Santa Cruz Introduces New Suspension Platform On Two New Bikes!

Apr 13, 2010
by Mike Levy  
Santa Cruz unveils an entirely new suspension platform and two new trail slayers! We'll have an in depth look later this week during our Sea Otter coverage, but for now have a look and read up on Santa Cruz's new APP bikes.

Read on...Source: Santa Cruz


With a long top tube and snappy pedaling manners, it's a climb-happy, nimble bike with sure-footed geometry that begs to go claim some tall peaks in the backcountry. And with five inches of sophisticated APP suspension travel designed to eat rocks and roots and jumps with all the ability of longer travel bikes, it also does a mighty fine job of whipping the descents into shape as well. Does that sound a little schizophrenic? Maybe so. The Nickel's a perfect bike for those days when you have to flip a coin to decide where you want to ride.


Santa Cruz Nickle
Santa Cruz Nickle



Way up in the Sierras near Downieville, California, is a trail that leads into more than 5,000 feet of descending during a sixteen-mile feast of singletrack. Along the way, riders encounter frenzied rock gardens, brake searing straights between tight switchbacks, jarring compressions, flowing turns, sphincter puckering transitions into cliffside traverses, and some of the fastest ripping, tree-lined singletrack anywhere in the world. Superb suspension, strong pedaling legs, a tough bike, and a relaxed grip all count for a lot here. The name of that trail is Butcher Ranch. We named this bike, with six inches of abuse-hungry APP suspension and a frame designed to be shown the meaning of tough love, in it's honor.





What Is APP?


In the words of the lead engineer on this project, APP is "a kind of bogus acronym." It means Actual Pivot Point, and since we are an acronym-averse company, those three letters represent both a totally new suspension system and the fact that we don't take our marketing nearly as seriously as we do our engineering. The name "Actual Pivot Point" initially came about as a spoof on "Virtual Pivot Point," and was used in joking reference to our single pivot bikes when we first began working with VPP a decade ago. When it came time to name this new suspension system we were working on, the APP moniker resurfaced, and in spite of our best efforts to come up with something else that accurately described what was going on and sounded cool, the name stuck.





Yeah, But What Is APP?


APP is a single pivot suspension that utilizes a pair of links to create a variable shock rate. It represents the confluence of two different SCB technologies- combining our proven single pivot location with the shock rate characteristics of our VPP suspension - and is the result of a design process that started back in 2005. We built some mules so ugly only a mother could love them and proved to ourselves it would work. Then we applied for some patents, the first of which was granted in 2009. By this point, we had four years into the design, and had evolved it away from an initial floating shock concept toward the more streamlined bikes in this presentation, the 150mm-travel Butcher and the 125mm-travel Nickel.


Santa Cruz Butcher
Santa Cruz Butcher



Not all single pivot suspensions are the same, so don't go tarring them all with the same dismissive brush. The single pivot used on our new APP bikes is similar to that found on our highly evolved Superlight and Heckler models. It features a high (but not too high) forward (but not too forward) placement that is about the very best place you can locate a single suspension pivot. The placement creates a slight degree of anti-squat, which allows for lively pedaling response, and the high-forward positioning provides a more neutral braking reaction than other lower, more rearward, locations.




We use 15mm diameter aluminum axles in the main swingarm pivot and at the APP link/swing link pivot. Those axles roll on angular contact bearings, thread directly into their swingarm or link counterparts on one side of the bike and feature locking collet heads on the other. The links themselves are stout little chunks of forged aluminum. They don't flex. The axle and bearing design, aside from being a whole lot more sophisticated than just about anything else on the market, is sturdy, reliable, and when the time comes, easily serviceable.


Butcher geometry
Butcher geometry


APP employs a variable shock rate. At the beginning of travel, the shock rate is slightly falling, it flattens in the middle of travel, and then changes to a rising rate near bottom-out. Looking at it on a graph you would notice two things - it looks the same as a shock rate curve for a similar travel VPP bike, and it resembles a smiley face. What this means is that during the initial falling rate part of travel, the suspension is very responsive to bump forces - it uses more of the suspension for a given bump size. Basically, this feels like "more travel" than is really there. As APP suspension progresses through mid-stroke, the shock rate flattens and then changes sign to a rising rate. This translates to a gradual shift from the plush initial travel into more heavy impact resistance deeper in the stroke. As the suspension nears bottom-out, the shock rate progression helps resist bottoming, and creates superb jump landing and g-out characteristics.


