Saracen‘s name stretches back to the early history of mountain biking, but relatively recently, the resurgent brand has again cast its eye towards the road market.
Its Tenet series of aluminium bikes is aimed squarely at cycle to work scheme users and first time riders. The Tenet 2 sits in the middle of the three-machine line-up.
HIGHS: Reliable shifting and great tyres
LOWS: Flexy chainset and quite weighty
BUY IF… You want a predictable and stable first road bike
This bike, and the others in the range, are based around a 6061 aluminium frame, which is hydroformed to give the Saracen its desired tube shapes. The frame blends racy looks with a build that is a little more versatile, while the carbon fork has an aluminium steerer tube to keeps the costs down.
The tapered head tube provides plenty of material for attaching the ovalised down-tube and top-tube, both of which change shape towards the rear of the frame. The down tube takes on a squarer profile at the bottom bracket, ensuring plenty of weld length, the top-tube houses the internally routed rear brake cable.
Both the seatstays and chainstays are narrow with the seatstays following a gentle S-curve. The bright paint lends it a sporty aesthetic and some extra visibility in the dark, the yellow details showing up well in headlights.
Saracen has included front and rear mudguard mounts, making the Tenet easy to adapt for winter riding and adding to its versatility. Speaking of potential use, Saracen has also specced a seven-degree stem that lifts the front end and gives you a less aggressive riding position. We inverted the stem during testing to lower the handlebar, which succeeded in livening up the handling…
And the handling itself is exactly what we’d expect. Because of its near-10kg weight, the Tenet is not the most exciting bike in the world, but the ride is predictable, stable and safe. It isn’t aggressive, cruises easily and is pleasingly light to steer. On the flipside, the aluminium frame is harsh, and transfers road buzz through to the saddle and your hands. The aluminium seatpost and handlebar do little to reduce it, though comfort is helped to some degree by the 25mm tyres.
At £750, the inclusion of Shimano’s 18-speed Sora gearing is perfectly acceptable. While it lacks the smooth lines of the concealed cables that feature in 105 and above, the shifters provide a light action, a great feel and a good performance.
The 50/34 compact chainset and 12-27 cassette offer a good range of ratios to help you to maintain both a decent speed along the flat and a comfortable cadence up hills. The only letdown with the transmission is the Octalink chainset – when putting the power down, the chain rubs on the front derailleur more than it might with a stiffer chainset.
The wheels are constructed with Formula hubs and Araya rims. Their 24 front and 32 rear spokes make for a sturdy wheelset that lacks a little zing, but should be reliable in the long run. The extra width of the 25mm Schwalbe Lugano tyres not only gives a little extra comfort, but also adds some welcome additional traction in more slippery conditions.
The Tektro brakes are ample, if not show-stopping stoppers for when you need to bring your speed under control, with the colour-matched Kore saddle rounding off the parts package nicely.