Saracen’s Ariel family covers nearly all bases, including kids’ bikes

A look at the new Ariel family, as well as a quick Saracen 2021 range overview

Saracen Ariel

Saracen has overhauled its mountain bike line-up, with the Ariel name being given to a broad range of aluminium mountain bikes, from 130mm trail bikes up to park-ready 180mm rigs. There’s a new e-MTB Ariel too, which uses Shimano’s EP8 motor, and a mini Ariel for kids who rip.

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Saracen has also shifted its sales model to a direct-sale model via its website, and, as we’d expect from a shortened supply chain, pricing for 2021 looks incredibly strong: the adult Ariel range starts with the Ariel 30 at £2,200 and tops out at £4,200 for the Ariel 60 Elite, and £6,500 for the Ariel E-50 Elite e-MTB.

We understand that bikes are in stock right now, excluding the Ariel E-50 models, which should be available in April.

Saracen Ariel 30
At £2,200 the Ariel 30 looks like a lot of bike for the cash.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

The range of bikes includes 130, 160 and 180mm options and, interestingly, they all effectively share the same frameset – changing the shock length (eye-to-eye and stroke), and the linkage adjusts the frame’s travel.

This, understandably, helps keep costs down. The only real difference we can easily see is that the Ariel 30 lacks the ISCG05 mounts of the bigger bikes.

Both the 130mm Ariel 30 and 160mm Ariel 60 (as well as the 150mm travel Ariel E-50) can be run with mixed wheel sizes, with the Small and Medium bikes coming ‘mullet‘ (29in front wheel / 27.5in rear wheel), and the Large and Extra Large coming as full 29er builds – Saracen will supply the bikes with the alternative linkage to make the smaller bikes a full 29er and the larger bikes a mullet. The Ariel 80 is a 27.5in bike.

The bikes all use a linkage-driven single pivot design, dubbed ‘TRL’, with the main pivot hidden just behind the chainring. The full rear triangle then drives a pivoting linkage that plugs into the top tube, allowing room for a bottle cage to be popped on top of the lower section of the down tube.

Saracen Ariel 60
The entry-level, long-travel trail or shorter travel enduro, Ariel 60.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

While we weren’t surprised to see the wider 157mm Super Boost rear wheel spacing on the Ariel 80 with its shared frame, the Ariel 30 has to be one of very few shorter-travel trail bikes sporting the extra-wide rear end. This allows the range of bikes to fit a 29 x 2.6in rear tyre, as well as 200mm rotors at the back.

Saracen Ariel 30

The Ariel 30 bikes (standard, Pro and frameset) have 130mm of rear wheel travel and are built for 130 or 140mm forks.

Their geometry is very contemporary, with the Large having a reach of 505mm, which makes it one of the longest trail bikes on the market.

This is paired with a 618mm stack, 65-degree head angle, 76.5-degree seat angle, 440mm chainstays and a 1,270mm wheelbase (Large).

Saracen Ariel 30 Pro
One of the new flagship Saracen models, the Ariel 30 Pro should be an ideal UK trail bike.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

Saracen Ariel 30 spec

  • Price: £2,199.99 / €2.599
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Performance, EVOL, three-position adjust, 210 x 50
  • Fork: Marzocchi Bomber Z2, 130mm travel, rebound adjust, Sweep adjust rail damper, 15 x 110
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX M7100 / Deore M6100 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano M6100 calipers with M6100 Deore levers
  • Components: Raceface Aeffect 35 bar and stem, ODI grips, KS Rage I dropper post

Saracen Ariel 30 Pro spec

  • Price: £2,999.99 / €3,499
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Performance Elite, EVOL, three-position adjust, 210 x 50
  • Fork: Fox 34 Performance Elite, 130mm travel, HSC LSC HSR LSR Adjust, Grip 2 damper, 15 x 110
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8100 /SLX M7100 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano M6120 calipers with M6100 Deore levers
  • Components: Raceface Atlas bar, Aeffect 35 stem, ODI grips, KS Rage I dropper post

The frame-only option costs £1,199.99 / €1,299 with a Fox DPS Factory shock.

Saracen Ariel 60

The Ariel 60 sports 160mm of travel at the back, paired with a 160mm fork. The geometry is bang up to date for a longer travel trail or enduro bike, with the Large getting a 505mm reach, 636mm stack, 64.5-degree head angle, 76.4-degree seat angle, 440mm chainstays and a 1,278mm wheelbase.

