British racers have taken the British-designed Saracen Myst downhill mountain bike to the top step of the podium in World Cup events. The Madison-owned brand has launched new models of the Myst downhill range and their Ariel enduro bikes, both with new colors and tweaked specs.
Myst downhill mountain bikes
Developed by the Madison Saracen Factory Race Team, the new Myst downhill mountain bike range is a real-deal replica of the bike ridden to victory at the Leogang World Cup this year by Matt Walker.
With a 29-inch front and 27.5-inch rear, you get the best of both worlds on the Myst. Factory rider fit also means the Myst is designed to go fast straight out of the gate, with their CNC custom link making it one of the only specifically designed, mixed-wheel size downhill race bikes out there.
The Series 3 custom butted and hydroformed 6013 alloy front triangle is mated to a UD carbon swingarm. Other details include a +/-5mm reach adjustment, built-in bump stops and internal cable routing along with updated geometry, adding 20 mm in reach and the addition of an extra large size option that caters for all riders.
Saracen has also chosen large bearings that are claimed to be more durable and widely available, making them perfect for privateer racers.
The pro-rider experience continues with a dream-build level spec including an all-new Fox suspension, tuned and developed at the races with 203mm of travel. You're just left to do the tinkering when it comes to how many clicks you're dialing in on the new DHX2 Factory shock. And with a Kashima-coated Float 40 Factory fork, you should have the ultimate ride feel and speed on the track.
Shimano provides a full Saint drivetrain and brakes - the proven benchmark for downhill racing, with component brand PRO finishing the build with its new Tharsis 35 bar and stem. The ever-resilient DT Swiss FR560 rims are matched to Maxxis Assegai WT tyres, are a great all-round choice and are more than capable of providing enough bite in most conditions.
Ariel enduro mountain bikes
The Saracen flagship enduro bike is the Ariel 60 with three new models again with new colors and spec tweaking. With models being the 60, 60 Pro and 60 Elite all built with one aim - to take on the wildest wilderness epics, bike park laps and to deliver competitive riding between the tapes. Could these potentially be the hardcore race bike of your dreams?
Although Saracen doesn't have an EWS race team, they do have Matt Walker from the Madison Saracen Factory Racing Team. The 21-year-old from Shropshire became only the fourth British rider to win the overall UCI downhill world cup series in 2020.
Matt is a man who knows how to ride a bike way past the capabilities of mere mortals. Saracen gave him a straightforward testing brief - ride the bike as hard as he goes on his full downhill Myst with just one difference. He'd have some uphills to ride also.
With Matt's help and feedback they have fine tuned the Ariel to what Saracen believe to be their best enduro offering to date.
At the heart of the all-new 160mm suspension platform is the series 3 custom-butted and hydroformed 6013 aluminium frame.
If you change your mind faster than the bike industry, with the question of which wheel size is best? Saracen have included additional push links, that you can swap out and see if the grass is greener. All you'll need is the right-size rear wheel.
Which in theory makes achieving the right fit on an Ariel, easy. With size-specific wheels, small and medium bikes coming in 29-inch front and 27.5-inch mullet setup, and the large and extra-large sizes 29er models.
The good news continues when you take a look at the impressive spec sheet for their Elite model, which comes with a wish list of components.
That starts with the suspension, a Fox Factory 38 with Kashima Coat, and a DHX2 Factory shock. Again like the Myst there's every adjustment you'll ever need to get your setup dialed.
Shimano XT has long been the benchmark for performance and durability on the trail, and they've got the complete groupset here – including the brilliant four-piston brakes, which allow for one-finger control on almost any descent.
The gold standard of enduro rims, the 30mm wide DT Swiss EX511 gives the Maxxis Minion DHRII tyres the perfect profile – and both are tubeless ready. You'll just need to add tape, valves and sealant.
Completing the package is a carbon RaceFace Next R handlebar and matching aluminum stem, both in 35mm diameter. The KS Lev Integra dropper post makes this bike ready for business and party at a throw of the southpaw lever.
When it comes to the details, there is internal routing for everything – including a dropper post - room for a 550ml bottle, super boost spacing for additional clearance and like the Myst has the big bearings which last longer and are commonly available should you need to refresh them.
The new models are available for pre-order now with expected delivery stated as no later than late January and a fully updated launch across the range coming in early 2023.