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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:55 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:08 am
Posts: 6840
Location: Nth Somerset, UK
It was only after I took my Zaskar around my test track yesterday and then searched my posts for the build thread that I realised there wasn't one. :oops:

So, here is the bike that started it all for me.

Back in the late 80's I bought the first bike I had owned since I was 16. It was a s/h Saracen. After that came a new Dawes New Wave, then a Llyang AL550 frameset and then this Zaskar in 1994. I would have loved to have bought a CATS WISKAS or DONKIS NOB or DOGS BOLX, but they were just too far out of reach, and despite living just outside and working in Bristol I am sorry to say I knew nothing of Overbury's, so the Zaskar it was and a frame supplied by the GT specialist dealer at the bottom of Park Street, later to become a Specialized concept store and recently closed.

The idea (even back then) was a British build, and so it was that my LBS was asked to open accounts with the likes of X-Lite and Hope, although the Middleburn RS3 cranks came from elsewhere.

I haven't a spec sheet yet, but the build goes something like:

Frame, 1994 Zaskar LE
Forks: Shocktech carbon, later replaced with Marzocchi XC700's
Wheels; Mavic 230 rims laces to Hope hubs in blue. The front hub was replaced last year after the original developed the cracks that we are all so familiar with.

BB: Hope titanium
Cranks: Middleburn RS3 with Shimano chainrings
Pedals: Time ATAC, which were released around that time, although I seem to recall DX pedals and toe clips at one point.
F&R Mech: Shimano XT
Cassette: Sachs 8 speed freewheel. 12-28

Seatpost: X-Lite.
Saddle: Viscount titanium. This was a replacement for the original saddle which was destroyed when the bike rack came off the back of my car. :facepalm:

Brake: Shimano XT V-brakes, but these must have superseded something, as they didn't come out until 96 ish. Original build may well have bee Magura's.

Stem: I-Beam
Bars: X-Lite titanium
Brake levers: Avid
Shifters: Grip Shift
Grips: Grip Shift
Bar Ends: X-Lite

Tyres: all sorts over the years, Smoke / Dart combo for a loooong time, currently Smoke front and Specialized Cannibal rear.

It has always been a wonderful bike to ride, always a sharp steering stiff arsed nutter b'stard of a bike and after riding a whole host of British steel exotica my only complaint is that the seat was too low and the gearing is too high. As both of those are easy to fix, I'd say the ol'bugger has stood the test of time.

Here's what I said in another thread about yesterday ride:

Having tested all my British Steel mtb's on my little 10 mile test track, I thought it was about time I did the same thing with the bike that started this whole thing for me, my 94 Zaskar.

As it's not been ridden for a while I gave it a quick once over just to make sure all was well and as I did so the rain started! Once the deluge had reduced to just pouring I set off.

Obviously this is a very familiar bike to me, so I had to try and judge it in with fresh eyes (and legs) and the first thing my legs told me was that the seat was too low. Tool kit always to hand, an additional inch was soon added (fnar fnar), and all was well.

Into the woods and onto the gravel path and the first thing to notice is just how precisely the bike steers, it's a joy and really carves through the bends. The next thing I noticed was not so good, and this was the gearing on the bottom ring, it is too long. I give my younger self credit for being able to haul himself all over the Mendips with such long gearing.

Anyway, I got through the switchbacks fine and then it was onto the long rocky climb. Two months of dry weather followed by fresh rain.... I could not have made things more slippery if I had coated the tyres in axle grease. That and the long gearing made the climb a bit more of a chore than it normally is, but as this is a (n off) road test, it all has to just be accepted, and what was becoming clear is that the Zaskar is as stiff as....keep it clean.... a very stiff thing that has had extra stiffening added. This was shown further when I was going down the banzai road hill home and I found man hole covers popping the rear wheel into the air.

I'll spare you the rest of the ride, as I cut out some of the rocky singletrack sections, but I will say the Zaskar did not disappoint, in any respect.

Once home and after a good clean and an inspection, I found that the granny chainring has 26 teeth on it, which is a fair bit longer than my other 3 chainring bikes, so I think a replacement will be fitted shortly and the same test run again.

How does the Zaskar compare with my other machinery? The main difference is the total lack of any give or compliance in the frame. This makes for very precise steering and a really sure footed ride on anything but rocky rooty surfaces. Trouble is, most of my local woods ride is... rocky and rooty.

Still love this bike though.

Image

Image

Last year, after my first time on the Mendips in nearly ten years.

Image

Image


Last edited by NeilM on Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:57 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
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Location: 54 Festive Road Winchcombe GLOUCS Yarp...
You ride it then? :lol:

If you could only keep one, which would it be?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:11 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:08 am
Posts: 6840
Location: Nth Somerset, UK
Of course I ride it, you cheeky s*d!

I could never be persuaded to part with the Zaskar, I've had it too long and like it too much.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:14 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
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Location: 54 Festive Road Winchcombe GLOUCS Yarp...
NeilM wrote:
Of course I ride it, you cheeky s*d!

I could never be persuaded to part with the Zaskar, I've had it too long and like it too much.


So the others would go?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:23 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:08 am
Posts: 6840
Location: Nth Somerset, UK
The History Man wrote:
So the others would go?

Where are you going with this?

This is a write up about my 94 Zaskar, not an edition of "In the psychiatrists chair".


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:33 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:44 pm
Posts: 1934
Location: wirral
I have just gotten my hands on a 94 stamped Zaskar le frame (in aqua blue)
Am glad to hear its a cracking frame still even compared to your other bikes.
I was trying a few parts on mine earlier,I can't wait!!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:44 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
Posts: 16926
Location: 54 Festive Road Winchcombe GLOUCS Yarp...
NeilM wrote:
The History Man wrote:
So the others would go?

Where are you going with this?

This is a write up about my 94 Zaskar, not an edition of "In the psychiatrists chair".


Tell me about your childhood.

Was only interested. Sorry for asking. Was wondering how it fitted into the stable. I'm going then. :(


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:05 pm 
Dirt Disciple
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:41 pm
Posts: 50
Location: Bristol
NeilM wrote:
Of course I ride it, you cheeky s*d!

I could never be persuaded to part with the Zaskar, I've had it too long and like it too much.


Dad said to me that he'd give me this bike over his dead body. It's my absolute favourite of all his bikes. Dad having one bike is like me having one pair of shoes. Never going to happen, but you still have your favourites... Just like mum and her children/horses/not me and dad.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:49 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:09 am
Posts: 9399
Location: Devon
Love the period stickers like the hope.

Didn't enjoy the zaskar experience personally but think I'm in a very small minority.

Wish I had my 1997 gt backwoods though...


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:56 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:32 am
Posts: 1594
Location: Worcestershire / West Midlands
NeilM wrote:
Of course I ride it, you cheeky s*d!

I could never be persuaded to part with the Zaskar, I've had it too long and like it too much.


Feel exactly the same about mine. I know that opinion seems divided on here but personally I've always loved the ride and feel and find it a fantastic frame. Love the build you've put together and that you've kept the original stickers, despite the wear - again, same as I swent for with mine; find it means that the old beast keeps it's character.

Lovely bike, nice write up. Cheers. :)


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