Sportline 2018 Show: It’s all gone a bit Myst’y…

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This week saw the Sportline 2018 show down in  Milton Keynes.  Sportline are the bike division of huge UK distributor Madison encompassing Saracen, Ridgeback and Genesis.  While a lot of the ‘new’ bikes consisted of fancy new paint jobs, there were a few completely new and ‘never-before-seen’ bikes from Saracen.

First up, the new Myst 29er.  Although this bike’s been at various World Cup races this year, usually in a bit of a blur as Matt Walker passes you at Mach 10, this is first fully finished production model we’ve seen.

The new 29 inch team replica bike

The bikes are an exact copy of the race bike used by Mr. Hart and Mr. Walker, with no secret layups or hidden tech, so you can basically buy exactly the same bike that the fast guys are riding.  The bike is available in both 29 and 27.5 wheeled varieties, and although the frames look the same, they are two completely different platforms.  With Danny currently riding the 27.5 inch bike, and Matt on the 29, the idea is that the general feel of the bikes is as close as possible to enable the riders to pick and choose between the wheel sizes for different occasions and tracks, without needing time to adjust.

Fox DHX2 Factory with SLS spring keeping the rear in check

This Myst Team features a full carbon frame and is sprung both ends on Fox Factory spec suspension. Up front is a Kashima flavoured Fox 49 Float Factory and out back a DHX2 Factory paired with an SLS spring, both delivering a full 203mm of World Cup track taming squish.

Mmmm… Kashima!!

Not only do the team riders (or anyone else who wants one of these!!) have a choice of which wheel size to go with depending on the track, they can also make adjustments to the bike’s setup and geometry. The bikes are available in just two sizes – Factory 440 and Factory 460 for the 29er and Factory 450 and Factory 490 for the 27.5 – based on the reach numbers, but the headset on the Myst Team allows you to increase (or reduce) the reach on the bike by 5mm to suit what’s needed.

The adjustable headset allows for +/- 5mm to be added to the reach of the Myst

On top of the adjustable headset, the bike also features an adjustable dropout allowing the chainstay length to be altered from 445mm to 460mm, to increase the rear centre for added stability.

Adjustable dropout allows a whopping 25mm to be added to the chainstay length

Stop and go on the Myst Team is taken care of by Shimano’s top end Saint DH groupset.  Saint’s big 4 pot stoppers provide the braking, and a full Saint drivetrain gets the power down when cranking.

Anchors away..!!

The bar and stem are taken care of by Shimano’s in-house component brand Pro, with Gamut providing a chain device and bashguard for added security and rock smashing.

Gamut bashguard and chain device

Saracen Myst Team 29

  • Frame // 24T/40T/3K Toray UD carbon blend
  • Fork // Fox 49 Float Factory Kashima
  • Shock // Fox DHX2 Factory Kashima & SLS Spring
  • Drivetrain // Shimano Saint 1 x 10 Speed with Gamut P30s
  • Rims // Dt Swiss FR560 29
  • Hubs // KT Boost 32h front & KT sealed bearing 32h rear
  • Tyres // Maxxis Minion DHRII 3C/EXO/TR 29 x 2.r front & rear
  • Brakes // Shimano Saint 203/203mm
  • Sizes // Factory 440 / 460
  • Weight // 15.83kg
  • Price // £5,799.99

The Myst team wasn’t the only new DH bike that we saw though.  Saracen also launched a brand spanking new alloy Myst – the Myst AL – with a far more budget-friendly price tag for those of us with shallower pockets than a factory race team.

The brand new Myst AL 

The Myst AL is based around a brand new 6013 aluminium frameset but still utilises the same carbon linkage as the other bikes in the range to give the same suspension action.  Where the carbon team model is only available in the two lengths though, the new AL frame comes in a more traditional three size range – small, medium and large.

The new Myst AL comes equipped with X-Fusion forks

Where the Team version is a no expense spared factory team replica, the AL has a more considered component choice. Upfront is an X-Fusion RV1 HLR fork delivering 200mm of coil sprung travel with both high and low-speed compression adjustments.  Rear suspension is again taken of by X-Fusion with a Vector Coil RC again delivering 203mm of travel.

X-Fusion vector coil keeps the rear in check

Shimano again takes care of the gearing but this time it’s dependable Zee rather than the top flight Saint.  Unlike the Team and Pro models, the AL doesn’t benefit from the same geometry adjustments and has a fixed chainstay length non-adjustableable headset (the second threaded hole on the image is just a fixing point).

Shimano Zee running gear

The AL still features a chain device though with MRP providing a top and bottom chain guide bash guard.

An MRP chain device keeps things running smoothly when things get rowdy

Stopping is dealt with by Shimano with their new MT501 four-pot brakes being specced to give four piston power on a budget and a Kore bar and stem round out the controls.

Shimano’s relatively new MT501 4 pot caliper
Shimano provide the stopping with a Kore cockpit

Saracen Myst AL

  • Frame // Series 3 custom butted 6013 alloy tubeset with UD carbon linkage
  • Fork // X-Fusion RV1 HLR
  • Shock // X-Fusion Vector Coil RC
  • Drivetrain // Shimano Zee 1 x 10 with MRP G4 CS
  • Rims // Kore Torsion SL
  • Hubs // Formula DHL-92 front & Novatec rear
  • Tyres // Maxxis Highroller II Super Tacky 27.5 x 2.4
  • Brakes // Shimano MT501 203/203mm
  • Sizes // S,M,L
  • Weight // 18.21kg
  • Price // £2,599
It’s definitely a good looking bike

So what do you reckon..??  Would you go for the Team or the AL?  Let us know what’s top of your big bike wish list in the comments below.

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