That first version of the Saker had good angles, an appealing Honda like line to its chassis and that aforementioned sizing which luckily wasn’t far off for my six-foot frame. But it was noisy, the pulley wheel wasn’t perfect and the suspension whilst being smooth in the first half had a tendency to stiffen harshly on occasion somewhere past fifty percent.
Those issues have now been resolved and although I’m largely convinced on the suspension there was an occasion which made me want to explore it further. It could well have been me falling into the wrong part of a root section at the wrong time, but I’d just like a bit more time on it on some different terrain just to be sure. I’m just talking fine detail. On fast rough terrain the bike generally skipped through, generating drive in an instant, there’s a genuine pace to the bike, the bike dances lightly over the tops of the collisions rather than getting tangled up in them.
Uphill the ARBR drives with an impressive tightness to its chassis on climbs and although I’d like to have had a damper lock out, the steep seat tube angle didn’t result in too much rearward bias. A lock out damper would definitely add to the experience but the 100%anti squat characteristic plays its part well. Overall the weight and riding position allows for comfortable extended rides.
Where it really matters – direction changes between corners – the angles on this bike are as good as it gets, the balance point is bang on, with very little weight distribution changes to deal with. There’s exceptional damper/chassis balance to the bike and a low slung top tube which allows for acute changes to body position when trying to maintain flow.
Rob and his team of experts have dealt impressively with the noise issues and this bike is almost silent, that’s both within the frame and also on the chain line. The detailing of frame protection is exemplary. The idler is now improved, larger and features narrow/wide. On my test bike there was little noise from the drive system, no cable rattling inside the frame or no unnecessary clanging that we experience on so many bikes. Some big, big points scored for the Straker.
Finally whilst the flex/stiffness balance appears to be good we did have an issue with what appeared to be a slightly tight 36 fork, we’ll have to get more info on that as its certainly not common, and a fork we love riding most of the time.