Field Test: 2022 Santa Cruz Blur TR - The Cruz Missile

Nov 17, 2021 at 13:22
by Henry Quinney  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Santa Cruz Blur TR



Words by Henry Quinney, photography by Tom Richards


Santa Cruz doesn’t tend to have bikes that come and go. Instead, once established in their lineup they often hang around for a while. The Blur is no different - it was first launched two decades ago, although that’s not to say it hasn’t seen rolling changes over the years.

The idea of bolting on two letters or numbers to the end of a model name isn’t new. In fact, there was once a time where there was even the Blur 4X. This, however, is the Blur TR but, as Santa Cruz are at pains to point out, this isn’t a downcountry bike. Then what the hell is it doing here?!
Blur TR X01 AXS Details

• Travel: 115mm rear / 120mm front
• Wheel size: 29"
• Head angle: 67.1°
• Seat tube angle: 74.9°
• Size tested: large
• Reach: 457 mm
• Chainstay length: 436 mm
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Weight: 23 lb 12 oz (10.8 kg)
• Price: $9449 USD
santacruzbicycles.com

Well, it’s got the right amount of travel and a long dropper post, but it also has features that harken back to its XC intentions, including the small brakes, the flat bar, as well as the suspension layout itself. Santa Cruz’s new Superlight design might look similar to previous versions of VPP but it is very different. It uses a flex pivot in the rear and this means it can go without the associated weight gain that comes with a standard pivot.

The consequence is that, in terms of all-out seat grip, Santa Cruz may have just played a masterstroke. Whereas every new bike release seems to include claims of an increase in anti-squat, Santa Cruz has actually reduced this value on the Blur, as well as tuning the linkage to require a lower spring rate. We’ll come back to this and its ramifications later in the climbing section, but in short, it delivers on its promise.

So, if it’s not a downcountry bike, then what is it? Well, I would contend the increase in travel is very welcome, and not only for descending performance. It’s a very comfortable bike to ride, especially when seated, and manages to mute or deaden a lot of the small vibrations that might normally come through the saddle.


It’s also the lightest bike on the test. If you compare it to other bikes, it is nearly six pounds lighter than the heaviest. No surprisingly, it rides like a very light and dynamic bike. To call it unstable would be unfair, but its steeper head angle, flat bar, and slightly longer stem, when combined with this low weight, do make it feel slightly more flighty than the more aggressive, longer bikes on test. This is something Mike Levy commented on and really enjoyed. I, however, am somebody that probably leans more towards more stable feeling bikes than playful ones.

I would also say this bike, and its relatively conservative geometry is given a large helping hand from Fox with the simply excellent Fox 34. The Stepcast version on this bike, pound for pound, has to be one of the best forks I’ve ever ridden. The fact that something so lightweight can be treated so appallingly and still come up smiling is a testament to Fox’s expertise. I think if you had a fork that was more prone to diving, not dissimilar to the XC forks of only a few years ago, then it would lay the drawbacks of the steeper geometry of this bike bare for all to see. However, thanks to its superb tracking and ample support, that isn’t the case.

The spec elsewhere is similarly XC-inspired. The SRAM Level 2 pot brakes prioritise lightweight but it’s nice to see them with 180mm rotors. There is also routing for a remote lockout, should you want one.

The bike can fit two water bottles inside the front triangle, and has a universal derailleur hanger, along with internally guided routing.




Climbing

The Blur is a great climbing bike, that becomes apparent very quickly, as one would hope. It’s clear from the geometry chart that this isn’t the most downhill focused bike but it does what it intends to do very well. When compared to the similarly focused Canyon Lux Trail, which is also an XC race bike that’s been trail-o-fied, I think the Blur TR is a far better execution of the concept. It climbs better, its geometry may be conservative but it’s got things such as the long drop-post to help quell any nerves when pointing the bike towards the descent. It’s also far more comfortable.

But how does this compare to the more aggro bikes on our test? Well, when riding the Santa Cruz, it feels like your center of gravity sits closer to the front axle than other bikes and the front wheel does feel a shade more loaded on climbs. Compare this to something like the longer Trek Top Fuel, and the Blur takes far less manhandling up the tight stuff.

It also, thanks to the high level of rear-wheel grip, means you can control your pacing up technical features. It has enough grip that it isn’t about hitting everything at pace - it offers large amounts of traction even when climbing stepped roots or rough ground at a slower pace. I would put it down to the changes Santa Cruz made when making the Blur TR, and the already mentioned reduction in anti-squat.

