Being Madison’s in-house dealer show, iceBike* wasn’t littered with loads of different bike brands – most of the bikes on display came from within the Sportline group, which includes Saracen and Genesis. While most of these 2018 bikes have already been exhibited before, there were some special edition bikes kicking around that had my trigger finger twitching – check ’em all out here.
1. Saracen Kili-Flyer
On the Shimano stand, there were a number of different bikes used to display various groupsets. For mechanical Deore XT , this carbon fibre Kili-Flyer was dressed head-t0-toe with Shimano and Pro components. The colour scheme isn’t available in a complete bike option – this is actually a frame-only Kili that you can buy for £2199 with the Kashima-coated Fox Float DPS rear shock.
2. Saracen Traverse
You’ll have already read our news story about the 2018 Saracen Traverse, which is picking up a lot of interest amongst Singletrack readers. For the time being, the Traverse will only be coming in a single spec option for £2999 with a Shimano SLX 1×11 drivetrain and Fox Performance suspension.
This custom Traverse however, features a Factory level Fox suspension package and a full Shimano Deore XT Di2 1×11 drivetrain with Deore XT wheels too. I don’t know about you, but I reckon that is a pretty hot looking piece of kit right there!
3.Genesis Titanium Tarn
The Genesis Tarn remains in the 2018 lineup as a 29/27.5+ trail hardtail, with two complete bike options that use cromoly steel frames. There is a frameset however, and it uses titanium tubes rather than steel. Genesis had this one built up for iceBike*, and holy moly was it getting some attention!
Shimano decked out the titanium Tarn frameset with a 1×11 XTR drivetrain, with the polished chrome finish going with the titanium tubing like pickles in a burger. Note the dropped driveside chainstay that helps to maximise tyre and chainring clearance.
4. Focus JAM²
There didn’t appear to be anything too special about this Focus JAM² e-MTB, but if you look a little closer you’ll spot some understated wheels on there from DT Swiss. Being in the DT Swiss booth, this JAM² had its stock alloy Spline One wheelset removed, and in its place is a super high end HXC 1200 carbon wheelset. Sitting in the ‘Hybrid’ wheel range that’s purpose-built for heavy e-MTBs, these wheels get burly 30mm wide carbon fibre rims that are actually thicker through the rim bed compared to the regular XMC 1200 carbon wheels (the ones Tom just finished testing). Despite the reinforced rims and heavy duty hubs and spokes (more on that below), claimed weight is still just 1678g for the pair.
DT Swiss had more of its Hybrid range on display, including these HX 1501 Spline One wheels that also get a 30mm inner rim width, but use alloy instead of carbon fibre. Compared to the regular Spline One wheels, again these feature a thicker alloy extrusion around the spoke holes to strengthen the rim against higher tension loads from the spokes.
The hubs look the same as DT’s regular mountain bike wheels, but the only part that’s shared between them are the end caps. The freehub body is steel, the Star Ratchet mechanism is heavier duty, the hub shell uses thicker alloy, and the bearings are bigger too. The spokes have a thicker gauge at the hub end, coming in at 2.34mm in diameter, compared to the standard 2.0mm diameter. It all adds up to about a 150g weight penalty over the equivalent non-Hybrid wheels.
Although DT Swiss is marketing these Hybrid wheels at the e-MTB market (due to the heavier weight of the bikes and the huge amount of torque that the electric motors can put through the wheels, spokes and hubs), I reckon these are just as appealing for aggressive riders on naturally-aspirated mountain bikes who are chasing ultimate reliability.
5. Genesis Mantle
Another custom bike from Genesis was this lovely carbon fibre Mantle. We’ve currently got a Mantle 20 on test (first look here), but the one here is the frameset that has been built up with a high-end DT Swiss wheels, DT Swiss forks, Thomson finishing kit and Shimano XTR 1×11.
The Mantle frameset can be had for £1499, and the claimed weight is 1460g including the headset and rear thru-axle. I’d describe the geometry on the Mantle as ‘Sensible XC’, with its 69° head angle, modest 435mm chainstay length and generous 65mm bottom bracket drop.
Though the Mantle comes built with 29in wheels, this bike can accommodate 27.5×2.8in wide tyres, and it’s also both dropper post and Di2 ready as well.
6. Saracen Ariel LT
Everyone loves a dirty bike right? This dusty rig belongs to a staff member at Madison, who made use of the new 2018 Ariel LTX frameset to build up a fully custom bike. Although Saracen offers the Ariel in a couple of complete bike options, it also offers the LTX fully carbon frameset for £2399, which includes the Fox Float X2 Factory rear shock, headset, thru-axle and various hardware.
Drawing from the extensive Madison stable, this Ariel LTX was built up with a Shimano Deore XT Di2 1×11 drivetrain along with carbon PRO handlebars.
The wheelset is the latest XMC 1200 Spline 30 wheelset from DT Swiss. Carbon tubeless rims, 30mm internal width, straight pull spokes and DT Swiss 240 hubs. Wanna know how they ride? Check out Tom’s review of these super-dooper wheels here.
As you might already know, the Ariel was completely redesigned for 2018. The new suspension and frame design has drawn heavily on the Myst downhill bike, with the 165mm of rear travel built for proper boulder-swallowing control.
If you want to know more about the 2018 Saracen Ariel, make sure you check out Chipps’ exclusive review here.