The sub- £30 hack bike project - 1996/7 Saracen Fastrax


Senior Retro Guru
I am going to a few places this summer where I'll need to leave a bike locked up on the street. After being tempted on here by retro Muddy Foxes, Diamond Backs and all kinds of bikes from BITD, I decided that I couldn't bring myself to build them up with cheap tat or leave them unloved on the street. I still wanted something with patina and heritage rather than a BSO.


Introducing the Yellow Peril Saracen Fasttrax! A heads up from DryStonePaul indicated this unloved Saracen on ebay:

A quick email to check if courier pickup is OK, click of buy it now and paypal and then over to these guys: £8 later and citylink got their mucky paws on it. I didn't enter the correct dimensions (as this would run to their more expensive service) and estimated the weight at 14kg.

I told the seller I wasn't fussed about packaging so the seller simply taped my address to the frame. A day later, here it is in its well used glory, wheels are straight, nothing got bent by the courier!

I think sometimes it is better to leave things with couriers unpackaged - as they take care wheeling the bike etc rather than throwing and dragging them.

Its a 1996/7 (I think) Saracen Fasttrax. Bottom of the range and retailed at around £300. The best bit is that everything seems to work! The rear tyre needs air and the pedals need replacing (I have some). If there's any trouble from the gears I will whip them off and single speed it.

Running total:
Bike: £15 from ebay
Courier: £8 via parcelmonkey
Total: £23 - I still have £7 to spend wisely

Frame: Saracen Fasttrax Tange MTB Butted Main Tubes
Fork: Saracen OE
Stem: Saracen by Kalin
Handlebar: Alloy
Barends: Yes, almost vertical
Brakes: Shimano Cantis
Brake Levers: Shimano integrated with 7spd shifters
Shifters: As above
Front Derailleur: Shimano
Rear Derailleur: Shimano SIS
Cassette: 7speed
Cranks: Shimano Altus
Pedals: worn out
Rims: Deep V replacements
Hubs: Shimano rear and bolted front
Tyres: Nice fat specialized commuter rear tyre
Saddle: Big fat thing
Seatpost: Stuck

Weight: Not as much as I was expecting!


  • IMG_0657.jpg
    63.5 KB · Views: 5,196


Retrobike Rider
Gold Trader
£7 hey.. degreaser and brake blocks? That saddle is a sofa!

That is a pretty bargain though fella, I like it.


Senior Retro Guru
coomber":329ygwk2 said:
I'd drop the stem I think :?

Last night in new old bike excitement:

Used an adjustable spanner on the top of the seatpost and got it freed off pretty easily with the application of my 13 stone and some DP-60.

Dropped the stem (which was out well above min insertion :shock: ), swapped the seat for a less sofa like effort, powerwashed then degreased the drive train being very careful not to aim at any seals, fitted a similar front mudguard and pumped the tyres up. Fitted some other pedals and went for a spin.

It rides well - the 19" frame fits good. I angled the levers and bar ends correctly.

Seems its running a screw on rear hub "Sovo" hub with shimano screw on, so the rear isn't compact therfore the gearing is low. Front Altus chainset - the rings are loose on the arms. Hubs need grease and adjustment although I might just junk the wheels and use some I already have.

Gear shifts and brakes are uncanny - spot on! I can't believe it.

I think this frame deserves to be set free from the junk components... but it will do for now. Perhaps I'll singlespeed it with better wheels and some riser bars.


Senior Retro Guru
legrandefromage":qp194wkf said:
those cranks are probably still under a re-call notice:

I like the idea of a free replacement a lot!!

Have you experienced this - shall I call up Madison in the UK?

Some googling reveals my cranks look like FC-CT90 (will check later). And that Shimano replace the crankset, bottom bracket front mech and chain and pay the shops labour as well.

I think I'm going to have a tough job convincing an LBS to take this up given how worn everything is - they are gonna think I'm trying it on!


Senior Retro Guru
Ah my excitement may be short lived:

..... it's come to my attention that the cranks were recalled; Shimano (or at least their importers) say the recall has ended so they can't replace these, but they advise me to do so anyway.......

Although this suggest they are still replacing them in the US (date= 04-06-10): ... 34379.html

Good new is, as of this writing you can still get replacement cranks from an authorized dealer. I took one of the recalled cranks (an FC-MC12 off a '95 Trek 730) to my LBS last week, and today received not only a replacement crank, but also a chain, bottom-bracket and derailleur. All entry-level stuff, but more than good enough for a 15-year-old hybrid.


Just called Madison up, and at first the girl said "that recall was over ten years ago so no longer valid" and then a few moments later piped up and changed her mind "oh sorry, that is still valid, just take it to a local Shimano retailer and tell them you have spoken to us".

So thats a job for Saturday morning! Thanks for the heads up LGF!!!!