Small sizing and dead fork restrict the Rufftrax overall appeal.
The Rufftrax has been Saracen’s classic entry level option for many years now, but unfortunately this one is far from being a vintage pressing.
To be fair, the ride is ‘okay’, and still perfectly enjoyable on smoother or rolling terrain. The hi tensile steel forks, stiff frame and thick tyres make it a jarring experience as soon as you hit the first rocky or stepped section, though. The compact dimensions and sharp steering short stem also make it feel constricted and difficult to drag up to speed too, but without really letting it shine in tight situations. The heaviest weight here and fat chunky tyres also make it comparatively reluctant to pick up or maintain the pace. On the bright side, the tyres definitely grip better than the others here, even if the bike wasn’t as comfortable being pushed to its limits as some of its competitors.
Otherwise, ground and tyre clearance is good and you get bolts already fitted for a Crud Catcher mudguard on the belly of the bike. The tall fork is designed for a straight swap to a suspension unit, which would undoubtedly smooth out the ride significantly.
We’re disappointed to see a bolted rear wheel at this price though, which makes removal for repair or car porting a real pain. The rest of the spec is okay, with a reinforced saddle and intriguing new TX push button and thumbshift gear levers.
There’s potential in the Saracen if you get a larger size and upgrade the harsh hi tensile steel fork. For now though, it rarely felt encouraging or enthusiastic enough to make full use of its ‘proper’ tyres and tall ground clearance.