Video: Electronic Shifting on a Saracen

by singletrackjon 30

While on their adventure to the Forest of Dean and Cwmcarn last week Benji, Matt and Dom were shown a new Saracen Myst downhill bike by the guys at Madison. The thing that made this particular bike very special was the fact it had a rather neat Shimano Di2 Electronic Shifting setup on it – is this the future of shifting?

[stvideo src=”2010/05/Saracen_myst_preview_large.m4v”]

Comments (30)

  1. is it lighter? cheaper? more efficient? can it be remotely controlled via blue tooth? does it have the internets on it? can it play crysis? is it waterproof? batterys? or wind up? seems like an elaborate solution to a problem I’m not sure exists to me but then I’m an ignoramus!

  2. Tis just a bit of fun with some extrvagant roadie exotica. Nothing more, nothing less. At the moment it’s only marketed to the road market, you shouldn’t read too much into it.

  3. Jesus check out those pink trainers.

  4. Gimmick to help promote the rebranding of saracen? Seems like a good way of getting a saracen downhll bike into a bike mag/website aimed at more serious mountain bikers to try and shake the old image of chav shopping bikes. I admire what saracen are doing in trying to make quality bikes but i cant see how they can ever shake the old image.

  5. Adam5555 – I think you’re missing the point of Saracens re-branding.

    Has it ever occured to you that relative newbies to MTB (like myself-only riding for 5 years) are not aware of any negative image Saracen may have had in the past. I think the new bikes look great and seem well specced considering the obvious competition from larger manufacturers.

  6. Judging by the quality of the Saracen Ariel I rode I think the old image will be shaken off without too much effort.

  7. I think you have to forget any preconceptions that you had about Saracen in the past as it is a completely different brand apart from the name 🙂

    Plus from riding around on the Ariel for a couple of days, its definitely changed my ideas about the brand 🙂

  8. Anyone remember the even older image of Saracen as a maker of quality mountain bikes? 😉

  9. More of a comment on why they used electronic shifters from a road bike, which are unlikely to see an mtb version any time soon, or are they going to spec saracens with pricey electronic road mechs?. Breaking news about electronic shifters? nope. Tell me anything about saracen bikes? nope.

    Il say it again I admire what saracen are trying to do but just saying its going to be difficult with there new target market i.e people willing to spend £2000-£3000. There are alot of brand snobs and alot of brands doing similar prices offering similar products. In general any bike in that price range is a good bike nowadays so what do you pick on? Colour? Brand?

  10. Adam, having ridden Di2, I can tell you why this article is here. We ARE likely to see a version for MTB, as it’s almost better as an application off road than on!

  11. Quality temporal sub-sampling going on with that rear cassette! All the sprockets look like they’re rotating at different speeds and in different directions. 🙂

  12. I suppose it will solve the massive problem of cable stretch which has blighted mtbs for years;)
    First gen might not offer much but it does open oppotunities for the future. suppose wireless would be the next stage and then who knows? Automatic gear changing based on the torque you put on the pedals.

  13. Interesting bit of innovation.

    I can see how electronic shifting on MTBs where cables are prone to stretch and more susceptible to mud and grit ingress will be a major benefit. Imagine having the crispness of gear shifting you have on a new bike all the time.

    IIRC the shifters are programmed to initially move the derailleur further than is needed to quickly move the chain to the new sprocket and then move it back to line it up.

    The batteries have a long life and have been tested on the road in the grime and wet of Belgium and Northern France for the past 12 months without any waterproofing problems.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if cable shifting becomes a bit like cable brakes currently are.

    All that is needed are some MTB friendly ratios and a drop in price.

  14. I’d buy one if it got rid of the cable completely. I think the electronics inc. battery could be made lighter than a conventional cable set up.

  15. i remember when saracen tange prestige frames were the bikes to have…

  16. killi series, lovley.

  17. adam5555 – I imagine that someone got bored in the workshop and started doing the “I wonder if..” thing, rather than as a serious idea for production models.

    As for torque sensitive gearchanging, that’d be very interesting to see in action. I imagine a truly effective system need to learn a rider’s shift patterns and preferences as well as the rider’s most effective RPM range – the power band if you will. All that automation might take the fun out of riding in a manual vs. auto car gearbox style of argument though.. 😉

    Even stranger – electronic shifting might see the resurgence of the hub dynamo. Or not 😉

  18. be good until I rode under an electricity line and the EMF fields buggered up the electronics 😉

  19. It would be better to have shifting by blinking, or a little gear changing nose activated scratch pad in your full face. Then even less reason to lose your grip on the bars. What could possibly go wrong!

    I agree with more hub dynamos stj. It should happen. We can all spare 4-5 watts to power shifters, lights, gps, phone etc. and be self sufficent. Just do a decent 20mm axle dynamo please someone

  20. adam 5555 one word Skoda

    30yrs ago a skip with wheels now a quality product getting great reviews.

    The above just a bit of PR so what.

  21. “Jesus check out those pink trainers.”

    Not to mention that “new rave” top.

  22. Its all about getting the name talked about rather look at what we can do. Saracen have relaunched for 2010 and the Aerial got the best “fun/play bike” in WMB and if they can get the Myth at a starting price of around the 2K mark I think they are onto a winner. Whispers are you’ll see Killi for next year too…. nice.

    I was in Mountain Trax Swinley area and chris the owner has fitted Di2 to his Santa Cruz. He says it works really well.

  23. Thanks Pimpmaster Jazz, they’re Vans Owen Vulc Hi-tops 🙂

  24. what shifter did they use?

  25. to all the people saying teh brand is tarnished
    ithought taht at first but tehre is a lot of buzz about the bike on the dh forums it will sell
    especially if they put a race team together

    and im all for electronic shifting!

  26. Yeah, like toons, I wanna know what shifters they modded in there…

    I remember (vaguely, as I didn’t ride anywhere near as much back then) when Saracen where what everyone wanted, before the became chav. They look to be heading back towards the upper end of the scale again, as good solid stuff that is worth riding.

  27. A Gimmick to help promote the rebranding of saracen? Seems like a good way of getting a saracen downhll bike into a bike mag/website aimed at more serious mountain bikers to try and shake the old image of chav shopping bikes.

    Apart from always wondering exactly what a “Chav” is – When Saracen were going for a different segment of the market under the previous owners -I.E cheap and cheerful and populist (I imagine that’s upsetting enough for you Adam 5555) they probably got more bums on bike seats than the big three together… Terrible eh?

  28. “I wanna know what shifters they modded in there”

    it’s a new 7970 dura-ace satellite shifter

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