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GT Bicycles are renowned for their top-notch MTB bicycles used by many competitive athletes around the world. In India, they have primarily introduced affordable, entry and mid-level MTBs, hybrids and Road bicycles. We reviewed the latest GT Karakoram Sport 2016. As the name suggest, it is an MTB that is built for the off road adventurer. Here's what we thought after our road test.
The frame on the GT Karakoram Sport 29 (2016) is a 29'Hydro formed 6061 T6 Aluminum frame. When you lift the bicycle, you can immediately tell that it has a fair bit of weight on it. This frame employs GT's triple triangle technology, which lengthens the seat stay to be welded on the Seat post as well as on the side of the top tube. What this means is that this design creates 3 triangles versus 2 on traditional frame designs. How this translates to performance is that it ensures that there is better torsional rigidity, which improves steering, and your transfer of pedaling power. To add to this it will also ensure a stronger frame that will last longer, through all the hard riding you plan to do off road. The bicycle has a 100mm front suspension system, which is a SR Suntour XCT-HLO with a mechanical lockout.
The GT seats the rider in a good commanding position, and balances the mass to the center, therefore being an ideal form for beginners and amateurs. The Karakoram does well to keep you well in control of your bicycle.
We laid our hands on the Lime green Karakoram, and it was quite the looker. The lively colour option with the subtle GT logo did wonders for the bike. To add to this, the unique frame design that employ's GT proprietary frame building and design tech called Triple triangle technology, adds up to one good looking MTB that cannot be missed on the road or off it.
The Karakoram comes with 27 speed gears. It is equipped with the Shimano Altus, FD M370 in the front, and Shimano Alivio,RD-M4000 connected to Altus Rapid Fire shifters. The shifting was precise and it took care of most of the gearing requirements during the ride. There were times we hoped that we did have a little more juice to go faster, but it was not an alarming need.
A bicycle like the GT Karakoram Sport 29 that is built with the intention to be used hard on off-road terrain, must have superior stopping power. That box is ticked with the Karakoram as it comes with Promax Solve Hydraulic Disc brakes with 160mm Rotors. The hydraulic brakes will come in handy under continuous braking that could otherwise lead to excessive heating of the discs. The brakes were powerful and responsive, which comes as a warning to first time users of Hydraulic discs.
The handlebar on the Karakoram was their own in house brand 'All Terra' which was wide enough for controlling on ascents and descents, with a slight curve in the centre to allow for amateur riders to steer comfortably. The Bicycle was very responsive to popping the front wheel, but did have a bit of a lag in shifting directions and while cornering at speed.
GT have decided to go with their own brand of tires in the form of the All Terra Cypher, 29'* 2.1 tires, fitted on to All-Terra double wall rims. The sheer size of the 29er takes getting used to as there is quite a bit of rolling resistance and overall traction. However, the 29'tires could well be your best ally out in the mountains as it will help you eat up bigger rocks and undulated surface, without losing stability and control. We would have liked the buttons on the tires to be a little higher as you would need that extra bit on muddy/slushy surfaces.
The ride quality is certainly a plus for the GT Karakoram Sport. This is a combination of the SR Suntour XCT-HLO, which performed admirably and really took the undulations well, along with the triple triangle tech, which actually reduced the feedback to the rider from bumps to the rear tire. The GT MTB saddle is aggressive and sporty, and it provides the necessary support for a performance MTB. The 29'tires did their bit in providing a softer ride as it took care of smaller bumps. Overall it is safe to badge the Karakoram Sport a 'Comfortable MTB'.
The GT Karakoram Sport 29 (2016) is an MTB that not only looks good, but also compliments those looks with stellar performance. If you are an adrenalin junkie and are looking for a 29er performance MTB that will conquer most terrains out there, then the GT Karakoram Sport 29 (2016) should certainly be the bicycle that you should consider. Priced at Rs.37,700 it is certainly value for money for all that is on offer.