Santa Cruz 29er Launch: Single-Pivot Superlight Reborn as a 29er and a New Hardtail

Feb 23, 2012 at 3:05
by Richard Cunningham  
Santa Cruz previewed its 2012/'13 29er lineup this week in Sedona, Arizona, and two of its most surprising developments are made from aluminum, not carbon. Those who fell in love with the iconic Santa Cruz Superlight XC/trail bike will revel in the fact that its single-pivot triangulated swingarm and simple-is-best profile has been reincarnated as a sweet 100-millimeter-travel 29er. Price is set at only $1850 for the complete bike in Santa Cruz's D/XC build. Want a simpler 29er? How about the Highball-a, an aluminum-framed version of the recently released carbon 29er hardtail by the same name. The aluminim Highball features single-speed-convertible dropouts, progressive geometry and a tantalizing MSRP that begins at $1499 with the geared D/XC complete build. First-production bikes should hit the bike shops in April or May this year.

Superlight 29 side
Santa Cruz created an all-new frame, geometry and a different suspension rate to make its Superlight 29, but the family resemblance to its 26er sibling is unmistakable.

Superlight 29

The single-pivot aluminum framed Superlight is now a 29er, and for good reason. The triangulated swingarm and its mid-height pivot location is perfect for a 100-millimeter suspension - and that seems about perfect for a 29er in the XC/trail category. The easy-to-make frameset has been tweaked to emulate the performance of its VPP sister-ship, the Tallboy, which has been said by many test riders to be one of the best handling big-wheel suspension bikes to date. Why reincarnate the single-pivot Superlight instead of making a less-expensive aluminum Tallboy? Price is the answer. The Superlight 29 costs only $1850 0r $2350 depending upon your choice of Shimano components. And its suspension is tops too, with a RockShox RL100 fork and Float RL shock. The up-charge for the Tallboy's VPP suspension would force Santa Cruz to drastically compromise its components to approach the Superlight's MSRP. The other reason is that Santa Cruz knows that many new riders will be buying a 29er as their first bike, and they wanted to place the best possible machine underneath them to maximize their experience (scroll down to view the Superlight's build options). After putting some miles on the new Super on the red soil and sandstone around Sedona, I think Santa Cruz hit the mark.

Superlight 29 details
(Clockwise) The Superlight's top tube bows heavily downward to maximize stand-over clearance. The shock length is shorter and the swingarm's leverage ratio is increased on medium and small-sized frames to boost sensitivity. The forward-of-the seat tube seatstay junction gives the Superlight's swingarm plenty of tire clearance.

Superlight Frame Notes

Like the original 26-inch-wheel version, the Superlight 29 frame is about as simple as a dual-suspension frame gets, but its design incorporates the sum total of knowledge that Santa Cruz compiled over the years. Elements like forged dropouts tube-junctions, and the addition of the collet-type 15-millimeter adjustable pivot mech developed for the VPP linkage. Hydroformed tubes and a tapered steerer keep the frame tight and flex free, while its Tallboy geometry ensures that the new chassis will be as fun to descend upon as it is efficient on the climbs. Santa Cruz chose a threaded bottom bracket shell instead of the now-popular PressFit type in order ensure that the bike can be serviced with off-the-shelf parts at the bike shop for years to come.

Suspension choice: The elephant in the room during the Superlight 29 presentation was, "why use the old-school Superlight's single-pivot suspension instead of a less-expensive version of the dual-link VP design?" The answer is that, a single-pivot.placed correctly provides a beautiful shock rate for a moderate-travel 100-millimeter suspension. Extending the new Super's travel far beyond that would require the more expensive and complicated VPP or APP linkage to produce the perfect shock rate - and Santa Cruz will not take the cheap route on either design simply to make price point.

Superlight 29 Geometry

Geo chart 1

Small means Small: Small riders can rejoice that the 'small' frame is claimed to have the lowest stand-over height in the 29er class (27.5") and a top tube length that actually fits small-framed folks. Better still, the shock stroke is shorter and leverage rate higher on the small and medium frames to soften the suspension and boost the effectiveness of the shock's damping adjustments for lighter-weight riders. While the travel remains at 100-millimeters on all sizes, using two different shocks and leverage rates will make the smaller Supers' ride as smoothly as the large and XL models. Just to review, sizes offered will be Sm, Med, Lg and XL. Colors are orange or black.

Superlight 29: First Ride

Anyone who has the opportunity to throw a leg over the big-wheel Super will discover another chapter of Santa Cruz's signature handling and easy pedaling action. Back in the day, when the 26er version was one of the top performing trailbikes, I gravitated towards the Superlight when I had no idea what a particular ride had in store - up and down, the Super could handle it. The same holds true for the Super' 29. Its moderately-slack-for-29er, 71-degree head angle felt steady while plying the stepped drops and shifting rocks that pepper the trails of Sedona, and its tight-tracking rear end made for a lively bike in the turns, which is refreshing for a 29er in any form. Its numbers are the same as the carbon fiber Tallboy, and you'll be happy to know that the Superlight 29 is a spitting image on trail - versatile, predictable and energetic.

