First Look: 2022 Santa Cruz Chameleon & Five Unique Builds

Oct 5, 2021
by Matt Beer  


Chameleons are animals of many colors which change frequently to blend in with their surroundings, and the 2022 Chameleon from Santa Cruz plays well on its namesake. Even the word “hardtail” can mean different things depending on what kind of rider you’re talking to.

Over the years, the Chameleon has stood out as a versatile bike, lining up for dual slalom races and 24 hour marathon events. It’s always been a bike for riders with all sorts of backgrounds and their version of an ideal setup: from dirt jumping to bike packing, the eighth generation Chameleon adapts. For someone with a BMX background, it could be a big wheeled jump bike, or for a a gravel biker, maybe a bike with front suspension and a slack head angle is all they could ever want.


Chameleon Details

• Aluminum frame
• Travel: 130 mm fork
• 29" or 27.5" rear wheel
• 65-degree head angle
• 425 - 437 mm chainstays
• 3-bolt bottle/cargo mount on downtube
• Size: S, M, L, XL
• Price: $2,399 - $3,749 USD
santacruzbicycles.com
Further refinements of the Chameleon see revised bolt-on dropout options to plug in either a 27.5” or 29” rear wheel, without mucking up the more aggressive geometry. The alloy frame stands alone for 2022 as the carbon version see retirement, but all three build kits are available with a choice of either wheel size.

As you may have guessed, the Chameleon gets the longer, slacker treatment - almost 2.5-degrees has been knocked off of the head tube angle and to make it more capable, the whole bike has been lengthened, without losing touch of its all-around appetite.

Geometry



Best set to 130 mm of travel, the fork sits at an angle of 65º and the seat angle is in the realm of 74.4º, depending on the size. Growing roughly by 10 mm, the chainstays are adjustable from 425 to 437-millimeters and the four frame sizes span a reach of 420 to 490 mm, in increments of 25 mm. Like other Santa Cruz models that have seen a refresh, the headtube grows by about 10 mm on each frame size too.

With a lifetime warranty, the multi-discipline frame covers all the fine details for any adventure, such as, three downtube bottle bolts, internal cable routing in the front triangle, an IS headset, 180 mm brake mount, and uses SRAM’s Universal Derailleur Hanger. The updated Chameleon sees the swing and set style dropout get replaced by sliding dropouts to make single-speed setups headache-free, if you like to do things the hard way.




Pricing starts at $2,399 USD for the D kit with a RockShox Recon RL and SRAM SX drivetrain. In the middle sits the $2,949 R kit with a Fox 34 Rhythm and NX drivetrain and topping out the builds is the S kit, which will land you a Fox 34 Performance and a SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain for $3,749.



Swanee Ravonison’s Patinated Aluminum Pariah

Rat rod, patinated - whatever you want to call it, Swanee created the distressed look by applying diluted Hematite with a brush. The process takes time and can be stopped by washing the frame with water. Only after it dries does the full effect come to life. It's a skill she practices while restoring and transforming 80s and 90's era bikes into single speeds in her bicycle shop/grocery store in France.

Her Chameleon build is aimed at bikepacking and therefore she chose narrower bars and a lighter, rigid fork with cargo mounting points. The big volume, tan wall tires accentuate the frame details and keep things comfortable without suspension. Like an ever changing chameleons, Swanee has parts on hand to transform the bike into a confident descender.





Sven Busse’s Barmeleon

You'd think that Sven might be a resident of California with his punk themed paint job, but as the owner of a bar next to a skatepark, in north-west Germany, the watering hole attracts a diverse crowd. The first thing that popped into his head when he thought about a theme for the bike was the song "Monkey Panic" by the metal band, Orange Goblin. To transfer his idea onto the frame, Sven requested the skills of the same graffiti artist, ProPhret, that painted his bar.

As a fan of UK shredder, Craig Evans, and old school BMXer, Mike Escamilla, you can bet that Sven will be ripping through single track and sessioning jumps around his local parks.





Myia Antone’s Medicine Finder

Myia caught the mountain biking bug through the isolation of Covid-19 and found herself doing some soul searching on solo rides. She's already shredding Squamish rock slabs and reaching places, both physically and spiritually. Biking and plant harvesting share similarities, she says; it takes time to grow, strengthen your roots, and you end up getting a bit dirty.

Myia is giving back to her community, offering land-based education and language revitalization for Indigenous Women Outdoors"

"Today, I am finding new ways to do old things. My ancestors have been harvesting from these lands and waters since time out of mind. I follow in their footsteps, but sometimes my feet just happen to be on pedals. My bike brings me to hidden patches of wild strawberries and devil’s club galore. I bring my backpack for snacks, bike tools and space to fill with plants to take home... We have so much to share with the outdoor community, and it is finally time to listen."





Eric Ackermann’s Pink Space Goblin loc

Just because Eric's nickname is "Baby Legs", doesn't mean he's new to mountain biking. He's been part of the Santa Cruz Bikes warranty team for eleven years! With a hobby for illustrating and digital art, he knew the loudest contrast would be custom pink decals against the yellow frame - straight out of a comic book.

Eric seeks out burritos on his mixed-wheeled Chameleon and has stock parts for now. He plans to simply things by converting to a single-speed setup to take his dogs along for the ride and wants to build another bike for his wife.





Mike Hill’s Tool Carrying Tool

Mike is core. Thanks to his dad, Mike is a lifelong lover of anything with two wheels. He operates his own BMX company called Deathpack. Based in the UK, he welds the frames himself and sees the Chameleon as a utility vehicle, but can certainly send that too. Loaded with digging tools, he's a fan of fat, micro knobby tires with lots of pressure for rolling fast and direct feedback.

If you look close, you can see the rattle can camo sprayed over the rims and the panier racks that he built himself. That color theme continues in a leaf stencil over top of the exposed aluminum. The stem is maxed out on the top of the steer tube and of course runs flat pedals and a cushy BMX seat - is there any other way?





