Sportline Show 2018: Longer, Slacker Lower Saracen Hardtails.

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It wasn’t all huge travel big bikes at the Sportline show last week Saracen also launched a brand spanking new hardtail – the Mantra LSL. Available in two sizes the Mantra LSL boasts a totally new frame from the existing Mantra and comes in two different trim levels – the Elite and Trail.

The new Mantra Elite Trail LSL

LSL in the name refers to the changes made from the current range – longer, slacker lower.  It has been designed to appeal to those UK riders that are looking for an aggressive hardtail, and with two decently priced models, it should prove to be pretty popular.  The head angle has been slackened off by a degree and the bottom bracket has dropped 10mm from the standard Mantra range with the reach on a medium growing to 450mm which is the same as a large in the standard variant.

FSA Comet cranks

The Elite model comes equipped with a RockShox Sektor RL fork giving you 130mm of travel while the drivetrain is a mix of Shimano SLX shifting and FSA Comet cranks.   The Elite comes equipped with an X-Fusion dropper as well so should be good to go straight out of the box.

X-Fusion Manic dropper post

Braking is taken care of by a pair of Shimano MT400 brakes mounted onto Saracen’s own brand bars and stem.

Own brand Saracen Bars and stem

Not only has the front triangle of the bike been altered to accommodate the LSL geometry changes, the rear end is a completely new design incorporating kinked seatstays as opposed the straight tubes seen on the current Mantra range.

Totally re-designed back end with boost spacing

The Mantra Trail LSL is the more cost-conscious version of the bike.  The Trail model shares the same new frame as the Elite model but has a more budget oriented spec.

The Mantra Trail LSL

Although designed with a budget in mind, the Trail model still benefits from X-Fusion suspension and Shimano drivetrain plus stoppers.  The drivetrain drops to Deore level 1 x10 whereas the brakes remain the same across the two models.

Same brakes as the Elite model
The Mantra Trail LSL still has a Shimano drivetrain

Saracen Mantra Elite LSL

  • Frame // Series 2 custom butted 6061 alloy
  • Fork // RockShox Sektor RL Solo Air 130mm
  • Drivetrain // Shimano SLX 1 x 11
  • Rims // Araya DM-650
  • Hubs // Formula Boost 32h
  • Tyres // Schwalbe Nobby Nic performance 2.35 front, Hans Dampf performance 2.35 rear
  • Brakes // Shimano MT400 180/160mm
  • Sizes // 15″, 17″, 19″,21″
  • Weight // 13.29kg
  • Price // £1349.99
Mantra Elite LSL looks great for a UK winter

Saracen Mantra Trail LSL

  • Frame // Series 2 custom butted 6061 alloy
  • Fork // X-Fusion RC32 130mm Boost
  • Drivetrain // Shimano Deore 1 x 10
  • Rims // Araya DM-650
  • Hubs // Formula Boost 32h
  • Tyres // Schwalbe Nobby Nic performance 2.35 front, Hans Dampf performance 2.35 rear
  • Brakes // Shimano MT400 180/160mm
  • Sizes // 15″, 17″, 19″,21″
  • Weight // 12.81kg
  • Price // £999.99

    Red or green..??

Saracen also had another brand new bike on show – the Levarg – and although not our usual sort of bike, it certainly looked fun!!

The clue is in the name…

Levarg is a range of three gravel bikes at various price points, topped off with this Fox fork equipped gravel hoon machine.  The idea behind the Levarg was to make a drop bar bike that was intended for purpose, rather than just adapting an existing road platform.   This meant stretching the frame sizes to accommodate longer top tubes (much like Mountain bikes..!!) rather than just putting longer stems on the larger sizes and all the bikes come equipped with 440mm flared bars.

Nice wide flares

This range-topping OR model comes with a Fox 32 Step cast fork, giving you a whole 40mm of travel to let you ride inappropriate things and has an SRAM Apex 1 x 11 drivetrain for maximum gravel grinding, and a dropper post for really pushing things.  While the Levarg OR comes with a lever actuated dropper, there are hose ports for an internally routed one if you wanted to upgrade.

For getting silly..!!

As mentioned there are three models in the Levarg range all sharing the same frame, but with different build kits.  The base model features a carbon fork, as opposed to anything sprung, and comes with an amazing orange paint job.

The cheapest Levarg looks anything but budget

The Levarg has the same sizing and geometry as the OR with just spec change and looks to be a great entry into gravel, all-road or whatever it’s currently called.

Shimano Sora drivetrain on wide flared bars
The base model come with 2 x 9 set-up

Levarg OR

  • Frame // Series 2 custom butted 6061 alloy
  • Fork // Fox 32 Step Cast AX 40mm
  • Drivetrain // SRAM Apex 1 x 11
  • Rims // WTB STP LIGHT i23 TCS 2.0
  • Hubs // Formula 32h
  • Tyres // WTB Resolute Dual DNA 650 x 42c
  • Brakes // SRAM Apex 1 Hydraulic 160/160mm
  • Sizes // S,M,L,XL
  • Weight // 11.15kg
  • Price // £2299.99
Is it a gravel bike or a 90’s mountain bike?


  • Frame // Series 2 custom buttered 6061 alloy
  • Fork // UD carbon fork, alloy tapered steerer
  • Drivetrain // Shimano Sora 2 x 9
  • Rims // Araya DW-650
  • Hubs // Formula 32h
  • Tyres // WTB Venture Dual DNA 650 x 47c
  • Brakes // TRP cable discs 160 x 160mm
  • Sizes // S, M, L, XL
  • Weight // 11.29kg
  • Price // £1099.99

    Sooooo orange…
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