Saracen Ariel 60 Pro
This mid-priced Ariel 60 Pro bike could well be popular on the UK enduro scene.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

Saracen Ariel 60 specs

  • Price: £2,499.99 / €2,999
  • Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance, EVOL, three-position adjust, 230 x 65
  • Fork: Marzocchi Bomber Z1, 160mm travel, rebound adjust, Sweep adjust Grip damper, 15 x 110
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX M7100 / Deore M6100 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano M6100 calipers with M6100 Deore levers
  • Components: Raceface Chester 35 bar and stem, ODI grips, KS Rage I dropper post

Saracen Ariel 60 Pro specs

  • Price: £3,299.99 / €3,899
  • Shock: Fox Float X2 Performance, two-position adjust, 230 x 65
  • Fork: Fox 38 Performance Elite, 160mm travel, HSC LSC HSR LSR Adjust, Grip 2 damper, 15 x 110
  • Drivetrain: Shimano M8100 XT / SLX M7100 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano M6120 calipers with M6100 Deore levers
  • Components: Raceface Atlas 35 bar and Chester 35 stem, ODI grips, KS Rage I dropper post
Saracen Ariel 60 Elite
Fox’s tell-tale orange spring and gold Kashima stanchions hint that this is the top-line Ariel 60 Elite.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

Saracen Ariel 60 Elite specs

  • Price: £4,199.99 / €4,699
  • Shock: Fox Float DHX2 Factory, two-position adjust, SLS spring, 230 x 65
  • Fork: Fox 38 Factory, 160mm travel, HSC LSC HSR LSR Adjust, Grip 2 damper, 15 x 110
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8100 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano M8120 calipers with M8100 XT levers
  • Components: Raceface Next R 35 bar and Turbine R 35 stem, ODI grips, KS LEV Integra dropper post

The frame-only option costs £1,499.00 / €1,699 with a Fox X2 Factory shock.

Saracen Ariel 80

The Ariel 80, as you may have guessed, comes with 180mm of suspension at either end, and rolls on smaller 27.5in wheels front and back.

The Large has a 485mm reach and 624mm stack, paired with a 63.5-degree head angle and 76.1-degree seat angle. The 440mm stays give a wheelbase of 1,268mm, while the bottom bracket sits 346mm off the floor.

Saracen Ariel 80
We think the Ariel 80 just looks bad-ass.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

Saracen Ariel 80 specs

  • Price: £2,399.99 / €2,799
  • Shock: Fox Float DHX Performance, LSC, 250 x 70
  • Fork: RockShox Zeb, 180mm travel, rebound adjust, Charger damper, Debonair, 15 x 110 Boost
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX M7100 / Deore M6100 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano M6100 calipers with M6100 Deore levers
Saracen Ariel 80 Pro
At £3,300 we reckon the Ariel 80 Pro has to be one of the best big-hit, big-value rigs on the market.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

Saracen Ariel 80 Pro specs

  • Price: £3,299.99 / €3,899
  • Shock: Fox Float DHX2 Performance, two-position adjust, 250 x 70
  • Fork: Fox 38 Performance Elite, 180mm travel, HSC LSC HSR LSR Adjust, Grip 2 damper, 15 x 110
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8100 / SLX M7100 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano M6120 calipers with M6100 Deore levers
  • Components: Raceface Atlas 35 bar and Chester 35 stem, ODI grips, KS Rage I dropper post

Saracen Ariel E-50

Saracen’s new e-MTB sits on the Ariel platform, with a very similar aluminium frame that’s still based around the TRL suspension platform.

The geometry closely follows that of the Ariel 60, but to account for the real estate taken up by the motor, the rear triangle is a little longer, with the chainstays coming in at 465mm. You get a 65-degree head angle, 76-degree seat angle and 505mm reach, though.

Saracen Ariel E-50
A Shimano EP8 motor drives the Ariel E-50.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

The 504W batteries are held internally in the down tube. Shimano’s E7000 motor features in the entry-level Ariel E-50, while the latest EP8 motor is fitted to the Pro and Elite models.

While the non-assist bikes are in stock now, Saracen told us its e-MTBs would land in April.

Saracen Ariel E-50 specs

  • Price: £4,499.99 / €5,299.99
  • Motor: Shimano MTB E7000 STEPS drive unit with built in Shimano BT-E8035 504Wh battery
  • Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance, EVOL, three-position adjust, 230 x 65
  • Fork: Marzocchi Bomber Z1, 160mm travel, rebound adjust, sweep adjust Grip damper, 15 x 110
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX M7100 / Deore M6100 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano M6100 calipers with M6100 Deore levers
  • Components: Raceface Chester 35 bar and stem, ODI grips, KS Rage I dropper post

Saracen Ariel E-50 Pro specs

  • Price: £5,499.99 / €6,299.99
  • Motor: Shimano MTB EP800 STEPS drive unit with built in Shimano BT-E8035 504Wh battery
  • Shock: Fox Float X2 Performance, two-position adjust, 230 x 65
  • Fork: Fox 38-E Performance Elite, 160mm travel, HSC LSC HSR LSR adjust, Grip 2 damper, 15 x 110
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8100 / SLX M7100 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano M6120 calipers with M6100 Deore levers
  • Components: Raceface Atlas 35 bar and Chester 35 stem, ODI grips, KS Rage I dropper post
Saracen Ariel E-50 Pro
Saracen’s first fully integrated e-MTB, the E-50.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

Saracen Ariel E-50 Elite specs

  • Price: £6,499.99 / €7,299
  • Motor: Shimano MTB EP800 STEPS drive unit with built-in Shimano BT-E8035 504Wh battery
  • Shock: Fox Float DHX2 Factory, two-position adjust, SLS Spring, 230 x 65
  • Fork: Fox 38–E Factory, 160mm travel, HSC LSC HSR LSR Adjust, Grip 2 damper, 15 x 110 Boost
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8100 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano M8120 calipers with M8100 Deore levers
  • Components: Raceface Next R 35 bar and Turbine R 35 stem, ODI grips, KS LEV Integra dropper post

Saracen Ariel Junior

It’s great to see more children’s bikes enter the market, and with access to the same TRL suspension layout as the adults on the Ariel Junior.

