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  1. #1
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    Upgrading GT Karakoram

    Hey Y'all first time poster and Big time MTB noob.

    Picked up a GT Karakoram 3.0 and want to upgrade the components to make it more Freeride specific.

    I know nothing about MTB parts/upgrades , but would you recommend putting a fork with 120 mm of travel on this bike? Or if that isn't feasible what a good alternate than the factory suspension system?

    What are some other things you would consider immediately upgrading?

    For reference, I live in GA and will be mainly riding singletrack in the appalachians/ hills of Atlanta.

  2. #2
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    Buy a new bike.

  3. #3
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    Look at a Yelli Screamy.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorbacon View Post
    Buy a new bike.
    hahaha that's rude dude!

  5. #5
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    Just going to use the Karakoram to get into the swing of Mountain Biking... Plan on getting a FS as soon as my skills justify the cost.

    In the mean time, what are some things I can can upgrade (looking to put up to $700 back into the bike) that will make it perform better.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsantana View Post
    hahaha that's rude dude!
    It's not rude, it's honesty. Why spend so much money on a bike that cost 600 dollars when you can sell it and get a 1200 ish dollar bike (specially if they plan to spend 700 on upgrades) to buy a decent slacker angled bike that won't need a bunch of stuff replaced so soon?

  7. #7
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    Re: Upgrading GT Karakoram

    Depends when it was purchased and how much no?

    I got the same bike last year for about 300 and did so out of fear I wouldn't like biking again. I loved it.
    I've put about 700 into it this year and my bike is better off than if I had waited and spent a G on a different bike this year.

    People always say "buy a new one" but frankly looking around this forum the nicest bikes are the least "stock" and unless you're spending 1300 or more nearly every bike has some crappy component or set of parts that would be better off upgraded. CL/Ebay and online deals make upgrading much more economical than before.

  8. #8
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    You are trying to upgrade components that are only going to save weight. Even with a 140mm fork what will that push your head angle to? Keep in mind a longer fork voids warranty. Not a biggy.. just worth mentioning

    If you wanna go freeride or all mountain type riding then the thing you really nead to change is your head angle. And most AM/FR stuff is full suspension...

    Enjoy yout GT and save for an actual AM/FR rig... Best advice you can get. right tool for the right job.

    I tried it with an airborne zeppelin FS 26er. it was heavy and sucked. I upgraded to a canfield yelli screamy... I cannot explain how amazing that bike is. The only complaint I can possible find is I can feel the rear flex when railing corners hard.. but hell, i'm 285lbs.. i think any bike will do that

  9. #9
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    I had/have a Karakoram and loved it as an intro bike.
    I upgraded the fork and went tubeless.
    That is all I did.
    I rode the piss out of it and saved for a bike that best suited my needs. XC/Endurance (Salsa Spearfish)
    Like others have said " Buy a new bike" That is not meant to be rude or disrespectful.
    Ride what you have without spend a whole lot on it. After you are sure of the direction you want to go buy something that best suits your needs.
    I still have/ride my GT and have fun doing so.
    Vincit qui patitur
    2012 GT Karakoram 3.0
    2012 Salsa Spearfish 2
    2014 KONA Process 153
    2013 Giant Defy
    2012 Access TCL

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by manmythlegend View Post
    Depends when it was purchased and how much no?


    I got the same bike last year for about 300 and did so out of fear I wouldn't like biking again. I loved it.
    I've put about 700 into it this year and my bike is better off than if I had waited and spent a G on a different bike this year.


    People always say "buy a new one" but frankly looking around this forum the nicest bikes are the least "stock" and unless you're spending 1300 or more nearly every bike has some crappy component or set of parts that would be better off upgraded. CL/Ebay and online deals make upgrading much more economical than before.


    For about 300? I see in the GT website the KARAKORAM 3.0 HYDR MSRP is $780. How did you get it at that price?
    Last edited by jsantana; 05-22-2013 at 10:04 AM. Reason: adding quote

  11. #11
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    The way to upgrade this bike is to buy components only when you see a great deal and only components that go right on to your next build. And have a frame picked out now so you know what fits.

    Fork-120mm Manitou Tower Pro off ebay. The New Marvel is coming out this summer so some deals should come up. Tapered/15mm would need a new outboard headset lower and front wheel.

    Wheels-ArchEx you can lace up with Supercomps/brass nips and a Hope or Stans front hub with changeable endcaps and a Dt star ratchet rear.

