First Look: Saracen Goes Direct & Launches 5 Brand New Bikes

Mar 1, 2021
by Seb Stott  
Saracen Ariel 30 Pro

Saracen has released a whole new range of new bikes under the Ariel name. The five bikes include trail, enduro and park bikes, plus an e-bike and a full-suspension kids bike too. At the same time, they've made the move to direct sales in order to offer these, and all their other bikes, at more competitive prices.

bigquotesThis is a huge moment in Saracen’s history and one we felt was necessary for the brand to progress. By selling direct we are able to price and spec bikes more competitively than ever before. Andy Ayers, Saracen's senior brand manager

At the heart of the Ariel range are the Ariel 30, 60 and 80 - add 100 to the name to get the rear travel in millimetres - catering for trail, enduro and freeride/park riding, respectively. Check the home page for a full review of the Ariel 80. Meanwhile the Ariel E150 is Saracen's first proper e-bike which, as the sharpest readers will have guessed, offers 150mm of travel. Finally, there's the Ariel Junior with 24" wheels and 120mm of suspension travel for mini shredders.

Saracen is part of the same group as Madison, Shimano's UK distributor. They plan to use the network of Shimano service centers throughout the UK and Europe to provide servicing to Saracen's customers. For now, they will only be available through the website in the UK and Europe, though Saracen hopes to make them available in North America in future.

The five bikes in the Ariel lineup share Saracen's TLR linkage driven single pivot suspension design, aluminium frames only and a focus on competitive pricing. They also share properly progressive sizing, with some models sporting a 505mm reach in a size large. Let's take a look at the range.




Saracen Ariel 30 Details

• Wheelsize: S&M: mullet, L&XL: 29"
• Travel: 130mm f&r
• 6013 aluminium frame
• 65° head angle
• Chainstay length: 440mm
• Push links included for mullet-29 conversion
• SuperBoost 157 rear axle spacing
• Bottle mounts: yes
• Price range: £2,199.99 / € 2,599, £2,999.99 / € 3,499 (Pro)
saracen.co.uk

The Ariel 30 is designed for everyday trail duties. Saracen describes it as the bike that most UK buyers should really be looking at for swooping singletrack, trail centers and big days of pedaling. The small and medium come with a mullet setup while the large and XL are 29ers, but all bikes come with the links required to change the rear wheel size if you wish. The base model sports a Fox DPS Performance 3-position shock, Marzocchi Z2 fork, Shimano Deore brakes and drivetrain with an SLX derailleur. Meanwhile the Pro model swaps to a Fox 34 Performance fork, XT/SLX drivetrain and four-piston calipers.






Saracen Ariel 60 Details

• Wheelsize: S&M: mullet, L&XL: 29"
• Travel: 160mm f&r
• 6013 aluminium frame
• 64.6° head angle
• Chainstay length: 440mm
• Push links included for mullet-29 conversion
• SuperBoost 157 rear axle spacing
• Bottle mounts: yes
• Price range: £2,499.99 / € 2,999, £3,299.99 / € 3,899 (Pro), £4,199.99 / €4,699 (Elite)
saracen.co.uk

With 160mm of travel at each end, the Ariel 60 is designed for enduro. Like the 30, the smaller two sizes are a mullet and the large and XL come setup as a full 29er, but links are included to swap from one to the other.

There are three models. The base model uses a Marzocchi Z1 fork, Fox DPX2 shock with 3-position compression lever and Shimano Deore brakes and 12-speed drivetrain with an SLX derailleur. The Pro model upgrades to a Fox 38 with GRIP2 damper and X2 Performance shock, plus Shimano's XT/SLX drivetrain and Deore brakes with four-piston calipers. The Elite model goes all out with Fox Factory suspension, full XT drivetrain and XT four-piston brakes.

