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  1. #1
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    GT Zaskar?--Help Needed

    Hey everyone this is my first post on here and was wondering if I would be able to find some guidance/help from some people with more experience with older bikes.

    I just recently moved from Charlotte where I used to mountain bike all the time. I have a Trek X-Caliber 9 which is a great bike but since I moved to Charleston, I decided to leave it back in Charlotte with my parents.

    So then began a search of some bikes for me and my wife to beat the streets of historic Charleston. That's when I came across this classic GT:


    So I have been doing a lot of digging trying to figure out what year and model GT this is. Based off of the serial number:09935997 I believe its a 1993, and based off of other forums and Bike Book I think its a Ball Burnished GT Zaskar.

    At first glance, the bike looks pretty beat up, but it's actually not that bad. The Good: After a good clean I have been able to discover that the derailleurs are in good working condition, spokes/ wheels are good, crank is intact, aluminum frame is solid.
    The Bad: The fork is seized, cantilever brakes need new cables and pads, aluminum frame needs some type of refinishing.

    My original idea was just to replace some parts and just ride it out. But the more research I do the more I want to actually work on it and make it a decent/good mountain bike as a back up for my Trek or a guest bike.

    Here are some things I need help with:

    1. Does anyone have any idea what model bike this is or another good place to check and or run the serial number to get something?

    2. I am looking into replacing the current RST 381L Elastomer fork to a low end Suntour fork I found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K2PFMI8...v_ov_lig_dp_it
    what are your thoughts on this? Is the RST 381L worth rebuilding? The fork is pretty seized up/gunked up.

    3. If I upgrade the fork I think I need to upgrade to V-Brakes. This is new to me, what are some good/fair priced V brake options and would I be able to use the brake levers that are on the bike already? They are Shimano Deore LX:
    What are some other things I would need for this upgrade? Provide links if possible

    4. I would really like to refinish the frame. I have looked up ways on how to refinish ball burnished frames and have come up with a few ways that seem to work.
    a. AutoSol Aluminum
    b. Mothers Aluminum Polish
    Any other methods or things I should avoid??

    5. Does anyone know where I can find some original GT stickers?

    Let me know y'alls thoughts and or if y'all have any more ideas about bringing this bike to life
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails GT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1582.jpg  

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    GT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1574.jpg  

    GT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1560.jpg  

    GT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1554.jpg  


  2. #2
    No good in rock gardens..
    Reputation: Sideknob's Avatar
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    I just typed a long reply and lost the lot due to a browser issue....

    1. Does the top tube have a flat end cap? IIRC Zaskars had a flat end cap and lower spec alloy frames had a curved cap.

    2. The fork you linked is a disc brake only fork and has no brake posts for cantilevers. You need this one:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...d_i=6389385011


    Note that this has no cable stop for centre pull brakes and you'd need to add one, like this:

    https://www.amazon.com/Problem-Solve...s=brake+hanger

    I would not bother working on the RST, they were crap even in their heyday.

    3. All told I would just upgrade to V-brakes and you will need long pull v-brake levers to make those work. But your braking will be much better.

    https://www.amazon.com/SHIMANO-BR-T4...kes&th=1&psc=1

    https://www.amazon.com/Avid-Bicycle-...=v+brake+lever

    4. The frame will have a clear coat to stop the aluminium oxidising. If you strip this off, prepare for a lifetime of repolishing the frame to keep it shiny. Especially where sweat or mud gets on it!

    As to what else you upgrade or replace, it depends what's worn. A good set of modern 2.2" tyres will be a big improvement, for starters.

    I hope this helps!
    Less isn't MOAR

  3. #3
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    @sideknob

    Thanks for the reply, this helps out alot!!

    1. not sure about the top tube end cap, it look like one of the previous owners installed a bike mount onto the top tube using an end cap replacement.
    GT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1575.jpgClick image for larger version. 