Nickel frame w/ Fox Float R shock starting at $1350 US MSRP
Butcher frame w/ Fox Float R shock starting at $1350 US MSRP
Both models will be available mid-June.
Kit and complete prices tbd.
Available in our usual medley of powdercoat colors, and introducing chocolate brown.
Come to think of it, our color swatch is looking more and more like a bag of M&Ms every year.


Visit Santacruzbicycles.com to see their entire lineup


64 Comments

  • 8 0
 nice to see santa cruz updating their mid-range single pivot offerings
  • 9 3
 Haha I'm liking how its this mega exciting 'SANTA CRUZ HAS A NEW SUSPENSION PLATFORM!!!' title, and then its exactly the same platform as a ton of other bikes out there Razz Still, the bikes look sweet and I have no complaints about single pivot at all.
  • 4 1
 same as the new sarcen suspention design?
  • 4 0
 Haha this post is the best thing that could have happend for saracen,

"if SC are using the same design... that means :O"
  • 2 2
 hey chris I didnt know they had internet in barnsley?
  • 3 5
 you can get internet anywhere in the world dan. Even in the middle of the desert w/ nothing around for hundreds of miles Smile
  • 3 0
 rffr, please tell me that you don't think he actually needed telling that. Regards to the new frames, might be tempted to go for that nickel when I get my build on. Then again, Nomad.
  • 1 0
 Yatsey, keep your eyes on the nomad. unbelievable bike. i have had two and i am now considering a third. its that awesome. you cant be disappointed with a nomad
  • 1 0
 Santa Cruz makes amazing bikes. I got to see one of those new carbon nomads and jeez, there soo light but really solid
  • 1 1
 With peoples lack of common sense these days yatsey, yes I had to say that.

Also notice that SC has the patent on this linkage design Smile )
  • 1 0
 Nomad is super fun, but aint a trail bike. If you are DHiller wanting a smaller do it all bike that's for you! Probably best choice out there. But if you are an XC rider wanting bigger allround bike: buy Blur LT2.

Nomad covers with ease everything from AM through proper FR to mini DH depending on a fork you put into it. I never ever felt that It's too small, that it should be tougher, have more travel. Just this one time on a proper World Cup worthy DH track when I encountered a big step down on a super steep section with landing into a rockgarden... but well even DH rigs squeeled as pigs in there

But it will never be a proper trail bike, at least not a bike than can handle technical uphills - it is too slack and too short.

I love mine as I uphill just to get to the top of the hill without any bigger ambitions.
  • 2 0
 Whoever says whatever on Sc have in mind few things, I write them from my own experience with that company:

- customer care and service along with warranty conditions are just great.
- before you say that something is expensive: compare with others. Just compare Turner, Morewood - how simple these are to much more refined, more complicated CHEAPER VPP bikes.
- whoever ever tried to draw a working double-link suspension like VPP or DW-link knows that difference is small but! VPP allows shorter chain stays and simplier and more solid swingarm construction.
- customization options are much better than bif companies like Spec, Trek or at only slightly higher price.
- compare the prices of their CF bikes to some alu bikes of other manufacturers i.e Intense.
- their CF designs are unique comparing to big guns - just think for a while how to make a cf frame, how difficult it is to lay out layers of CF fabric so that it is a single monocoque construction without joints.
-everyone having doubts about v10 that its too big: well Steve's Wchampionship on pedaly track tells it all.
-most of all: their geometry is so refined that you just cant't be disapointed how the bike feels.

- copies?! everyone copies stuff these days! It is just SantaCruz (VPP) Specialized (FSR) And Trek (ABP) being wise enough to be able to properly define and protect their patents. Others just don't know how to do it - that means less money in general, less budget for R&D as result not as good bikes...

