Lance McDermott gets custom Saracen for Crankworx

Ariel trail bike undergoes slopestyle makeover

Saracen have built Lance McDermott a custom short-travel bike for the slopestyle contest at Crankworx in Whistler, Canada this weekend.

The prototype ride is based on the company's acclaimed Ariel trail bike, but with 100mm rather than 140mm of rear suspension, courtesy of a custom linkage and shorter shock.

It also has a lower top tube than the stock Ariel for improved standover clearance when pulling tricks, sits closer to the ground due to a lower bottom bracket, has a beefed-up front end and a steeper head angle – 69° rather than the standard 68° with a 140mm fork.

Lance is apparently running a 110mm fork – with an 800lb spring to soak up the big hits! – in order to give the bike almost the same geometry as his Saracen AL1 hardtail, which should make the head angle even steeper – somewhere in the region of 70.5°.

Frame weight is 7lb (without shock), but Saracen stress that the bike has "been overbuilt to handle the kicking Lance is gonna give it". It's set up as a singlespeed and decked out with kit from McDermott's sponsors, including Marzocchi suspension, Alex wheels and Gusset components.

Prototype saracen ariel slopestyle bike:
Prototype saracen ariel slopestyle bike:

Saracen brand manager Simon Wild told BikeRadar: "It's something we've put together for Lance. We've been developing a slopestyle bike along the lines of the Myst downhill bike, but he's been riding the Ariel 140 and asked whether there was any chance we could modify one of those."

At present the bike has no name and it's unclear whether it'll ever reach production. Saracen tell us that they have a spare linkage and are planning to build up a second bike with a slightly less slopestyle-specific spec to see how it handles.

"It's nice to have access to a short-travel bike that isn't cross-country orientated," said Wild. "It's the sort of bike that would be idea for mucking about down the BMX track and doing some jumps – almost like a mini bikepark bike."

Ultimately, the aim is to expand the Ariel line-up with both longer- and shorter-travel models, but for now the company's focus is getting the design of the Myst downhill bike spot-on.

Prototype saracen ariel slopestyle bike:
Prototype saracen ariel slopestyle bike:

This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
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