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    2-3. The brake levers I have on it now are a brake and shifter combo. So I'm kind of new to bike repair and would like to stay away from shifter work. Everytime I have worked on my shifters I just end up making things worse. So maybe it's the resources I'm using haha. Any recommendations on videos on installing/adjusting shifters? Do you think I could get by just using the brake levers I have? I guess I don't really understand why you need different levers between cantilever and V brake.

    4. Ah yes, I have read about that as well and am glad you confirmed my worry. Have you used any of those aluminum polishes that I mentioned? Or know of any other good polishes that would work?

  4. #4
    No good in rock gardens..
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    The cap I'm referring to is a welded on frame component - on a Zaskar of that age it should be flat and have GT stamped into it.

    Not a curved end cap with GT stamped on it.

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    The integrated shifters do complicate matters a bit.

    It really depends how much you want to spend on the project.

    I am guessing it's an 8 speed rear?

    You can get shifters but they will be lower level Acera ones like this:

    https://www.amazon.com/Shimano-Acera...a+shift+levers

    V-brake levers pull more cable than centre pull cantilevers to make the brakes work properly.
    Less isn't MOAR

  5. #5
    Sneaker man
    Reputation: mik_git's Avatar
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    The finish on zaskar's is the ball burninshing, there is no clear coat, any auto polish will bring back the shine...however it will also do stuff to the ball burninshing - apparently - but silver polish won't. So I hear, never tried it myself.

    All things point to being a 1993 Zaskar (as Sidenob said, should have the flat cap on the top tube end - search flat cap on zaskar, or how to id a zaskar on the googles), the serial number, its location, it shouldn't be anything else ("shouldn't").
    Decals can usually be gotten from ebay, or try retrodecals on facebook.
    It also looks like either someone bought as a frame and built up as is...but unlikely as most of the parts are low end, who'd do that. More likely someone has owned it for a while, then stripped all the parts and built it up with the bits they had lying around to sell on.
    for Brakes, just buy a set of speed dials and single digits, simple, easy and they work well.

    Oh and take a picture of the whole bike with the driveside out, this is like trying to I'd a car when the only pictures are of the hubcap and the tail light and fuel cap.
    All the gear and no idea.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mik_git View Post
    All things point to being a 1993 Zaskar (as Sidenob said, should have the flat cap on the top tube end - search flat cap on zaskar, or how to id a zaskar on the googles), the serial number, its location, it shouldn't be anything else ("shouldn't").
    Sorry about the pictures, total noob over here haha. Here are some updates:
    GT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1588.jpgGT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1589.jpgGT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1590.jpgGT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1591.jpgGT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1592.jpgGT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1593.jpgGT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1594.jpgGT Zaskar?--Help Needed-img_1595.jpg

    So the cap is curved.. not sure if this eliminates it from it being a Zaskar. So what I know:
    Serial number on drop down facing inward: 09935997 (Non derailleur side)
    On drop down facing outward there is code: 14 5 (Non derailleur side)
    On drop down facing inward there is 6061 stamp on the derailleur side.

    So I am trying to not make this build to much of an investment. I picked it up for $50. So what I'm thinking now is to just buy the fork and center pull as sideknob suggested.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...d_i=6389385011

    https://www.amazon.com/Problem-Solve...s=brake+hanger

    This way all I need to do is change out the pads and brake lines. I would like to change out the cantilevers as well but I can't seem to find a reasonably priced pair?

    Thoughts on all that?

    Any suggestions on tires or brake pads?

  7. #7
    Sneaker man
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    yeah there's a list of rules for iding Zaskar's, problem is, for every rule there is always a bike turning up the defies the rules.
    I'd say it is a Zaskar, but since it's an x-small, 14.5inch frame that flat cap deosn't apply (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't), also while the cap doesn't look flat like it's supposed to, it also doesnt look rounded like the other frmaes, jsut kinda bowed.
    All the gear and no idea.

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