The long-awaited return of Saracen brings a new downhill rig to the line up – the Myst. Years of development with top level riders should bring the bike to the forefront of performance and value.
Ride & handling: Good performance for the price but suspension needs fettling
With such a bargain price tag it would be wrong to expect perfection but the Myst certainly gets near. The suspension action is good and super-supple during its initial stroke, but could do with a shock with less ramp-up built in.
That way, Saracen could make the most of the progressive leverage rate curve given by the linkage. As the stock Fox Van R shock reaches its limits when it comes to hard, high-speed hits, the ramp-up really starts to become quite harsh, causing a lot of feedback through the pedals.
The RockShox Boxxer RC is a good fork too – the one here isn’t the best we’ve tried, but it’s the only one we’ve ever had issues with. After winding on all the compression damping there was still a lack of support through the mid part of the travel.
Because of this, the Myst felt somewhat unbalanced, with the fork blowing through its travel and the shock not making it to bottom-out. But that’s an easily solvable problem with a setup and tune on both ends.
Despite the bike’s heavyish build, the spec all works well. The wheels are stiff and the rims have stood up without any denting. The brakes are powerful and the whole bike feels able to cope with whatever’s thrown at it.
Frame & equipment: Top class geometry and spec that works well
The paintjob, low-slung lines and custom tubeset make for a great-looking bike. But the development that’s gone into the Myst becomes obvious when you take a peek at the geometry sheet. Our large bike sits with a 48in wheelbase, 63-degree head angle and roomy 610mm top tube. As geometry goes, the Myst looks spot-on – more similar to a World Cup race bike than a budget downhiller.
The rear end gives 203mm of suspension through Saracen’s signature design, kept stiff with a 150 x 12mm axle. The wheels are built from Saracen’s own DH rims and KT hubs, and stopping is provided by Quad’s Deuce brakes with 203mm rotors. This is one of only a handful of bikes we’ve seen that rolls out of the factory with a set of Maxxis High Roller tyres – and they’re the proper Super Tacky, 2.5in downhill ones.
Funn keep the cockpit sweet with a direct-mount stem and 750mm wide Fatboy bars, shod with some surprisingly comfy Saracen own-brand grips. The Shimano Alivio shifter is amazingly positive, with a reassuring clunk. Coupled to the Shimano Sora short cage road mech, it keeps things at a great price while not sacriﬁcing performance. Our test rig tipped the scales at 18.7kg (41.2lb); not bad for a bike at this price.