Saracen Ariel 60 Pro
Saracen Ariel 60 Elite






Saracen Ariel 80 Details

• Wheelsize: 27.5"
• Travel: 180mm f&r
• 6013 aluminium frame
• 63.5° head angle
• Chainstay length: 438mm
• SuperBoost 157 rear spacing
• Bottle mounts: no
• Price range: £2399.99 / € 2,799, £3,299.99 / € 3,899 (Pro)
saracen.co.uk

We've got a full review of the Ariel 80 on the home page. The takeaway is that it's a highly capable freeride/park bike that can be pedaled to the top without much fuss. The base model uses the RockShox Zeb R fork and Fox Van RC shock, while the Pro model gets a Fox 38 GRIP2 fork and DHX2 shock with a climb switch (something I wished the base model had too!)

Saracen Ariel 80 Pro





Saracen Ariel E50
Saracen E50 Elite


Saracen Ariel E50 Details

• Wheelsize: 27.5"
• Travel: 150mm (r) / 160mm (f)
• Shimano EP8 motor (Pro an Elite) or E7000 (base model)
• 504Wh integrated battery
• 6013 aluminium frame
• 65° head angle
• Chainstay length: 465mm
• SuperBoost 157 rear axle spacing
• Bottle mounts: yes
• Price range: £4,499.99 / € 5,299, £5,499.99 / €6,299 (Pro), £6,499.99 / € 7,299 (Elite)
saracen.co.uk


The E50 is Saracen's first fully integrated eMTB. Its 465mm chainstays are not as fashionably short and its 504Wh battery is not as large as many modern ebikes, but starting at £4,499.99 it's also more affordable than most. Saracen's spec choices mirror the Ariel 60 with a Marzocchi Z1 fork and Shimano Deore drivetrain on the entry-level bike, Fox Performance Elite suspension on the Pro model and Factory suspension on the Elite model. The top two tiers get Shimano's latest EP8 motor while the base model makes do with the older E7000 unit.







Saracen Ariel Junior Details

• Wheelsize: 24"
• Travel: 120mm f&r
• One size aimed at 125-145cm riders
• 65° head angle
• Chainstay length: 385mm
• 1x11 gearing
• Bottle mounts: no
• Price: £1699.99 / € 1,999
saracen.co.uk


The Ariel Junior is designed to get kids shredding early. With 24" wheels and 120mm of adjustable air-sprung suspension, it's single size is designed to be a good fit for riders between 125cm and 145cm.



All images: Laurence Crossman-Ems


112 Comments

  • 88 0
 Looks like they lost Hart in the shop based retail model.
  • 8 26
flag juxtapozy (Mar 1, 2021 at 6:44) (Below Threshold)
 never forget how they treated Hart
  • 14 1
 You can't Danny that direct sales has been lucrative for some brands.
  • 69 3
 Superboost rear ends?!? Pinkbike to explode in 3....2....1.....
  • 78 21
 Yep, another brand I can cross off the list.
  • 71 0
 @Unrealityshow: I’m just holding out for MegaBoost
  • 40 0
 @Joegrant: quickly followed by giga boost
  • 36 0
 I'm waiting for an axle that doubles as stunt pegs for Crankworx Downslopecountrystyle events.
  • 12 0
 Hah, suckers. Everyone knows that Ultraboost is the future.
  • 3 0
 @Joegrant: Im still waiting till Apple makes an E-Bike with an Megaboost Max axle.
  • 4 1
 Yup, gonna hold to my 2018 vitus sommet for a couple more years until all these standards settle down.
  • 10 2
 @Unrealityshow: Another brand I add to my spreadsheet! Reason: I want bikes compatible with my 157 DH rear end hardtail. Just keeping everything on 157 is a winner to me.
  • 5 0
 @mountguitars: Just don't hold your breath...
  • 10 0
 @mountguitars: hahaha you new to mountain biking?
  • 4 1
 @joshroppo: Yup. I am standardizing all my bikes to 157 as well. Works great for me.
  • 1 0
 @NotNamed: same here, and self-driving wow
  • 31 0
 505 reach on a size Large!! those are Pole numbers.
  • 14 14
 The reach on my 3 year old large Bird Aeris AM9 is 500mm but they were a bit ahead of the curve compared to the rest of the market (Pole and Geometron aside) so it's good to see others catching up.
  • 16 4
 yeah a bit surprised. I'm 5"10 and I'd go s given those wheelbases
  • 19 4
 ridiculous, sizes small with 455 reach and 1210mm wheelbase, even in the shorter travel version
  • 6 1
 And for a 130mm trail bike. 530mm on xl seems huge, that's larger than most enduro bikes.
  • 2 0
 Oh interesting, the reach numbers go down as you go up in range too. Isn't that usually the other way around?
  • 2 0
 @DylanH93: In the past DH/FR bikes and XC bikes have been shorter in reach, with enduro bikes leading the charge and trail bikes a short way behind them.
But the longer travel bikes seem to be catching up quickly, and "downcountry" is now a thing as well obvs.
  • 6 2
 @bikefuturist: : Yeah, I agree. Richie Rude rides a bike with a 460mm reach, which basically equates to a small with the Ariel 60. That’s crazy! He is 5ft 10.
  • 8 5
 @shepridesbikes: I won't use the pros as a reference for any bike related purchase. I'm 5'11" and have a 515mm reach bike. Have tried a 535mm and it also felt good.
  • 5 0
 @iiman: @iiman: So confused about this. 455 reach is a perfect size for medium frames... 460 maybe... 480 is most brands large.