Suspension travel is limited to 100 millimeters, which at one point was considered cushy for any 29er dualie, but after plying the bumps for a year or so on 150 mm-plus bikes, I used up every millimeter of the Superlight in the first kilometer on the trail. In XC fashion, most of the big hits and short drops I launched on the Super' required damping and spring assistance from my arms and legs. Once the bike and I came to an agreement over which bumps were the domain of the suspension and which were to be shared events, the ride became quite seamless. Better still, the moderate travel front and rear provided enough pedaling firmess to allow me to ignore the blue platform features on the fork and shock.Sweet! The bonus effect of pounding over relatively technical terrain on a minimal-travel machine is that the fore/aft balance is rarely upset, so the rider and bike are in good position to handle any surprises.

Component choice on the Superlight 29 I rode was the predominately Shimano Deore XT RXC 29 ensemble that puts the retail price near $2350 USD. The highlights were its Ice-Tech rotors and Deore XT brakes, Fox shock and RockShox Reba fork. Wheels were Mavic TN179 rims converted to tubeless and spinning on Deore XT hubs. The 30-speed DynaSys drivetrain was a Deore item. The Superlight 29 shifts and stops like a much more expensive machine.

RC on Superlight 29
The Superlight 29's good fore/aft balance and moderately slack head angle made poking around on Sedona's slick rock quite fun. Ron Kratch photo

Pinkbike First Impressions:
bigquotesIf the Superlight was your first introduction to mountain biking in general, you would be hooked. If the Superlight 29 was your first-ever dual-suspension big-wheel bike, you would probably fall in love with it in one ride. Its affordable price belies its enthusiast-worthy do-anything performance and its trustworthy handling is the reason that Santa Cruz riders are an unusually loyal group. Is it perfect? No value-priced bike is. The Superlight 29 could use a through-axle in the rear, a longer-stroke fork and some may wish for a fashionably slacker head angle, but two of those additions would short circuit its purpose - to be the most versatile, easy-to-ride XC/trail 29er in the entry-level dual-suspension 29er market. I've ridden a lot of 29ers in the 100mm category and I felt right at home on the Superlight 29. A warm welcome to an old friend.. - RC

Campfire discussion and Mike Ferrentino
Santa Cruz launches are casual affairs packed with good food and plenty of saddle time. Much of the technical discussions were tossed around over the evening campfire, with formal breakfast seminars hosted by Santa Cruz Don Mike Ferrentino.

Highball Aluminum

Surprised by the brisk sales of its carbon fiber Highball hardtail, Santa Cruz realized that the basic design that founded the big-wheel movement was still thriving in the hearts and minds of enthusiast-level riders. The Highball aluminum shares the same geometry and features of its far more expensive sibling and can be purchased for the wallet-friendly price of $1499, ready to roll. Care was taken to keep the HighBall aluminum's stiffness high and weight low, so that its rider will get a chance to ride the real thing - not a dull-handling lookalike of a great performing pro-level machine. Highball aluminum hardtails will initially sell as complete bike packages for $1395 with predominantly Shimano Deore drivetrain parts, or for $2350 outfitted in Deore XT. Frame sales are scheduled for Fall 2012. Color options are white or blue with special colors available for an upcharge.

HighBall Aluminum
Clean and simple lines, backed up by a stiff frame and trustworthy handling make the aluminum version of the Santa Cruz Highball a must ride for entry-level trail riders - and budget-minded enthusiasts as well.

Frame details

With its swooping double-bend rear triangle, Santa Cruz's Highball pays a little homage to the Yeti Arc - the seminal aluminum XC hardtail. The Highball one ups the Arc, however, with bolt-on dropouts that allow purists to easily convert the Highball into a single-speed. Add a forged bottom bracket journal, hydroformed top and down tunes, a tapered head tube, and one realizes that the Highball is very up-to-date. Its geometry is exactly the same as the carbon fiber version, which is a good thing. Small frames feature a 28.5 inch stand-over height and a 22.5 inch top tube length - both are welcome and uncommon among 29ers. Santa Cruz offers the Highball aluminum in small, medium. large and XL sizes.

HighBall Details
(Clockwise) We appreciated the upgrade to the Fox Kashima-coated Float RLC fork, but probably would opt for a longer-stroke 120-millimeter slider in place of the fancy coating. Standard Superlight 29s come with Avid Elixir 5 brakes, but we'd spring for the XT Ice-Tech stoppers after riding them on the red rock.