263 Comments

  • 677 3
 Gonna be that guy and say that 2400 for an alloy hardtail with a recon and SX is hilariously overpriced.
  • 193 1
 Thank you for your service
  • 51 1
 But 3 bolts on the downtube... LMAO
  • 112 3
 wth is santa cruz thinking? You can get a Commencal Meta TR for $2500.
  • 40 0
 Haha. Decathlon has it in the range for 899€, called AM 100 HT.
  • 16 0
 $949 for the frame only...
  • 4 1
 @jackyboy: exactly, and surprisingly with not a too dissimilar geometry to the Chameleon.
Buy the wife one of those once they eventually are in stock again
  • 7 0
 @jackyboy: I obviously meant "buying the wife (...)"
  • 13 13
 @wburnes: Meta has wonky geometry in larger sizes with crazy long seat tubes.
  • 17 0
 This is just a taste of the prices to come, just wait till spring, I predict another 10% hike across the board.
  • 11 2
 @dave119: 460mm for an XL is 'crazy long' nowadays?
  • 15 0
 still rocking my SC Chamaleon from 2001, which i bought second hand for U$200 cheers
  • 26 2
 ...and they will sell out of them unbelievably fast. I once worked for a guy that said the right price for something is when people gasp a little at the price, and then hand over their credit card anyway.
  • 7 1
 @Planetx888: Been hanging out at the dental clinic again, I see.
  • 9 3
 @Planetx888: CYAPITALISM!! *brandishes hammer and/or sickle threateningly*
  • 10 11
 This bike is literally a specialized rockhopper, just SC so ya know it has the dildo seatpost attachment, very exclusive.
  • 17 18
 What's the fuss? If you like the bike and you think the price is right, you buy it. If you don't, you don't. Goes for hardtails and full suspension bikes alike. And no, I wouldn't buy this either but it doesn't bother me at all that they offer it at this price.
  • 7 0
 BMX rider gapping over a 29er,,,, sold!
  • 3 0
 @pbfan08: Think that might be a tad bit extreme, it is several thousand dollars more, only 1k per HT * difference between the two??
  • 2 0
 @wburnes: but that one wouldnt say santa cruz on the downtube.
  • 2 1
 @wburnes: They must not have a problem selling them....
  • 14 46
flag jDivineSF (Oct 5, 2021 at 7:34) (Below Threshold)
 @wburnes: Meta frame is harsh af tho, not all hardtails are created equal. Hopefully the new Chameleon's are as compliant as the old ones.
  • 4 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: thats insane. compared to my banshee paradox (an extremely rare and very valuable canadian hardtail), its clear to see which is of better value for the price
  • 10 0
 @jayacheess: stop telling people about this! It's hard enough trying to get my hands on one, without having non-canadians trying to snag one.
  • 1 0
 @mrkkbb: Orange Alpine Evo frame up by £300
  • 2 0
 In the UK the bottom of the range sx build is the equivalent of $3250.
  • 4 21
flag REB4 (Oct 5, 2021 at 12:12) (Below Threshold)
 @wburnes: you get what you paid for. Lifetime warranties, best in the business customer service, amazing build, finish & attention to details i what you get with the price. It's like comparing a rice rocket with a Porsche.
  • 1 0
 @mrkkbb: or more!
  • 13 5
 @REB4: with Santa Cruz you're only paying for a sticker
  • 1 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: Thats about $100 more than last year.
  • 18 3
 @REB4: I have the 2020 chameleon. It’s a bike. I worked at a shop and got a good deal on a frame. Possibly the most underwhelming bike purchase I’ve ever bought. Like yep, it’s a bike. It’s not some brilliant piece of equipment, it’s fit and finish is adequate. Not amazing. I just wanted a hard tail for XC/Bikepacking/muddy days. Does it fine. The pricing is ridiculous and straight nonsense. Lifetime warranties aren’t rare, they have adequate customer service, especially here in NZ they’re fairly average.

It’s not even made I’m SC Skyboxx factory. Ho hum.
  • 4 0
 @KalkhoffKiller: I checked Meta HT at this link www.commencal-store.com.au/PBSCCatalog.asp?ActionID=67174912&PBCATID=3872727 It sates "So, seat tubes are lowered. It’s a choice of reason which offers two advantages:"

So I then check the geo chart of the 2022 model.
Size L Reach 450, seat tube 465.
Size XL Reach 475, seat tube 490
Like I said - wonky geometry
  • 5 0
 @dave119: the person you replied to was talking about a full-suspension bike you could get for the price of that SC hardtail. And your "wonky geometry" is just outdated geometry that every brand including SC was more ore less running in the last five to 10 years.
  • 1 1
 welcome to the new world
  • 5 0
 That's what my specialized fuse cost with SLX and a fox 34.
  • 1 1
 End of season I guess they will be 50% reduced and that would be the time to get one.
Although nowadays I would not spend my money on a bike like this with 32mm stanchions wobbly forks.
Why Santa Cruz has not put at least RS 35 on it is just beyond me.
  • 1 1
 Yes and made in China @ryetoast:
  • 1 1
 Yes and make in China@ryetoast:
  • 1 0
 @bonfire: Is there any hardtail that is better though? Its been awhile since someone I knew was beaming about their new hardtail.
  • 2 2
 @rockyflowtbay: Yeah... I was considering building up a hardtail, and after much research... the best choice was going to the the SC Chameleon. The only thing that was holding me back, was the dated HT/ST angles. Now thats taken care of with this new version.

I always consider resale when building and buying bikes... because I know I will only hang on to it for a season or two. SC bikes... particularly the Chameleon retain value and sell quickly. Of course that has to due with their proven record, satisfied customers, and positive word of mouth.
  • 1 1
 @Baller7756: maybe covid inflated prices make for a good resale value nowadays. But pre covid any bike sold second hand lost at least one third of its original price simple because the second hand owner can't make warranty claims.
  • 1 1
 @KalkhoffKiller: I have found that it isn’t a % of original value (if you sell within 2 years) but closer to a per year fixed value. Pre COVID, I factored approximately $1000 per year on typical $4000-$8000 bikes (probably $500 or less per year now).

