What I look for in anything I come to buy, is attention to detail and is the thing up to the job I have in mind for it, so when my pal convinced me to buy a BMX for adults I plumped straight for Saracen and it's purposeful rugged looks and build, it also because Halfords sold them and I was always in there getting bits for my car. Bike shops I knew bitd, were roadie orientated, so Halfords was my only option other than mail order.
The bikes I would have seen would be the 1992 models and two bikes took my immediate interest, one was a hydrotech E-stay and the other was a Tufftrax, I just loved the grey paintwork. As chance would have it, a neighbour a few doors up from my mum learned I was on the look out for an end of season bike, reduced cost being the factor, he said his son owned a bike shop that was closing down and he would bring a bike for me to look at. The following weekend when I was home from work, the neighbour turned up with a gleaming black 1992 Traverse Elite, I bought it on the spot, more than I planned to pay, a lot more, (despite getting it at the dealer's buy in price, a cash always helps when shops are failing) but wow, what a bike, it lasted me thirteen years of daily commuting use and weekend off road abuse until I stupidly left it in the care of what became the ex and she gave it away undoubtedly out of spite, for she knew I loved that bike.
But aside from the colour scheme and purposeful look of these things, I was at that time kind of patriotic and the Handbuilt in England reallly did it for me, also it was far lighter than my friend's Yank bikes, light and fast and the colour scheme of metallic black, silver and skin wall tyres just looked classy in a vintage British way, that was it about the '92 Saracen it had an essence of a classic British bike and might grow up to take its place celebrating all that is Britain along with the Rolls Royce, the Jaguar and the Spitfire.
So was Saracen cool bitd, well that is debatable, it depended on who you asked, but my impression of bitd, was everyone wanted American steel, even the bike mags raved more about stuff from across the pond but my sense was the Saracen was not cool, it was beyond that, it was classy and seemed to be the epitome of the eccentric Brit. Yank bikes with their colours were cool, Saracens just exuded British Class, a sense that they did not need to compete with lesser steel for their place in the pecking order, they were is in a class of their own.
Cool now, well of course they are, they are an excellent example of a British Retrobike and of the retrobikes what other British ATB is as much sought after than the quietly unassuming individualistic Saracen.
Old Saracens have lasted so far, so, could this bike bear testimony to the one time quality and longevity of British Design and craftsmanship.
What happened in the late nineties, from my perspective was Saracen left their place of comfort, their specialism and individualism and tried to become cool by adopting the fashions from abroad with disasterous results, they tried to enter a market their rivals had had years to master, and I don't suppose the later British market mentality helped very much either.
1992 Saracen Traverse Elite ( Sadly Lost
1993 Saracen Tufftrax Elite. ( STOLEN IN PLYMOUTH AREA !!!- http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewto ... 92#1202592
1995 GT Timberline.
Variety is the spice of life, Ignore people one day, annoy them the next !