Highball Aluminum: First Ride

I would be foolish not to point out that the Highball that Santa Cruz gave me to ride was upgraded to its third-tier SPX XC 29 kit, which includes a Kashima coated Fox Float RLC fork and Shimano Deore XT Ice Tech brakes. The upgrades add considerably to the Highball's price, bumping it to $3593. The slick fork stanchion only makes a big difference once the fork breaks in and the factory lubrication begins to disappear, but the brakes, they stop with a better feel and more authority than the standard-offering Avid Elixir 5s.

Although I don't ride too many hardtails these days, I was right at home on the Highball. Its steering feels more accurate than the average 29er and it remains tractable while descending some pretty step stuff. With only 100 millimeters of cushion up front and narrow Maxxis Ardent tires, the rough-angled stones and pocked slick rock that punctuate Sedona's trail system could all be felt to some degree. The larger wheels do roll noticeably faster over most chatter and the slackish (for a 29er) 71-degree head angle seems to calm the steering when cornering over uneven steps and imbedded rocks. Unless your hindquarters are hewn from stone or steel, convert your tires to tubeless (the Highball's Mavic TN 719 rims come pre-assembled with Stan's tape and tubeless valve stems are included with each bike) and you will roll faster and smoother over the chatter. Ours were converted - thanks Santa Cruz.

Highball Aluminum Geometry

Geometry chart 2

While the Highball's skinny tires and rigid rear end had me wishing for rear suspension while I was banging up stepped climbs and over square-edged rocks, it manages to maintain momentum quite well. There is a positive connection between rider and rear tire that helped me to claw my way up and over a few climbs that I did not make earlier in the week. As hardtails go, this one is among the more pleasant rides I can remember. Its weight balance is on the money, with little tendency to skid the rear tire into tight corners and not much lift on the front wheel when climbing or turning up steep grades. Both are positive 29er benefits, but the Highball manages to steer without the lagging, heavy feel that normally comes with big-wheel stability and rough-surface performance.

RC on HighBall aluminum
The Highball Aluminum's big wheels and stable handling made easy work of the area's many drops and short, steep descents. Ron Kratch photo

Pinkbike First Impressions:
bigquotesIIf you truly want a 29er hardtail, there are many good ones to choose from. The Highball is one of the better handling 29ers I have ridden in a while, and it transcends the old-school twitchy racer-boy feel without sacrificing the efficient feel that most people buy hardtails to revel about. Many will maintain that aluminum frames feel harsh, but this one seems to have circumvented that prejudice with big wheels and a centered rider position. It rails corners, doesn't push the front tire, accelerates well and handles technical downhills (technical within reason) with conviction. Best of all, you can get a sweet performing 29er hardtail, from a brand that knows what a real mountain bike is, for only $1500. - RC

Santa Cruz Complete Build Options for 29ers

Santa Cruz 2012 kit options
Santa Cruz will initially only sell complete bikes outfitted with the D XC29 or R XC29 kits. Customers will still be able to upgrade for an up-charge to any of its four component levels - or mix and match. As Santa Cruz catches up with deliveries early this Summer, it will begin selling frames.

What are your impressions of the new Santa Cruz 29ers?


  • 36 0
 a cheap santa cruz???

This is the happiest day of my life!!!!!!!
  • 5 6
 how bout a dj santa cruz with 29ers
  • 19 2
 29er DJ? I assume you like tacos...
  • 14 3
 Cheap, until you realize that your in the bike world and cheap means 1 1/2 g's! Not to say its over-priced. And depending on the specs it might be a great deal. But I wish all of this stuff wasnt so damn expensive!
  • 3 4
 do you even realize how stupid a 29" dj bike sounds?

  • 9 2
 yeah what an idiot! I'd go for a 36" DJ bike instead!
  • 5 1
 Quote: "do you even realize how stupid a 29" dj bike sounds?"

lol Exactly what everyone said about the first 26" DJ'ers!!!
  • 1 3
 26" dj bikes were made since 26" was a mtb standard, not because it's magically better than 20" or 24" as it is often claimed of 29". now you go tailwhip me a 29" bike and i'll have proven my point.
  • 3 0
 Quote: "26" dj bikes were made since 26" was a mtb standard"

26" has been the "mtb satandard" ATLEAST since Specialized introduced the Stumpjumper in 1981... 26" DJ'ers were certainly not around way back then! Hell, I had a '98 Fisher X-Caliper, with the first 4" S-C from Rock-Shox(the Judy 100), and people thought I was crazy using a mtb for jumping in '99!