But yes, let it go beyond 2 years and you could probably use the 1/3 factor.
  • 1 1
 @Baller7756: covid aside any bike not sold with a warranty even unridden is worth minus the worst case cost of a broken frame or motor/battery failure if we are talking about ebikes. If you are unlucky frame failure or faulty battery/motor can even happen to a new bike and then you have to pay hundreds or even over a thousand on top to fix it.
  • 1 1
 @KalkhoffKiller: Seems like you are a big warranty guy. Components are only warrantied for a year, and I myself have never had a cracked frame or frame warranty claim.

I have bought and sold many used bikes without worry of a frame warranty. IDK… I get it, but it’s really a non factor for most people.
  • 1 1
 @Baller7756: its a pretty big factor for ebikes. Broken frames out of nowhere are rare these days but a few years ago it was pretty common. Trek scratch or older session chainstays for example broke left and right. With an ebike I would only buy used for an amount that is lower than what a new motor, frame or battery would cost me because motors and batteries can fail out of nowhere pretty often and cost between 400 and over a thousand bucks.
  • 1 1
 @rockyflowtbay: I agree, but like that’s sort of my point. Like the cost for one of these is stupid and there just isn’t something amazing about it
  • 412 5
 Yesterday's bikes at tomorrow's prices
  • 21 21
 Please upvote this ^
  • 1 0
 The seat and is out of date
  • 2 3
 Comment of the year
  • 1 0
 @agnostic: Big fears make total value with goal (what?)
  • 1 0
 Looking at all these new bikes and their prices, every single day I'm more and more happy about buying my Meta. I ordered it last January just before the prices begin to rise. Happy with the price, love the bike.. I reckon we will make a happy couple for a long long time
  • 1 1
 @noapathy: it should have read "seat angle is out of date"
  • 151 0
 I'm gonna buy a nukeproof scout and some santa cruz stickers and save myself £1000
  • 27 0
 Seriously. The Scout 290 at the same price point has a Lyrik Select, SLX groupset with SLX 4p brakes, and a DT wheelset. You'd have to be a serious SC fanboy to choose an SX build (albeit with NX shifter, at least?) and Recon over that .
  • 124 17
 This whole post is marketing $$$ marketing $$$ marketing $$$. Santa Cruz is nothing but a boutique image for midlife crisis dads who think they are in the know.
  • 98 3
 I don't know who the target demo is for this bike, but from this spread I'd say it is Instagram artists who want to paint their frames and then lean their bikes against things. *Nothing* about this made me want to buy this bike, let alone ride one.
  • 29 3
 @mikealive: I dunno it made me want to ride one, off a cliff
  • 36 4
 @mikealive: we just placed a order for 50 complete bike. We have local gov financing to run an instagram artists rampage event here in Rogaland, Norway.

Basic premise is for the artists to roll down a flow trail while people who have no social media presence (posting here don’t count) through eggs and sheep shit at them, while shouting ‘get a real life’.
  • 11 11
 99% of people who buy this bike will have corporate jobs... but at least they get to bask in the reflected glow of worthy hipsters.
  • 12 1
 Santa Cruz stopped being unique, innovative leaders awhile ago. They make a good product, but the real value is from their hype/popularity. You can buy "this" bike from many other companies at a much better price, but it won't say Santa Cruz on it.
  • 16 8
 @mikealive: It is a superb bike. I built one up with the orange 2019 model. Done me proud. Perfect entry bike if you have the motivation to drum up the money for it. And I was able to sell on the frame and fork for only 30 pounds less than I paid for them. And switch all the other parts onto my new Bronon v4. I am a busker , I can afford these things by working and saving. Having ridden many cheaper bikes, I can say with certainty that Santa Cruz make bikes that are a cut above almost all other brands. Superb service and a lifetime guarantee. Quality frames with a superb finish. I have owned a Scout too and I assure you, the difference in quality is noticeable. If you ride even the previous model you will instantly see what the fuss is about. I am sure this newer model only refines the superb tide quality.
  • 28 1
 As a midlife crisis dad, I would prefer a Yeti Arc thanks.
  • 21 10
 If this website and bikes and prices make you guys so miserable, what are you even doing here? I swear, the comments section has become nothing but non-stop whining over the past 6 months or so. Mountain bikes are supposed to be fun! You don't need to comment on the price or marketing strategy of every single product release, sheesh!
  • 3 2
 @myethos: you’re a what now?
  • 4 5
 @blackthorne - well, this is mountain biking, so who really does know better than middle aged dads? That’s who mountain bikes, is it not?
  • 4 0
 If I was in the know I would love a BTR
  • 10 1
 @mikealive: I'm a santa cruz fan and have been riding their bikes for 16 years for the solid build quality and no-nonsense design features (threaded BB's, smart pivot hardware and cable routing). That said, your description of the target demo seems spot on.
  • 8 1
 @myethos: As someone who's owned six Santa Cruz bikes (Tallboy LTc, two Nomads, 1st gen Hightower, 2nd gen Hightower) and currently owns a Nukeproof Mega and a Nukeproof Scout, I can say that the Nukeproofs are just as good as the SC's in terms of build quality. I broke the LTc and one of the Nomads, and I cursed at the internal brake routing on the 2nd gen Hightower, and all of the SC's got their paint chipped at the same rate as the Nukeproofs (but the Mega came with clear frame protection installed).

Anyway. There's no way buying this bike makes sense over a Scout. There isn't a lot of difference between aluminum hardtails from reputable brands, at least not between the Highballs and Chameleons my friends have and my Scout. This is a ridiculously overpriced and underspecced Aluminum hardtail.
  • 12 2
 @westeast: right? They're also a mountain bike company, which seems important.

I cracked a Reserve rim and had a tracking number for its replacement that afternoon. They'll send bearings in the blink of an eye. Their bikes are serviceable and solid. That may not be worth 20% more than the Other Guys on its own, but unfortunately it's close. I also value that they're a mountain bike company that supports cool people...factor in that stuff and it's not even a toss-up: I'll buy a Santa Cruz no problem.
  • 1 0
 @mikealive: the "barmeleon" looked like a rad ride....others not so much
  • 4 2
 @rickybobby18: I just saw on mtbr a dude who bought a nukeproof and it came missing an end cap for the front wheel. It took weeks to get one.

