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GT Karakoram (1989-1990?)

Old 04-21-20, 01:09 AM
  #1  
Zestiquant
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GT Karakoram (1989-1990?)

Came across this GT karakoram not too far from me with a groovy purple/white paintjob and shimano lx groupo - all original parts. The paint looks like its in good condition and the owner says it's near rust free. Been looking for a beater as to avoid theft on campus and this looks like a pretty good candidate. What would an old GT like this go for nowadays?
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Old 04-21-20, 04:10 AM
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T-Mar
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The subject bicycle is a 1990 Karakoram. It was 5th in a product line of 9 ATB models and had an MSRP of $600 US. The paint scheme is called Purple Haze. The tubeset is Tange MTB and the component group is Shimano Deore LX. These were very rugged frames, though heavier than traditional designs. The Deore LX group was a good performer. It's a solid, well designed model, in the lower mid-range. Due to the more rigid triple triangle design, GT was able to mount the very powerful U-brake on the seat stays, instead of the typical location under the chain stays, resulting in easier maintenance, without any loss of braking efficiency.

It's appears to be in very good cosmetic condition, though it's hard to judge the drivetrain wear from the submitted photo. There appears to be lots of life left in the tyres, rim sidewall wear is also good for 30 years and the GT logo still hasn't worn off the saddle nose, so the drvetrain wear shouldn't be excessive. Still, it may require some consumables and an overhaul is always advisable on a 3 decade old bicycle, especially an ATB. Normally, I think this would be in the $125 to $150 US range for most markets.. However, given the current Covid-19 crisis, you might be able to pick it up for about $100.
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Old 04-21-20, 07:01 AM
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Very nice ride. I really wanted a Karakoram (or Avalanche) when I picked up my first mtb bike in the early 90's. It was early in my second career and I just didn't have the cash. I ended up buying a Tequesta..and still have/ride it. All original..everything works..fun bike. These days I'd love to pick up a Zaskar, if I find the right one..or a titanium Diamondback Axis.

In any event..if this one is priced right..it'll last you for life and will be a great ride. Today's bikes should have the paint jobs that GT put on their early mtb models, really miss seeing paint jobs that are cool, rather than the typical yawn colors/styles most mfgs use.


edit..and put some good street tires on it..pushing those lugs around campus will get old in short order...and don't leave it sit outside all the time like many students do..very sad ends to good bikes.

Last edited by fishboat; 04-21-20 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 04-21-20, 08:07 AM
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I bought the gray splatter version of the Karakoram new in 1989 and still own it. As usual, T-Mar is spot on with his numbers as I paid $600 for it which felt like all the money in the world back then. I thought the Karakoram was a little higher up the food chain than lower-mid range but maybe I'm just biased.

Nowadays these bikes are perfect for bombing around town and campus. Comfy, nimble enough and able to leap 6 inch curbs in a single bound! Plus much cooler looking than normal. I'd think mid-100s is a good deal for one as clean as the OP's photo.
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Old 04-21-20, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by plonz View Post
I bought the gray splatter version of the Karakoram new in 1989 and still own it. As usual, T-Mar is spot on with his numbers as I paid $600 for it which felt like all the money in the world back then. I thought the Karakoram was a little higher up the food chain than lower-mid range but maybe I'm just biased...
Bicycle level is subjective and therefore debatable. It's one of the reasons that I like to report MSRP and exact position in the line, when known. That gives it some objectivity. Regardless, there is a complicator for Karakorams from 1989-1991. For those years there were two Karakoram models, a lower, standard Karakoram and a higher Karakoram K2 (1989-1990) or higher Karakoram Elite (1991). If you kad the K2 or Elite version, I'd definitely classify it higher. BTW, welcome to the club. I had a 1988 Karakoram.
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Old 04-21-20, 06:06 PM
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Very strong bike.
I got one maybe 6 years ago and gave it to my son.
No bike had long life in his hands. But this one survived 5 years, and it was stolen from the campus.
I have a frame and fork, but small size. I never built it, but soon it will be the time.
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Old 04-21-20, 07:55 PM
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Very strong and built like a tank indeed... aside from the original Matrix wheels. I pretzeled both of those in the first year of single-tracking. Replaced with Mavics and they're still going strong.

It didin't take long for mountain bike technology and trails to exceed what the Karakoram could manage so mine was relegated to curb-hopping and the occasional "tractor pull"; A pallet harnessed to the seat stays that we progressively loaded with cinder blocks. Broke more than one bike with these shenanigans but the Karakoram still lives to tell the tale!

OP: With all this Karakoram nostalgia you've stirred up, you have to buy the bike!
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Old 04-21-20, 10:09 PM
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Nice find! I have a '91 in Inferno color. On the heavy side but it sure rides nice!
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Old 04-22-20, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by plonz View Post
OP: With all this Karakoram nostalgia you've stirred up, you have to buy the bike!
After reading everything you folks have to say about it, I think I might as well pick it up - seems like it fits the bill for what I'm looking for.

I'll be sure to post a few pics once I have it, hopefully its in as good a condition I think its in.
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Old 04-22-20, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The subject bicycle is a 1990 Karakoram. It was 5th in a product line of 9 ATB models and had an MSRP of $600 US. The paint scheme is called Purple Haze. The tubeset is Tange MTB and the component group is Shimano Deore LX. These were very rugged frames, though heavier than traditional designs. The Deore LX group was a good performer. It's a solid, well designed model, in the lower mid-range. Due to the more rigid triple triangle design, GT was able to mount the very powerful U-brake on the seat stays, instead of the typical location under the chain stays, resulting in easier maintenance, without any loss of braking efficiency.

It's appears to be in very good cosmetic condition, though it's hard to judge the drivetrain wear from the submitted photo. There appears to be lots of life left in the tyres, rim sidewall wear is also good for 30 years and the GT logo still hasn't worn off the saddle nose, so the drvetrain wear shouldn't be excessive. Still, it may require some consumables and an overhaul is always advisable on a 3 decade old bicycle, especially an ATB. Normally, I think this would be in the $125 to $150 US range for most markets.. However, given the current Covid-19 crisis, you might be able to pick it up for about $100.
Very much as said above, but there are a lot of these around. I picked this one up last summer at a yard sale for either $20 or $25 Canadian ($15 to $20 US) and a larger free purple GT Talera that I enjoy immensely.

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Old 06-23-20, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Zestiquant View Post
Came across this GT karakoram not too far from me with a groovy purple/white paintjob and shimano lx groupo - all original parts. The paint looks like its in good condition and the owner says it's near rust free. Been looking for a beater as to avoid theft on campus and this looks like a pretty good candidate. What would an old GT like this go for nowadays?
I had one just like this back in the day. the first bike I ever bought with my own money and was my ticket to freedom in high school. Became my weekend toy even after I started driving/working. I lost mine in a storage unit fire shortly after I got married and have never been able to find another one. If you end up getting this and ever want to sell it, I'll buy it.
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Old 06-23-20, 04:28 PM
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In the current market were nicer mid level hard frames have gone way up I would say $150 or so as is and $200 fixed up and ready to ride. This one looks to be in good shape except for the front wheel and tire which look a bit rough probably a good negotiating point to get $50 off on price.
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Old 06-25-20, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by plonz View Post
the occasional "tractor pull"; A pallet harnessed to the seat stays that we progressively loaded with cinder blocks. Broke more than one bike with these shenanigans !
!

LOL -- late 90's, very early '00s me and a guy I was training with for track would routinely affix a tow strap to the seatpost of our bikes and pull our trucks down the street with them
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