    Brakes-SLX

  12. #12
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    Some people are being rude. I'm sure he knows a new bike would be the answer, and I'm sure his plans are to aquire a better one in the future. Some of us have to live on a budge, and do as funds allows. I myself just picked up a 2013 GT Karakoram 2.0. I knew when I picked it out that it will not be the bike for me in the future. I rode BMX when I was younger, and always have had a bike. I wanted to try my hand at MTB, but was not comfortable dropping 3 grand or so on a sport I was not sure I would like or ever develop the skills to do it. So I did some research, and reading up (some of it on this very site). Almost all reviews pointed to the Karakoram as a good ENTRY Level bike that could be built on. The real only down side across the board where the rims. The only regret I have so far, and probably like this fellow. I should have bought the 1.0 for a few dallors more. So far it has been a joy to have, and has not broken yet. I have not been the nicest to it with some of the spills its took and a lot of newbie riding mistakes. I fell that is one use of a forum like this. New to the sport guys like myself believe the can come on here, and ask guys who have been doing this for sometime for advice and guidance. Not expecting to be told you spent hard earned money on a piece of sh@@. The truth maybe that it the wrong bike long term, but for now that's what he has. Maybe think next time answer more respecfuly like that's a good newbie bike, but it will not server long term, but in the meantime you could................... You know some guys also like to work on their bikes. Maybe fell a sense of accomplishment by building it up some, and then taking it out for a thrashing, and can say I did it. You guys should welcome new guys to your sport/hobby to make it grow. I'm an hardcore off road Jeeper, and we see guys show up all the time with a questionable ride. Yet they still want to take it and get muddy and stuck, and every time I drag them out and get them out safe and never complain. You know the next time they show up they have learned something as far as better driving or up grading their ride. You know someday they may be the one to get me out of a jam. That's why I showed up on here. I was looking for some input on up grades, but you know what. You guys can keep all that to yourselfs. I'm smart enough I'll figure it out on my own.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by trent1030 View Post
    Some people are being rude. I'm sure he knows a new bike would be the answer, and I'm sure his plans are to aquire a better one in the future. Some of us have to live on a budge, and do as funds allows. I myself just picked up a 2013 GT Karakoram 2.0. I knew when I picked it out that it will not be the bike for me in the future. I rode BMX when I was younger, and always have had a bike. I wanted to try my hand at MTB, but was not comfortable dropping 3 grand or so on a sport I was not sure I would like or ever develop the skills to do it. So I did some research, and reading up (some of it on this very site). Almost all reviews pointed to the Karakoram as a good ENTRY Level bike that could be built on. The real only down side across the board where the rims. The only regret I have so far, and probably like this fellow. I should have bought the 1.0 for a few dallors more. So far it has been a joy to have, and has not broken yet. I have not been the nicest to it with some of the spills its took and a lot of newbie riding mistakes. I fell that is one use of a forum like this. New to the sport guys like myself believe the can come on here, and ask guys who have been doing this for sometime for advice and guidance. Not expecting to be told you spent hard earned money on a piece of sh@@. The truth maybe that it the wrong bike long term, but for now that's what he has. Maybe think next time answer more respecfuly like that's a good newbie bike, but it will not server long term, but in the meantime you could................... You know some guys also like to work on their bikes. Maybe fell a sense of accomplishment by building it up some, and then taking it out for a thrashing, and can say I did it. You guys should welcome new guys to your sport/hobby to make it grow. I'm an hardcore off road Jeeper, and we see guys show up all the time with a questionable ride. Yet they still want to take it and get muddy and stuck, and every time I drag them out and get them out safe and never complain. You know the next time they show up they have learned something as far as better driving or up grading their ride. You know someday they may be the one to get me out of a jam. That's why I showed up on here. I was looking for some input on up grades, but you know what. You guys can keep all that to yourselfs. I'm smart enough I'll figure it out on my own.
    I get this type of response as well, about anytime I ask about upgrading my bike on this forum....... It is sad, that this is the introduction that we "noobs" get.... this as our initial impression of a sport that we have found interest in. We (noobs) for the most part realize that we get what we pay for, and we are stoked that you (experienced rider) are rocking a four digit ride. We hope to be you some day...... Until then I think some posters need to work on their delivery of newcomer advice. Become the ambassadors that every sport needs.....