I had a new rim from sc in 2 days after filing the claim.
  • 3 0
 @Austink: the end cap was probably stuck to the little plastic pieces they pack wheels with for shipping… has happened to me before lol
  • 3 5
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: Lol, yet here you are, giving your opinion by chastising others for having an opinion in the comment section. Thank you for your valuable contribution Big Grin One could just as easily say, 'If the comments bother you so much, why even scroll down and read them?', no?
  • 1 0
 Yes it's a bit sad about SC.
  • 3 0
 @owl-X: They are actually just a brand within the huge pon empire these days. Owned by the same people who make supermarket specials
  • 1 0
 @CM999: the only Santa Cruz I’ve had (best bike I ever had) was a v4 Nomad, under the PONbrella. Fine.
  • 2 0
 @justanothermatt: As another midlife crisis dad (is 58 midlife or just old!) was looking at an electric full sus but keep getting drawn back to the Yeti ARC webpage.
  • 1 0
 @owl-X: agreed. I love that SC and Ibis do the $5 a ft raffles for trail building organizations. I’m that model just seems perfect in so many ways. So yeah, I think SC ads are lame, but the product and company appear to still be solid and worth a premium in my experience.
  • 1 0
 It’s a model
  • 2 0
 @hellbelly: The real value with SC is in the full suspension department with free bearings but thats about it.
  • 1 0
 @owl-X: a busker. I play music on the street.
  • 62 4
 "$2,399 USD for the D kit with a RockShox Recon RL and SRAM SX drivetrain"

hahahahaa... a hardtail with Recon and SX for $2.4k Big Grin Thanks for the laugh.

Pinkbike, is posting blatant ads targeted at wannabe insta influencers as "first look" articles the new norm under your corporate overlords?
  • 24 0
 Performance 34 fork and GX for damn near $4k is also outrageous. The Chameleon has always been overpriced even by Santa Cruz standards, and seems that the trend continues here.
  • 7 0
 @samimerilohi: You could go out and buy GX, the fork, the hoops, mine the minerals, ship them intercontinentally, have a frame designed and manufactured for you, become a corporate giant, start selling the same bike for more money than its worth, change the design every 2 years, and pay some influencers and still have money left over.
  • 47 0
 I was stoked for this till I saw it was ibis ripmo af price.
  • 8 0
 Woah. That really puts it into perspective, doesn't it? I get the argument for their full-squish bikes: some people love the way they ride and will spend for that platform. They're hardly the only company where that's the case (I'm guilty of riding something of the sort myself). But for a hardtail? There is no special sauce to be had there. As long as the geo is right and the spec is good, you're golden. You can get Devinci's Kobain Hardtail for 2/3rds the price with a similar spec, and that thing is hand-made in Canada and very well regarded in terms of the geo and how it translates on the trail. Even the full-squish equivalent Marshall is $150CAD cheaper than the base Chameleon in Canada. I'm sure I could look at a lot other of highly-reputable bike companies and find similar pricing, and that's not even considering direct-to-consumer companies.
  • 6 1
 @big-red: "But for a hardtail? There is no special sauce to be had there." -> actually there is. Depending on the construction it can be on the harsh or compliant side. I don't know where new Chameleon sits - but hopefully Hardtail Party will have a review soon.
  • 1 0
 @drib: it's aluminum, right? Not necessarily the best material to design around compliance
  • 9 0
 @Bro-LanDog: aluminum can be plenty compliant, look at the paradox, last gen chameleon, or ragley big al
  • 1 0
 @ltharris: I'll be honest, I don't have much hardtail experience within the last decade or so. I just always hear about steel and carbon compliance. Aluminum isn't the most elastic material in general compared to composites or certian steels
  • 2 1
 @Bro-LanDog: you are correct in that steel and carbon can/tend to be more compliant, but that depends entirely on the brand that builds the bike, and what steel/carbon it is. the last gen chameleon was respected by many for its ride feel, despite being aluminum. a lot of companies tend to overbuild their bikes (chromag is a big one) so even though its steel, they tend to ride "stiffer" than some alloy bikes, like the chameleon or big al. stanton does a great job with the compliance and ride feel with their steel and ti bikes.

as for carbon, its obvious that it can be shaped and strengthened any way you want, so you can make a very strong light and compliant bike out of carbon. spot does this pretty well if i remember correctly. probably my favorite example of a very strong and capable, but not overbuilt bike is the new kona honzo esd
  • 3 0
 @drib: "There is no special sauce to be had there." -> actually there is. Depending on the construction it can be on the harsh or compliant side."

Wheel and tyre choice and setup probably have a greater impact. Pretty sure my 2.4" tyres deform a lot more, and a lot more regularly, than the rear triangle of my aluminium hardtail. Same goes for wheels - I've owned (and sold) wheelsets that were just too wibbly.
  • 33 1
 Would never buy a bike with SX gears again. Total shite. Especially at this price.
  • 19 7
 Id never buy Sram again full stop. Had no choice when I built my current bike as no Shimano available. It is 21 GX eagle and it is soooo bad. Alas the mates I ride with who also have 12spd Sram have the same issues. Absolute [insert word for poo beginning with S]. We are slowly swapping it out. Everyone can have an opinion but mine is based on real life fact so dont try to tell me I am wrong Smile
  • 5 0
 @ilovedust: Tbf I've never had an issue with any Sram gears until SX which is built like a chocolate box. However I would like to try Shimano again its been many years
  • 4 0
 @ilovedust: Anything in particular y'all are noting? I have tended to prefer shimano drivetrains for many years, but ended up with a GX setup on my latest bike and I can't honestly say I've enjoyed it any less than the XT drivetrains on my last three bikes other than maybe a minor increase in chainslap.
  • 2 5
 @ilovedust: You’re going to be upset if you think your going to have better luck with Shimano. Personally I’d just avoid anything SX, NX, Deore, SLX. Especially the shimano 12 speed mechs and invest in something that’s going to last.
  • 7 0
 @thenotoriousmic: SX has a very poor plasticy reputation. Iv'e owned Deore 12 and SLX speed. Both have worked perfectly for the last 12 months. Ive also had a deore 9 speed mech that lasted 19 years.
My perception is that SLX and XT are built solidly built and will last.
  • 2 0
 I’ve been pretty pleased with trp-12. There are alternatives to Sram and Shimano
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: as a massive shimano fanboi I've had pretty shitty luck with 12sd shimano. Flimsy cages that bend when you look at them wrong and will never shift good again. That said, same goes for eagle.

