Exclusive: Saracen Myst DH

We’ve got some sneak preview shots of the new Saracen Myst DH which is due to be unveiled at the Madison Ice Bike show this week.

We spoke to Simon Wild from Saracen and this is what he told us:

“This one is the show sample (black one), with a premium build, but we are still looking at a raceable bike for around the £2k mark. We’ve got a medium (black frame) and large (white frame) that we will do shock testing on in March. The bike is the first sample and uses a conventional front section – We’re working on a front section with new tubes and these will be ready closer to the launch in July. At the moment the thinking is a mechanically formed tube–set as it allows us to better control the tube wall thicknesses than with a hydroformed tube. The weight of the bike in the picture was just over 38lbs. We’re serious about the future a wouldn’t rule out a Race Team for 2011.”

All interesting stuff.

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  1. Jamie

    Looking good!

  2. jack

    nice-ish looking, but still a saracen

  3. jonny

    it acctually look quite good…. but its a saracen…. so no…

  4. Dirt HQ

    Looking good from Saracen. And if they can get it in at that price then things are really looking up.

    Mike.

  5. aaron

    you know what, id quite happily buy that! now saracen is owned by madison, it can only be good things for saracen, and itd be nice to support the british brand again

  6. MTBcut

    Yeah… I’d say open your mind a little.. old Saracen sucked, but the new bikes don’t really have much in common with that other than the name… Good to see another British brand out there..
    Stu.

  7. Jon

    Lots of brands turn around (both for better and for worse). By the looks of it Saracen is now headed in the right direction. Looking forward to seeing the production version of this.

  8. olly

    Big mistake for Madison I think, some brands just don’t need cleaning up and brought forward in terms of the product and the brand image, especially at this end of the market. I would’ve put all the energy and money into developing a new brand altogether, with an empty canvas you can concentrate on molding your brand how you see fit rather than one that has no image and no place in the market. Doing things like this will only be costly in my opinion but ultimately if the end product is high quality and Madison treat this as they do the rest of their business Saracen could be on to a winner…..

  9. Big_Tim

    Looks like they are finding their direction again which can only be a good thing.
    Back in the day 20 years ago circa 1990 before suspension all us spotty teenagers wanted the elevated chainstay Saracens, the kili something or other I think.
    Even Mr Warner rode one – as beautifully demontstarted in the best mtb video ever made – Totally Wild!
    They went down hill after that (pun intended!).

    (I think I should re-name me to Big_Old_Tim)

  10. rupert

    on the white frame there was a bar thing replaing the shock can you ride with this and where can you buy them?

  11. chris

    that looks spot on! if its only £2k who cares if its got a couple of saracen stickers on it. if the final product the same good spec then there is no reason saracen shouldnt make a massive come back. i cant wait to see a good race team next year.

  12. Leon

    Gotta agree with Ollys comment they should of started a new brand all over , altho I don’t mind the Saracen brand as I can remember when they were desirable , but to get cash from the younger end of the sport they are gonna have to get a pretty good race team with fairly well respected riders for the younger people to want to buy one.
    Must say the bike looks amazing ! Very high quality finish , and I love the look of them chunky swing links , cant wait to see one on the trails

  13. ddmonkey

    I disagree Olly, a new brand would not have the same instant recognition that Saracen has. Like them or not everyone is talking about Saracen making a come back and older riders will still remember the brand before it went a bit rubbish. The new bikes look great and if they perform well at a good price point it won’t be long before there are plenty out on the trails. I’d buy one if the price is right they ride as well as they look.

  14. Dirt HQ

    Hey if it is £2k for the complete bike imagine how cheap the frame is going to be!
    Thinking about brands and how they come and go, look at Iron Horse. They were very much low quality mainstream for a long time, then they brought in the likes of Hill and Rennie, redesigned the bikes, had a World Cup and Championship winning team, then lost it all again. Companies come and go. I can only see this as a positive thing.

    Mike.

  15. Edd

    cannondale judge?

  16. jpm

    it’s a shame some people are still totally brand obsessed.
    If it works, has a good weight, looks good, then the name is not affecting it’s performance.
    What about if it was the new Giant etc.
    Plenty of other brands have turned around as mentioned above

  17. kimbers

    I kindof agree that saracen as a brand is not worth saving, but it depends where madison are going with this

    if they are gonna use the dh bike and a race team to raise the profile and help them sell a sh!t load of £100, 40lb, full suss bikes with plastic pedals and 3 inches of useless suspension then it will be a complete waste

    if they are gonna rework the entire brand from the bottom up then go for it

    i probably wont buy one though!?!

  18. MPORA Ed

    I’m with ddmonkey on this. It looks good and Simon Wild knows what he’s doing.

  19. Dirt HQ

    I have a feeling that you will be seeing some quality bikes that are well spec’d from Saracen.

    Mike.