I guess folks wanted longer, so they certainly got it.
  • 6 0
 Wow, with that giant reach number it must be faster. Take my money!
  • 2 1
 @bonkmasterflex: does it matter what they label it as? If you find 455 reach perfect buy a small?
Yes, those at the short end of the scale getting shafted with no extra small, but im very much on the other side of the bell curve...
  • 1 0
 @DylanH93: i think it's because you are going up in travel, so the slacker head angle creates a bit less reach
  • 1 0
 @bikefuturist: I rode a prototype large and medium a year apart. At 5’9”, the large was big but fine if you want to plough through shit, but the medium was spot on. Also, despite it being a heavily used proto with a trashed drivetrain, I got several PBs on local climbs and descents on it.
  • 3 0
 @bonkmasterflex: my medium hardtail has a 465mm reach, which grows with sag. An FS bike’s reach will reduce with sag. Makes sense for their FS bikes to have longer static reach than their hardtails.
  • 2 0
 I honestly think reach numbers are getting out of hand. As a tall guy (6'5") I thought it would be a good thing. But having just brought and sold (within a month) a new 2021 Stumpjumper with 535mm reach numbers I now don't. Honestly the reach was ridiculous, especially combined with the bigger wheels, and for me un-ridable. I'm for sure downsizing from now on.
  • 1 0
 @Freakyjon: then again, if you look at an industry giant like santa cruz they put the middle of range large at 470 reach
  • 1 0
 @shepridesbikes: They all do. The long bikes are great for novices. Nice chilled out ride and giving people the confidence to get down stuff but if you want to win EWS you need something that handles better for squeezing max speed out of everything.
  • 1 0
 @bonkmasterflex: my large Orange has a 450mm reach and it’s a large. My Kona has a 490mm reach and it’s and extra large. At 6,3 I really shouldn’t be on a medium.
  • 18 0
 £4199 for a Fox factory and XT 160mm bike looks pretty good value to me in the UK, especially as it includes delivery. I think Saracen have played a blinder here just as YT, Canyon etc struggle with Brexit. Let’s hope they have good customer service for spares/warranty issues etc...
  • 16 1
 Looks like a 2014 Kona Process!
  • 20 0
 That should be in the "pros" column.
  • 11 0
 @chakaping: Agreed. Sorry that Kona went away from that design. The aluminium bikes were light and snappy, and the suspension design was killer. Now Konas are just wonky looking treks.
  • 3 0
 @bonkmasterflex: Haha, harsh but true. I had the 153 and 111, they were great fun bikes but they were not light.
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: my partner has a 134 DL and it weighs like 28 pounds. It's a super fun bike as well. If it had a slacker head tube angle it would be perfect.
  • 19 6
 So near yet so far. Superboost. great till you need spares. which were nearly impossible before it was almost impossible to buy any spares
  • 8 4
 Its just a regular downhill hub isn't it?
  • 5 4
 @pbuser2299: super boost has wider flange spacing than dh
  • 16 3
 Its not just Wheels don't forget, also chainrings and/or cranks. Rare as rocking horse sh!t
  • 1 0
 Ah fair enough, i thought it was just a dh hub matched to a boost crankset. Do they use 83mm (?) downhill width cranks?
  • 2 1
 @pbuser2299: no, normal 68/73mm axle, but have a different offset to the crank spider or ring. and potentially a wider Q factor on the cranks to clear the wider chainstays
  • 1 1
 @Daver27: Don't you just use spacers to compensate? All the models are have Shimano options which are standard, aren't they?
  • 1 2
 @rrolly: granted it'll only affect upgrade potential or building from a frame with existing components. not something I am going to worry about as i'm not buying.
  • 19 1
 @pbuser2299: You are correct, it’s just a 157 DH hub. Some 157 hubs have wider spoke flange spacing than others, BUT THIS DOES NOT AFFECT COMPATIBILITY! The axle is the same width, the cassette and brake rotor are in the same place. They are completely interchangeable!

