Saracen preparing to launch full-suspension range

'Car park test' shows promise

At the start of the summer we showed you the new hardtail mountain bikes from relaunched British brand Saracen. With those bikes about to hit the shops, they've been working on their full-suspension range.

The full-bounce bikes – including a downhill rig – are due to be launched at the start of the London Cycle Show next month, but we got a sneak peek at a prototype of the 5.5in-travel (140mm) Ariel model, and very nice it looked too.

We weren't allowed to take any photos, but were able to take it for a quick rip around. The 'car park test' may not be the most reliable but the Ariel passed with flying colours.

It's a clean-looking bike, with a linkage activated single pivot suspension design. Saracen describe it as a "long-travel, lightweight, all-day, all-mountain bike".

The Ariel is designed to take forks with up to 160mm (6.3in) of travel, and has an ISCG mount for a chain device. Our prototype had a 1.5in head tube but this may be changed to a tapered tube on the production model to save weight. Replaceable dropouts mean you can swap between 9mm and 12mm axles.

Three models will be available, starting at around £1,600. Saracen's new owners Madison, the UK's Shimano distributors, say the Ariel should weigh around 30lb as stock but could easily be brought down to 28lb with some lightweight kit.

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