This version of the Ariel has 120mm of travel front and rear, with air suspension meaning easy set up for lighter riders. Much like the bigger bikes, the Ariel Junior rolls on Maxxis’s Minion DHR II tyres, though here they’re 24in versions.

There’s only one size available, which has a 315mm seat tube, 360mm reach and a 65-degree head angle. The shrunken rear-end has 385mm chainstays.

Saracen Ariel Junior
We don’t think the Ariel Junior will hold many kids back.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

Saracen Ariel Junior specs

  • Price: £1,699.99 / €1,999.99
  • Frame: Series 3 custom butted and hydroformed 6013 alloy front triangle and swingarm, signature TRL suspension design, internal cable routing, 12 x 142mm, 120mm travel
  • Shock: X-Fusion 02 PRO, Rebound adjust, 190 x 40
  • Fork: X-Fusion Velvet RL2, 120mm travel, Rebound adjust, Lockout, RL2 damper, 41mm rake
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX 11-speed, 11-42t, 30t ring
  • Brakes: Shimano M6100 calipers with M6100 Deore levers
  • Components: Raceface Ride bar and Saracen junior stem, ODI grips, Raceface Chester seatpost – tubeless ready

Saracen Myst

Saracen’s Myst downhill bike remains in the line-up, having won the 2020 UCI DH Men’s World Cup. Both aluminium and carbon versions are on offer, and the carbon bikes roll on either mixed or 29in wheels (the alloy spins on the smaller hoops).

Saracen Myst
Saracen’s race pedigree is strong – its DH bike won the 2020 DH World Cup overall (men’s) under Matt Walker.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

The range starts with the £2,599.99 / €3,199 Myst AL, which has an entry-level RockShox Boxxer fork, Marzocchi Bomber CR coil shock and Shimano Zee drivetrain.

The top-end bike is the Myst Team and is available in either full 29in setup or a mullet version. It comes in at £5,199.99 / €5,999 and features a carbon frame and full Factory level Fox suspension.

A carbon frameset is also available for £2,299.99 / €2,799.

Saracen Mantra LSL

The Mantra LSL is Saracen’s 27.5in trail hardtail, and features its Long Slack Low geometry. The range starts below the magic £1,000 price point.

The large bikes get a long 490mm reach with a 65-degree head angle and a bottom bracket that drops 52mm below the axles.

Saracen Mantra LSL
The Mantra is Saracen’s 27.5in trail hardtail and features some chunky Vee Tyre Co rubber.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

Saracen Mantra Trail LSL specs

  • Price: £999.99 / €1,199
  • Fork: RockShox FS-35 Silver, 140mm travel, Solo air, Rebound Adjust, 15 x 110
  • Drivetrain: SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano MT420 calipers with M4100 Deore levers
  • Components: Saracen custom bar and stem, Saracen Lock-on grips, KS Rage I dropper post

Saracen Mantra Elite LSL specs

  • Price: £1,399.99 / €1,699
  • Fork: Marzocchi Bomber Z2, 140mm travel, rebound adjust, Sweep adjust rail damper, 15 x 110
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano MT420 calipers with M4100 Deore levers
  • Components: Saracen custom bar and stem, Saracen Lock-on grips, KS Rage I dropper post

Saracen Zenith LSL

The Zenith features 29in wheels and very similar long, slack and low geometry. This means you get a 490mm reach, 65.5-degree head angle and a 75-degree seat angle.

Our videographer Max has been riding a Saracen Zenith Elite LSL as his long-term test bike.

Saracen Zenith LSL
The Zenith LSL is Saracen’s Long Slack Low aggro 29er hardtail, with a Marzocchi Z2 up front and a SRAM NX drivetrain.
Laurence Crossman-Ems

Saracen Zenith Elite LSL specs

  • Price: £1,399.99 / €1,699
  • Fork: Marzocchi Bomber Z2, 130mm travel, rebound adjust, Sweep adjust rail damper, 15 x 110
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed, 10-51t
  • Brakes: Shimano MT420 calipers with M4100 Deore levers
  • Components: Saracen custom bar and stem, Saracen lock-on grips, KS Rage I dropper post

Saracen Amplitude

Saracen also has a line of three Amplitude dirt jump bikes. They feature 100mm travel forks and a single-speed drivetrain, with two steel models and a higher-end alloy version.

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The range starts at £599.99 / €749 for the Amplitude CR2 and hits £799.99 / €999 for the alloy Amplitude AL Team.