What about this is so difficult for people to understand? Are they just trolling or do they actually believe these are two different hub standards??
  • 2 5
 Also the seat tube angle! The actual angle is abysmal...
  • 1 9
flag pbuser2299 (Mar 1, 2021 at 9:29) (Below Threshold)
 @mrosie: downhill vs super boost diagrams here, they are pretty different: enduro-mtb.com/en/super-boost-plus-standard
  • 8 0
 @pbuser2299: from what I'm seeing in this link, DH and Superboost are the same in hub spacing, chainline, and rotor position. So you could throw a wheel with a DH hub right into a Superboost frame and it would fit just fine. If you were swapping hubs and rims though, you would have to have to use different spoke lengths and a different dish to go between the two.
  • 5 0
 I haven't had any problem finding wheels/hubs/parts for 157 mm.
  • 4 0
 @bonkmasterflex: 70 degree actual is a lot steeper than most bikes. What do you ride?
  • 13 0
 Seb Stott working for pinkbike now? My favorite bike reviewer!
  • 11 2
 It is nice to see they recommend most riders hit the trail 130 bike instead of the 160 enduro....with the size, you can ride that 130 as an enduro anywhere in the world anyway, and so many people want to over squish...i say good on them for that.
  • 5 0
 Finally, Saracen did it! They made good geometry mullets for the masses. I predict we will see same trend from many other makers in 2021 or 2022 models. Sizing look a little on the large size, I ride medium, but for Ariel I would choose small, mostly because of top tube length, I can deal with slightly bigger reach, but not bigger top tube. Anyway, that is okay, bikes look sick, want one already!
  • 6 0
 They really tortured the downtube on the the 60 (black one) to fit a bottle in there.
  • 8 0
 It’s fine if you’re into kink
  • 2 0
 @labourde: nice link
  • 7 0
 Damn. I wish that e bike had 60mm of rear travel.
  • 3 0
 I've never seen 3 seat angles before and the numbers for any of the bikes in any size, make no sense. Please help me out here cause I would like to understand...

Actual Seat Angle: 71.5
Effective Seat Angle: 75.7
Seat Angle: 76.5

How can the generalized "seat angle" be outside of the values between the actual and effective seat angle. They just didn't like the number they came up with and elected to make something up to make it in keeping with current trends?
  • 5 0
 It’s due to the kinked seat tube. Same with lots of bikes these days, but there doesn’t seem to be a standard way of quoting it.
Actual seat angle = angle of the seatpost itself and the seat tube above the kink.
Effective Seat Angle = angle measured between BB and the point of the seatpost at the same height as the top of the head tube - LOTS of brands quote that way.
Seat Angle = angle measured between BB and seatpost at an assumed ride height. Most honest real world number, but based on an assumption as it’ll vary depending on leg length.