Get your facts straight! Rolleyes
  • 1 0
 "Santa Cruz created an all-new frame, geometry and a different suspension rate to make its Superlight 29, but the family resemblance to its 26er sibling is unmistakable."

all this, and they still need to use a rock to prop them up? unbef*ckinleivable.
  • 12 0
 I don't see why people are so emotionally biased in the decision between 29 inch wheels and 26. People don't have similar tantrums, or at least I haven't seen the same degree of verbal diarrhea, related to travel length, rotor sizes, headtube angles, novel geometry tweaks or the many other mechanical variances we can choose from in bikes why this one? IT IS A BIKE. No one forcing you to by a bike with 29 inch wheels just like no one is forcing you to buy a bike with 120 mm travel as opposed to 180 mm. I'm happy to see Santa Cruz offering something in that price range and think given the intended purposes of these bikes, 29 inch wheels seem a fair choice. I've always appreciated the quality of product I have received from Santa Cruz.
  • 2 0
 I agree that a lot of people are over emotional about this. Personally I don't see the point of one for how I ride so I'm just not gonna buy one. That's how you vote as a consumer...

On the other hand there has been a "You're a thing of the past if you still ride 26" and you can't recognize "better" even when it's shoved in your face. Your heroes jumped on the 29er bandwagon so quit being retarded and do it already" vibe to the 29er marketing by some people and it pissed off a few riders.

Not sure how the reaction is on other websites but it seems like the more active riders of pinkbike are downhillers/freeriders and dirt jumpers for the most part, the types of riding where 29ers won't do much for you.
  • 21 11
 What i'm picking up form these 29er write-ups, is "Go 29er, Go 29er, Go 29er, Go 29er, Go 29er, Go 29er, Go 29er, Go 29er, Go 29er, Go 29er, "...
  • 24 5
 Down boy! It's OK, just a story... HA RC
  • 5 4
 Don't worry mounitainbart, it won't be long. Soon it is going to be 650B if you don't like 29er and want to go faster than 26"! The sht is behind the corner
  • 9 0
 The write up is only about 29ers because that's all that Santa Cruz recently launched. And SC probably did that because they are listening to the market demands. Not much of a conspiracy
  • 7 13
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 23, 2012 at 5:12) (Below Threshold)
 Nobody is talking conspiracy here Pike-Liks - it's just that every company jumped on a 29er wagon all the way, so some feel they are nagged to try/buy one. I don't but I am not sure why does every company need to offer their own one... Before if I wanted a 29er I knew where to turn to - Niner Cycles! It was as simple as that. Now companies are manufacturing demand a.k.a. they are generating the hype. It is in your highest personal interest to learn how to deal with all of this in your customer head. For me the question is: "what do I have at the moment, do I need this one and why?", not: how many people think it is cool or not, or whether it is faster or not.
  • 10 3
 I want my retirement age overweight dad to get one for gentle single track. Someday i will want one when i finally realize I am not a freerider and decide I just want to enjoy flowy single track. When that day comes I will be glad to have options.
  • 5 0
 Most companies are offering a 29er trail bike because it's one of the--if not THE--best selling segment right now, and at a time when the industry has stalled somewhat because of the recession. Companies increasing their lineups in order to adapt to demand does not mean you are being 'nagged' or pressured to swap out your bike. If you like them, get one, if you don't, don't.
  • 9 16
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 23, 2012 at 8:28) (Below Threshold)
 bueheh "It's Because of the recession" - is a great answer to any why. Yea recession it's so complicated, I don't even know what that is so I better not ask further, so whatever you say you must be right Smile On my list of favourite "shut-up´ers" it's the second to "because we can".

And it is THE FASTEST GROWING segment, not "THE best selling segment". And on which market? Overall, all mountain bikes in the world incl ATBs or "Nerd like me" market? However it is, it is what it is because they invested so much in pumping it into people and people bought into it like a marihuana smoker into chocolade - just as with anything they say is "groundbraking" and affordable by the way. They manufactured demand, there was nearly no demand. If there was, the "Niner" would be the biggest bike company in the world.

I have nothing against a 29er as a physical entity with all it's properties in comparison to a 26" bike. I have a lot against how the business is done, and I'm bummed that people buy into it so easily. Dance puppets dance!
  • 5 6
 i find the 29er videos released recently quite funny, clearly designed to win over the younger MTBers - 'gracia shredding on a 29er' 'josh bender sending a road gap on a 29er' ...ride 26. unless you're a giant. or over the age of 45.
  • 5 1
 WAKI, in response to your essay: First, my recession comment was about context, and was not the main argument. Second, I wrote "one of the, if not the" best selling segments. Third, all companies with marketing departments "manufacture demand." What in the MTB world hasn't been marketed on some level? I get it, it's good to be skeptical. But it's your loss if that means you discount a new technology or trend without testing its merits first.
  • 2 0
 @RaleighVoid: All the expense they went to for those videos has been completely undone by showing a picture of Richard Cunningham pulling a sick wheelie.
  • 2 1
 Wow... waki is pumping out some serious ignorance here. Forget the recession and anything else. Competition is GOOD FOR THE CONSUMER... ALWAYS, regardless of the product. If Niner is the only company making 29'ers, then guess what... they can charge just about whatever they want for them and you're stuck with only what they offer, at the prices at which they offer them.

