Saracen’s reputation is based on its downhill and dirt jump bikes, so it’s no surprise that its latest on-road commuter machine features plenty of that tough character in its design.
The Hack 2’s frame is made from hydroformed 6061 aluminium with an oversized down tube and hefty head tube, which houses a substantial carbon cyclocross fork with ample tyre clearance. Its long chainstays – 432mm – are there to keep the chainline perfect, as the rear axle is a wide mountain bike over-locknut distance of 135mm, the standard for disc road bikes.
Highs: Good brakes, great price, big fun
Lows: A bit heavy for big climbs
The mainly Tiagra drivetrain is what you’d expect for a grand; it does have a non-series Shimano R565 compact chainset, but this is still a step up from budget ones often seen at this price.
The Render R CX mechanical disc brakes are from ProMax. By playing safe on rotor size – going to a big 160mm diameter – Saracen has made the most of the brakes’ performance. It takes very little effort at the lever to bring its 11 kilos to a safe and controlled stop. And because it takes less effort – thanks to those big rotors – it stays remarkably free of the noise that can plague some disc brakes.
The Hack 2 is based around a conventional 72.5-degree head and 73-degree seat angle and a mid-height 165mm head-tube. Its long, 103cm wheelbase combines with wide 35mm tyres for a very comfortable and extremely stable ride.
We’ve taken it on road, trail and paths and it has proven capable on all of these surfaces. Only on climbs do its shortcomings come to the fore, and these are down to its weight. The flipside is that on descents its long, stable wheelbase and slick tyres make it capable of serious speed, safe in the knowledge that its impressive braking allows you superb control over your velocity.
As a year-round, hard-as-Jason-Statham-in-Transporter commuter bike the Hack 2 takes some beating (a bit like Jason Statham). It’s tough enough to survive even our pothole-ravaged streets and still provide plenty of fun and thrills come the weekend.