Seems to tie in with Seb’s measurement on his XL with lots of post pulled out though.

Best way to gauge is to see where the tip of the saddle is in relation to the BB as most quoted numbers on kinked/offset seat tube angles are almost meaningless.
  • 3 1
 Geometry looks much better than the previous Ariel. Hopefully they have sorted out the pricing as previously the RRPs on anything Saracen was way too much considering they were supposed to be a budget brand, both Nukeproof and Vitus were cheaper, not to mention all of the direct sales companies
  • 9 0
 The prices are all in the article and they seem very competitive now, to be fair.
  • 7 0
 @chakaping: I must have missed that. Looks a lot better.. possibly still undercut by Vitus but who isn't. Ariel 60 Pro for me please
  • 5 0
 I'm getting process 111 vibes from the ariel 30 and I like that, looks like a killer bike!
  • 3 0
 That suspension looks like the Santa Cruz APP. This bike is like a cross between the Process 111 and the Santa Cruz Nickel, and those are two of my favorite bikes that I've owned. I think this bike looks awesome.
  • 2 0
 what is the Fox Van shock? looks like an oem shock but only mentions of it are from like 10 years ago, you can't buy them and they look pretty dated. what are these coil shocks?
  • 4 2
 It's a 20 year old shock that fox recently repackaged and started selling under the Marzocchi name. Apparently they still sell them with fox branding for OEM. I have one on my 2002 intense M1.
  • 3 0
 If you want more up-to-date info on the Van just look up the Marzocchi Bomber CR. Same shock just with a Marzocchi sticker.
  • 6 0
 They are great shocks, they just provide minimal adjustments vs something like a DHX2. If you find yourself wanting something outside of the given range of adjustment (90%+ of people will not), you can send it to a tuning company and they will hook you up with a stiffer shim stack.

To relieve any further doubt, the bomber CR is actually the shock of choice for Craig Seekins (Avalanche Suspension) as the starting point for his custom shocks who many claim to feel better than EXT and Push shocks.
  • 1 0
 @diegosk: wait so avalanche takes bomber cr shocks and customizes them? Like for the general public or just himself? Sounds interesting.
  • 1 0
 @DylanH93: Yup for the general public. Avalanche will work with most shocks currently on the market except the Float X2 (at least when I wanted to send mine to him - could’ve changed). Check out the Avalanche website and send Craig an email if you want additional details, he responds very quickly with very detailed responses. Some have said he can be abrasive and hard to deal with but if you know what you want out of your suspension and can accurately put that into words, you should have yourself a good experience. It’s a pretty good deal too - I was quoted ~$750 for a fully retrofitted and customized bomber CR vs 1000 for EXT and 1200 for Push.
  • 1 0
 @diegosk: I’d be curious his thoughts on the advantages of his modified CR over an EXT... very curious. What did he share with you?

