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GT Karakoram

Old 02-13-10, 08:59 AM
  #1  
Tentacle Master
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GT Karakoram

Yes sorry there's no pics but I dont like to clutter the page if i dont have too. So..

I got a vintage GT Karakoram. Deore DX components featuring old style thumb shifters.

If you have ever seen that fake granite spray paint at home depot or Lowes. this frame looks like what its been painted with. its covered in black, white, and grey speckles. The stem is also painted this way, (which btw is a cool thing i like about some vintage bikes). The decals feature the word "karakoram" in a radical font, white outline, transparent fill. Ive taken off its wheels and have them mixed in with about 40 others but I can always find them again because its like they're anodized with a light transparent teal color. bizarre.

I am kind of doing this spur of the moment with out the bike in front of me but I don'y usually have internet at my shop which is where its at.

I've read a great deal about this bike, and other vintage gts in the archives, and I was wondering if someone could ID the year for me based on my description. Yes a value would be nice too.

Thanks
TM
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Old 02-13-10, 10:55 AM
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That sounds like a 1988. I competed on one for three years, then rode it an additional two as my winter bicycle. It's was a very good, mid-range ATB for the era, though heavy (bombproof might be more apt). Geometry is quite aggressive for the era, but while it's agile, it is not squirrelly. It's very stiff, so careful regulation of tire pressure is required. Too high and you'll loosen any teeth fillings. Too low and you've got a pinch flat.

Deore DX was very good, only one step below top of the line. The rear U-brake is incredibly powerful, but unlike other manufacturer's of the era, GT mounted it on the seat stays and not the under chain stays, so it does not pack up with mud like most U-brakes. The major concern is that it is from the UniGlide era and utilizes a threaded small cog. Replacements are quite hard to come by. You just may want to replace thecassette and body with HyperGlide to alleviate cog replacement problems. Plus the shifting will be vastly improved.

I made a few changes. The bars were narrowed and I added bar end extensions, SPDs and a Cinelli Unicanitor saddle. It's not the most expensive or best ATB i've owned, but it is my sentimental favourite. Original price $550.
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Old 02-17-10, 06:15 AM
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GT made good bikes. And because they are so different than the herd of other MTBs from that era, there are people who specifically look for them.

I have a few (both lower level ones than yours) and like them immensely. A lowly Outpost is my dedicated Winter bike; it is a tank. And I have a Tequesta in mothballs that I just have not figured out what to do with yet but it seems like a very nice bike for its type. Make of this what you will, but I have never, ever ridden a bike that is easier to pop and sustain a wheelie on. Yee Haw!

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Old 02-17-10, 03:26 PM
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I have 2 Karakorams ('87 that I bought new + a '95 or so) along with a few other GTs (a '95 or so Zaskar, a '99 or so Aggressor & a '00 or so Avalanche). The '87 was about $700 as an year end close-out or something in late '87. It's a tank, it's been through everything and it just keeps going. I've replaced the chainrings with round ones, but otherwise the Deore stuff is as tough as the rest of the bike. My guess is that it has much less value to the rest of the world than it has to me sentimentally. Mine is red with (long since chipped off) yellow/blue/red lettering. Over the years I kept looking at new MTBs and kept leaving the stores with nothing because the only thing the new bikes seemed to offer was shock forks. This one has semi-horizontal rear dropouts and a 1" steerer tube....and if I recall the rear spacing was maybe 126mm?

For some market perspective (maybe), my other Karakoram was $65 from CL 2 years ago in perfectly good shape (with a Rock Shox Indy fork & Deore LX) other than the frame being spray painted metallic gunmetal...which is fine for a bike like that imho.

I forget what the '87 weighs (about 28lbs, I think), but the newer Karakoram weighs in at 25lb.

The Karakoram probably isn't much of a "mountain bike" by any of today's standards, but it's an interesting bike and it makes a helluva urban machine. The problem value-wise is that to the average person looking for a bike like that, there's nothing much to recommend the GT over the plethora of other $50-75 "old school" MTBs that are on CL at any given time. In fact, if anything, the more recent GT offerings would only dillute any sense of value or 'history' in the brand, I would think. And, I would guess if you don't "get" the whole period cool thing about the crackle paint (which was the other paint offering...maybe a few bucks more list price...I liked red...go figure) and "radical" lettering, you may be turned off by the very '80s aesthetics.

Having said all that, one thing to consider is that on that Karakoram you have a very nice drivetrain to build up a solid touring bike & the shifters would probably sell on Ebay for more than the whole bike may sell for on Craigslist. That's sad stuff to say, though.
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Old 02-17-10, 04:19 PM
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OK so I dug it out and heres some more details...

It has LX not DX, that was a different bike I have aparently

It has Shimano Bio Space (ovalized) chainrings

The BB Shell has "T8809" on the left and "KK" above "1642" on the right

It also features an in-the-tube rear brake cable.
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