  20. willysnow

    pfft always liked saracens, good for the price just a bit heavy, and some dodgy compnents. but that looks stunning and the price is brilliant!! Totally agree with jpm on the brand obsession though

  21. Tim

    I had a Saracen Tuff Trax Comp back in 199? This actually looks quite good (he said in a surprised tone). Bit of a graphical rip-off of an intense with the style and placement of the saracen sticker though.

  22. Mez

    I sooooo need a new frame! And my 21st is in July!! It does look like Saracen have put a pretty sweet frame together! Looks tempting…

  23. Alex

    I think this is a great looking bike and hopefully will start to break some of the barriers of DH. A lower cost bike will make DH more affordable to the masses which in turn will enable the sport to grow. We need to be more inviting as a sport, one of the biggest problems in my opinion is that we are too elitest and equipment sensitive by snubbing new or slower riders or people who have lesser equipment (or brand name).

    On a final note, lets support a true British brand.

  24. Dan

    Im sure that there pretty much made in the same warehouse/factory as alot of other brands (No names mentioned).
    To me,this looks like a nice bit of kit and I know someone who’s invloved in Saracen and I can honnestly say those who doubt em now will be in for a shock in the future to come.
    Trek are nice bikes…and were solid frames,but now there made from Coca Cola cans and yet still you don’t hear people bad mouth them as much as Saracen.
    They make alot of models and who can blame them.You don’t enter a market in selling only a minority of bikes to make no profit.You enter a market/industry to make money as it’s money that makes the industry we all buy into.As harsh as that may say sound you know it’s true. Hope,661,etc…
    Didn’t Maxxis used to be a no hope brand at one point???Now look at them.Personally I think they make the best tires around.
    Stop being so ‘blinkered’ in the way you see things,an open mind leads to an open view.

  25. joe

    Brillant looking bike and a good price.
    Big brands with backing getting back into the downhill side of things can mean onyl good things for the future.
    Nice one Saracen.

  26. jones@dirtmag

    Brand, brand, fucking brand. This whole post says it all (nice one J pm). It was only last year that everyone (including Dirt it seems) got totally carried away with a new downhill bike, and before you know it the spin had started, not all marketing but a lot to do with website chat. The focus is always weighted on image for some reason. The fact remains that there are still not really that many exceptional downhill bikes around, only ‘good’ ones. If the likes of Saracen and Nukeproof come out with good performing bikes for two grand next year the shit will surely hit the fan! 2011 could be a great year.

  27. Joe

    Who gives a crap whats between your legs or what it says on the downtube. When the clock starts the BS stops and as long as you’re having a larf who gives a shite?

    If they are cheap and not crap I’d give one a go.

  28. Jase

    This is looking the dogs, look forward to a review on how it rides, well done Simon and the Saracen crew and two fingers to the brand whores out there!

  29. Al

    I can’t wait to see this in the shops, i’m not one for spending 4k on a bike but i still want one that handles well and doesn’t need bits changing as soon as you buy it. These guys have the cash to change the market and produce a bike that you don’t need a sponsor to pay for. So far so good.

  30. mat le maitre

    the top linkage setup looks like its been robbed off a demo 8 and a glory dh.

  31. amplus taren brasil

    ugly sturdy and likaged single pivot which in my opinion remember transition blindside in terms of construction technology(that old taiwanese looking)…
    i prefer the rage dh!

  32. jonathan

    if it aint crap…then it aint a saracen….thats kind of a compliment?? nice lookin bike but if you go to thier website you’l see that they’re marketed at 12yr olds, hence the affordable price tag, hhmmm suspicious?

  33. olly

    We ARE totally brand obsessed, but thats the crazy world we live in. Jonesy is right though, and plenty of others on here, if they produce this bike with the right geo, get a couple of hip kids with style and speed, get some co-sponsors with good “brand” image and wham bam people will put the “brands” past in the past and the bikes will be sought after for sure. Just like Iron Horse. Bikes at this price will also force the other players in the market to take a good luck at what there doing for sure. Interesting stuff.

  34. matthew edwards

    Yes please! I do hope this turns out good, at that sort of price it would finaly be a race ready bike I could actualy afford rather than daydream about.

  35. dorny

    if it rides better than the likes of a demo or a session 88 for the price of a bighit whos gonna grumble. If you dont wana saracen, dont buy one, easy as. If it wasnt for saracen with the x-ile etc in the late 90′s early oo’s then grass roots dj would have had a very difficult time of things for much longer, maybe time the brand was back making good quality (well better than the x-iles haha) good value grass roots level bikes, dj/dh etc

  36. Wildman

    Hi folks. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

    Were under no illusions about rebuilding the brand, but also want to take it further and make it stronger.

