From Dirt Issue 105 – November 2010
By Steve Jones
The Saracen Myst has many elements that bikes double, even three times, the price fail to achieve. Good angles, good tyres, bar, stem, grips, chainset, reasonable weight, reliable brakes, seat and most of all, a suspension design that doesn’t brag to be the next best thing, yet does the job in hand. It doesn’t boast bottomless travel or incredible pedalling efficiency. But then you’ve probably heard that old nugget a million times. The Myst’s suspension design and angles are excellent.
Saracen have declared a new beginning alright, and they have already impressed with their heavy hitting trail bike the Ariel. Their aim appears straightforward – good solid bikes at good money. And remember it was only fifteen years ago that Peat and Warner were cranking them.
Having already mentioned the good componentry bits on the new Myst, what then of the overall first impressions? Well for the money its good (it was actually unbeatable a few months ago) but there are a now a few other alternatives for 2011, notably the new Kona Operator at £2100 and YT Industries Tues that includes a pair of BoXXer Teams in the spec! Trek had a gem at under three grand a few years back, but now that bike rises to £3500 with this same fork, the RockShox RC. And it’s with the fork in particular that I have the biggest issue with on this bike, and one that raises many other questions.
The RC doesn’t really back up the rest of the good work that Saracen have done. Geometry great, fork…basic and…rubbish. We’d like to have seen them build a high–end spec’d bike as well. It can be upgraded. For a price. New compression and rebound? About five hundred quid. The poor old Race simply cannot deal with successive and big hits very effectively. It’s pretty much night and day with the Team or World Cup in comparison. Then there’s the shock…exceptionally average. Dull suspension on otherwise impeccable angles. Shame really. But then many other companies are asking a thousand pounds more for a bike with these same dampers, which makes this bike about right and puts other bikes into perspective. But as mentioned, we’d really like to see Saracen with a higher model to complement this one – for only a bit more money obviously!
You simply cannot underestimate the value of good suspension when you push harder. OK it’s fine at lower tempo, and yes you can still ride the Myst at pace, but you could maybe be riding a shorter travel bike with a better fork faster. If you are looking at this as your first gravity bike then maybe also consider bikes such as the Scott Voltage for only a few hundred pounds more and better damping that’s capable of a wider range of riding to develop skills. However if you are fixed on a DH bike you won’t go wrong with the Myst, buy it, upgrade it should you need to. Yes twenty three hundred quid gets you quite a bit of bike, but you still get what you pay for.
Look out for a full test in a future issue.
Price: £2299.99 for the full bike. £1499.99 for the frameset (with Fox DHX RC4)
Sizes: M and L