Saracen have unveiled their new bike range for 2008 and it's goodbye bargain basement bikes and hello enthusiast rigs with impressive finishing kits. The new APS [Advanced Performance Series] range has been created with the help of one of the UK's top bike designers, Justin Stevenson who has come from Raleigh's special product division.
Saracen realised that they couldn't compete at the low end of the market - especially with the likes of Tesco and Wal-Mart knocking out bikes at pocket money prices - so they've gone back to what they do best; making good quality bikes for cycling enthusiasts.
Keeping up with the likes of Trek, Saracen are stepping into the 29er ring with their Kili 29er model. Saracen is probably best known for its Kili range, and the aluminium 29er hits the shelves with a RockShox Reba Race fork, Shimano LX hydraulic brakes and LX/XT gearing with a shadow rear derailleur at a RRP of £1000.
The Zen is Saracen's long travel hardtail and has always rated highly with What Mountain Bike's Steve Worland. In the past, the rear end has delivered a slightly harsh ride - something which has now been ironed out with the introduction of Reynolds 631 steel to give more compliant riding experience. Speaking about the switch, Justin Stevenson said that he never thought steel would be considered preferable to aluminium - at least not back in the days when alu was king.
Interestingly, although the bikes in this range are trail riding machines, they've been manufactured to include rack mounts for those who might want to use them for commuting with panniers in the week, before hitting the hills at the weekend. The mounts are a subtle and practical addition that demonstrates the thought that's been put into the reinvigorated range. RRP: £1250
The Gailibier is Saracen's top end carbon road bike with Shimano Ultegra gearing, Ultegra wheelset and FSA oversize bars and stems. RRP: £2,000
The Mantra 2 is Saracen's mid-range hardcore hardtail equipped with Marzocchi MZ comp forks with 120mm travel, oil damping, and adjustable preload, Shimano Easifire 24 speed trigger shifters, Tektro IOX cable disk brakes and SDG Bel Air RL saddle. RRP: £400
The top road bike in the Core Range, the Tour 3 has a lightweight aluminium frame with mounts for narrow mudguards, and a carbon aero blade fork. New Shimano Sora gearing is used with Tektro brakes and Shimano WHR500 wheelset. RRP: £575