties are handled by a Marzocchi 888 RV fork paired with a Marzocchi Roco R coil shock.
The alloy version of GT’s carbon World Cup DH race bike shares identical geometry and is designed to meet the needs of weekend warriors and resorts looking for a reliable, low-maintenance bike for their rental fleets.
Zaskar 9r Pro
Much like GT’s new Zaskar 100, the Zaskar 9r Pro was designed to meet the needs of privateer racers: riders looking for the performance of a race bike and need it and the components to hold up to the rigors of daily riding. The fork is a 100mm Rockshox Sid 29 RLT with 15mm Maxle. The 9r Pro’s drivetrain uses the updated Shimano XT. Learn more about the new XT group here.
The Zaskar 9r Pro’s monocoque carbon-fiber frame carries over signature triple triangle design which aids in tire clearance, and it should have no problems clearing 2.3 tires. It will be offered as a frameset as well.
Another nice feature is the modular dropouts, allowing riders to switch between geared or singlespeed use.
Last but not least, a bike that harkens back to GT’s roots in BMX.
A modern take on GT’s ‘80s BMX freestyle bikes. The frame is constructed of high-tensile straight gauge steel and retains the classic Performer design with relaxed 26” BMX cruiser geometry. The Performer will be available in chrome with gold components or white with blue components. Pegs are included for homie-hauling duties. At $479 I have a feeling GT is going to sell a lot of these.