2008 GT Zum 2.0 - turn it into a tourer?

So besides 2 road bikes I've got a 2007 GT Zum 2.0 which I find very comfy to ride and fun, based on the fabled Zaskar MTB frame. I'd like to switch it from its current setup to a tourer with panniers, I think the gearing is okay for it.

The tyres are 26" and the sus fork is crap. But maybe a carbon fork and bigger wheels would get me there, curious to know what size of wheels I can throw on.

What do we think?

Here's how it is (example)
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ChrisEyles

Veteran
Location
Devon
No particular need to change wheel size. Get some slick-ish 26" tyres of your preferred width on and you'll be laughing.

If you swap out the sus fork for a carbon/ally rigid one, you can pick the axle-to-crown length to either keep the front end as it currently is, or lower it a tad, which might be good for more road oriented use.

Depending on the chain stay length, you may find you get a lot of heel clipping with panniers fitted - certainly the GT Avalanche I ride has really short chain stays compared to my tourer.
 
OP
M

MoneyForNothing

Regular
Thnx CE. Maybe a seat post pannier then, didn't factor in heel clip. Tyres are slick-ish. I was thinking of upping to 650, extra 20mm diameter but 10mm in radius, feel there's enough clearance. May throw out the geo though.
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
Poshshire
Im not a fan of seat post panniers. All sorts of handling issues bolting a free weight to a relatively flexible area of the bikes structure.

Chris is quite right to be wary of heel clipping, but with the right pannier and carrier set up that wont be a problem.

I can't see any advantages on going up a wheel size. In addition, the next size up is 27.5 and by the time you've put 1.75mor 2" slicks on them you then have the same outside diameter as 700c wheels with 28c tyres. That might fit, but id be less than confident that it will. In addition, depending non your height the increased standover may be difficult to reconcile with thw correct seat height, and the inceased trail measurement will slow what is already a less than flighty steering feel.

But fundamentally, theres no reason why it wouldnt make a decent tarmac and trail tourer.
 

Gravity Aided

Legendary Member
Location
Land of Lincoln
Good, fairly long and nearly horizontal seat stays, plenty of space between the rear wheel and seat tube. This looks like a good candidate. Are you planning to add drop bars? This can be done, it just takes some doing. Some distant places, like say, in The States, in rural areas, 26" tires may be all you can find. Makes a very versatile tourer for roads that may not always be up to scratch. Runs well on gravel and dirt.
 
OP
M

MoneyForNothing

Regular
Appreciate the insight. Sounds like a case of if it ain't broke...... It does motor along pretty good, mainly down to it's gearing, double rings on crank.

Didn't think about drop bars..,..

But the right panniers is my focus. May see if LBS has panniers they can trial place.
 

ChrisEyles

Veteran
Location
Devon
Bear in mind a drop bar conversion is a bit of a faff (I say this having just done one myself) - the brakes and front derailleur will likely all need swapping out. The extra reach on drop bars may well make the frame feel too long/big as well if it's currently about right.

If you lower & flip the stem and fit narrower flat bars with bar ends, you can still get a pretty efficient riding position, if that's what you're after.
 
OP
M

MoneyForNothing

Regular
Will do, planning stages right now as it's for Spring next year.

The brakes are mechanical disc Avid bb5, again they work great considering their age.

Will keep the flat bars to make life easy.

Chuffed it'll work and also look a little different to other tourers.

Found a good site for short throw (?) Panniers https://www.cyclingabout.com/rear-pannier-racks-for-short-chainstays-and-extra-heel-clearance/
 
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It's not what you are asking, but another option is a trailer, I'm specifically thinking of an Extrawheel.

Basically, it uses the same wheel size as the bike and uses a propriety quick release (or through axle). The idea is that the panniers go on the trailer (the newer models have mods I'm not familiar with).

It's great for off road and requires no mods to the bike itself (axle excepted). Yes, it's heavier and not cheap, but you can keep your fork and once you unhook it you have your original unmodified bike. No issues with heel strike and your bike should handle as before.

Good luck!
 

MichaelW2

Veteran
GT bikes have a decent Taiwanese factory frame and would make excellent tourers except for the signature triple triangle design. This is OK in L and XL sizes but in smaller sizes it forces the pannier mounts really low. Racks then need stays that are extra long and angle downwards so you loose triangulation. You get an extra stiff frame with an extra floppy rack mount.
You can make it work but use very beefy rack stays.
 
OP
M

MoneyForNothing

Regular
It's an XL, and being disc doesn't have eyelets. Quick search shows the axiom rack uses the axle to lock in to and has a heel attached to it that 'throws' the pannier behind the heel.

I remember towing my kids on their kangaroo bar connect bar from my bike to theirs, lifting the front wheel. Being touching distance to 50, I'd prefer a simpler and lighter life. Good idea though, how would they fare on a hill.
 

Gravity Aided

Legendary Member
Location
Land of Lincoln
GT bikes have a decent Taiwanese factory frame and would make excellent tourers except for the signature triple triangle design. This is OK in L and XL sizes but in smaller sizes it forces the pannier mounts really low. Racks then need stays that are extra long and angle downwards so you loose triangulation. You get an extra stiff frame with an extra floppy rack mount.
You can make it work but use very beefy rack stays.
I have to admit, I have never seen a GT MTB in any sizes but a medium. Or I would have one. I am currently panning a touring set-up for an old Panasonic MC (Mountain Cat) 2500. The frame fits me well for road, but off-road, it is too large. I recently got an old Schwinn Sierra for the MTB stuff. I seem to be stuck in the mid 1980's for my bicycles, although I have a 2012 Raleigh Sojourn for a tourer as well.
 
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