I how I yearn for the reliability of old shimano 10 or even sram 11.
  • 2 0
 @dirtyburger: I’ve got a lot of bmx mates that have all got into mtb recently and they’re all on 12 speed shimano and bmxers have no idea how to maintain gears so I have to do it for them and the quality on the 12 speed mechs especially is appalling. The deore stuff and slx is so poorly built it’s not fit for purpose. The sram stuff especially from GX upwards is just made to a much higher standard out of much better materials and don’t bend or go floppy at the pivots after a few months.
  • 21 0
 The top build is $4800 CAD. For that one gets a performance level fork, AR garbage rims on 370 hub, crap G2 brakes and a smattering of other meh parts. SC has jumped the shark. As a previous SC owner I realize value has never been their strong point, but this is a new era of poor value.
SC, it’s bad news when 50 yr old Dads like me are abandoning your brand.
  • 5 0
 Fully agree... the Devinci Kobain for about 2k canadian is deadly and about $1000 cheaper.....
  • 29 5
 Pretty poorly disguised advert.
  • 7 0
 It's just an advert. Like every other "First Look" post, it's a slightly edited version of the press package sent to all bike media outlets. Just look at SC's web page; it's all the same info. I don't think PB is disguising anything here...
  • 2 0
 @mechatronicjf: "Spotted" are my favourite adverts!
  • 5 0
 @drib: hahahaha me too as long as they've also spotted the bikes geo numbers and fork travel compatibility Wink
  • 2 0
 yeah man if you're still holding out that PB isn't shameless payola, I got a bridge to sell you...
  • 4 0
 What do you honestly think the point of any bike news media is? The whole this is to sell more bikes. I’m betting this happened before the Outside lizard people bought Pinkbike too.
  • 1 0
 @sunringlerider: It's more the incompetence of how it was done. Here's what I mean:
What percentage of pinkbike readers do you honestly think represent the demographic which would be swayed by that advert?
  • 3 0
 @sonuvagun: to be fair, you're paid to please the client. Your ad turns out to be effective?--gravy. If the local car dealer insists on starring in his own tv ad--and he's paying--you let him!
  • 2 0
 @owl-X: voted up.
Though on that token, I reserve the right to make an objective assessment of that advert.
  • 3 0
 @sonuvagun: oh, it’ll always suck! Much like compromised reviews of nearly identical bikes.
  • 18 0
 They just ruined this bike IMO. Not everyone needs or wants a super slack HTA. The Chameleon and the previous generation Honzo ST were the only remaining bikes from major manufacturers that could still be ridden hard but didn’t have garish HTAs for a short forked hardtail. I have a current generation Chameleon build up as basically a 29” dirt jumper for ripping after work laps at our local trails. A 67.5 degree HTA is great for jumping a bit and then lapping the flow trails. The new version would just be slow reacting and burdensome in this application. And who needs a gravel bike that slack?
  • 3 0
 You get it. I am going to look for a spare frame starting now
  • 16 0
 “Mike is core. If you looks close, you can see the rattle can camo sprayed over the rims and the panier racks that he built himself.” LMAO
  • 6 2
 I would suggest looking him up, he is a legend of the UK Bmx scene and a shit hit frame builder to boot
  • 18 1
 not sure you'd wanna dirt jump with a 65 degree head angle...
  • 5 5
 Maybe not a dedicated jump bike, but this is a bike for everything. The previous one had a steeper HA which put me off personally as there was no way to run an angleset with an integrated headset. The HA obviously steepens as the fork compresses on a hardtail.
  • 6 0
 @tremeer023: 9point8 make a integrated headset angleset!
  • 1 0
 @DatCurryGuy: ah, good stuff. We are spoilt for choice with aftermarket tweaks now.
  • 1 0
 @tremeer023: I have a 140 fork on my prior version Chameleon and while not slack compared to most standards it does the job.
  • 1 0
 Do you think it’s too slack? Current (but still very old) jackal has a hta of 68.7*, DMR sect pro is 69, and rhythm is 69.5.
  • 10 4
 @Afterschoolsports: 65 is too slack for a chameleon. Dirt jump, trails and xc were very happy at 67.5, 68. 65 is basically enduro hardtail. Buy an enduro bike for that stuff. The chameleon was for everything else
  • 5 2
 @AccidentalDishing: I don't think so. Take into account that 65 on HT is not the same as 65 on full suspension, since HTA becomes more steep under load on the hardtail. So 65 on HT is like 67 on full suspension - which makes it perfect all around trail bike. With steep enough seat tube - it can also be a very good climber.
  • 3 1
 @drib: agree. My ht is 64 degree static but handles all but very steep jumps no problems. For riding proper dj sets, a dedicated jump bike is the tool for the job.
  • 18 1
 I really hated this
  • 15 2
 Wow, thats some hot garbage right there!
  • 11 0
 Seriously who is still buying Santa Cruz bikes. There are endless better options out there.
  • 12 1
 forgot about the XXL crowd :-(
  • 83 0
 They’re just not a large enough market
  • 5 0
 Yep... 460mm seat tube for XL is not great Smile
  • 3 1
 @kisab: there's nothing a 213 mm BikeYoke post can't solve... Except a longer reach maybe.
  • 4 1
 @enduroNZ: thank you sir, I'll accompany you to the exit
  • 4 4
 @enduroNZ: you could say they are too large for their own good.
  • 4 1
 @bulletbassman: This is going on for too long, we can't keep stretching it out.
  • 3 2
 It's a tall order making everyone happy
  • 9 0
 head over to Ragley and get any of theirs for thousands less. I built up a GX spec'ed Big Al for 1300$
  • 9 0
 Soooo for $150 more than the GX build I can get a Yeti ARC with a similar-ish SLX build. Excuse me?!?
  • 9 4
 I'm on the current chameleon and it is the most versatile bike I've ever owned. I paid 800 for the frame and it's built rather light with nox wheels, mezcal/barzo and a dv9 sapphire. You can legit take it from the dirt jumps or pump track to a cat 1 xc marathon race and change nothing but tire pressure and click back over the lsc to almost open. I ride all of pisgah. The shed, stokesville, rothrock on it no problem. Rode some dh laps at snowshoe on it no problem on blues and tech blacks. Obviously it has its speed limits. Much over 25 in chunk is about any hardtails limit. It rides softer than any aluminum frame out there and softer than many good steel frames. I also have a hayduke and el mariachi for comparison, two frames touted as butter smooth. The chameleon is better. I think this longer slacker burlier puts it exactly in line with many other hardtails in its price range or cheaper. It's not a chameleon anymore. It's just another trail hardtail. 65 degrees is sluggish as hell on flat xc course, and sucks on the pump track and steep faces dirt jumps. The previous version was literally an overgrown dirt jumper that was somehow perfect for marathon xc and NUE
  • 4 0
 problem is you can say the same about so many alu hardtails.
  • 3 1
 @browner: definitely not. I can think of exactly 1 aluminum frame this is competitive with compliancewise: Banshee paradox. Fuse, meta, nukeproof, honzo all ride stiff and beat you up. Paradox is great but it's not a do all bike. To slack headangle for anything but steep fast stuff. To steep of seat tube to allow good cornering without dropping the post. The old Chameleon was the one single xc whip, jumper, trail bike all in on that I've found. Smash 13,000 ft 100 mile NUE races on the weekends and then go to the bmx track after work on Monday. If another bike exists that is this versatile, rides smooth and has sliding dropouts then please let me know. I'll buy one
  • 3 0
 @AccidentalDishing: I went from a Chameleon to a Salsa Timberjack and I'd argue that it is even more versatile.
  • 1 0
 @AccidentalDishing: Have you ridden one of the Reeb hardtails? Or Guerilla Gravity's Pedalhead?
  • 1 1
 @dindillion: interesting, I've been wanting to try one. I've not ridden the new generation Timberjack, but the old wasn't bad. I've ridden a buddies Ti one that is pretty great but it's cracked twice and the $2600 frame price is on a different level.