  14. #14
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    Not just that for their own personal safety, you never know who you will meet on the trails. Might be someone you were rude to.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirheady View Post
    Just going to use the Karakoram to get into the swing of Mountain Biking... Plan on getting a FS as soon as my skills justify the cost.

    In the mean time, what are some things I can can upgrade (looking to put up to $700 back into the bike) that will make it perform better.
    How's the bike working out? Have you made any upgrades?

    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The way to upgrade this bike is to buy components only when you see a great deal and only components that go right on to your next build. And have a frame picked out now so you know what fits.

    Fork-120mm Manitou Tower Pro off ebay. The New Marvel is coming out this summer so some deals should come up. Tapered/15mm would need a new outboard headset lower and front wheel.

    Wheels-ArchEx you can lace up with Supercomps/brass nips and a Hope or Stans front hub with changeable endcaps and a Dt star ratchet rear.

    Brakes-SLX
    This is an awesome post, and I followed this advice before I read it.

    I bought a Manitou Tower Pro off Price Point when they were $250. Absolutely thrilled with it. I had issues, twice, with the XC 28 fork, and it was garbage when it worked, so I upgraded that to a 1 1/8th 120mm Tower Pro that I don't even care if I can carry over to my next bike, because it needed a new fork.

    I did pick up some Black Flag Pro wheels and 2.25 Ardent tires for the front. I traction a few times with the thinner, less grippy Aspen. If I do upgrade in the not too distant future, I can bring those wheels with me.

    Beyond that, pedals, and that was a fun purchase because they also look good on the bike, and allowed me to move the pedals from the Karakoram to my 26er.

    Quote Originally Posted by owtdorz View Post
    I had/have a Karakoram and loved it as an intro bike.
    I upgraded the fork and went tubeless.
    Yeah, the fork had to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by manmythlegend View Post
    I got the same bike last year for about 300 and did so out of fear I wouldn't like biking again. I loved it.
    I've put about 700 into it this year and my bike is better off than if I had waited and spent a G on a different bike this year.
    Agreed. I ended up spending about $540 on the bike (2.0), $250+S&H on the fork and $350+S&H on the wheels, with some more money on misc. things like tires, but I'd rather have bought the Karakoram when I did, and pick up the fork and wheel set on sale, so at least I'm out riding instead of wondering if I spent too much or not spending anything because I'm waiting for a super deal.

    At this point, I don't think I'm a good enough rider to need a nicer bike. If I hit a point where the bike is holding me back, that's great. I'll borrow my friend's decked out 24 lbs. Niner and prove that there's a reason I need to upgrade. I don't see that happening, so instead I'll just ride every weekend I can, work on getting better and replace stuff as it brakes.

    Maybe I just don't know what I'm missing with FS, and yeah, I wish my bike weighed 24 lbs...but I have no problem having fun and keeping up on my Karakoram, although it really was a bear trying to go over some of those nastier roots on that XC 28 fork.

  16. #16
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    So many pricey upgrades! Which to choose 1st?!

    Quote Originally Posted by trent1030 View Post
    Some people are being rude. I'm sure he knows a new bike would be the answer, and I'm sure his plans are to aquire a better one in the future. Some of us have to live on a budge, and do as funds allows. .
    Many folks are rude, it's one of the primary reasons I have so few posts, yet have been a member for a while; some (most often) people are just flat out stupid/low-wit/TLDR/NPD-sociopaths. They actually "FEED" off of the negative energy that is resultant from them hammering you unnecessarily; mods don't seem to give a shat OR join ---> AGAINST THE FORUM RULES <--- themselves. So I said FLUCK this POS and didn't come back for years. I spoke to folks in person/other forums instead. Come back here recently, and end up running into the same low-wit/wanna-bes causing problems... ALL you want is SOME DECENT ADVICE that takes a good 5min to aid someone vs flaming wars/off topic banter/ad hominem attacks. I digress.