    Just to make it clear, the bike in the picture is a show bike and has been built accordingly. I’d love to say we could do a full saint equipped bike for £2k but that’s not workable. What we will be doing is building a raceable bike for as close to £2k as possible. A bike to get people into racing for not a lot of money, but giving them a frame worth upgrading when budget allows.

    These are just the very first prototypes and I can’t wait to get some people to put them through their paces. Graphics are just for the sample, production decals are way under wraps.

    It’s not from the “same as everyone else” mythical factory in Taiwan but from a trusted technology partner in Taiwan.

    I’ll be sticking some more stuff up on our blog when the shows over.

    Cheers. Wildman.

  37. Dave

    You know MTB has disappeared up its own arse when people talk about £2,000 bikes as being bargain cheap and affordable.

  38. Dirt HQ

    Dave you are right about £2000 being seen as cheap and affordable, but when you look at current DH bikes on the market (and by that I mean 8″+ travel) then that price is very competitive. We would love it here at Dirt if you could by a top of the range bike with an amazing spec for that price, but in truth, it just isn’t going to happen…not yet anyway.

    Mike.

  39. mark twohey

    If Sam Hill started riding one in 2011 how many people would change there minds?? i have seen a lot more Demos out there since him and brendog signed up……..

    As said before it how the bike rides not for the name tag.

  40. Dan

    I wish Saracen all the best as I think they deserve it.I’d ride one of these given the chance. Just a shame some people are so negative.You never no,it may be the best ride aound??

  41. juansamwell

    you know what, i was a hater, and would have loved to pan the new saracen range but once again as back in the day (props to big tims comment for all us old boys who remember the glory days!), it looks like we might have a british brand to be proud of in our midst and i would certainly consider swinging my leg over one of those wen the production model is out.

    I do think that riders (especially in dh circles) can be a bit brand obsessed as was mentioned above brands come and go but well designed products are what stick in peoples minds, look at the way all the fashion kids are droping their iron horeses now and picking up a spesh, there must be a million sundays on ebay atm, and they didnt just all turn into crap just cos sam hill bailed, equaly spesh couldnt sell demo’s three or four years back and now people seem to be falling over themselves to get one.

    all im saying is that in the words of scroobius pip “thou shall think, for yourselves”…..

    dont judge on a name or what some forum idiot like me says, ride things yourself and make your own informed choices, screw what the cool kids say!

    nice work saracen looking good. we await a test ride =)

  42. evilClive

    Wow!!! like a Pheonix from the ashes Saracen has risen, and boy has it risen! Much like Diamondback have over past year or so. Pity theres still a stigmatism regarding the name… I hate brandname junkies… That linkage looks amazing, and I hope the frame stays as it is with just the SARACEN on the downtube, looks mint! Two thumbs up for British bikes!!!

  43. craig

    I agree with the Italian guy! ;)

    If… the bike performs well then you’d be crazy not to. I am not even sure the ‘Saracen’ thing needs discussion. Someone wants to resurrect a brand good for them (especially if they are british). But to be honest I haven’t got the time to be worried about the name. If its a good bike for that price and its british owned then rock on… thats what its all about, or am i missing something? Sounds like it could be an intelligent choice.

    And… more importantly, as previously well expressed by Alex, it will give more people access to a quality machine. As long as it is a quality machine. Could be a complete winner.

  44. omp

    wasn’t saracen the big black guy on gladiators, original series,
    he kicked some ass, looks like saracen could do it again, names are only names, how it rides is important,and the fact that a lot of talent is going by the wayside because of overpriced bikes.

  45. Ali Kennedy

    This is a NICE BIKE guys, how can you sat its not? If it had no brand sticker on it id love to see the comments left then…..i can garantee there be alot more possitive feedback, asking who, what and how cam i get one!
    I will defo be on the look out for one of these, I love this frame!

  46. Tomac the king

    I think it looks sick,

    It maybe Saracen but hey, if it is nice and does the job as it is suppose to do does it really matter who makes it ? Just because it is not some swanky American company or Italian. If it had Intense or Foe’s stuk on it you would all be saying wow man that looks sick go to get me one ! You all know it to !

  47. ed@dirt

    …got to have a quick spin on it yesterday…and let’s just say i can’t wait to get it out on a hill…very promising indeed. In fact the entire new range of Saracen bikes looked amazing, so i think anyone would be a fool not to think that Saracen are taking their rebirth very seriously indeed. On a personal front i think it’s great to see a company making a production fillet brazed steel frame. There’s not many of them around these days, but there sure as hell should be. The Killi is reborn.

  48. Tim

    People are moaning that we are brand obsessed. And? If you’re paying a shit load of cash for something, why not have it look the tits like a LaPierre or a Trek. Everyone gets carried away with this bikes better or worse than that one. Look at the World Cup top ten, all on completely different bikes and finishing within a nats baw hair of each other. If they all work the same, hell yeah, get a nice looking one. There are some shit looking bikes out there, that K100 thing, awful.

