Since the rebirth of Saracen and the launch of its factory downhill team, the Myst has clocked up an impressive result sheet.
At a penny under three grand, it doesn’t sound cheap for an entry-level downhill ride, but downhill bikes are inherently expensive thanks to the top level technology involved in putting an 8in travel monster together.
Frame and equipment: confidence inspiring
Built around an aluminium front triangle and carbon fibre swingarm, the Myst boasts many frame features you’d expect from a trail rig. The tapered head tube keeps it stiff up front, while the 12x150mm thru-axle and low-slung 83mm-wide bottom bracket shell tick all the DH frame boxes. Sitting at 353mm, the bottom bracket is low, a DH bike trait, giving the feeling of being ‘in’ the bike rather than ‘on’ it.
The Myst is hugely confidence inspiring, matching the low bottom bracket to a slack 64-degree head angle and roomy 610mm top tube on our Large size test bike. The 1210mm wheelbase is long enough to provide tons of that encouraging stability, while the 436mm chainstay ties in to get the bike through those tight weaving switchbacks.
Ride and handling: solid performance with minor flaws
We’d have no problem hammering the Saracen as our own bike, and the decent spec has helped it last through the test period. Shimano’s M615 Deore brakes may sound low spec for a £3000 bike, but they worked perfectly for us and have power to rival brakes worth thrice the price. The FSA crankset is heavy but will last forever, and the Zee mech and shifters have stood strong through multiple smashes and crashes without any adjustment. The Maxxis High Roller 2 tyres are a welcome spec inclusion too, and handle well in all but the sloppiest mud.
This Saracen is a solid and dependable performer in UK conditions
The Boxxer RC fork is somewhat basic, and although it’s possible to push hard and find damping inconsistencies if you’re a high-level rider, it’s unlikely most will pick up on the small issues. The Fox Van RC shock suffers in the same way, albeit only on very high-speed compressions where it loses some control in the rebound damping.
That said, we still only encountered these problems smashing down Spanish rock littered DH runs. At our local trails here in the UK, the Myst didn’t miss a beat, and we see the simple adjustments on the dampers as a good thing, as it’s easier to achieve a setup that’s good for you without spending hours doing back to back runs twiddling knobs every time.