Sportline Show: 2016 Saracen Bikes

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Milton Keynes was the hot place to be this week as Sportline (Madison’s company that handles all of its bike brands) showed all of its 2016 bikes in its showroom, and giant marquee in the car park. We’ll have a story on Genesis shortly, but first, here’s a look to see what’s new with Saracen for 2016.

The Sportline Party Tent was non-stop raving. Oh yes!
There was a very Wimbledon or ‘cricket pavilion’ feel. Cucumber (and something) sandwiches were even served

Saracen Myst Pro

The Madison Saracen team has been making quite a mark on the World Cup downhill scene since it started five short years ago, culminating with Manon Carpenter’s World Championships win last autumn. The Myst frame that the team runs is still the same as you’ll find on the production Myst Pro bike which, at £2999 is a reasonably priced privateer race bike out of the box. The bike features 27.5in wheels, an alloy front end and carbon back end giving 203mm rear travel, matched with the same travel from the Rockshox Boxxer RC up front. It’s a pretty good start for anyone.

New mohican graphics ‘Party up top, serious down below’ give this race-ready bike a unique look
While £2999 isn’t cheap, it’s a lot cheaper to get into downhill than enduro, it seems…
Downhill specific 165mm Zee cranks with a 36T ring
All bikes get the UD carbon back end.
For 2016, the bike gets an upgrade to Zee brakes front and rear


Saracen Ariel

‘Built from the ground up for 27.5in wheels’ says the blurb, the Ariel is a 150mm trail bike (don’t say ‘enduro’) that comes in two versions – the £2799 Pro and the £3499 Elite. The frame only 15X is £1599. Here’s the Pro:

For 2016, the Pro gets a Marzocchi spec, with the new 350CR fork and the(catchy!) Marzocchi 053 S23C2R rear shock. There’s also a one-by Shimano 1×10 Zee and SLX transmission, keeping with standards that all bikes shops and home mechanics should have access to.

The Ariel Pro has a ‘party up top, party down below’ colour scheme. Is that like 1980s Metal hair?
If you want a more subtle colour scheme, you’ll have to get the Elite – although frame-only versions are available too.
Moving on to the Elite now, it gets an upgrade to the great new Fox Float X EVOL rear shock.
And the Fox 36 up front weighs what last year’s 34 did, keeping the bike’s weight around 14kg.
Same integral Saracen head badge
Here’s the Ariel Elite – comes with full Shimano XT 1×11 set up
Still ‘only’ an under-saddle dropper post, though Stealth routing for an internal dropper is included.


Saracen Jump bikes

Saracen has quite a roster of pro stunt riders (like Blake Samson, Matt Jones and Joan Carlos Renom) and it shows in this range of hooligan bikes. Up top is the bright red Al Team at £899, the cromo CR3 at £749 and at bottom, the £549 CR2. Bikes designed to be dropped from a great height. Preferably the right way up, with you on them, but if not, no matter…

Let me hear you shout ‘Grr!’


Studio 74

And now for a complete change of pace. The £499 Urban Studio 74 is a simple round-town commuter bike with a great, chunky rack up front that’s designed to keep your laptop bag securely where you can see it (although it’s no coincidence that a case of beer fits in just as well). 27 speed Shimano Altus gears, hydraulic Promax discs and full mudguards. Saracen gets extra points for also having a model called the ‘Urban Myth’ too.

Just looking at that rack makes us thirsty

Saracen Mantra

The Mantra is Saracen’s definitive ‘UK trail hardtail’ and comes in versions from £499 up to the Mantra Carbon Elite at £2099. The carbon Elite gets a brand new XT 1×11 drivetrain for 2016, Fox 32 Evolution 120mm fork, M615 Deore brakes and WTB Trail Boss tyres.

Hugely chunky head badge
Subtle striped graphics. (For unsubtle, scroll down…)
The bike will have XT 1×11 gearing (yes, we/they know this isn’t actually the right chainset yet…)
The £1599 Carbon Trail gets Suntour’s Axon forks and a 10sp Deore transmission.
Crud Catcher mounts are standard on the Mantra range
Mantra Elite (top) and Trail (lower) are revamped with Saracen’s new chip-slot dropout system allowing QR up to 142mm axles.


For many people, the TuffTrax was their first mountain bike, back in the day and the name still lives on as Saracen’s entry level mountain bikes. It’s also where we’ll find the sole 29er in the range in the TuffTrax Comp Disc 29 (£449) – a bike designed as a dual purpose commuter bike that’ll work equally well off road. The 27.5in Comp Disc is below at £449

That’s a 29er up top if you’d not spotted.


Saracen Kili Flyer

The 130mm travel Saracen Kili Flyer has been slimmed down to one bike for 2016 (along with a frame-only option) in full carbon, with a ‘Bike Journo Pick’ spec. It features a full carbon frame (with travel upped slightly to 130mm to match the 130mm Fox 34 forks) and a full XT 1×11 groupset. And what about those tan wall tyres?

It’s 1989 Athena posters all over again. We just need a Countach poster to go with it.
Great to see a full XT spec
A very special order for these tyres apparently
The bike will feature an internal dropper post – with port just visible on the seat tube
OK, it’s winning us over with the paint scheme now. But wait, what’s this below?

The Kili Flyer X frame set is also full Toray carbon, costing £1999 and offering 130mm rear travel. This paint job is either inspired by the Lancia Stratos/Martini racing cars, or the old M-Series racers. Either way, it’s a hugely distinctive look.

Even the shock link gets a splash of colour
Someone has good taste…

The bikes should start to appear this October. In the meantime, there’s a hint of things to come over at

Barney Marsh takes the word ‘career’ literally, veering wildly across the road of his life, as thoroughly in control as a goldfish on the dashboard of a motorhome. He’s been, with varying degrees of success, a scientist, teacher, shop assistant, binman and, for one memorable day, a hospital laundry worker. These days, he’s a dad, husband, guitarist, and writer, also with varying degrees of success. He sometimes takes photographs. Some of them are acceptable. Occasionally he rides bikes to cast the rest of his life into sharp relief. Or just to ride through puddles. Sometimes he writes about them. Bikes, not puddles. He is a writer of rongs, a stealer of souls and a polisher of turds. He isn’t nearly as clever or as funny as he thinks he is.

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