Saracen Myst Team - Bike test - Dirt

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Saracen Myst Team – Bike test

Could this be the DH bike to watch?

With Saracen having some serious fire power behind them for this year’s World cup season, the Myst really will be put though its paces as Danny Hart joins the junior World champ Matt Walker on the Madison team. So how will the bike perform? With one win under his belt already its seems to be working.

Words and images: Ieuan Williams

2018 SARACEN MYST TEAM – REVIEW

The Myst Team is Saracen’s flagship bike. Draped with all the goodness that would be expected of a world class machine.

Shape and fit

The Saracen Myst comes in three sizes for 2018. Medium to XL this should cover most bases with the taller riders normally struggling to find bikes to fit. The 63° head angle and 437mm rear chainstay length are all numbers that are more than welcome. The Size L was used in this test with this being recommended for the rider height. 445mm reach numbers do sound a little on the small side but time will tell. The PRO cockpit has a great feel to both the width and shape. This slightly aiding towards the size issue.

suspension and chassis

The carbon chassis used in the Myst has a real air of quality. Smooth lines, with a beefy solid look. The UD carbon linkage mated up with large pivot bearings keeps the rigidity. The Myst also has the added bonus of a custom head tube with adjustable front centre plus-minus 5mm. This really helps the rider tune the bike to a personal fit. Saracen has stuck with the previous linkage design – this TRL suspension system has been tried and tested – with the rear travel at 203mm.

When thinking of damping there are very few places to go for a high end feel. Fox has been drafted in for the fire power. A Fox 40 Factory fork is always a safe upfront, not just in performance but in looks too. Out back, there’s the perfect paring of a Fox X2 coil damper. This Saracen really is a bike designed for performance.

Specification

A top class build on offer here with this Team model. There is a more affordable Myst that comes with a  lower spec build kit for £3,699 but for the test the full-on, all bells and whistles model was chosen. Specification is as follows:

Frame: 24T/40T/3K Toray UD carbon blend / 37mm main pivot bearings / 28mm linkage bearings / UD carbon linkage / signature TRL suspension design / custom headtube with adjustable front centre plus-minus 5mm / internal cable routing / integrated fork bump-stops
Fork: Fox 40 Factory / 203mm travel / FIT damper / HSC/LSC / 20×110
Rear Shock: Fox DHX2 Factory / Kashima / HSC/LSC / RVS / SLS spring
Headset: Saracen off-set headset / 0mm / 5mm
Stem: PRO Tharsis 9.8 / 50mm / direct mount / 0 degree rise / 31.8mm clamp
Bars: PRO Tharsis 9.8 7050 DB alloy riser bar / 800mm wide /20mm rise / 5 degree up bend / 9 degree back bend
Brakes: Shimano Saint M820 203mm
Front Mech: Gamut P30s
Rear Mech + Shifters: Shimano Saint M820 Shadow Plus/Shimano Saint M820 Rapidfire Plus
Wheels:  DT Swiss FR570 27.5 32h rims on Shimano Saint M820 front,M825 rear 32h
Tyres: Maxxis Highroller II / 42a Super Tacky / 27.5 x 2.4″
Chainset: Shimano Saint M825 36T / 165mm with Shimano SM-BB80 Bottom Bracket
Cassette:  Shimano HG500 10 speed cassette 11-25T

Feeling

With suspension that was already well established, the setup was fairly easy. A simple change of rear damper spring rate and then 86 psi upfront, the Fox really is an easy one to make right.

With some good bike time on some proper downhill courses this bike would soon have a good shake down. The first thing that was noticed was the slight lack of urgency that the Myst has, it seems to take some effort to get the bike up to speed.

At first I thought it was the tyre pressures or maybe some more setup was required but this was all checked and nothing was off. After a few laps and some comparison to a different bike the sizing really seemed to be the issue. The size L that was supplied has reach numbers of 445mm. This in my books would be classed as a medium. If you compare this to the Canyon Sender which has a 440mm reach for size M, the more cramped riding position did not help the feeling.

When talking about fatigue on a downhill bike it is slightly more interesting. Just think, you do not need the energy to climb back up the hill afterwards. This is an all-in, three-to-five minute thrash. Even in this short period though, the feeling of the chassis and harshness on big hits will sap energy. The Saracen Myst does cope with this well. The PRO brand cockpit has a great feel when taking big hits, match this up with a good set of Fox dampers then it keeps the points of contact high quality. The carbon chassis is stiff but the components make for the flex needed keeping the fatigue low. I’m not saying you will be feeling  fresh after sprinting this beast mind.

The Myst really is not a bad machine though – look at the spec that is given for the £5,699. Fox dampers, DT Swiss wheel set, Shimano Saint all round. Nothing to be changed here. The Saracen Myst does chew up the terrain when you do get up to speed, taking Revolution Bike park and Antur Stiniog at its leisure. This is mainly down to the rear suspension system. The same as you will find on its shorter travel stablemate the Ariel. This is a smooth and fairly simple design that just works well.

Limitations

With a parts selection like this it’s hard to find fault. The Shimano Saint brakes worked well with no technical issues. Even if it has been mentioned already, the size really is the only issue I see here. It seems that there are so many brands with bikes that size up on the smaller side of things. There are plenty of things that can be done to sort this but I feel if you are over the 6 foot mark then you will find the ride slightly cramped.

There was also a slight knock from the rear linkage that couldn’t be solved. There was no damage or problems but the noise was there.

Verdict

Sitting pretty in the mid-range downhill bike price with up market components this Saracen Myst could really be a serious but of kit but with the likes of YT, Canyon and even Intense now having close prices, there is plenty of competition. Take the size up from the one you would normally ride, get the setup dialled in, then this would be a great race bike or park lapper with some killer gear bolted onboard.

The added bonus of an offset headset is a great touch. Maybe if the XL bike was supplied and the offset fitted this would have made for a much better fit. Fast when you get it going but tiring to get there. All this being said the 29” version that we have all seen really will be something so this is on the hit list for the future.

Price: £5,699

www.saracen.co.uk

READ DIRT’S FEATURE ON THE 2018 SARACEN LAUNCH HERE

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