Once other companies start producing them, there's competition in the market for your business and they all have to be more mindful of what they're producing and the price point they're hitting. If not for competition in the marketplace, all 29'ers would still be short travel or hardtail XC bikes. Thanks to the addition of companies who weren't thinking along the same lines as Niner, we now have a whole array of 29'ers with varying head angles and travel to suit just about any type of riding... and at some amazing price points. Without people just blindly hating on 29'ers, maybe they wouldn't have to push so hard to overcome the ignorance being thrown around. 29'ers are great bikes for a huge variety of trails, not all trails, but many of the trails that most riders ride... if you disagree, it's only because you've either never spent significant time riding one or you're stuck too deeply in a specific genre like DJ or DH where they're not as advantageous. For things like XC, they're awesome.. I don't watch much XC racing but I'd be willing to bet that at least 2 of every 3 podium spots (if not more) are occupied by someone riding a 29'er at this point, they're just that much faster.
  • 1 1
 I get sort of get 29ers...they are really good for XC. If when you go riding that's all you do, it's the ideal bike. It's not my bag, but I do get it.
  • 4 3
 ...ride 26. unless you're a giant.


you guys neg propping the only two pb members with some ability of critical thought are such a bunch of sheeple, i bet you all got iphones. but that guy mentioning a 29" dj bike wins this by far, he thinks 29" wheels are so awesome that all bikes should have them (he also deserves a white (!) iphone unlike the rest of you failed zealots). maybe what you want next is a 29" bmx bike.

hmmm, 29 + bmx, damn i'm off to start a bike company.
  • 1 1
 @baca... apparently you can't read. What I said about the 29'er DJ bike was "where they're NOT advantageous"... You can feel free to send me a white iPhone though, I'll just ebay that bitch for cash since I've got a Samsung Note.
  • 1 2
 woohoo, so you've got a samsung, good for you. but you still ain't getting an iphone, i was referring to that huckers something dude. scroll up.
  • 2 1
 Oh, my bad... that was in a whole other comment chain so I thought you were referring to my post. No iPhone for me, lol!
  • 2 0
 @Baca, so liking 29ers makes you a sheep and not liking 29ers makes you critical? And here I thought weighing the pros and cons of something makes you critical, and jumping on a bandwagon--whether trend lover or trend hater--makes you a sheep.
  • 2 1
 i never said anything like that, i said that 29" dj bikes are utterly useless for anyone under 6' 4" - they're too f*cking big. and that guy suggesting one and all the positive props he got prove my sheeple argument.

29" bikes have their place - on the road and as xc/trail bikes, maybe even dh bikes that might give some unfair advantage to very tall people.

now if i need to mention how pissed i am because of all the marketing bs that people obviously easily swallow, further discussion is pointless.
  • 1 3
 badbadleroybrown - I would care about recession if we wouldn't have an abnormal growth at the cost of the people in Asia, Africa and South America. And at the cost of the environment. So there is no recession, reality has made a desperate attempt to slap a greedy bully in the face. We got more than we should.

And I agree with you that competition is good for the "customer". But we should be people, not some not giving a sht I-phone zombies. In fact there is only one perfectly greedy organism not giving a sht at all (often called: "homo economicus") : the corporation. As soon as your company grows big enough. So such competition as developing more of MOAR is good for the idealistic consumer but terrible for environemnt and system of values of a human being.

And trust me LeRoy, if you think you gain something as a small puppet in the game, they gain much more by you dancing to their tone. It's not for you, it's for them.
  • 1 0
 Does that shit make sense in your head before you type it out?? Cause that's just some rambling bullshit... your ignorance is literally astounding. How you don't understand the basic reason that competition in the marketplace is good is one thing, and bad enough on its own... that you try to turn everything into some anti-corporate rant about greed is flat retarded... that you do it in an online forum that exists based on the advertising revenue from exactly those companies you cry about is irony at its finest. Go find an occupy protest or liberal chatroom where someone may actually give a shit about your left wing ramblings... we're talking about bikes here. And yes, that competition benefits the small puppets as you put it because without it, our $5000 bikes would be $15000 bikes that even fewer of us could afford.
  • 1 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 27, 2012 at 2:05) (Below Threshold)
 Well there are many schools of looking at "the way the world rolls" and I don't know why are you so angry about mine. I am not leftist by any intention, I believe every man should do its best to care for others and this is what I am trying to propagate here. You seem to propagate Milton Friedmans school which to me (when I read his "Free choice") seems to be as blindly idealistic as Marx, Engels on the other side of the spectrum. When I watch Fox News, CNBC I am getting flashbacks of communist propaganda news in Poland - stuff made to make a citizen into mediocre creature without his own mind, therefore obedient. Systems do not work.