Big props here to Transition Bikes being one of very veeeery few, making simple super fun bikes at a fair price.
  • 1 0
 well said dude!!
  • 3 0
 Ugly chain stays....good on sc for continuing with their r&d though when they already have such a dominating suspension platform.
  • 1 0
 This new design is pretty sweet! It just confirms that Santa Cruz Bikes are legit and one of the best. I have a Blur 4x and absolutely love it! I can totally see this suspension platform cannibalizing their real single pivot models though. I'd give it a year and the Heckler, superlight and bullit will be no longer. Or at least they will be made with the APP suspension. Who knows, maybe this platform will steal some sales from their VPP stuff as well. It sounds like they are going to be releasing some other models as well in the future. It would be cool if they made a full on DH bike that was more affordable than the V10 and Driver8. If you are looking to give credit to another bike company for this design, what about Yeti?? With the exception to the rail system, their new RDH platform is in a way very similar to this. Both are a twist on the classic single pivot platform.
  • 1 0
 these HAVE replaced the heckler and superlight
  • 1 0
 Yeti apart from questionably convenient rail system offers their alu frames at prices of SantaCruz CF rigs. SC vpp alu models are cheaper with pretty much comparable ( if not better) weight and performance. Which one is better regardless of price is up to other discussion.
  • 1 0
 Heckler and superlight are still available on their new website.
  • 1 0
 Yeti's are all hand made in Colorado. Most Santacruz models are now made in Asia.
  • 1 0
 Ok pball19ac... I hope you are just stating a fact, and that you are not one of those who believe that hand work in US provides results so much better than Asian manufacturing that it is worth to pay so much money Smile
  • 1 0
 No I agree, there is little difference in quality. Especially in today world. But It does cost more to manufacture in the USA. But at the same time Yeti does a really good job with their bikes. They do some things on their bikes that most companies don't do anymore, such as facing BB tubes and steering tubes.
  • 2 0
 Looks good but I'd still prefer a Nomad. Noticed they just put out a Nomad Carbon? Now that's something I want more than anything right now!
  • 2 0
 Not everyone can afford a Nomad though, so the Butcher is a good alternative.
  • 2 0
 dam i got excited when i saw the title....thought they were new downhill or freeride bikes... nice bikes tho
  • 2 0
 Hmmm... now I'm going to have to reconsider my choice of the Heckler as my dream frame... this Nickle looks pretty nice.
  • 1 0
 Heck is super fun and simple. I rode my cousins one and I ended up with a big banana shaped grin on my face. Geometry is super dialed. But if there is some small gravity monster in you, it bottoms out too easily. Only way around it is the coil shock which is kinda stupid for this frame.
  • 1 0
 It's the one i've been eyeing for a while and im looking to put it to all around trail use. Plus I checked the Santa Cruz site and the Heckler is lighter than the Nickel (and cheaper)... I guess thats the trade off for fancy pivots. Im gonna stick with the Hecklet as my dream frame for now.
  • 1 0
 you won't be dissapointed. It's one of these bike like my Nomad on which you just sit down and you feel like you had this bike for all your life. It just feels right. After first ride you wil just have this: it's so fun!

But ask the guys at SC which shock they would recommend for your riding profile. They are very helpful with it, I'm super satisfied with their customer service& care. I think with Heck, same as with Bullit you need some bottom out control i.e DHX air dhx coil. I mean there's too much fun from that geo and low-weight that its a shame to step your self back from doing fun stuff cuz you bottom out.

