A fun bike to ride

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 8

Saracen Tufftrax


  • Playful bike with slack head angle and a decent Suntour fork


  • Tourney chainset lets the side down with worrisome shifting


Saracen Tufftrax review


Price as reviewed:


The Saracen Tufftrax is a fun bike to ride, the frame is just big enough to accommodate my frame and there’s something playful and poppy about it.

>>> Best Hardtail Mountain Bike 2019: best reviewed mountain bikes under £375, £500, £750 and £1000

This bike makes you pump for more speed at every opportunity. Part of this is down to a good choice of bar and stem, which are respectively wide and short enough to put you in a great riding position with lots of confidence. The rest comes from the bike’s geometry, it’s got a slack head angle to slow down the steering response and boost your confidence, and a short back end that encourages you to loft the front wheel.

Smoothing out the trail is the same Suntour XCM suspension fork I liked on the Carrera Vulcan — here it’s got less travel to play with but it still has decent damping to control the front of the bike. Sure, the rebound is a little fast but it’s manageable, and the stout 30mm stanchions help give the front of the bike some stiffness when you’re cornering.

Shimano’s Tourney chainset isn’t my favourite though, and it’s really this that lets the Tufftrax down. The shifters are irritating because they’re split under and over the bar, but worse is that the bike shifts around under power without your say-so. Couple that with brakes that require two fingers to pull and not enough stopping power and the bike starts to erode some of the hard won confidence it earned.

saracen tufftrax


Frame:6061 aluminium
Fork:SR Suntour XCM, 100mm travel
Wheels:Joytech hubs, Saracen rims, Saracen Trax 27.5x2.1in tyres
Drivetrain:Shimano Tourney 48/38/28t chainset, mechs and shifters
Brakes:Tektro M280 cable, 160mm
Weight:14.69kg (32.4lb)
Sizes:XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Size tested:XL