Bike Magic

Now Reading:

Saracen adopts 29in wheels with new 2013 prototypes

Saracen adopts 29in wheels with new 2013 prototypes

Saracen have steadily been rebuilding the brand for the past couple of years, with its clear efforts to reposition the brand back to the hard hitting trail bikes we used to know and love back in the 90s, and it’s obvious that game plan is paying off nicely.

At iceBike this week, a bike show hosted by Madison, the parent company of Saracen, the latest developments from the Saracen design lab were on show: in the shape of the Kili 29er and the Zen 29er. The former is a hardtail built around a 100mm fork the latter a 120mm fork.

Both share a similar geometry that brand manager Simon Wild describes as slacker and suiting the type of customer that will choose a Saracen. Think aggressive hard hitting trail riding.  Currently the head angle is 69 degrees, which puts it in the company of similarly slacker 29ers out there (and many from other UK brands too).

We’re impressed based on our first look. There’s something about them, they just look right. And the raw finish ticks a box for us too! Both come with 44mm head tubes and there’ll be a range of bikes, launching in September.

Beside the two 29ers was a cyclo-cross bike that has been designed for mountain bikers. How does that work you ask?Quite simply it’s a bit slacker, a heavily sloping top tube (though this huge 58cm model does undo that a little), it takes a short stubby stem as you see pictured, and takes disc brakes. Also, it takes a 30.9mm seat post, so you can fit a dropper seat post in there…

That short stem, up close.

Photos © George Scott and David Jaquin

Saracen 29er photo gallery

  1. Ivan

    Zen looks nice, Kili is ugly as fek…


  2. chris-m

    Lovely looking bikes, although I think it’s going to be another battle to get peoples’ heads around the brand name. Why the hell Madison just didn’t use another name I don’t know, especially with all the terrible bikes Saracen has been known to make in the past. A missed opportunity, IMHO!

    If Saracen use better graphics and up to date designs, then there is the possibility they can build up the brand again. It’s going to be one hell of a fight for them though. I am yet to hear ‘do you stock Saracen bikes?’ from customers. Madison have done so well with Genesis bikes and I’m unsure as to how big Saracen will be in a few years time. As long as they don’t fall back on to large volume, cheap bikes, I think they’ll be fine.

  3. Wildman

    Chris. We’re working on the range and if you took the time to have a look at our new website or find out about our deveopment race team you’ll realize your thoughts are about 3 years out of context. lol. Take that as intended, just letting you know :-)

    We kept saracen as it has a good legacy. back in the 90’s they were ahead of the curve with the likes of Orange and Pace. The brand had some dark-grey years prior to Madison buying the name but we are commitied to build Saracen back up as a great British brand.

    Thanks for the comments on the bikes – cant wait to get them out to the public.

    Si – Saracen bikes.

    1. Nick

      Agree with chris. 3 years out of date thinking WTF! Maybe in your mind it is, but who else is looking for saracen bikes website after the utter crap produced under that name? Don’t know why you go on about early years kudos alongside greats who stayed true. When saracen’s legacy is the ugly brown stuff you’re name thunked out for years, as sheriff bufford t justice said “you can’t polish a turd” then again there’s some reet kinky funkers out there but never heard of bicalpheliac before ROFLMFAO :)

  4. chris-m

    Si, I understand, but you have such a fight on your hands.  So I hope you’re prepared for the long battle, as it will take a very long time to get this brand into the positive light again. Unfortunately, Saracen may have had the good early years, but in the end it really hurt its brand badly by selling cheap bikes and by having them sold in Halfords and the catalogues. A very bad move!

    Hopefully it wont be like this forever! They have good designs now (bar the previous childish graphics) and if you and your team have the right attitude (which you appear to have), I’m sure in a few years time the brand will see a larger increase in sales. For now, you have your work cut out and I don’t envy you one bit. All the best, Chris.

    P.S. Please don’t get me wrong, it’s not the bikes and designs that I’m talking about, but your brand name. I actually think the designs are very good, especially if the above images are anything to go by.


Next up in MTB

Marin Rift Zone 29er with updated Quad Link 3 suspension