This might seem slightly counterintuitive for a bike's pedaling performance, but it depends on how you characterise efficiency. It certainly is active when you’re putting the power down, but it also achieves a level of grip some other bikes could only dream of. It’s completely different to something like the Niner, which offers an almost hardtail-like feeling, but doesn’t hug itself to the ground like the Blur TR can. The Blue offers a sensation not totally different from the way a coil-sprung bike just sucks itself to the ground. The interesting bit is that Santa Cruz managed to include this feeling on an air-sprung, short travel, and very light bike.

Much like the Canyon, the bike comes equipped with a 34T chainring and 175mm cranks. For a bike with TR in the name, its gearing does leave you going mandatory fast up steep climbs. I don't like this approach, it's not a race bike, after all, but at least it can rely on that low weight, comfort in the saddle and grip. People will tell me I'm wrong for this, most notably my colleagues, but I don't think it would be any worse of a bike for a 32T, and it certainly wouldn't be any slower, yet you would have more options when climbing.

In terms of timing, this was the fastest climber on technical singletrack. However, it was only the third fastest in our absolutely watertight and scientific efficiency test. I think this reinforces my previous point. If you spend most of your time on singletrack climbs and want something to make your life easier as your search for all-out climbing grip, this is a bike worthy of your consideration.




Descending

So how does the XC friendly Blur TR cope when on the descents? Well, it’s an interesting bike, and I think it’s largely based on your perspective and what you want from a short travel bike.

It’s not a bad descender, but I would say it’s a bike that descends well considering that it clearly has its priorities elsewhere, rather than a bike that imposes its capabilities on you like the Trek or Rocky Mountain Element. Mike Levy really liked the alive and twitchy feeling the Santa Cruz gave. In fact, "liked" would be too soft of a word - he loved it. Personally, I did not enjoy that aspect so much.
Timed Testing

The downcountry bikes were all tested on a section of trail that included a mix of everything you'd expect to find on an aggressive XC loop. The first section included a rock slab into some braking chatter, before the track opened up into fast turns and some small drops and jumps.

Don't forget that timing is just one of many ways to judge a bike, and fast doesn't always mean it's the best for everyone.


Henry Quinney: "The Blur TR was the fastest singletrack climber, however, it was only the third fastest in our efficiency test. Conversely, it was the slowest bike on our downhill section. It was within a second of the fourth and fifth-placed bikes though. To be honest, if I did the runs again tomorrow it could all be inverted for the final three places - it was something of a lottery out there between those bikes."

It depends what you’re after. If you want a bike to open up terrain that perhaps is outside the typical XC remit or have you pushing harder than ever in your hunt for all out descending speed, then this might not be the answer. It’s very good at being a comfortable place to be. It’s going to get you to the top very quickly and really suits long days of pedaling. I don’t think, however, it suits people who have a downcountry bike because they want to absolutely shred - instead, it probably is better suited to those who want something lighter and more efficient on longer days.

What the Santa Cruz manages to do, and why perhaps they insist it isn’t a downcountry bike, is that it manages to keep all the great climbing characteristics without then having a massive blindspot on the descents. It’s not fatiguing to ride, which is important on a short travel bike, and once you train your eye in, doesn’t give you any nasty surprises. The long drop seatpost is a big part of this.

Where the Rocky Mountain and the Trek are bikes that climb incredibly well for how capable they are at descending, the Santa Cruz is probably the other way around. It’s an incredible climber, and it descends well considering that fact.

For me, this would make a great, and I mean simply fantastic all-day marathon bike. It’s comfortable, it’s fast, and its extra travel would provide a safety net for when you’re tired or riding fast on trails that you don’t know particularly well.


Pros

+ Comfortable
+ Very light
+ Best climber in terms of traction
Cons

- Not the firmest under pedaling load, if that matters to you
- Not the most stable descender
- “Isn’t a downcountry bike” - which will make you less cool



The 2021 Fall Field Test is presented by Rapha and Bontrager. Thank you also to Maxxis, Schwalbe, and Garmin for control tires and equipment.



