Saracen’s 140mm travel Ariel came very close to making it into last year’s Dirt 100, but this new 160mm version definitely warrants a place. If there was one area where the 140mm lost marks it was because it was a little portly for a bike with that much travel, but this frame is almost exactly the same weight (the 140mm has got lighter for 2012) which suddenly makes it very competitive in this travel category. What we really love about the Ariel though is that it’s built for modern day riding with superb geometry.
It loves to descend, but with great power transfer it’s also just as happy shooting along or up. It’s a true do–it–all bike, you could easily take it on a five hour trail ride, do an uplift day, take it to the Alps, or race an enduro on it, all without feeling either under or over biked. On the ‘modern’ front it’s also great to see a company offering a bike out of the box with a 1×10 setup. This bike has clearly had a lot of thought put into it and it’s a tough one to beat, especially at such a good price.
Price: Frame £1199.00, Complete £2999.00