Saracen’s debut carbon full-susser is a nimble upgrade on its alloy stablemate
The new Saracen Kili Flyer Team is the first full-carbon suspension bike to come from Saracen. It’s been three years in the making and Saracen hasn’t followed the normal carbon development process. Instead of starting with the front triangle, which offers the biggest weight saving, it actually built the swingarm first.
The reason for this somewhat unorthodox approach is that the alloy rear triangle on the entry-level Kili is a complex multi-piece construction, so producing it from carbon actually simplified the manufacturing process while guaranteeing perfect alignment and greater strength.
Economies of scale also played a part in Saracen’s decision; the same carbon rear end could be used across multiple frame sizes and three different price point bikes. Being lighter and stiffer than aluminium, there are also direct benefits to the way the bike rides: namely, better tracking and more reactive suspension.
Need to know:
- 650b trail bike with 120mm travel
- Full-carbon monocoque frame construction
- Top-end Fox Factory suspension front and rear
- Shimano 2×10 drivetrain with
- Gamut chain guide
Since its introduction two years ago the alloy front end on the Kili Flyer has morphed, getting longer to match the shift towards wider bars and shorter stems. With the geometry and cockpit now dialled, Saracen could press the button on the three carbon- fibre Kili Flyer front triangles (one for each frame size), safe in the knowledge that the bike will be sorted for the foreseeable future.
Out on the trails the carbon Kili Flyer doesn’t feel too stiff or wooden, proof, if it were needed, that Saracen has done a great job with the carbon lay-up. And, being a carbon copy of the alloy front triangle, the carbon bike rides every bit as well as the Kili Flyer 121 that we tested in last year’s September issue. Actually, there is one subtle change that’s had a massive impact on the ride: the pivot stance on the upper suspension link is now narrower so you no longer smash your knees on it. The linkage still rotates on Norglide bushings, rather than bearings, so it takes a couple of long rides for them to loosen up. When they do bed-in you’ll need to increase both the air pressure and the rebound damping on the shock to compensate. Other than this, the Kili Flyer Team is pretty much plug-and-play, straight out of the box.