Miltons stuff is very attractive but as soon as you start to read Noam Chomsky things stop being so bright. I read a few leftists like Naomi Klein or Raj Patel, but they sort of analyze capitalism and whine too much for my likes. It is great to read them understand neoliberalism but I am more into Paul Hawken sustainability thing. And if you think that is a bullcrap read Ray Anderson - "Confessions of a radical industrialist" Ultimately i believe the guys that got it right were Jesus and Buddha, haven't read much about Mahomet. Gandhi's book is the next on my list.

If I was a US citizen I would vote for Ron Paul Wink But because I do not believe voting is defining democracy I am trying to do good stuff on my own and contribute to the society. Right now I am creeping in it, I don't do more than "trying to save Titanic using teacup to take the water out" but I will try to be better in the future - organize bike camps, repair trails, clean woods. So in my idealistic world if more peopl would do that from their own will without any government - that would make the world as a better place. So i Don't give a sht about political systems and waiting for another messiah - I am trying to be one, everyone should try to see him/herself as one.
  • 11 1
 if you don't like 29ers then why did you all read this article that is strictly about 2 new 29ers that Santa Cruz just launched???
  • 1 0
 because their still bikes
  • 1 1
 ....for now, wait till they get legs
  • 1 0
 Recause rhry are ronley. I rike the ride of 29ers rersonaly.
  • 10 3
 Don't get me wrong. I am a strong believer in 26" bikes if you are riding tight tech steep trails. But if you are riding open fast xc trails the 29ers roll so much faster. I wouldn't ride one for DH, freeride or all mountain riding but for xc it is the way to go. Plus you can throw road wheels on there and have a commuter.
  • 2 2
 I feel the same way! I actually have a commute that has some single track and a lot of road and I have thought about how nice a 29er would be!
  • 4 9
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 23, 2012 at 6:04) (Below Threshold)
 There is no issue with 29ers on technical stuff according to Lee McCormack, he rode a 29" Stumpy and rode over stuff that he had trouble with on Enduro. I will build a 29er as a commuter one day.
  • 9 1
 Why stop at 29er, go for 30erererrer!
  • 7 9
 buahaha aRRRRRR , 29ninAeRRRs ares the bike for true Pirates! because of the aeRRRR
  • 2 0
 29"...the Gentleman's wheelsize...
  • 4 0
 I went from a Santa Cruz Blur (awesome trail bike) to a Karate Monkey (awesome29er hardtail trail bike) and now it looks like I 'm going to love another Santa Cruz in the form of the Superlight 29er (best of both worlds trail bike)..back to the SC club!!
  • 1 0
 Tallboy 29er has the same VVP suspension design as the Blur
  • 3 0
 "...instead of making an aluminum Tallboy?" Uh, did I miss something?

(that's from March 2011, for those of you keeping score at home)
  • 6 1
 Not sold on a 29a doesn't Niger mean more flex ?
  • 10 1
 Biger*? lol
  • 3 0
 Lol spell check mistake
  • 2 1
 yes it can. its funny that people are arguing that 29ers are not any better. but along the same lines is the fact that 26ers are still available, just as the fact is that we could be arguing why is one a hard tail and the other a full suspension? Just to start that argument I think that full suspension bikes suck and everyone should ride a hard tail. they are clearly lighter more rigid, stiffer and there for better! Why would a company offer both bikes?
  • 1 0
 lol your spell check corrected it to niger before it corrected it to bigger? haha
  • 1 0
 Yep don't know how or why but it did .I'm ushering a HTC tablet and it can not spell for shot.
  • 1 0
 spell check fail, LOL!
  • 6 2
 Can't wait for all this 29er hype to be old news like oversize saddles, suspension stems and onza bars ends...
  • 2 1
 don't worry the 27.5" or 650b is soon to catch fire! Then the 29" will be old news...
  • 4 0
 ...and disc brakes, 200mm FS bikes, on-the-fly fork/shock adjustments, dropper seatposts, etc...
  • 2 1
 They aren't going anywhere. 29ers are far from a fad. They had the chance to be a fad a few years ago but not they are engrained into the bike world.
  • 1 0
 Nice to see the Highball A. Santa cruz have never really had an XC hardtail (aluminium) in their line up, sure they've got the chameleon, but its too still and low for a real XC bike. Seems like they're finally plugging the gap
  • 4 0
 im not a fan of 29ers but these are great price points for quality bikes. im sure theyll sell like crazy
  • 3 0
 Yeah, so, don't buy one if you don't like them. I think after all this time I'd be asking myself why isn't everyone already riding them if they are so good.
  • 3 1
 but you have to buy them because you need bigger wheels because there big and roll faster and dont hit small bums and... ....JUST GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY.
  • 1 0
 if i can only swap my 26er mtbs outright to 29ers, i would. i guess money is a factor. i have 6 mtbs (all 26er, from XC to DH) in my stable (and 1 road bike) and adding another 1 either a 26 or 29er is not an option for me. but my next bike would definitely be a 29er.
  • 1 0
 So I see the change in the small and medium using a shorter stroke shock for better choice forthe feather-weight roadie crosover riders, women & children. I'm a short clydesdal who would also need a small frame, so does that leave this price-point bike out of the list of choices for me? (I'm as cheap as I am fat)
  • 1 0
 A short stroke shock shouldn't affect your ability to ride a bike. All air shocks behave the same based on air pressure for all different weights of riders.
  • 1 0
 i am not a fan of the 29 from my experience with owning one. It probably has alot to do with my own personal riding style and preferences that are heavy on bmx. That being said, I do get glimpses (because i just dig 2 wheels on dirt) of possibilities that may give me a different take on a trail with 29s.

