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Whether you're dipping your toes into the dirt riding world or just in the market for a reliable and fun hardtail, the 2016 GT Zaskar LE Expert XT Complete Mountain Bike has you covered. It boasts a Shimano drivetrain, a RockShox fork, hydraulic disc brakes, and tubeless-ready 27.5in Stan's NoTubes wheels to tackle almost any terrain.
Of course, the skeleton of any hardtail mountain bike is its frame, and that frame informs every aspect of the bike’s trail manners. The Zaskar frame uses a proprietary blend of aluminum alloys called Speed Metal Ultra, with each metal allocated specifically to various areas of the frame, including the top tube, seat tube, down tube, bottom bracket junction, and other areas where the demands on the material are unique to that particular section. The result is a fine-tuned frame that’s light enough to slay some cross-country singletrack but tough enough to rip some serious all-mountain trails.
The frame also owes a big portion of its capabilities to GT’s signature Triple Triangle design. The seatstays are elongated to join the mainframe not at the seat tube/top tube junction, but further forward on the top tube. They're also welded to both tubes. This configuration achieves several things. First, it shrinks the rear triangle. The tighter angles make it stiffer, for greater acceleration and less torsional flex under load. Second, the seatstays are wider at the seat tube junction, again reinforcing lateral stiffness for greater stability and responsiveness. The design's durability is of equal importance. There’s a reason you see so many decades-old GT frames still roaming the trails, and Triple Triangle is a big part of that reason.
The Zaskar LE Expert's build balances punch with value and starts off with a RockShox Reba RL 27.5 Solo Air fork boasting 100mm of plush travel. A double Shimano Deore XT drivetrain with an FSA V-Drive MegaExo crankset powers you forward with a huge range of gears to tackle even the steepest grades. The Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes and metallic pads provide consistent, controllable stopping in almost any conditions. FSA Components round out the cockpit, and the included Fizik Tundra Saddle is one of our favorites. The build is finished with Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires aboard a pair of time-tested Stan's NoTubes Rapid 25 rims, meaning you have a pair of hoops that's up for nearly any challenge.
- Item #GTE001B
- Q & A
GT Zaskar LE expert
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Exelente, confort, rider