Back in July we were lucky enough to experience two exciting things. One, we visited Wales on a sunny day and two, the purpose of this visit was to check out the 2018 range of Saracen Bikes with the good people of Madison themselves. Meeting at Revolution Bike Park we were treated to a full day of uplifts aboard the bikes of our choice from the range, an appealing prospect to say the least!
Ariel LT and Ariel Elite
Top of our list was to swing a leg over the new Ariel, a bike with a re-designed suspension linkage for 2018 based on the brands downhill sled, the Myst. The new Ariel has evolved into a bike with a fervent, do anything attitude and a penchant for rougher terrain, it's safe to say we had a ball on this bike and can't wait to get one in for test.
For all the details on the new Ariel check out our first ride here. In brief, the 2018 version of the 165mm all mountain bike comes in two versions, the carbon Ariel LT for £5,000 and an alloy version (with carbon rear triangle) Ariel Elite for £3,300. Both bikes feature identical geometry just with different components specced on the two different frames.
Joining the already established ranks of the Kili-Flyer (Saracen's 130mm trail bike) will be an entry level model. It's got an aluminium frame and will cost £1,850. For sub 2K you get an X-Fusion 02 Pro RL shock, Rockshox Recon RL forks (130mm), a 1x10 setup using Shimano Deore mech and an 11-42T cassette. Shimano Deore brakes and 27.5" WTB i25 rims round out the budget package. There will also be a women's version of the carbon bike, where Saracen follow the route of identical geometry to the unisex version, with altered cock pit componentry for female riders.
The Kili-Flyer Elite will be specced with a Fox Float DPS Performance shock, Fox 34 Float Performance forks also with 130mm of travel, a 1x11 Shimano SLX drivetrain, Kore Realm rims and Maxxis Forekaster tyres. We hopped on the Kili-Flyer for a couple of runs at Revo Bike Park, a place perhaps not so well suited to this 130mm bike. With not enough time to get properly set up on this bike, it's not fair of us to give any word on how the bike rides but we will endeavour to get a proper review sorted soon!
New E-Bike the Zen E
2017 saw Saracen introduce its first plus wheeled bike, the Zen+, for 2018 this bike gains a motor and will be renamed the Zen E. The 27.5", plus tyred machine will use the Shimano STEPS E8000 motor where there will be three levels of assistance on offer, Eco, Trail or Boost. The bike will keep it's 130mm Rockshox Recon RL forks, Shimano SLX drivetrain, Maxxis 2.6" Forekaster tyres and will also be specced with a dropper post.
The Myst Team and Myst Pro are bikes that have benefitted hugely from the input of pro riders of the Saracen team. Available in 2018 will be the Myst Team with a pro-level factory build, its a race bike and makes no bones about it. The Myst Team will set you back £5,700 but for that you'll get a Fox Van RC Performance shock, Fox 40 Factory forks and all the Shimano Zee gear you could wish for!
The Myst Pro, Saracen say, is built as a killer privateer race bike, specced with a Fox DHX2 Factory shock, Rockshox Boxxer RC's and Saint components. With geometry figures showing a healthy 63 degrees head angle, a medium reach number of 445mm and chainstays at 437mm, we'd say this looks to be a proper shredder, if the squeals of delight from other journo's a Revo were anything to go by, we might be right. You can buy the Pro for £3,700 and get after that podium!
New Caborn Zenith
In addition to the alloy model, you will also be able to get hold of the Zenith in carbon this year. The 29er hardtail from Saracen gets even lighter with this carbon frame, 120mm of travel alongside a 68 degree head angle blurring the line between XC racer and aggressive trail bike. The Zenith Carbon comes Di2 ready, is specced with a dropper post and will cost £2,400.
Prototype Saracen Traverse
Saracen also had on show a 29er prototye called the Traverse. At the moment this bike sports 100mm of travel with options to run 100mm or 120mm forks. We're hoping this is a start to a new line of Saracen 29ers but they were tight lipped about that......
For more detail on these bikes, plus the rest of the Saracen range go to www.saracen.co.uk