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  1. #1
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    Deciding on Helion or Zaskar 100

    I'm looking for input and I'm considering two GT full suspension bikes for XC racing next year and which are the Zaskar 100 and the Helion in the Elite versions.

    If anybody has any experience riding and/or maintaining either one of these bikes, I'd like to read about your experiences.

    I like the Zaskar 100 based on it's current pricing with the parts. Also, because I've been racing on a Sensor 9r for my XC races. Performance Bicycles is bringing a Helion to the Seattle store so I can demo one but I've never truly test ridden one but I like the brand and the fact Goldtec makes replacement parts.
    Last edited by yfrnaks; 10-28-2014 at 12:51 PM.

  2. #2
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    I've just gotten a Helion to replace a Zaskar 100 that was stolen. It rides very similar to the Zaskar 100, so far I love it. Geo is similar. I'm not used to the uber-wide bars though. I actually got mine at the Performance in Seattle. Are you thinking Zaskar 100 9r or 26?
    One thing I'll throw in is that I had a Sensor (26) and loved the way maintenance on the pivots were so simple. In my opinion, one of the coolest aspects of the 1st gen Sensor is that it was designed with home mechanics in mind. Pivot bearing were easy to find and you do it yourself with a a set of allen keys. Now that's good engineering.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. How was the Zaskar 100 on the climbs? I read that the bike weighs ballpark 25-27 lbs.

  4. #4
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    The build I put together came in around 26lbs. That was using older XTR cranks, newer Crossmax ST wheels, x9 drivetrain, and various random carbon bits. The bike climbed very fast, of course I was coming from riding a Force carbon which did not have as nearly a climb friendly geometry. It seemed zippier than my 1st gen Sensor. It should be noted that my Zaskar 100 was a 26".
    I have not had a chance to ride the Helion at Grand Ridge or Tiger yet, so I can't compare. So far my only ride was at Black Diamond.

  5. #5
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    I had the Zaskar before and I have a 2014 Carbon Sensor. I love the new platform much better. Better stand over height, stiffer including stiffer wheels. I like the geo on the Helion better too.

  6. #6
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    I wanted to note, that now that I've got some trail time on the Helion; I noticed some traits in relations to my Zaskar 100 (26"). The geometry numbers are very similar between the two bikes, but the larger wheels and AOS suspension create some differences.
    The AOS system does feel much plush and better responding....I was doubtful at first (I loved the ID design), but after a few rides that's my conclusion. I'm guessing its because the pivot location is higher. Also, for those who worry about the BB moving around might seem strange....I never even noticed. The suspension was really noticable on the techy climbs, which has always been the strength of the floating bottom bracket concept. The AOS is a definite improvement over the ID in that aspect.

    The Helion is not as zippy as the Zaskar 100. Even though the wheel size is only around 1" larger in diameter (yes, it's not actually 27.5"....more like 27" regardless of the naming convention. 650b is a more accurate name). I noticed it took more lean to make the same turn at the same speed.
    The crazy wide 780mm handlebars didn't help. Felt like I was using a semi-tractor trailer's large steering wheels. Guess I'm just an old school XC kind of rider...I like nimble. Still they were confidence inspiring, but for my narrow shoulders they were too much.

    Conclusion: This the bike I was looking for. The geo is XC-ish. The bike is light. However it's not XC Race focused...just as GT advertised. And really what I was looking for. When my 2010 Sensor (26") was stolen I didn't think I'd find a replacement. This bike is truly the derivative of that first year Sensor:
    The TT is longer: 606mm vs 590mm
    but the WB is the same: 1089mm vs 1090mm
    weight is nearly identical (I upgraded my Sensor - so there's room for this to come out even lighter), 26.5lbs vs 26.75lbs
    travel is almost the same - with the larger wheels that makes them pretty comparable, 110mm vs 120mm
    and the HA is also the same. 69.5

    Two thumbs up.

  7. #7
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    Thanks to Bernie4x4 for riding out to the trail with me where I got to ride his Helion while he rode my 96' RTS-3 for a bit and having experience with riding or owning most of GT's full suspension platforms with the exception of the Lobos, I felt almost at home with the Helion but I just wasn't keen on the 780 mm wide handlebar but I ride as 'narrow' as a 540.

    Climbing is pretty effortless and ride compliance is fantastic. My all time favorite bike I still ride and even race with is my 96' LTS-1 with just rim brakes. Performance Bicycles in Seattle is setting me up to demo an aluminum Helion Elite and after riding both bikes, I can easily say, this Helion could be my favorite all around'er. The 27.5 Sensor being the alternate option.

  8. #8
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    I had a Carbon Zaskar 9R 100 and loved it. I then switched over to a Xizang and realized, I missed the full suspension. Took a year off from 'racing' and decided to get a 2014 Force. I LOVE the AOS! That bike kills it!

    I finally decided I want to hit a few XC races again this coming season and settled on a Helion Comp... I've done a few modifications to it.

    Deciding on Helion or Zaskar 100-helion_2015.jpg

    SRAM X01 Drivetrain
    Lefty XLR 110mm
    I9 Trail Wheelset
    XT Brakes

    I think she's 'race ready'...
    Live
    Love

    SPIN

  9. #9
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    Interesting bike...i see you mounted a lefty fork on there. It might just be the photo but it looks like the front end is raised up compared to the stock setup. How's the bike working out for you so far? I've been riding mine for several months now, and it's great. The type of bike I've been looking for. My only gripe is that I've procrastinated in cutting the bars down. They're just too wide. I've been knocking into trees few times.
    For the trails I ride, the AOS suspension works like a charm. The high pivot and big wheels inspires confidence in clearing rocks and roots. I still feel the big wheels require more body English to allow for fast cornering...compared to a 26r

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