    You’ll go fastest on a bike you feel comfortable on anyway. Many a bling bike has been slayed by my old ’03 intense M1.

  49. Pat

    Nice, looking. And everyone is saying “even tough it’s a saracen”…..Saracen used to be one of the leading MTB Brands in the UK…well in the 80s-90s, but I guess most of you are too young to remember. I quite like the look of what they are trying to do now, but it all comes down to how it feels and rides. Don’t you all agree?
    Good luck to Saracen.

  50. Rafi

    a decent/simplified looking version of the 303rdh[wank] and i reakon it will probaly last longer than 6 weeks before it snaps…

  51. Ben

    I’m liking this. Good to see Saracen coming back to form! Rode a Havoc back in the day and rode very well for the price. I like brands who realise we don’t all have bottomless wallets.

    No point being snobby and brandist until some propper tests are done.

  52. Dave the Rave

    This is going to be my next bike/frame set. They made a couple of very good DH bikes back in 99/00 so there is no reason they cant do it again.

    As regards to the brand image, I am afraid stating that the name is tarnished is BS. They have been around for a very long time and when they made that little bit more effort they ended up with some better then average bikes.

    As far as brand snobbery goes, its mainly the younger mummies boys who follow this route. At the age of 14-16 your not getting paid enough to riding rigs of 4-5K. If you grew up in the real world and had to buy the bikes yourself you would be able to appreciate the more affordable rigs such as the above. Bunch of Zooyorks….

  53. phase3UK

    Having been born and bred in Leamington Spa (which is where Saracen was, albeit classed as Warwick as it was on the border of the two towns), I got into MTBing in 1988 just before I left school. Saracen was somewhere I always wanted to work so in my late twenties I actually achieved my plan.
    It saddens and annoys me that anyone who has NO IDEA of how good Saracen were in the day just slates them over the, and I do agree, rubbish that was pumped out once production was moved overseas. If the bikes were so bad then why were they streets ahead of most brands in the early 90s, ie. handbuilt in the Warwick factory titanium bikes with XTR spec for instance. Also if so rubbish then slag off the likes of Steve Peat, who many of the spotty youth worship (not saying he isn’t brilliant, because he is!), who raced for them.
    At the end of the day greed for units sold over handbuilt quality ruined the brand but I can tell you now from being an insider there’s alot of stuff that never made it to production that would of wiped the floor with the “cool brands” but unfortunately the cock up of selling in Argos, JJB Sports etc ruined the brand’s image and therefore demanded cheap junk that so called “mountain bikers” who buy from Argos etc demanded.
    Madison may have the financial backing to bring some good second generation Saracens out but they will never be able to take away the early day, forward thinking history that was once there. So before all you middle school onwards riders, as opposed to us old school, start slating something just make sure you do your research as you maybe surprised. You may even be amazed that we could ride bikes without suspension then to compensate for lack of ability (not all before everyone jumps down my throat!) so please just understand that you can’t slag things off just because you think, but don’t, know it all.

  54. martin

    After being knocked off for the first time in 37 years of cycling, and only coming away with relatively minor injuries, I had to rebuilld my old saracen. This tired bike, built in the late 80′s or very early 90′s has a rigid frame tri-welded, but seemed to me a better option than buying a new alloy bike(I’ve had aluminium snap on me for no apparent reason in the past-handlebars!). So with new wheels and rolling stock, I’ve gone for the 90′s ‘fat boy’ look, and I must say the bike rides well, maybe not as fast as my written off Scott P5, but the LS and DS are still going strong, so I don’t mind being a bit retro as I’m only commuting about 12 miles a day- I think Saracen built some good frames in the early days. I’ve had to replace bearings in the forks and hub, but overall I think I’ve a good bike that will do what it needs to do when you have to do what you need to do on the roads today.

  55. Dancegasman

    Everybody is down on Saracen because of basic ignorance, Halfords shafted the brand because most bike hut staff are 12 and can’t assemble a bike properly, they tried to ruin GT by selling cheap alternatives to the old Hotwheels(Dead) range and I reckon Halfords is the reason Paligap have lost Kona. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover just because MBUK say so. I mean a couple of years ago everyone wanted an Ironhorse because they thought it would make them faster now nobody cares and Ironhorse are struggling. Buy smart, it’s not a fashion show!!! I have a Kiliflyer Carbon XC frame and that frame is an older Merida model, it just says Saracen on the side. My 04 Kona Stab (Also Merida manufactured) Not sure where this is made but the welding is sound and the geo looks good, not to mention price. Badabing, Nice!

  56. mike

    ‘nice-ish looking, but still a saracen’…what’s wrong with saracen?:P
    I rode a mantra hardcore XC for a while and it never failed me, handled really well DH. I don’t remember having to repair it once apart from adjusting the gear tension.

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