I’m in no way doubting as I have his Hand built rear shock and also Hybrid system in my 36 and 49 and it’s literally insane! Most supple yet supportive suspension I’ve ever felt! It’s definitely taken speed and honestly comfort too, to the next level when pushing it.
And for the rear... I could go on and on about how great it feels. Makes my 11.6 feel like crap. But anyways, love his stuff and I agree on the comment about how he is. He’s an extremely busy guy and down to earth. I’ve always had upmost pleasant conversations with him every time I call.
  • 1 0
 @stormracing: I never asked for a comparison or brought up the EXT when I spoke to him. The bit about being better than an EXT was anecdotal from other riders who probably had some bias (“my shock is the best because I spent a lot of money on it”). I haven’t ridden an EXT and I ended up going a different route than Ava. My initial comment was more in support of the bomber CR/Van in that if it’s good enough for Craig, it’s probably good enough for the average PB weekend warrior.
  • 1 0
 @diegosk: gotcha! I read it too quickly. I understand what you meant now
  • 1 0
 I've got a Van and a Marz Bomber CR. Both are great, simple shocks. I do wish they came with a climb switch, though. For now I just crank the compression damping dial closed at the foot of long climbs and then dial it back when I get to the top.
  • 1 0
 @diegosk: Ah very interesting! Definitely been thinking about upgrading my fork and shock from some decent but midgrade x fusion stuff. Never tried high end stuff so I'm sure anything would feel amazing. Just so many damn choices these days. Dvo, marzocchi, fox are the main ones I'm considering. Dvo is super tempting just because I hear it's easy to work on and I do all my own mechanics. I suppose it'd be hard to really go wrong. The fox stuff always seems cool, especially with all the aftermarket upgrades that can be done. Too many good choices lmao.
  • 1 0
 Good luck with warranty on a bike now, Saracen refused to warranty mine through them directly and won't let the shop warranty through them either as they no longer have access to any of the warranty services so I'm stuck with a bike that's less than 2 years old and the warranty can't fix my problem. Saracen are to be avoided, I think SCUM is the right word.
  • 3 3
 Nice, finally a bike to compare to my Mondraker. The reach and wheel base seem long but running 20mm shorter stems and steep seat tube angles makes them feel great. Still seat tube could be steeper. Look like good options for many riders, hope they do well
  • 1 1
 The seat tube seems slack honestly. The actual seat tube vs. effective isn't great. It's gunna feel like you're over the rear wheel a bit and you'll have to scoot the seat forward completely on the rails to weight the front end on steep climbs.
  • 3 0
 @bonkmasterflex: the “actual” number is ironically the least important one. See Seb’s measurement in his test.
Unless you’ve bought way too small a size, at ride height it’ll be in the 76deg ballpark.
  • 2 1
 My previous bike was Saracen Ariel Elite 2019, loved that bike so much although it was only ALU front triangle version, but I am surprised there is no full carbon Ariel 2021 version :O
  • 1 0
 if your going to use travel numbers to name the bikes why not use all of them? did not puting the 1 sticker on save money? are they in short supply? was it in the way of a bottle mount?
it just bugs me i dont know why.
  • 3 0
 Their homepage is constantly reloading
  • 1 0
 found a work-around
  • 4 0
 Yeah, same here.. Just hit the "stop loading" button in your browser..
  • 6 3
 real shame there is no 27.5 only option in the 30 and 60 range:/
  • 6 3
 Had me until Stuperboost, bye bye Saracen.
  • 4 1
 Was looking for a website link until I saw superboost on a trail bike.
  • 3 0
 I dont know about superboost or geometry. But that Ariel 80 looks FINE
  • 1 0
 @sewer-rat: I agree. It has nothing to do with the sexy bikes that UK is able to propose (Cotic, Stanton, Starling and so on).
  • 4 2
 Nice. I'll have the ebike please.
  • 4 2
 16kg for the Ariel 60 in size small. Wtf.
  • 3 1
 70 degree actual seat tube = no tall riders.
  • 2 0
 the “actual” number is ironically the least important one. See Seb’s measurement in his test.
Unless you’ve bought way too small a size, at ride height it’ll be in the 76deg ballpark.
  • 2 2
 I clicked on the link and it appears to be coming soon with an xt drive train.

Lol soon (q3 of 2022) is a pretty loose term me thinks.
  • 1 1
 Tough times for short people....455 reach for the smallest size??? I really miss when bikes were meant to whip and corner. Other than that, they look good.
  • 1 0
 Superboost and 29.5" wheels building up
  • 1 0
 Need that little 24” available here in Canada.
  • 1 0
 Sweet bikes, but still want to see some carbon options.
  • 1 0
 Generous Cross boost is next
  • 1 0
 Should’ve called the electric one Arieel
  • 1 0
 Damn!!! That is great
  • 1 2
 The term "cookie cutter" comes to mind, at least by how they look on paper.
  • 1 0
 The comeback of APP!
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