i believe you cannot get around the maneuverabilty differences between wheel sizes because physics kicks in and at that point it's left up to the rider. yes, aggy could flip whip a 29 but is it easier on a 26? a 24? a 20? we're all tryin to get down the mtn having as much fun as possible so ... whatever..just pm when you guys wanna sell your 26 stuff.
  • 1 0
 The SC website says $1850 for the frame price, but that looks like the basic intro. build kit price... Anyone know the actual frame price for the SL29? Is it the same as the regular SL, $900?

Edit: never mind, I guess I should read the last lines of the articles...
  • 1 0
 29/26 whatever. Don't get your undies in a bundle. Sometimes I ride a little skateboard with little tiny wheels, sometimes i ride a longboard with big fat wheels, sometimes I ski, sometimes I snowboard, sometimes I ride a BMX with 20s, sometimes I ride a downhill bike with 26s and eight inches of travel. No big deal. Hopefully sometime soon I'll be rocking a short travel 29er trailbike that can take me far far away up into the mountains for hours on end.

The superlight looks pretty damn sweet for the money, and nice and simple. And the price is right. I'd like a slacker headtube and a thru axle in the back. I'll probably end up with a TRANSITION Trans Am 29er, but this bike has my interest.
  • 1 0
 I recently purchased a 29er at my LBS in Nov. I had been riding a 26 hardtail that was beating me up. This has really smoothed the trail for me and was less than $1000.00. Regardless of brand for a casual rider a XC bike with 29 in wheels is a real pleasure.
  • 5 0
  • 1 1

65 bikes? Is that all ? Right now, at this moment... I own twenty eight bikes. Over the past 20 plus years ? I'm around a couple hundred. Hell just in the past decade there's been more than another hundred that I can account for visually just from my photo records. And yes, I've seen quite a few pro's riding on 24" wheels. And you know what, when you have SKILL... you really don't need to depend on suspension forks. Perhaps you should develop some.
  • 4 0
 Sorry bigger
  • 1 2
 A bit off-topic. Richard (or anybody who tried WTB frequency rims) how did you like the rims? Are they holding up? I am thinking of buying them, they seem to be a nicer choice than ZTR Flows. Cheaper and with better support for ze nipplez.
  • 1 0
 I wouldn't say they're nicer than Flows, but they are a nice alternative if you don't want the ZTR. The TCS system works well with TCS tires, but not with anything else.
  • 2 0
 The "bonus effect" line was marketing 101. I am not in hater mode. Just an observation.
  • 5 3
 PLEASE dont make me switch to 29.... please DONT make me switch..... please?????
  • 4 7
 yes and while we are at it please don't make me switch to a full suspension bike. and please don't make me switch to a bike that has gears. and please don't make me switch to an aluminum frame. then please don't make me switch to a carbon frame. and please do not move forward with technology Please don't make things better Please!?!?!?!???
  • 4 2
 rlucky - what you say is true and funny as long as you believe that development ALWAYS does things better because it is ultimately aimed to make things better... technological development is often not meant to make better things but to make better money
  • 3 0
 hmmn. better..not all technology moves us forward. alot just makes it easier to go backwards.
  • 1 0
 I agree and im glad you see the humor and sarcasm in my posts.
  • 1 0
 How "super light" is it? Info on test weights would be helpful. Can't always rely on the manufacturer to tell us, so the reviewer should include it.
  • 2 0
 I want to tell SC to make a 29er version of the Heckler! That would be sweet!!
  • 1 0
 I think we will have a Tallboy LT version here pretty soon. Yeti and Kona both have a 5" version so I bet we hear more at Sea Otter. Then maybe a single pivot 5" (your 29er heckler) might be next. But VPP has to come first to compete with Yetis sick SB-95 Switch Suspension. I love that bike and its next on my list.
  • 1 0
 Who gives a shit what other people ride or how a company chooses to market new products if you don't like it then don't buy it. Simple as that
  • 4 2
 They look stupid and the name is stupid.
  • 5 1
 it'll be awesome if, BMX keep the 20 inches MTB keep the 26 inches and .. . 29'er go somewhere alse , maybe AXB , Amphibian Cross Bike
  • 1 0
 Good one cikudh, we need more intelligent humour here to disperse the stress Smile sometimes it is better to tell a good joke and go home instead of arguing for hours

