GT Karakoram 3.0 Road Test Review

The GT Karakoram 3.0 is an impressive mix of street cruiser and off-road bike.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

As bicycles become ever more specified, with designs diverging widely between street cruisers, off-road machines and multi-geared beasts built for speed, it can be difficult to find an affordable ride that best combines all of those features.

This reviewer is always looking for a mix of street bike that can also go off-road or face the knobby sidewalks and broken pavement of Los Angeles riding. Enter the GT Karakoram 3.0. With its mix of heavy duty suspension and smooth gear shifting, the GT Karakoram 3.0 can confidently handle any terrain chucked its way.

Both systems fit into the GT Karakoram 3.0’s trademarked Triple Triangle frame. According to the folks behind the bike, the triple structure was developed “to extend the frame life, stiffen the rear triangle and create a faster, more responsive ride.”

A lot of that will appeal to hardcore riders and bike enthusiasts. But, to the casual rider looking for an easy, effective and enjoyable ride, the GT Karakoram 3.0 offers up three key features. First, there’s that front shock suspension with its pressurized fork mountings. The beefy absorbers can chew up anything that front tire hits on the street with relative ease.

Second, the smooth shifters are Shimano Alivio Rapid Fire. You won’t find smoother gear changing on any bike thanks to the Shimano trigger-fast up and down shifters.

Finally, the tire choice completes the package. The  GT Karakoram 3.0 comes equipped with eight mile wide Maxxis Aspen 29 X 2.10" rubber – serving up a maximum contact patch for ultimate grip on dirt or pavement.

The only major flaw I found on the GT Karakoram 3.0 Hydro regardless of riding conditions was the seat design. Whether I was cruising on hot, loud LA street or free riding down the well-worn trails of Fryman Canyon, I struggled to find a comfortable seating position.

Like many modern bike seat designs, the GT Karakoram 3.0 Hydro’s seat is ergonomically configured to fit a rider’s Ischium. Those are the bulbous bone contours at the base of the pelvis. In orthopedic terms, that’s the bottom of your bottom.

I’m not sure that’s the best plan for a bicycle like the GT Karakoram 3.0 Hydro.

As planned, the seat should fit the Ischium perfectly and give your spine a convenient base for either street riding or off-roading. The problem this rider couldn’t find that base. on my first ride, it felt like I had a poker up my posterior. While there are some enclaves of Los Angeles were that sort of thing is encouraged on a grand scale. all I wanted was a bike ride.

I adjusted it up and down while struggling to find somewhere to hang by battered man tackle. I tried different angles, which helped only slightly. In fact, the only time the seat became livable was once my buttocks and groin were so numbed out with pain I couldn’t feel much anymore.

Obviously, as Samuel Johnson wrote, no two arses are the same. So, one man’s torture device could be another man’s easy chair. Buyer – or buyer’s bum – beware. I can only speak of my own can.

Retailing between $600 and $750, the GT Karakoram 3.0 Hydro excels in every other category. If a prospective buyer is concerned over the seat issue and experiences the same problem, he or she swap out for a larger or otherwise more comfortable unit from any one of several manufacturers. Don’t give up on this great bike over a sore backside.