1996 GT Zaskar LE- how would you build it?

Stump_Jumper

Dirt Disciple
Good evening all.

I thought I would open up a discussion about my latest acquisition, a 16 inch 96 Zaskar LE. It’s LE by name, but certainly not by spec!

The bike in question is a March ‘96 built frame. It was a bit of an impulse purchase, and it arrived today.

i wasn’t expecting a mint bike by any means, as it wasn’t a lot of money. First impressions:

Frame- a little scruffy, scuffed decals, straight, no cracks, a few minor scrapes and small dent on a lower seat stay. Drop outs are in good shape, And there is no visible chain suck.

Forks- Answer Manitou Comp forks, serviced with new elastomers. In good shape and function nicely. No pitting or scrapes on a the stanchions.

Wheels/Tyres- Mavic 230 SBP rims, DT Swiss spokes, laced to LX hubs. Well used but have a few more miles in them yet!

Tyres are Panaracer Fire XC Pro in new condition.

Brakes-cheapy anodised canti’s with cheapy Shimano leavers.

Groupset- A mixed bag- M737 rear mech, M739 front DR, LX 8 speed shifters, LX crank arms and some mixed rings. Pace outer and knackered middle.

Seat post is a Use suspension post
Kore Stem
Bontrager Titec bars
Aheadset.

Now to the question at hand-how would you approach this build? Cut my losses and move it on and find something tidier, or build up a slightly scruffy but well specced rider?

My initial thoughts are to build it up by sourcing a scruffy but perfectly useable 1996/1997 era XTR M900/950 or XT M737/739 Groupset including brakes (V’s or Canti’s?), A nice post, stem and bars and some tan wall Smoke/dart re issues, with a Flight saddle.

I’m not a huge fan of the yellow/blue scheme going on, so it has crossed my mind to put some circa ‘94 decals on it, with black outer cables etc.

I’m happy to spend a few hundred on it if I end up with a nice and light well specced fun bike, so ball park £ for the groupsets would be well received.

Are there any components currently on it that you would keep?

Your thoughts and guidance is appreciated, as I’ve been out of the loop for a couple of decades!

Cheeers, Paul.

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Jimmy oldskool

Retro Guru
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Nice!!! 😍

I looked at that myself to sit alongside my frosted red Zaskar, but the little dent put me off...

I'd do exactly as you suggested...Build it up with used/ scruffy high end parts and have a really nice quality, patinated high end mid 90's hardtail...There's not much out there for the money that'll ride better than a Zaskar fella...👌
 

Stump_Jumper

Dirt Disciple
Nice!!! 😍

I looked at that myself to sit alongside my frosted red Zaskar, but the little dent put me off...

I'd do exactly as you suggested...Build it up with used/ scruffy high end parts and have a really nice quality, patinated high end mid 90's hardtail...There's not much out there for the money that'll ride better than a Zaskar fella...👌
Thanks for the reply Jimmy. The dent isn’t as bad as it looks in the photos, it’s not ideal but I’ve got it now, so I’ll live with it!

Are there any bits on the bike that you’d retain? I think the first purchase should be an upgraded groupset, but I’m still deciding what to go for? This is where I could use some guidance!

Once that’s fitted, I’ll get it riding and upgrade the other bits as and when I think.
 

Mikey08

Kona Fan
Nice bike. I would leave that pretty much as-is and focus on tidying it up. Polish frame and apply new decals, get a nice Flite for it. Job done.

Optional extra would be change forks for yellow Judy SL's, add a few subtle touches of blue anno like chainring bolts and seat clamp :cool:
 

Stump_Jumper

Dirt Disciple
Nice bike. I would leave that pretty much as-is and focus on tidying it up. Polish frame and apply new decals, get a nice Flite for it. Job done.

Optional extra would be change forks for yellow Judy SL's, add a few subtle touches of blue anno like chainring bolts and seat clamp :cool:
Thanks Mikey, I’m sure it will be nice when I’ve finished. I’m no stranger to retro bikes. Have rebuilt/restored many high end 80s freestyle BMX’s over the years. But my MTB knowledge needs brushing up on!

R the groupset:

For an 8 speed set up, as it is currently, do I need a long cage or short cage rear mech?

also, what diameter front DR does the 96 Zaskar use?

From research I think I need a 73mm BB shell and a 107 mm spindle, unless anyone knows any different?

do the XT/XTR BB’s usually Come with the axle, or is it a case of me buying a BB then sourcing the correct sized axle.

Thanks, and apologies for the newbie questions!
 

vtwinvince

Old School Hero
Love that frame, had one way back when. I'd throw some XTR M950 at it, but I'm kind of digging that early Manitou.
 

Stump_Jumper

Dirt Disciple
Love that frame, had one way back when. I'd throw some XTR M950 at it, but I'm kind of digging that early Manitou.
I am swaying towards M950! The forks are in great shape, and I quite like the look of them, so will probably keep them for now. Am I right I’m thinking they are circa ‘95?
 

vtwinvince

Old School Hero
Yup, fork date is about right. I have one on my ExPresso and the quality of the machining on those is superb. I also had Rev-X wheels on my Zaskar, which really looked cool with the M950.
 

Lhatch4

Retro Guru
I would put a Z2 Bomber on it, XTR shifters/derailleurs, Flite seat and try to track down blue anodized brakes, stem, handlebar, seatpost etc.
 
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