GT Karakoram 1.0

 

So a friend from work has been trying to convince me to get into mountain biking, but I resisted for quite a long time. It sounded quite painful and just not as fun as sitting watching the Premier League or rugby! But with some persistence he got me to go for a ride one Saturday morning using another co-workers bike! It was possibly one of the hardest morning I have experienced in quite while!

Even with a painful rear, painful legs and many scars and bruises from that morning ride something about it ticked in me and I became hooked with being out and about and getting fit!

I spent weeks looking for a new bike. Went every weekend to see bikes at shops and called I think every bike shop in JHB to see what was available and what they suggested. I researched the internet every night for reviews on bikes. Switched between hardtail vs softtail, 26″ vs 29″, Scott vs Giant vs GT. I really had no idea what I should do, but in the end went with a well specced hardtail under R10k that should last me at least 3 years!

The Bike

After some phoning around and research I stumbled upon the 2012 GT Karakoram 1.0! It was a great a price for the specs. Looked great and had received great reviews.

The Karakoram comes in 3 versions, 1.0 being the top of the range and is the 29″ version of the Avalanche range from GT. They all feature the GT patented Triple Triangle Frame Design. The Karakoram 1.0 come highly specced for this price range, with Shimano XT rear derailleur and SLX from derailleur and SLX shifter with Avid Elixir 1 Hydraulic disc brakes. Comparing other bikes with theses specs will come in at a significantly higher price. The much vaunted Giant Talon 0 only has SRAM X5 components which equates to Shimano Deore components.

The one downside in the specs for this bike is the fork. It is a Rock Shox XC 32 coil fork. It would have been great had it come with a Air fork. But at this price, it can be expected. Perhaps another downside is the use of a FSA crank. A Shimano crank to pair with the rest of the Shimano components to keep things consistent would have been great to see.

Many have complained that the bike is a little heavy, and perhaps that is warranted, however keeping in mind the price of the bike at R9500, it can expected to be on the heavy side. Being a new rider however, I’m pretty sure that it is not going to be the equipment that slows you down!

First Ride

My ride with the GT Karakoram 1.0 was along the spruit and into the botanical gardens in Emmarentia. First off, the WTB Pure-V seat felt far more comfortable than the one I rode before on the borrowed bike.

The gear shifting with the SLX shifters and XT rear drailleur are excellent. Smooth,quick and efficient! One tip I can give is to always look for the higher ranked components. They make a massive difference!

I thought the Rock Shox fork was great and really made a huge impact. and provided a plenty of rebound, which can also be locked for riding on solid surfaces.

The Maxxis Aspen tires on the 29″ Alex Rims feel incredibly comfortable and are a massive difference over the 26″ wheels. (I can see why 29er revolution is rolling along quickly!

I was very suprised with my confidence riding the GT. It made me feel like I could really ride quickly and attack the track and not have to worry about ditches and big rocks. The bike, with those massive 29″ wheels merely rolls over obstacles and keeps going!

Upgrades

Perhaps the first upgrade I would make to the bike is to do the tubeless tyre conversion and replacing the fork with an Air fork. None of these are however urgent right off the bat.

Verdict

I loved the bike and could not have asked for too much more for my first bike! Perhaps I will realize its shortcomings with more time on the bike and experience, but for now I love it! I can recommend it to anyone looking to spend under R10k. You get great specs from a great and well established bike company.

Specs

Type of Frame  Hthydroformed/Butted Speed Metal™ Aluminum Frame (TT/ST, DT), Triple Triangle™ Frame Construction, Forged Bottom Bracket, Dropouts, and 1 1/8″ Headtube, w/ 29″er-Specific Geometry
Fork  Rock Shox XC32 w/100mm TravelQR, Adjustable Rebound, Turn-Key Lockout
Crank  FSA Gamma Drive Mega Exo 42/32/24T
Bottom Bracket  FSA Mega EXO
Shifters  Shimano SLX
Cog Set  Shimano CS-HG62, 11-36T, 10-Speed
Chain  KMC X10, 10-Speed
Front Derailleur  Shimano SLX
Rear Derailleur  Shimano Deore XT, 10-Speed
Rims  Alex TD24, Doublewall 32H
Front Hub  ALL TERRA Alloy Disc 32H
Rear Hub  ALL TERRA Alloy 32h Q/R Cassette
Spokes  Stainless 14G
Tires  Maxxis Aspen, 2.1″, Wire
Pedals  GT Slimline Flat Alloy
Front Brake  Avid Elixir 1, 160mm (F/R)
Rear Brake  Avid Elixir 1, 160mm (F/R)
Brake Levers  Avid Elixir 1
Handlebar  ALL TERRA 6061 Aluminum Flat TopRiser, 690mm
Stem  ALL TERRA 3D Forged Threadless, CNC’d 4-Bolt Face Plate
Headset  FSA No. 11 Zerostack, 1 1/8″
Saddle  WTB Pure-V Comp
Seat Post  ALL TERRA Alloy Microadjust, 30.9mm

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