At last year’s Fort William World Cup, the one theme that dominated all of the hubbub both in the pits, and out on the race course was the 29er. Everyone wanted to know what teams were bringing out 29in wheeled race bikes, and which athletes were choosing to run them.
While 29er downhill bikes aren’t exactly a dime a dozen now, they’re certainly a lot more common than they were a year ago. Back then, RockShox was still using a custom-built Boxxer fork that used Lyrik 29er lowers to fit in the bigger wheel, while Fox had only just brought out its 49 RAD fork especially for its sponsored athletes. Rim and tyre choice was limited, and many of the frames being raced were simply modified versions of those brands’ existing 27.5in downhill bikes.
Fast-forward to 2018 and there’s still plenty of wheelsize chat, but the bikes and components are a helluva lot more refined. Santa Cruz has a production-ready V10 29er, Intense has the M29, Kona has its new bi-wheelsize carbon Operator, and both Specialized and Pivot have developed dedicated 29er mules using welded alloy frames.
We can’t confirm if Saracen is at the production level with its 29er version of the carbon fibre Myst, but it surely can’t be that far away given what Matt Walker was racing this weekend.
Equipped with a full carbon fibre mainframe and rigid one-piece swingarm, the Myst 29er is no hashed-together experiment. The dual-link suspension system is carried over from the current production Myst 27.5, and the overall shape and orientation of the frame tubes is much the same, with a thoroughly refined look from front to back.
Walker’s Myst is equipped with a Fox Factory suspension package, including a Fox 49 RAD fork and an X2 coilover rear shock. Being on the Madison-Saracen team, Walker’s bike is dressed head-to-toe in Shimano and PRO componentry, along with DT Swiss wheels and Maxxis Minion DHR II tyres.