Santa Cruz likely isn't the first company that comes to mind when you think of high-level cross-country racing, but the Californian brand is aiming to change that with the new Blur and an injection of star-power to their World Cup XC roster. We caught a glimpse
of the new cross-country bike at the first World Cup of the season in Albstadt under Maxime Marotte, Luca Braidot and Martina Berta, but now we finally have all the details.
The new Blur CC frame is 289 grams lighter than the previous version, making it the lightest full-suspension frame that Santa Cruz has ever made. A size large frame with a RockShox SidLuxe shock and all hardware including seat clamp weighs in at 1,933g. It uses a new Superlight single pivot suspension design with flex stays instead of their usual VPP suspension design.
Santa Cruz Blur Details
• Wheel size: 29"
• Travel: 100mm (XC) / 115mm (TR)
• C or CC Carbon frame
• Dual water bottle mount inside frame
• Superlight suspension design
• 68.3° (XC) / 67.1° (TR) head tube angle
• Variable seat tube angle
• Size specific chainstays
• MSRP: $4,599 - $11,599 USD
• Blur: santacruzbicycles.com
• Wilder (TR only): julianabicycles.com
The carbon 29er has size-specific chainstays and variable seat tube angles, and comes in two configurations, an XC build with 100mm of travel front and rear and a "TR" build with a longer stroke shock that delivers 115mm of travel and a bigger 120mm fork. Juliana also joins in on the cross-country fun with the Wilder, which uses the same frame as the Blur, but only comes in the TR version.
The XC version is, as you may have guessed, designed for Olympic cross-country racing, while the TR version is designed for everything from cross-country marathons to multi-day stage events. In addition to having more travel, the TR builds have slightly beefier Maxxis Rekon tires instead of the Aspens that come on the XC build, a full height adjust dropper post, no lockout remote, and larger brake rotors. Don't be mistaken, however, this isn't a downcountry bike; Santa Cruz says "It's still a true XC bike for courses and riders with more trail in them." It's just a bit more relatable to riders than a full-fledged World Cup XC race bike.
Whether you've got the 100mm XC version with a 68.3° head tube angle and a seat tube angle that varies between 75.7° and 76.5°, or the 115mm TR version with a 67.1° head tube angle and seat tube angles that vary from 74.8° to 75.1°, you'll have ample hydration with dual water-bottle mounts and another water bottle mount on the bottom of the downtube. Other details include a threaded bottom bracket, molded chainstay and downtube protection, a chain guide, and SRAM's Universal Derailleur Hanger. The frame, bearings and optional Reserve 28 XC wheels (that I reviewed last month
) include a lifetime warranty.
Each Blur configuration comes in two colour options, Dark Matter or Salmon, with a separate mauve colourway for the Juliana Wilder, and prices range from $4,599 USD to $9,449 for the Blur TR and Wilder TR and $5,199 USD to $11,299 USD for the Blur XC.
The new Santa Cruz Blur uses a Superlight single pivot suspension design with flex stays instead of their usual VPP suspension design. Santa Cruz's Superlight Single Pivot Suspension Design
Santa Cruz says it was easier for them to achieve desirable XC suspension curves with their Superlight single pivot suspension design with flex stays than with their VPP suspension design, and that it got its name "because it’s the superlightest suspension we’ve ever made." Indeed, having less parts involved in the suspension design was a big contributor to shaving off 289 grams from the previous generation Blur. In addition, the design makes the lockout easier to reach on the rear shock when riding.
A flex stay design requires tuning the right amount of spring force into the carbon to achieve the balance of flex, damping and durability, and Santa Cruz says that having their own composites lab in California and composites specialists allowed them to experiment with layups. They say they used their carbon knowledge to tune the rear end precisely where it's needed for a consistent and desirable leverage curve.Geometry
The Blur XC and Blur TR use the same frame, but the longer fork on the TR makes its geometry is a touch less steep than the Blur XC. The Blur TR has a 67.1° head tube angle compared to the Blur XC's 68.3°. Compared to the last generation of Blur, that 68.3° head tube angle on the new Blur is 0.7° slacker, and the 67.1° head tube angle on the Blur TR is 1.4° slacker than on the previous Blur TR. There are also longer reach numbers across the board and shorter 60mm stems.
Another change is that the chainstay length now varies with frame size. On the size Small Blur XC, you'll get 430mm chainstays and that goes up to 438mm on the size XL.
There are also variable seat tube angles for better fit across all sizes. On the Blur XC, the seat tube angle varies between 76.5° on a size Small and 75.7° on a size XL. On the 115mm TR version, the seat tube angles vary from 75.1° on the size Small to 74.8° on the size XL.
On a size medium TR, you'll get a 438mm reach, a 67.1 degree head tube angle, a 75° seat tube angle, a 1157mm wheelbase and 433mm chainstays. On that same medium size frame in the XC race build, you'll have a longer 450mm reach, a steeper 68.3° head tube angle and 76.3° seat tube angle, a shorter 1147mm wheelbase, but the same 433mm chainstays. Ride Impressions
I've had a couple rides on the size medium Blur TR that I have in for testing with a 115mm Fox Float Factory DPS shock and a 120mm Fox 34 Step Cast Factory fork and I've had no trouble getting up to speed on it.
On its first ride, I took it to the XC loop that we used for the XC Field Test last June, and I cleaned the entire rooty, twisty, steep technical climb on the first try. I felt right at home with the position on the bike and the steering is extremely precise, making it easy to wind through the tight sections that I've been struggling a bit more with on my trail bike since we sent home all the XC Field Test bikes. Compared to the Juliana Joplin (Santa Cruz Tallboy) that I've also ridden on this test lap, it felt like the suspension was more efficient and supported you better as you pedalled, but there was no lack of traction for the tricky sections. In fact, its spritely suspension and lightweight frame make you want to search out the next Impossible Climb and uphill challenges.
On the downhills, it's an extremely capable XC bike. Don't be mistaken, however, this isn't a downcountry or a trail bike and the Tallboy/Joplin is a very different bike. On the Tallboy/Joplin, I was hooting and hollering down every descent, and I kept wanting to take the 120mm bike into more technical terrain just to see what was possible with such short travel. The Blur TR, despite having longer travel than the Blur XC, still feels more like a traditional XC bike and like it's made for the race course. While it takes the edge off and greatly reduces the chances of you flying over the handlebars when you're not thinking straight from exhaustion in a long race, it's not exactly a playful, let's-see-how-hard-we-can-push-it-downhill short travel bike. It might be dressed in business casual, but its goal is to get the work done.