The Reebs are great bikes. But totally different use case. 140 plus forks and definitely in the trail/am category. The pedalhead looks like an awesome bike. Admittedly I didn't know they had sliding dropouts available. Noted if I build a buried bike. Over a pound heavier than 2020 chameleon and 65 ha is gonna be sluggish if you race any flat courses.

Point is that there is a million great 65 deg ha trail smasher hardtails out there. The chameleon was the last singlespeedable middle of the road frames out there that was a legit contender in xc racing but also wanted to do some jumps and was zippy on the trail. The new bike looks great (frame only. Groupsets and pricing are a joke) and I would build one as a burlier companion to my existing chameleon, buts it's not a replacement or true to the chameleon name.
  • 2 0
 @AccidentalDishing: Paradox is great with a 130mm fork, but can't single speeded effectively. Also a $1000 frame like this SC.
  • 11 3
 garbage price to part ratio on this one, steer clear
  • 4 0
 I really can't get how they frame prices alone, never mind full builds, are justified. Even a new Honzo ST is a $2-300USD less and Kona isn't exactly known for being an affordable branch. It might be a great bike, and probably is, but $1k for an aluminum frame-only? What?
  • 1 1
 I think it has to do with units sold. The pb community does like doing custom builds but the general public doesn’t. So compound that with the even smaller number of people wanting to build up a custom hardtail and we get to a high price frame option.
  • 4 0
 My one and only ride is a frame up build of a 2019 blue Chameleon and I literally could not be happier. It takes me back to the days I happily rode my '87 GT Avalanche at Mammoth and all over SoCal and did nothing but smile and laugh.... If I want to really shred, I'll hop onto my full suspension 450.... OK, now back to everyone's bitching.
  • 5 0
 I have a nordest. By far the best hard tail I’ve had to date and I’ve had a few. They’ve been getting better over the last 10 years. But the nordest is just sublime.
  • 1 0
 I have it too. Fine bike. Pity that it barely fits the 2.5 tyre..
  • 1 0
 @hurmikak: I have a dhr 2.4 and tbh is wide enough and it fits well.
  • 1 0
 @enduroNZ: 2.4 (all weather) or 2.3 (super dry) here. Rolling faster with heavier casings for less weight works for me.
  • 4 0
 i miss the days for a god launch video for the chameleon. the best one was the video with ratboy and peaty on the tennis ball yellow chameleons. craig evans had also a nice video for the last one.
  • 3 0
 I'll bite too, the previous version is such a good all-rounder, I discounted a bunch of other alu hardtails as their slacker angles were too biased for pointing down. The SC crew aren't stupid, there's a huge market for this style of bike, but I'm not sure the chameleon branding suits it well any more.
  • 6 0
 I am surprised nobody missing carbon chameleon
  • 65 0
 well, you can get the alu one for the carbon price now Big Grin
  • 9 0
 They come and go.
  • 1 0
 @NicolaZesty314: Hahaha! Truth!
  • 3 0
 @NicolaZesty314: I’m a man without conviction…….
  • 7 0
 Frame only???
  • 2 1
 This! But even then i think it would be highly overpriced.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty Looks like it’s $1350 USD. Not sure what that will be by the time it makes it over to our global shores but probably a lot
  • 7 0
 @PB-J: for that money i would get myself a kingdom vendetta or something from stanton or custom from curtis
  • 3 0
 @funkzander: Both those are great (especially Curtis, as an old school bmx rider I have a soft spot for them) I’ve got a Cotic Solaris max for ht duty’s and honestly can’t fault it, absolutely lovely
  • 3 0
 @PB-J: website says something like 995 usd for frame only but even thats too much for me for an alloy frame...and i dont want to know the euro price we have to pay for it. frame is not bad and i like the dropouts for converting to singlespeed but not for that money.
  • 1 0
 @funkzander: Looks to have changed to check with your local dealer. But yes, I’ve always been a fan of changeable dropouts. The one and only SC bike I’ve owned was a mk1 Bronson and it sure was pretty and my ride buddies were jealous. I put up with it for just over a year before replacing it with something decent that I’m still riding now.
  • 2 0
 @PB-J: Pretty sure I paid £550 for my 2017 frame so that rise is pretty large really.
  • 5 0
 @PB-J: Ouch, that's steep. Rather splash out £6-700 for a Cotic / Stanton / any other steel HT.
  • 2 0
 @PB-J: you can get yourself a yeti ARC frameset for that money!!
  • 1 0
 $950 on the Santa Cruz website. So expensive but not insane for a hardtail. The seat tube lengths, stand over numbers, angles, wheel base are admittedly modern. There are better deals but this bike will sell and those who can buy it will enjoy it.
  • 2 0
 @MJW94: And it's not far off a Nicolai, and that's in a different league.
  • 2 0
 @xxinsert-name-herexx: N is a different (better) kettle of fish.
  • 2 0
 Those build kits leave much to be desired for me but there is a frame only which I might consider next spring. I have a current Chameleon with a 150 36 in 29 version so could rum plus tires. That puts the head angle at 66 ish static. Seat angle is harder to measure but I think it’s pretty slack by today’s standards but I like it just fine. When I built mine I selected my own parts so it cost way too much but I got what I wanted and never came down with upgradeitis other than brakes. Guide brakes weren’t up to snuff when I got XT Four piston jobbies on my full suspension bike.
  • 2 0
 Apart from a load of hipster, craft beer coffee bean vegan loving kinda life style photos, what is this bike? Can it really be a jack of all trades? I want to see some xc, trail, pump track images, images that sell it to actual mountain bikers.
  • 4 1
 Its a bit dumb making the frame easy to set up singlespeed but then specing a SRAM drivetrain which is a complete arse to convert to singlespeed. e.g. compared to Shimano.
  • 2 0
 The SX build uses a Shimano HG cassette. So easy to find singlespeed cogs.
  • 1 0
 @Ryan2949: and the current chameleon is a perfect ss. New dropouts are interesting. Nor sure why the change. Old ones were fantastic. Only issue was early gen had some thin spots that resulted in cracking but that was remedied quickly.
  • 2 0
 @AccidentalDishing: Watched Hardtail Party's video on the bike, the drop outs look pretty good on this new one!
  • 1 0
 Carbon was not simply "retired", the cost of manufacturing and timeline simply would not be affordable or available. And yeah, SX and a crap fork for $2,400? Hopefully most will pass and just buy the frame set, which I think is okay for the money.
  • 1 0
 I'm running a previous generation chameleon mullet with a 140.

