Saracen 2020 highlights: Zenith hardtail goes low, long and slack

Saracen Myst Pro downhill bike now available as 29er

Is it 2020 already? We’re in the midst of launch season, with bike brands the world over releasing model year 2020 bikes. That includes Saracen, with the British firm refreshing the Zenith hardtail’s geometry and releasing a 29in version of its Myst Pro downhill rig.

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We went along to Saracen HQ to take a closer look at both bikes. But, if adventure bikes are your thing, we’ve also covered the 2020 highlights from Saracen’s sister brand, Genesis, including some of the first machines we’ve seen with Shimano’s new GRX gravel groupset.

Saracen goes low, slack and long on the Zenith Elite LSL hardtail

After the success of 2019’s highly-rated Mantra Elite LSL – also rated highly by our sister magazine MBUK – Saracen has applied the same low, long and slack geometry on its makeover of the Zenith Elite LSL, the next level up.

This updated, more trail-focused hardtail is full of promise on paper and looks likely to deliver some serious handling chops. Saracen tells us the 2020 Zenith blends a ‘little bit’ of cross-country race with a pinch of trail capability.

Saracen Zenith Elite LSL
A Tranz-X dropper comes as standard on the Saracen Zenith Elite LSL.
Warren Rossiter/Immediate Media

The new Zenith frame is radically low with a super-low-slung top tube. The front-end is a slack for trail riding 65.5 degrees and has a 130mm-travel RockShox FS-35 Gold RL fork. By contrast, the seat angle is a much steeper 75 degrees, which should improve seated climbing comfort.

The Zenith Elite LSL costs £1,599.99 complete with a SRAM Eagle NX drivetrain, Shimano MT501 brakes, a new 130mm travel Rockshox 35 Gold fork, Tranz-X dropper post and Jalco SHL320 29er rims on Formula Boost hubs. The tyres are 2.6in VEE Flow snaps.

Posh privateer 29in Saracen Myst Pro downhill rig debuts

The Myst Team is the bike made famous by Saracen’s star downhill riders Danny Hart, Matt Walker and Alex Marin. You need some seriously deep pockets to meet the £5,799.99 asking price for the team replica bike (available with 29in and 27.5in wheels), though there’s also a 27.5in Myst Pro with the same grade of carbon fibre and more affordable components for £3,999.99.

Saracen Myst Pro 29er
The Saracen Myst Pro now comes in both 27.5 and 29er sizes and shares the exact same carbon frame as used by Danny Hart and the Saracen team.
Warren Rossiter/Immediate Media

Now Saracen has launched a Myst Pro 29er, once again sharing the pro-level Toray carbon fibre frame as the team bike. “The killer privateer race bike is now available in 29in wheels and continues to offer a recipe that just works,” says Saracen.

It shares the same build and price as the Myst Pro 27.5, with a 1×10 Shimano Zee drivetrain and brakes, a Fox Van RC rear shock and BoXXer RC fork, Maxxis DHR II tyres and Race Face finishing kit.

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You can also still opt for an alloy version that we’re currently testing, which shares almost-identical geometry for £2,599.99, though it’s only available with 27.5in wheels. You get a Shimano Zee drivetrain, Shimano’s new MT501 four-piston brakes, X-Fusion suspension, Maxxis DHR II tyres and a Race Face cockpit.