  • 4 6
 I get it. 29's have their niche market. But can we PLEASE STOP pushing them on Pinkbike. This site was created as a place for Agressinve, DH, DJ, 4X/Slalom crowd. We were/are trying to get away from the XC/Roadie mentality. There are plenty of other sites and mags geared towards just those type of riders and that is just fine.
Richard....some of us cheered, some of us booed when Pinkbike hired you. You have good writing skills and industry contacts, but please STOP trying to make Pinkbike another Mountain Bike Action.
That is all the rant for me...thanks
  • 5 1
 you do realize a lot of people ride other types of bikes besides gravity bikes right?
  • 3 2
 Yes...I get it deadatbirth. I actually have a road bike as well. But you are missing my point. The point is that Pinkbike was created as a niche sit/blog for the riding styles I listed above. Nothing wrong riding anything on two wheels. I am just a bit frustrated that the gram counting XC or non-agressive world is creeping in. Again, I don't care what you ride. There are just so many other avenues for these type of articles and lifestyle.
  • 4 0
 I would like to point out here in the blog that Richard Cunnigham has responded to my inbox regarding this post. He states that he is not trying to morph Pinkbike into another MBA. He also provides some valid pros and cons to writing artlicles regarding 29'ers (or any other polarizing topic). As you guys can tell, I am not a big fan of the 29er scene. However, I rather you ride 29's then not ride at all.

Kudos to Richard for keeping his fingers on the pulse and adjusting to his new gig. All of us ride and may or may not agree on everything.
  • 1 0
 I like how this ended!
  • 4 0
 @bman33... you've been a member of pinkbike for barely more than 2 years yet you claim to speak as if you KNOW why the site was created, and what it was created for, and carry on like you're somehow speaking for all its membership. I've been a member for more than a decade and I've no problem with the site finally waking up and getting behind reviewing the bikes that are representative of what the majority of mountain bikers buy and ride, not just the 1% of 1% fringe element. If you want a site for that, you should be over on

Incidently... if this was MBA, they'd not be reviewing SC models at such low price points. They'd be reviewing things that cost more than motorcycles, and that sit around bike store showrooms for many months waiting on the one buyer with more money than need for such a bike. Looking at your recent post history, you seem to really hate 29ers and reviews of them. You even whined because a top pro DH rider with more wins and sponsorship and fans than you'll ever have, has been having fun on a 29er. How dare he... how dare anyone prove you're wrong. The nerve of some people....
  • 3 1
 Deeeight... I agree with your point about the high priced bikes in MBA.

Although, I would like to disect your comments to me just a bit: 1. Just because I have been an "official" member for only 2 years, do you think that means I wasn't aware and/or using the site way before then. I never had a subsciption to MBA, however read it for years. 2. If you think DH, All Mountain, Street/DJ, Slalom/4x etc type riders are 1% of 1% of a fringe movement, you need to look around.

Ride on what ever way or bike you ride.

  • 2 0
 awww they made the superlight ugly....
  • 1 1
 I'm like James May, slower is better if the bike is right at the edge of its limit. Smaller is therefore better too just like my penis.
  • 1 0
 Who is this dude in these ad pics riding all these different company bikes?
  • 1 0
 I wish Santa Cruz starts making a carbon Chameleon for 26 or 650B wheels... that would be cool
  • 1 0
 I like the tallboy, seems like it would be a good choice for the money.
  • 2 1
 ewwwwww.... that looks awful !
  • 1 0
 Ehh stick that 29 right up your Ehhh I'm over here now
  • 1 0
 How nice that less than rich old people can afford Santa Cruz 29's now
  • 1 0
 71 degree head angle? Why are 29ers so steep?
  • 1 0
 im small so 29" wheels are a no for me unless the come with a step ladder
  • 2 1
 R.I.P super light
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Y U make single pivot ?
  • 1 0
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