Custom carbon enduro bike anyone?

It’s launch time for the ARBR Saker (pronounced “Arber”), a new custom-built carbon fibre enduro bike, handmade in the UK, and a bike we first threw a leg over last summer.

Need to know

  • Made in Britain: designed in Surrey, formed and painted in Goodwood, Sussex, and branded in Hampshire
  • 160mm-travel front and rear and 27.5in wheels
  • Full carbon frame with the swingarm formed from two pieces
  • 100 per cent customised spec — anything from frame only to full build
  • Custom colour scheme with hand-painted decals
  • First deliveries March 2017, bikes made to order

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It’s one of a handful of new custom-made and super-high-end bikes we’ve seen this year, beginning with UNNO bikes’ custom carbon, and continuing onto the Robot Bike Co, made from 3D printing. They join established bikes like Santa Cruz Bronson, Evil Insurgent, Transition Patrol and the Intense Recluse that are making bikes for riders who want the best, and to hell with the expense.

The bike is now on sale after three years of development, at £4,390 for frame and Fox Float X shock. That’s a hell of a price, but ARBR are going after that high-end customer. And for that money you do get some pioneering features and attention to detail that looks interesting to us.

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What are the details then?

It’s made in the UK, by hand, and each individual frame will be laminated by the same operator from start to finish. That doesn’t sound like much but ARBR says that makes for a more personal approach. “It gives ownership and complete responsibility for the production a frame,” founder Rob Barr told us. “The laminators take pride in the product and get to put a signature sticker on each frame they make.”

The Saker uses a single pivot suspension design, with the chain looped up and over an idler. We’ve seen it before on other bikes, like Sam Blenkinsop’s Norco Aurum or the Commencal DH, but it’s a progressive idea and is designed to stop the chain from interfering with the suspension. ARBR also says it delivers 100 per cent anti-squat.

What this means is the bike should pedal without bobbing, but move freely of the chain when descending.

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What else has the Saker got going on?

ARBR says it has a rearward rear axle path, a progressive rear shock rate to maximise grip and maintain composure through big hits, stable geometry and balanced weight distribution. Oh and they say it’s very stiff too.

The mounting and suspension hardware are pretty special too: 7075 T6 components, titanium shafts for pivots and shock mounting and of course, there’s a Boost 148 rear axle.

Layout 1

ARBR aren’t not doing conventional sizing on the Saker either, instead going by reach instead of seat tube measurement. There are only two frame sizes though, which could be a limiting factor in getting the right fit.

So is it any good?

We’re heading out for a test ride this winter to check the bike over, so check out mbr magazine to find out our first impressions.

We already love the fact you can have it repainted if you like though, and the ARBR offer to help you upgrade parts and components with discounts for the original owner.