I can go back and forth between my 29 and 27.5 wheels depending on what type of trails I'm on. But saying that... set up MX it's incredibly fun. This was a smart move on SC's part.

But price wise... this is insane. But not an uncommon move at the moment. They're not the only asking insane prices for bikes right now... including hard tails. I think GG's hard tail is almost $5k.... better spec'd but still.
  • 1 0
 Even if you wanted to buy one, Santa Cruz will not have them in stock. With Covid they have very few models and sizes available for purchase and the supply chain is getting worse. They released their new Blur TR months ago and you can't find one because nothing has shipped. They also cancelled my order on a MegaTower after I had paid for it in Full
  • 1 0
 Buy what you can afford and ride what you like. There was a time when I couldn’t afford anything but a basic hard tail but I saved up and rode what I could and fell in love with riding. Now I’m older and have *worked hard and thus, can afford (mostly) what I would like and I still love riding more than ever. And as an owner of two SC bikes (not a CHAMELEON tho) I can say they are worth the hype. Best bikes I’ve ever owned and/or ridden. Expensive-yeah, a bit. But damn, I love my bikes.

*Not a dentist. Just a teacher.
  • 1 0
 As a fan of the previous gen, I bought the new chameleon when I saw one in my size at my bike shop. D build for 2600USD with tax was hard to swallow. I took it home and built it up with a 140 fox 24 fit2, dtswiss hoops with xd driver freehub body, gx axs, etc.. love the bike, but yeah, crazy expensive.
  • 3 0
 Bought my '97 Chameleon frame for £20 a few years ago. I'll just wait out the depreciation on this one too Smile
  • 5 0
 I can see the top tube stickers now, “depreciate or die”
  • 3 1
 Geo and design are very dialled in. Great work Santa Cruz, now work on that price point so many people will be able to enjoy.
  • 3 0
 And I thought the 2022 Trek Roscoe (near identical geometry) was overpriced...
  • 3 1
 I can only assume someone has made a Mistake at Santa Cruz and ditched the carbon frame and the alloy price list and match the wrong ones together
  • 2 0
 Huh? And people think Yeti is expensive. For less than $200 more ($3900 USD) one can get a hardtail with better components AND a carbon frame.
  • 1 1
 100/100 for a beautiful and clean design.

In graphic arts, more white space is better. The same can be said for bike design, and it's why I don't like YT's (for instance) lines and linkages sprouting ad hoc in all directions.
  • 4 2
 Nice. A perfect candidate for a second bike (to put on parts from main full suspension bike when upgrade)
  • 2 0
 A Surly Krampus is what you want then, can be more things than your other (fancy FS trail) bike is not while still can be used as a sub while you wait for shock service or a replacement rear triangle or what ever.
  • 3 0
 @feeblesmith: how this Surly Krampus is better than SC Chameleon (we are talking about frame only, prices on SC full builds are too high)?
There are also a plenty of frame options, like BC Podsol 29", which is quite cheap (€450) and with good geo.
  • 3 0
 @wyric: A year, or so, ago I was thinking of getting SC Chameleon but obsolete geometry put me off. At the end I did get BC Podsol 29" - and it is beautiful, amazing bike!
  • 2 0
 I love my Podsol!
  • 2 0
 More overpriced marketing dressed up as value. I would stick to the sonder signal ti for an extra £200
  • 3 0
 I'll stick to my On One home build...
  • 2 0
 Have to admit, I bought the latest On One Scandal frame during pre-order about 2 years ago. For some reason it didn't do the "pound to USD" conversion. Picked up the frame, headset, bar and stem, and paid shipping, totalled $285 USD!! The price of the frame over the past year rose to $1225 USD. Not sure what happened there, but it's similar geometry to the Santa Cruz and one hell of a bike. The new Diety bar and stem I just bought cost more then the frame!
  • 1 0
 I was looking at this yesterday and really thought it was a good deal.

