While thru-axles and disc brakes are not surprising anyone paying attention to current road bike trends, combining them with carbon frame that’s just over 1,000g and fully built for £1,799 (aprox. $3k) makes quite the take-note bike.
On top of a sweet new frame that’s lightweight, the new Saracen Avro combines solid spec with some really cool new design concepts that make disc brakes on the road all the more palatable. For the price, it’s looking like a solid performer that’s entirely worth upgrading in the future, but doesn’t stick you with any duds out of the gate. The devil is in the details, take note next…
Saracen’s theme with the Avro is a look to the future. That forward gaze starts with their choice of model name. Avro was a British aeronautics firm that, back in the mid-1900’s, was made famous by the cutting-edge engineering that birthed the incredibly advanced, delta-winged Avro Vulcan Bomber. The plane was known for its lethal payloads and ability to fly fast and high, out of the range of most threats.
Fast forward to today, and UK-based Saracen’s Avro road bike has been developed to ride fast and carry the deadly combination of future-proof technologies with forward looking designs on the leading standards where applicable. The most evident technology is the increasingly ubiquitous disc brake. Spec’ing discs keeps the rotating-weight low via lighter disc-specific Alex CXD26 rims (470g published weight). Saracen is stating the full wheelset comes in at a respectable 1,600g. The Avro is maintaining its targeted price point via the employment of Tektro’s mechanical Lyra discs (160mm rotors front & rear). Both those and wheels will get the job done, and both are solid choices to upgrade in the future.
When it comes to use on the pavement, a concern thrown at most thru-axle technology is the requirement of tools or a time consuming unthreading procedure. Saracen noted this and engineered their own tool-free system — 15mm front, 12x142mm rear. Now, a familiar flip of a lever will release either axle. As things slowly but surely move to disc brakes in the pro peloton, solutions like this will make it much quicker and easier on riders and mechanics during emergency wheel swaps.
The final noteworthy item on Saracen’s new Avro is the absence of a pressfit bottom bracket — no BB90/BB95, no PF86/92, no BB30, no PF30, no BB386 EVO (you get the point). With such a push toward future standards, the spec of a conventionally threaded BB is of particular note. Saracen explicitly stated they built the Avro for UK road riders. With UK roads being notoriously wet and grimy the old BB standard just made sense. Saracen’s roots are in MTB and product durability is not taken lightly; this is reminiscent of Santa Cruz’s laudable stance on the same issue. You may or may not be a UK cyclist, but either way you’ll benefit from Saracen’s pragmatism.
The frame itself is laid up to comfortable for all day rides but angled to perform snappily. The rest of the details include full Shimano 105 11-speed mechanical (frame is electronic ready, though) and Continental 28mm tires. With another nod to a priority of practicality Saracen has listed in its specs the inclusion of mud-guard mounts with clearance for 25mm rubber. Between the discs, thru-axles, plush tires, and optional fenders the Avro is truly a go-anywhere do-anything road bike of the future. Watch for the debut of the Avro on Saracen’s site here.