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The all-new Singletrack is on the shelves, and carbon hardtails are under the spotlight this month, with two of our brands getting a thorough going over by the mag’s test riders.

British brand Saracen impressed with their Mantra Trail Carbon (£1500). The mag noted the bike is ‘definitely built for fun first’, but was quick to add: ‘That doesn’t mean it’s not fast.’

mantra trail carbon

‘Handling-wise, the frame is undeniably excellent,’ they wrote. ‘It rewards pushing hard and accelerates beautifully – stomping on the pedals generates lightning-fast bursts of speed. It’s an absolute blast to ride quickly.’

Merida’s Big Nine 1000 was also put through the wringer. This bike doesn’t shy away from nailing its XC colours to the flagpole. The lines and aggressive geometry scream ‘RACE’, but that racing pedigree comes at the pocket friendly price of £1500.

merida big nine 1000

Jumping in the saddle confirms the bike has the racing chops to match its looks, with the test rider commenting: ‘As soon as you set off, it feels as if you’re going twice as fast as you should for the same amount of effort through the pedals.

‘If you’re after a head-down, no-prisoners, cross-country bike on a budget, this has to be looked at.’

You can check out the full reviews of both these bikes by heading over to the Singletrack website and signing up to a digital premier subscription for just £15 a year, or £1.49 a month.

That gives you access to fantastic online content only available to subscribers, plus an array of digital platform goodness that Singletrack have made available in their revamped tablet app, including enhanced photo galleries, 360-degree product shots plus video bike tests and adventure films.