Saracen Myst – First ride review

Race-ready downhill bike

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £2,299.99 RRP

Our review

This is a budget downhill bike that comes with World Cup geometry. Buy it on a Friday and race at the weekend
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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.

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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.

The saracen myst offers top class geometry, handsome looks and good downhill performance for a low cost: the saracen myst offers top class geometry, handsome looks and good downhill performance for a low cost
Steve Behr

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.

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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.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Myst (11)
Brand Saracen

Available Colours Gloss White
Pedals Alloy MTB
Brake Levers Quad Deuce
Weight (lb) 41.2
Weight (kg) 18.7
Stem RSX MKII Direct mount
Shifters Alivio M430 Rapid Fire 9 speed
Seatpost Alloy Micro-adjust / 30.9 mm
Saddle Silverado Comp white
Rims DH 36 hole
Rear Tyre Maxxis Highroller 26 x 2.5 inch
Rear Shock VAN R
Rear Hub Sealed bearing Black 36 hole for 150 x 12 mm axle
Rear Derailleur Sora RD3400 Short cage
Headset Type Gravity SX Pro
Available Sizes M or L
Handlebar Fatboy 750 mm wide / 15 mm rise
Grips/Tape Lock-on dual-density grip
Front Tyre Maxxis Highroller 26 x 2.5 inch
Front Hub Sealed bearing Black 36 hole 20 mm axle
Front Derailleur N/A
Frame Material 7005 Alu
Fork BoXXer Race
Cranks GAP MegaExo DH 36T 170 mm / Polycarbonate bashguard / Gravity Guide
Chain Z99
Cassette Shimano HG50 9-speed cassette 12-25T
Brakes Deuce 203 mm pulse rotors
Bottom Bracket BB-7000
Spoke Type Double-butted stainless steel 14g with brass nipples