The New Saracen Ariel Is A Beefcake! Plus 2018 Range Highlights

by
September 11, 2017

A couple of months ago, the crew from Saracen sent through an invitation for us to come join them down at Revolution Bike Park in North Wales. Word on the street was that we’d be seeing the brand new long-travel Ariel, along with a few other secrets that Saracen had tucked up its sleeve.

Arriving at Revolution Bike Park on a stunning sunny summer’s day (it was my first time at Revs, and I was promptly informed that the this weather was not to be expected), we were greeted by an impressive setup from the the Madison Saracen World Cup downhill team, who were settling in for a week of riding and testing on the new Myst 29er prototype downhill bike.

saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
Simon Wild shows off his latest creation; the 2018 Ariel LT.

After ogling at the custom CNC alloy linkages that Saracen’s lead engineer, Ryan, was busy bolting up to a Myst carbon frameset, everyone gathered around to get a closer look at the all-new Ariel.

Many UK mountain bikers would be familiar with the current Ariel, which has been in the Saracen lineup for a good while now with few changes over the last couple of seasons. The reason for the Ariel’s recent stagnation? Saracen had been working on a whole new frameset, and one with completely new geometry, an all-new frame shape, and a suspension design borrowed from the Myst downhill bike.

Available in two versions for 2018 (one with a full carbon frame, the other with a carbon swingarm and alloy mainframe), the new Ariel rolls on 27.5in wheels with clearance for up to 2.6in rubber. With 165mm of plush travel and a big ol’ wheelbase, it’s an All Mountain/Enduro bike that slots into Saracen’s range between the 130mm travel Kili Flyer trail bike, and the 203mm travel Myst downhill bike.

saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
Saracen went big with the new Ariel LT, which features an almost identical carbon mainframe to the current Myst downhill bike.

Suspension travel is delivered via the single pivot suspension design, which uses a floating rocker linkage to compress the rear shock. Fork travel has also gone up to 170mm, and the geometry has been slackened to match. The Ariel now features a 65° head angle, with longer reach measurements across the board (415mm – Small, 440mm – Medium, 465mm – Large, 490mm – Extra Large). Each frame size is designed around a 45mm long stem. The Ariel frame is 1x specific, uses Boost hub spacing front and rear, and utilises large sealed cartridge bearings throughout its suspension linkage.

All up, it’s a substantially bigger, bolder, and badder beast that has shifted its focus further towards descending capability over climbing efficiency.

Want to hear more about how the changes make the Ariel handle on the trail? Then check out Chipps’ first ride review here, after he tested a prototype Ariel Elite during the Lowepro, No Fuss Fort William Enduro back in July, along with my first ride impressions of both the alloy and carbon frames.

saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
The new Ariel LT is a 165mm travel All Mountain beast. Oh, don’t dig the tanwalls? Saracen will include a second set of all-black Maxxis DHR II tyres in the box with the bike. Nice!

2018 Saracen Ariel LT Specifications

  • Frame // Full Carbon Fibre, 165mm Travel
  • Fork // Fox 36 Float Factory Series HSC/LSC, 170mm Travel
  • Shock // Fox Float X2 Factory Series
  • Wheels // DT Swiss M1900 Spline 30, Boost Front & Rear
  • Tyre Set One // Maxxis Minion DHF 2.3in 3C EXO
  • Tyre Set Two // Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.3in 3C EXO (all-black)
  • Drivetrain // Shimano XT/SLX 1×11
  • Brakes // Shimano XT w/180mm rotors
  • Bars // ENVE DH Riser, 800mm Width, 23mm Rise
  • Stem // Saracen 6061 CNC alloy, 45mm Length
  • Seatpost // Saracen Dropper Post, 150mm Travel (125mm on Small size)
  • Available Sizes // Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • RRP // £4999
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
The carbon model gets a Fox Float X2 rear shock, which provides incredible damping support for high-speed bombing.
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
Fork travel ups to 170mm.
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
The Ariel runs a 65° head angle, and each frame size is designed around a 45mm stem.
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
The carbon frame uses an oversized headtube with reach-adjustable cups. The stock cups are a 0mm offset, though +5mm and -5mm cups are included for fine-tuning the reach measurement.
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
The carbon swingarm updates to Boost 148x12mm spacing, and features rubber anti-slap protection on the driveside.
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
The Ariel Elite packs all the same updates into a cheaper spec with an alloy mainframe.

2018 Saracen Ariel Elite Specifications

  • Frame // 6013 Hydroformed Alloy Mainframe, Carbon Fibre Swingarm, 165mm Travel
  • Fork // RockShox Yari RC, 170mm Travel
  • Shock // Fox Float DPX2 Performance Series
  • Wheels // Kore Realm 3.0 Rims w/Formula Sealed Bearing Hubs, Boost Front & Rear
  • Tyres // WTB Vigilante TCS Dual DNA Enduro 2.3in Front & Rear
  • Drivetrain // Shimano XT/SLX 1×11
  • Brakes // Shimano SLX w/180mm Rotors
  • Bars // Saracen 6061 Alloy, 780mm Width, 25mm Rise
  • Stem // Saracen 6061 CNC alloy, 45mm Length
  • Seatpost // Saracen Dropper Post, 150mm Travel (125mm on Small size)
  • Available Sizes // Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • RRP // £3299
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
Fox Float DPX2 rear shock.
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
Carbon one-piece swingarm is the same on both Ariel models. Wide-range Shimano cassettes as standard.
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
The Kili Flyer X Carbon remains in the lineup for 2018, and is available as a standalone frameset with a Fox Float DPS Kashima rear shock.