    Remember some of these folks are OBSESSED to the point they act like bourgeois "car nuts," talking trash, trashing you bc you are on a logical/sensible budget. Hell, I have other hobbies and PRIORITIES vs noobing out and spending all I have on a financial liability; $1000s bikes that can be stolen in under 5min anywhere via grinder wheel + wet towels method (thieves in NYC TAKE ORDERS for uber bikes and deliver lol!) Now yer about to tear up bc yer McYuppyRig has been yanked (again in many cases). Got another $3K to blow on a high targeted toy huh? NOT IN NYC - you won’t have that ego fluff on wheels for long with said attitudes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Armstrong View Post
    I get this type of response as well, about anytime I ask about upgrading my bike on this forum....... It is sad, that this is the introduction that we "noobs" get.... this as our initial impression of a sport that we have found interest in.
    Welcome to the NPD-Sociopath-1upYours cess pool huh! Hows about a dunk in the pool kid hah, eeeh?! MTBR has become a "too big to fail" mentality, where abuse is just accepted bc there are so many "experienced" riders or w/e. Hell even when you strike back and stand up for YOUR thread/post, the sycophant lemmings will even stick up for the low-wit NPD bullies lol! This place, seesh, I wish we could ban/block certain users from replying in our threads or to our posts or something to keep these lames away from NEW and curious riders.

    Quote Originally Posted by peteer01 View Post
    How's the bike working out? Have you made any upgrades?

    This is an awesome post, and I followed this advice before I read it.
    …[I bought a Manitou Tower Pro off Price Point when they were $250. Absolutely thrilled with it 1 1/8th 120mm Tower Pro that I don't even care if I can carry over to my next bike, because it needed a new fork.]

    [I did pick up some Black Flag Pro wheels and 2.25 Ardent tires for the front. I traction a few times with the thinner, less grippy Aspen. If I do upgrade in the not too distant future, I can bring those wheels with me.]
    …[Yeah, the fork had to go.]
    …[I'd rather have bought the Karakoram when I did, and pick up the fork and wheel set on sale, so at least I'm out riding instead of wondering if I spent too much or not spending anything because I'm waiting for a super deal.]
    At this point, I don't think I'm a good enough rider to need a nicer bike. If I hit a point where the bike is holding me back, that's great.
    Maybe I just don't know what I'm missing with FS, and yeah, I wish my bike weighed 24 lbs...but I have no problem having fun and keeping up on my Karakoram.
    I’m literally following these posts to the letter, as I just acquired a 2013 GTK 4.0 model (not sure where on the scale of 1,2,3.0 it is; “lowest spec?”) and scrapped most of the stock comps, cept: (Of course these are the worst and most expensive to upgrade!)

    Front POS Sun-Steel XCT-MLO100mm (tested to max 76.1mm, WTF?!)
    F/R Hubs/Rims (omg going to cost a mint to upgrade!) Not sure what to do about 9mm vs (superior) 15mm QR since that means having to get hub+shock at same time if I want to upgrade to 15mm (future proofing)! <---- Completely forgot about 15mm hub upgrade/trend.
    Terra Alloy” generic top-secret hubs that I cannot find any info on from GT’s site (vague/useless consumer fluff), nor about 15mm conversion (bah prob not possible)
    Tektro Novela brakes - Eh the front squeals like a pig if too wet + hard braking. ALWAYS out of alignment post wheel removal. But they work and are going to be near or last upgrade (BB7s).
    Tires Maxxis Aspens 2.1s: Love'm for the trail speed, fair pretty well on rocks/roots if ~20-30psi. Awful noise/squishy feeling +15mph on road. Need something much more aggressive on the sides, hard center compound for road commutes to trails. ~24-28mph on these@~50psi felt sketchy on tacky country road, had to slow down lol!

    Argh I cannot take much longer on this SunTour boat anchor, but I don’t want QR9mm = having to readjust brakes EVERY TIME tire is removed (see going anywhere in car) WTF seriously, major industry engineering failure. That’s an extra 10-15min of flucking around trying to get it just right and not rubbing. Yeah I NEED 15mm if it’s JUST for that lol; drives me insane every time… Digressing again

    I’m long winded, stagnant thread - I know… Thanks for reading/responding!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TitaniumV12 View Post
    Tires Maxxis Aspens 2.1s: Love'm for the trail speed, fair pretty well on rocks/roots if ~20-30psi. Awful noise/squishy feeling +15mph on road. Need something much more aggressive on the sides, hard center compound for road commutes to trails. ~24-28mph on these@~50psi felt sketchy on tacky country road, had to slow down lol!
    Glad my posts have been helpful! As for the Aspens, they are great XC tires. I don't know what I'd recommend for a 29" tire that is great on the road and on the trails. I've been riding one of my stock Aspen tubeless for more than a year, and definitely prefer it that way, but I'm not riding on roads at high speeds with it.
    2014 Horsethief, 2013 Karakoram, NB-AT3, 2006 Giant XtC

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