309 Comments

  • 320 8
 is it me or are all these pictures a little out of focus?
  • 49 0
 Nice...
  • 222 1
 @ryan83: I'll be honest I was checking the photos all stressed out until I read this. It's going to be a long week...
  • 10 0
 @ryan83: this guy gets it
  • 6 27
flag danloranger (Dec 6, 2021 at 9:20) (Below Threshold)
 I conquer, a little blurry there boys.
  • 2 0
 @mobber7127 oh the puns...
  • 3 2
 "Initiate HDR enhance algorithm..."
  • 15 0
 Enhance, Enhance, Enhance...
  • 2 0
 It's all about 50 percent ascent, 10 percent descent...
  • 5 0
 I so failed with this. Went back through all the photos. I even down-voted you and now can't change it. Arrgh...
  • 2 1
 Some might say the pics are little blurry.
  • 3 5
 @beeekilbee: It's aight. I downvote people just to hurt their feelings anonymously. I could not gaf. Funny how personally others take to a little number with a minus sign next to a bunch of words!

However, please do not downvote my comment on downvoting or else my butt will hurt all day.
  • 1 0
 @maybenotaprofile: 100% of the time or ???
  • 1 0
 Put the bong down
  • 98 1
 So it's not an XC bike, and it's not a downcountry bike. I guess it's time to create the "upcountry" category.
  • 44 1
 It's almost like their intentions for the bike were a bit fuzzy...
  • 21 2
 Upduro...
  • 16 1
 Or take it back in time to 2012 and make it the most rad trail bike.
  • 1 7
flag nickfranko (Dec 6, 2021 at 9:36) (Below Threshold)
 That's for the E-bikes that they're making.
  • 5 0
 Real XC is all uphill afterall
  • 4 1
 It's obviously a 'dadbike' right @brianpark ?
  • 2 2
 Blurring the boundaries
  • 14 0
 Maybe I'm an idiot, but why isn't this a down country bike?
  • 4 0
 So totally not dad-country
  • 6 0
 All we want to know is: can we justify wearing lycra on this @mikelevy ?!
  • 6 0
 @AndrewFleming: Words are pretty meaningless in bike marketing. Almost as bad as percentages about how much more stiffness, compliance, and flex the newest frame has.

This is exactly what was described by downcountry. Now every short travel trail bike wants to be called downcountry, while regular cross country bikes have evolved towards downcountry.
  • 11 0
 @AndrewFleming: I'm with you. I thought that this is exactly what a downcountry bike should be.
  • 1 0
 i would like this even more than downcountry
  • 1 0
 @SimbaandHiggins: I’m glad it’s winter so we don’t get a glimpse of @mikelevy in Lycra!
  • 66 0
 To me this is exactly what a downcountry bike is, an xc bike with a bit more beef. These other pigs are short travel trail bikes.
  • 19 0
 Same.
  • 3 0
 I'll chime in that I rode a Banshee Phantom V3 last year and it was as you described. It was a trail bike and I already have one of those that does the job better. If I'm getting a short-travel bike again, it's gonna be something lighter and more different than my trail bike.
  • 24 0
 Yup, this is 100% down-country in my mind.
  • 1 0
 aggroXC
  • 53 0
 The review matches exactly how SC markets the bike. Its a race bike for tougher courses. On that it really delivers. I demoed this exact config and loved it. Would love to see a comparison with the Epic Evo though.
  • 17 10
 I sold my epic evo for this bike. One is a race bike and one is a lightweight flow trail bike. Its not even close in terms of pedaling or climbing speeds the Blur blows the Evo off the trail.
  • 12 8
 @DetroitCity: Disagree - my Epic Evo crushed this year! If your course has really rough descents (like the races here in Pisgah) the Epic Evo is a weapon. And it climbs like a banshee. They are very comparable bikes and I second gomeeker that I'd love to see a head to head!
  • 6 2
 @DetroitCity: That's interesting. The frames are so similar. Same suspension design and travel.
  • 9 0
 Isn't this just what a marathon bike is all about, just as Mike mentioned? At some point you're not super sharp anymore so you need a bike a bit more comfortable and forgiving than a sharp XC race bike. A Marzocchi Marathon fork from fifteen years ago also had this amount of travel, it is just what it is for.
  • 16 1
 @Lokirides: It climbs like a Banshee? I hope it climbs better than my Titan.....Smile
  • 13 23
flag DetroitCity (Dec 6, 2021 at 12:51) (Below Threshold)
 @Lokirides: how can you disagree unless you have owned both? I have. On the roughest trails in America. Xc race bikes aren't built for crushing descents. And the epic evo climbs slower than my Stumpjumper because it has less traction. The epic evo geometry also sucks in the seated position. Its not designed from the ground up. The only reason the epic evo climbs good is because its light. You don't xc race a bike with the front axle so far in front you.
  • 3 0
 @RadBartTaylor: my thoughts to, my spitfire built up with Carbon everything is 33lbs.
  • 10 1
 @DetroitCity: Where are the roughest trails in America?
  • 6 0
 @DetroitCity: Not even close? Sounds a bit hyperbolic.
  • 5 0
 @AndrewFleming: Maybe he means roughest streets in America? Username checks out…

