Sportline Show | New 2020 Saracen And Genesis Mountain Bikes

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Sportline is the name of Madison’s company that handles all of its own-brand bikes, like Saracen, Genesis and Ridgeback and every year there’s a separate Sportline Show event held in a large marquee, or windowless show hall in Milton Keynes to bring all of the brands together so that the assembled bike shops and bike journos can take in all of the bikes in one room. It’s a good way of catching up with what the individual brands are doing, as well as catching a glimpse of how everyone’s 2020 bike lines are shaping up.

Saracen Zenith Elite LSL

Let’s start with the none-more-black Saracen Zenith LSL. The Zenith is Saracen’s 29er trail hardtail and this year it gains an LSL version – this is stands for ‘Low, Slack, Long’ – which obviously suggests a modern, er, ‘progressive’ geometry. Saracen’s claim for the bike is that it ‘might well be the fastest hardtail on the planet right now. Bold claims indeed and it makes us want to ride one…

Murdered out! The Saracen Zenith LSL (Lower, slacker, longer)
Notice anything out of the ordinary? A SRAM transmission on a Saracen. A sign of Shimano’s recent delays in getting 12 speed to market?

 

 

Comes in at £1599 for a complete bike

Saracen Mantra Trail LSL
The 27.5in wheeled Mantra has also had the LSL treatment, with this Trail LSL and an Elite LSL too. The Elite model (in natty blue and red) gets SRAM NX Eagle and a Rockshox FS35 Gold RL fork (and a dropper post) while the Trail LSL features SRAM SX Eagle and a Recon RL fork. Both bikes feature 140mm travel up front for proper ‘Hardcore Hardtail’ credentials.

Here’s the Mantra Elite LSL hardcore hardtail
The Mantra Trail gets the LSL treatment – and an orangey yellow colour too
Bold Saracen decals. A complete Mantra Trail LSL is £1099

 

A regular non-LSL Mantra (Short, Steep and High? SSH?)
‘Zigzag/Zeron cranks… Kerayzee names, but a good looking chainset from SR Suntour

Saracen Levarg

The Levarg came out a couple of years ago and was Saracen’s nod to the then-nascent gravel scene (hence the name – which is ‘gravel’ backwards…) – It seemed to strike a note and there are now four different models of the Levarg – all able  to take 650 x 50mm or 700C x 44mm… Not everyone is an instant drop-bar fan, though, especially if you’re coming from a mountain bike, so this year there’s the new Levarg FB – for Flat Bar. Still the same capability, but a more familiar feel for dirt riders.

Levarg. Geddit? Now for flat bar lovers too!

Saracen Ariel

The Saracen Ariel has evolved into a big hitting 27.5in trail/enduro bike and Saracen has models of the Ariel from ‘affordable alloy’ up to ‘full-on full carbon’. With 170mm travel up front and 165mm rear travel, it’s a chunky beast, but popular with enduro racers, Scottish and Lakeland riders and for that fortnight a year to the Alps…

The full alloy Ariel Elite comes in at £3299

Saracen Ariel LTX

While the Ariel LT features the same travel as the Elite, it comes with a full carbon frame, swingarm and even the suspension links are carbon. The LTX is the frame-only version of the Ariel, allowing you to build a bike up as you want. At this level of bike, many riders have firm ideas of what forks and components they want, so rather than second-guessing everyone, Saracen just provides the frame to build on…

Huge Fox X2 rear air shock is a good place to start
The Ariel LTX has a custom offset headset cup (like on the Myst) that allows for some reach adjustment
Consider this a ‘serving suggestion’. Frame/shock/headset only will run at £2499

 

Saracen Myst Team

While we’re looking at the big travel bikes from the Sportline Show, it’d make sense to cover the Myst. It’s possible to buy the Myst Team bike in both 27.5 and 29in wheeled versions and access the same frame that the Madison/Saracen race team riders race on. Both bikes come ready to race for £5799…

One of the best colour combos of the show was this boney grey colour with bright orange highlights
myst pro sportline show
The Myst Pro, with pro rider peeking through

 

Boom! That’ll wake you up on your run…
You probably don’t have any excuses if you’re riding one of these and not winning…

Saracen Myst Pro

The Myst Pro is also ready to race out of the box, but comes at a more reasonable £3999, still with a full carbon frame, RaceFace finishing kit, Boxxer forks and Super Tacky rubber…

The Myst Pro also comes in 27.5 and 29in wheel versions.
It took a while of looking at this new chain idler device to realise that someone had just put it on the stand wrong 🙂

Saracen Myst Al

Expect to see a lot of these at your local uplifted trail centre. The Myst AL has the same DNA as the successful Myst, but it comes with a full alloy frame, fewer top-end components and a price that should cost less than the Transit that carries it around. Still with 200/203mm travel, Zee 10speed transmission, 203/203 Shimano brakes, it all comes in for £2599.99

Comes in four different sizes too.
saracen myst al sportline show
That’s an X Fusion RV1 fork with 203mm of coil springing on the Myst AL – your new local bike park bike.

 

Not everything Saracen is about huge travel and going big, though. Some bikes are just designed for going places. These Saracen Zenith bikes are quietly going about their own 29er business for £699 (the blue one) and £549 (yellow one)

Slap bang in the middle of ‘It’s a mountain bike’ territory.

Saracen’s bikes can be found here: saracen.co.uk

Genesis 2020

We’ll cover most of the new Genesis bikes (and colours) in a separate post for grit.cx as most of the bikes are of the skinnier variety, but there a few bikes from the Sportline Show that will definitely appeal to the adventuring mountain biker…

Genesis Vagabond. 

Genesis has found that the all-terrain Vagabond (a little like the Ariel above) is often bought by riders with a definite idea of what they want, which means that however you spec a complete bike, it’ll have something wrong. However by making it available as a frame and fork, Genesis reckons that it’ll suit any one of a thousand builds.

Genesis Vagabond comes in a frame-only guise for you to build up into your perfect adventure bike – £449 frame and fork.
Genesis Tarn – big wheel, big clearance steel adventure machine.

Genesis Bikes can be found here: genesisbikes.co.uk


Disclosure: Singletrack covered Chipps’ travel to the Sportline Show in Milton Keynes. A lunch of triangle sandwiches and instant coffee was provided by Sportline/Madison.

Chipps

Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (3)

    That Zenith looks great fun.

    “You probably don’t have any excuses if you’re riding one of these and not winning”, Danny Hart just spat his brew out!!

    That Ariel looks rather retro to me – slack seat tube angle and nowhere to fit a bottle. Maybe if they flipped the shock, one might just fit up front.

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