www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CBOOBDSX/on-one-big-dog-sram-sx-mountain-bike
  • 2 0
 @Endurahbrah: They really are nice bikes. I have the last 29er Inbred, steel frame, that has been in service for the last 5 or 6 years, it's a rigid bike now. Still hitting it hard, no issues. It's different going from a 65HA to a 69HA, but it's still fun. The Big Dog would likely stand up to anything you put in front of it. I know offset is a preference, but I think it has better feel with 51mm offset fork. I say "I think" because we're in a horrible drought right now and have a half inch of dust on all our trails, so it's a 2 wheel drift fest. All in all, I really like their bikes.
  • 1 1
 At least the paint choices are improving on their bikes. The Hightower orange is one of the best colours on any bike atm. Now to get rid of that horrible green on the nomad.....
  • 2 1
 I know they don’t have a WC team, a huge marketing budget, or dealer mark-ups but the RSD Middle Child Alloy is a much much much better bang for the buck.
  • 1 0
 Paying for the letters on the downtube with these prices! Rocky Mountain and Kona are doing the same thing though with their builds and prices…
  • 4 0
 The Honzo is $1799 with the same fork but a much better Deore drivetrain. 33% upcharge for the "Santa Cruz" sticker seems pretty unreasonable to me.
  • 2 0
 needs steel option, some of the worst priced build I ever seen. Why would anyone go with SC?
  • 2 0
 I really wish more aggressive hardtails could fit 2 bottles inside the main triangle...
  • 2 2
 My biggest issue with the previous generation wasn't the HTA..it was the STA. On steep climbs the bike wandered all over the place while you hung off the back. They made the STA steeper...but not steep enough.
  • 2 0
 all i'm gonna say is - bar religion 'suffer' album cover - IF YOU SEE IT - YOU SEE IT!
  • 1 0
 I see it!
  • 10 9
 So excited for this. The previous chameleon was a rad bike, and this one looks even better.
  • 1 0
 why dropping the carbon one - Ibis did this to with the DV9 was only out for 3yrs then discontinued
  • 1 0
 Will the rock shox builds include the new damper set to be announced today?
  • 1 0
 And everyone one of them changed the look/colour of the frame….. says it all really. Who decides the colours????
  • 1 0
 Buy an on one scandal in GX eagle spec for £1100. Trash it though the winter and not care too much about it.
  • 2 0
 Hardtailers are precious. Don’t ever change, I love you!
  • 3 5
 Wow lots of hate. I have a chameleon carbon and I love it, can't see ever selling it.
In some ways I wish they hadn't made it slacker. In my opinion Santa should have two hardtails, the chameleon with more mile geo than can bridge between trail bike, jump bike, and Gravel bike/bike packer, and then a more aggressive all mountain hardtail.
Either way chameleons are awesome. I Get Get hate since Santa Cruz are a "keeping up with the joneses" brand where it's easy to get sucked into an endless upgrade cycle but the chameleon is mostly immune from that.
  • 1 0
 $2,399? This is like an add for the On -One Scandal. But the GX model, swap the fork and you still have beer money.
  • 2 0
 Nice price for a carbon bike... what...alu?

Hahahah
  • 1 0
 What did these influencers do when the Facebook Matrix was down for 6 hours yesterday? Go for a bike ride I hope.
  • 2 0
 have a 1st edition chameleon its still rocks!
  • 1 0
 Hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zR3ZQWbap-M
  • 1 0
 You mean a Magnum market?
  • 2 1
 Were they having problems with the carbon version breaking?
  • 2 0
 More than likely it has more to do with production on carbon frames being WAY behind. They'd rather have their factories spending time pumping out the bikes that they're already 8-15 months behind on over a new hard tail. I bet next year they drop a carbon version.
  • 2 2
 It was carbon… but it wasn’t much lighter. And it was really stiff.

High priced trail hard tails are an oddity to me. The point of a HT is a cheap entry level bike.

A carbon trail HT with high end components seems out of place and has slim market appeal.
  • 1 0
 I’ve been thinking about a carbon chameleon , glad they are on sale now
  • 1 0
 Why aren't any of the bikes in the pictures, weird...
  • 2 0
 Should say mild geo
  • 4 6
 Why so much hate? Do not like it, do not buy it. So simple. I like it a lot. I wonder if can mount kid saddle on it.
Scout or other are similar? Maybe.
But the colors are great here and I like it.
  • 6 0
 found the dad that will buy it.
  • 2 2
 @ridingofthebikes: yes yes yes.
Or anybody who likes it and can afford it.
  • 3 1
 Still, why so much hate. Facebook temporarly closed and the world lost 50% of activiest Wink ))))
The same here. Smile, laugh, keyboard warriors. Do not like it so do buy it and you life problems solved Wink ))
  • 1 3
 @patryka: There comes a point when not buying garbage just isn't good enough I'm afraid. If you like it, buy it, and put up with the abuse - its a product after all and a statement about the purchasers' sanity too
  • 1 0
  someone accidentally posted their IG story to PB
  • 1 0
 Too expensive to be a cheap bike and too heavy to be a nice bike...
  • 2 1
 Wow,an overpriced beer can ht,impressive
  • 2 2
 Custom painting a bike is about like custom painting a refrigerator....it changes the outside but the food tastes the same.
  • 1 0
 What's up with the reclining seat tube?
  • 2 1
 It's not even steel. So it's not real
  • 1 0
 The £579 Pipedream Moxie = "did 'ye aye?"
  • 1 1
 Seat tube angle too slack and reach too short, so SC built this as a modern trail frame???
  • 1 0
 get 2x Marin San quentins for that price in the uk
  • 1 0
 Ragley rules.
  • 1 0
 65* So Unique *~*~
  • 1 2
 465 reach on a large is smol
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