2018 Saracen Kili Flyer X Features

  • Full carbon fibre frame
  • 130mm rear travel
  • Fox Float DPS Factory Series rear shock
  • Designed for a 130mm travel fork
  • Head angle: 67°
  • Seat angle: 73°
  • Chainstay length: 430mm
  • Available sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • Frame RRP: £2199
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
The new Kili Flyer Elite with its all-black Fox suspension package and internally-routed dropper post.

2018 Saracen Kili Flyer Elite Specifications

  • Frame // Full Carbon Fibre Frame, 130mm Travel
  • Fork // Fox 34 Float Performance Series, 130mm Travel
  • Shock // Fox Float DPX2 Performance Series
  • Wheels // Kore Realm 2.4 Rims w/Formula Sealed Bearing Hubs, Boost Front & Rear
  • Tyres // Maxxis Forekaster 3C EXO 2.35in Front & Rear
  • Drivetrain // Shimano SLX 1×11
  • Brakes // Shimano SLX w/180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
  • Bars // Saracen 6061 Alloy, 740mm Width, 12.5mm Rise
  • Stem // Saracen 6061 CNC alloy, 45mm Length
  • Seatpost // Saracen Dropper Post, 125mm Travel (100mm on Small size)
  • Available Sizes // X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • RRP // £3499
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
You can get exactly the same bike in a women’s version that comes with a ladies’ saddle and a shorter 35mm long stem. We kinda like this colour more.

2018 Saracen Kili Flyer Elite Womens Specifications

  • Frame // Full Carbon Fibre Frame, 130mm Travel
  • Fork // Fox 34 Float Performance Series, 130mm Travel
  • Shock // Fox Float DPX2 Performance Series
  • Wheels // Kore Realm 2.4 Rims w/Formula Sealed Bearing Hubs, Boost Front & Rear
  • Tyres // Maxxis Forekaster 3C EXO 2.35in Front & Rear
  • Drivetrain // Shimano SLX 1×11
  • Brakes // Shimano SLX w/180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
  • Bars // Saracen 6061 Alloy, 740mm Width, 12.5mm Rise
  • Stem // Saracen 6061 CNC alloy, 35mm Length
  • Seatpost // Saracen Dropper Post, 125mm Travel (100mm on Small size)
  • Saddle // Custom Saracen Women’s Specific
  • Available Sizes // X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • RRP // £3499
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
And all-new for 2018 is an alloy Kili Flyer, which comes in under £2k with 120/130mm of travel and a 1×11 drivetrain.

2018 Saracen Kili Flyer Specifications

  • Frame // Hydroformed 6013 Alloy, 120mm Travel
  • Fork // RockShox Recon RL, 130mm Travel
  • Shock // X-Fusion O2 RL
  • Wheels // WTB STP i25 Rims w/Formula Sealed Bearing 100x15mm Front & Shimano M475 135x10mm Rear
  • Tyres // Maxxis Ardent 2.25in Front & Rear
  • Drivetrain // Shimano Deore 1×11
  • Brakes // Shimano M396 w/180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
  • Bars // Saracen 6061 Alloy, 740mm Width, 12.5mm Rise
  • Stem // Saracen 6061 CNC alloy, 60mm Length
  • Seatpost // 3D Forged Alloy, 30.9mm Diameter
  • Available Sizes // Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • RRP // £1849
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
Saracen’s Zenith carbon hardtail gets a 120mm travel fork, a stealth dropper post, 29×2.35in tyres and dropped chainstays to keep the rear centre nice and short.

2018 Saracen Zenith Carbon Specifications

  • Frame // 24/30T Mitsubishi UD Carbon Fibre
  • Fork // Fox 34 Float, Performance Series, 120mm Travel
  • Wheels // WTB STP i25 Rims w/Formula Sealed Bearing Hubs, Boost Front & Rear
  • Tyres // Maxxis Forekaster 3C EXO 2.35in Front & Rear
  • Drivetrain // Shimano XT/SLX 1×11
  • Brakes // Shimano M500 w/180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
  • Bars // Saracen 6061 Alloy, 760mm Width, 25mm Rise
  • Stem // Saracen 6061 CNC alloy, 50mm Length
  • Seatpost // Saracen Dropper Post, 125mm Travel (100mm on Small size)
  • Available Sizes // Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • RRP // £2399
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
Coming under the £1k mark is the Mantra Trail, available in a women’s version too.

2018 Saracen Mantra Trail Womens Specifications

  • Frame // 6061 Hydroformed Alloy
  • Fork // Suntour Raidon XC LO-R, 120mm Travel
  • Wheels // Araya DM-650 Rims w/Shimano Centrelock Hubs, QR Front & Rear
  • Tyres // Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.25in Front & Racing Ralph 2.25in Rear
  • Drivetrain // Shimano Deore 1×10
  • Brakes // Shimano M396 w/180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
  • Bars // Saracen 6061 Alloy, 740mm Width, 12.5mm Rise
  • Stem // Saracen 6061 CNC alloy, 60mm Length
  • Seatpost // Saracen Dropper Post, 125mm Travel (100mm on Small size)
  • Available Sizes // 13in, 15in, 17in
  • RRP // £899
saracen ariel carbon revolution bike bike kili flyer
Prototype Saracen Traverse 29in trail bike.

While this one isn’t quite ready for production just yet, Saracen had a pretty well finished prototype of the new Traverse 29in trail bike. Apparently there’s been some to’ing and fro’ing on the purpose of this bike, though the current prototype has settled on 100mm of rear travel and the ability to run 100-120mm of travel up front, depending on what kind of geometry the rider wants to go for. We’re keen to hear more about this one, as well as any other 29ers that Saracen may have in the pipeline…

For more details, stay tune to saracen.co.uk and for more behind the scenes looks at the Saracen range, check out this issue of Singletrack Magazine where we were given unprecedented access to Saracen’s factories and design processes.

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