Yes Vpp bikes are better, but... the price is truly high. YOu might ask yourself how many great biketrips to some great locations can you finance with the differnce in price Smile
  • 1 0
 Agreed... i like the simplicity of the Heckler, less stuff to have issues with and it still gets the job done. As for shock, they offer the RP2 and the DHX Air... but I was thinking RP23 for the extra adjust-ability and versatility.
  • 1 0
 ask them about DHX Air. That is THE adjustability and THE versatility Smile Since they manufacture now the one with a 5 position (or something like that) PRO-PEDAL lever instead of a knob like in older version or DHX Coil, its easy and fast to switch it on and off.
Tune-ability is better than with RP23. You have gain bottom out control with it which comes handy in airsprung single pivots. Thats only 200g and around 50$ more for better control and a bit sturdier shock (comparing to rp23). I mean depends what you are into off course. If you ride some aggro trails n daily basis or lift accessed trails from time to time, with drop offs or technical steeps then go for DHX Air. If you are mostly into trails and AM, and you just want something with a bit more travel than a regular trail bike: Go for rp23 with boost valve then. I rode Heckler with low-volume Rp23 both on trails and in bikepark, I bottomed it out nearly on every 3m jump or 1m drop off (which is kind a "normal" or small size).I know how to squash stuff and I consider my self closer to smooth rider rather than a buldozer.
  • 1 0
 right on! I was hesitant about the DHX since it's so much burlier... but I'll take a look into it now. Unless my frame give out on me soon (fingers crossed) I'm not in much of a position to buy a new frame... but long term planning is where its at! Thanks for all the info!
  • 1 0
 Woo woo then! Dont buy shock separately then unless you are sure it works fine with that frame ( or you have no one to tune it for you like PUSH what costs...) Not such a big issue with single pivot though, but never do it with frame designs with such a wobbly shock rate changes as Vpp. Ride with the shock you will get with this second hand frame. Then when you buy a new frame straight fr Sc you will get it pre-tuned for this specific frame.

Good luck man!
  • 1 0
 Thanks!
  • 1 0
 Waki I think you should write a book mate!
  • 3 1
 This looks like a REAL good possibility for my new trail/pedal bike!!!!
  • 1 0
 think. APP . mite mean applied before. looks good tho and it will work even better.
  • 1 3
 The shock rate is not the only characteristic to consider. Should produce a nice amount of brake jack and more than it's share of pedal bob same as every other. Nice marketing excercise though. Maybe SC could make something worthwhile instead of remarketing old junk?
  • 1 0
 Aren't you a bit against evolution?
  • 1 0
 Grandmastere, have you ridden these bike?? Or for that matter have you ever even rode a santacruz??? Santacruz wouldn't make it if it wasn't worth while. Brake jack can be avoided... just use you brakes less!
  • 1 0
 well regarding brake jack its there in this frame, as this is a single pivot bike. But marketing exercise crap he talks about is just bullocks...
  • 1 1
 A bit against evolution? You mean going back to a design that was first used 15 years ago becuase you're too cheap to pay licensing on another design and too uncreative to come with something better? That kind of evolution? I've ridden shite single pivots already thanks.

This 'innovation' has no substance. It's rolling a shiny ball in front of some dull kids who get distracted by it. Pedal bob and brake jack are brutal on these bikes, and that's the reason people stopped buying them 8 years ago. I guess there's a whole new generation of kids that buy stuff based on graphics. Seems like the Santa Cruz playbook is to re-release the same crap everytime purple anodizing is in. I can't blame them though as fools keep falling for it. APP? More like a-s-s!
  • 1 0
 Nah, you are just negative Smile in my opinion it is just a refined old design with their own name on it. Any attempts for other deeper interpretations are pointless :d
  • 1 0
 It's probable that any effort at deeper interpretation are pointless for you, so leave the analysis to able. Go get yourself some killer purple wheels and move on.
  • 1 1
 oy... feel me in with your wisdom, able one... NOOOT!
  • 2 0
 this new sc does not appeal to me aesthetically.
  • 1 0
 Buy a Norco then.
  • 2 0
 They are pretty ugly
  • 1 0
 Can someone please explain to me the difference between the Butcher/Nickel and the Yeti ASX??
  • 1 0
 I think these bikes have an extra link. If I remember right the swing arm on the ASX is practically directly mounted to the shock. There are some good videos on the Santacruz website that are good.
  • 5 4
 i like the nickel but the butcher needs a different color
  • 3 2
 it will come in like six different colors... so who cares what color they are showing in this article
  • 2 1
 getting both ordered for work woot!! woot!!
  • 1 0
 Would you still get the new grease ports with the APP?
  • 1 1
 doesn't foes already have a design just like this?
  • 1 2
 The Orange 225 uses a similar system
  • 1 1
 Diggin the nickel.
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