And as an Epic Evo owner I disagree pretty strongly with a lot of the e general statements made about the bike. To me the geometry feels extremely well balanced- maybe the best of any bike I’ve owned. The suspension is on the firm side, but there’s plenty of traction on tap for technical climbing.

I do hope Levy weighs in with a comparison- my guess is the blur is a bit more XC / XCO / marathon focused.
  • 2 0
 @DetroitCity: I’m curious since you had both, with EVO in high position the numbers start to resemble the TR. not 1:1 but… you think it’s the linkage, anti-squat or?

Roughest has to be AZ
  • 8 1
 @DetroitCity: If your stumpy climbed faster than your epic evo, you are smoking something strong! I love stumpies, rode the last gen frame into the ground, and have friends that ride the new stumpy but... it is NOT going to touch my evo on an uphill of ANY kind - from the techiest climb to the longest fireroad. If you had traction issues... check your tire pressure, fix your suspension? I'm not knocking that Blur - it's a shredder! but the Epic Evo is racking up race results and is an all around bad ass bike.
  • 4 12
flag DetroitCity (Dec 6, 2021 at 17:37) (Below Threshold)
 @Lokirides: I dont ride fire roads. I ride technical trails. I tried the evo in the high position and the low, it sucks on technical climbs. Too choppered out and the suspension is soggy. Its not a race bike. It hasn't racked up a single podium that I have seen. I race Elite men races and no one has one one on an epic evo. My stumpy outclimbs it, and no matter how many dumbass comments you make that won't change timed tests that actually happened. Not hypothetical. The epic evo is light, and it shreds smooth flow trails. It's too flimsy to be a light trail bike, and too slow to be a race bike. Its a great bike for the 85pct though.
  • 1 3
 @Scottsdale29er: I think its the shorter reach and smaller cockpit, the axle is farther out in front, the suspension is soggy, and the seated position is more upright. I rode the epic evo in high position. I sold it to a guy that lives by T100 at PMP.
  • 7 5
 @basic-ti-hardtail: I live in Tucson Arizona, way to make assumptions.

The epic evo is not firm, its the exact opposite. It accelerates slow. It climbs slow. It is flimsy on descents because xc suspension is xc suspension even with enduro geo. Same problem the spur has. They both suck for fast xc racing. THE BLUR IS A RACE BIKE. For racers.
  • 2 2
 @Baller7756: its seconds faster, not milliseconds. Add that up over 100k. Thats minutes. Minutes equal miles behind. Whats your experience with both bikes?
  • 2 0
 @Lokirides: I can see how different people may have different experiences with the same bikes. As a 50-something with trashed knees, I spend more time sitting and cranking vs standing and charging these days. That style of riding favors a certain geo and suspension dynamic. The Blur TR I demoed was a rocket going up, but I also spent a day on a Stumpy Evo and it easily cleaned some tech climbs that often give me trouble. Some magic in the suspension dynamics I think. Would love to get @mikelevy take on the Blur TR vs Epic Evo since he seems to have a similar preference about what downcountry should be...
  • 10 0
 @DetroitCity: Do you really think a 66.5 HTA is "Enduro" geo vs a 67.3 HTA of the Blur? I happen to have both bikes in my garage ( I own the SC and my girlfriend has the Epic Evo). Sounds more like you do not know how to set up the suspension, imo. I love my Blur but I do think the Epic Evo is more well rounded and accelerates better in all situations.
  • 3 1
 @DetroitCity: what do you mean by soggy?
  • 2 0
 @DetroitCity: Wait, Tucson has rough trails? I though it was all smooth boulevards there?
  • 5 7
 @pedalingbobby: You think the epic evo accelerates better based on your gf owning it? Thats ultimate bro science. Show me some timed runs on the same trail on both bikes using the same wheels and tires. Then I'll show you mine
  • 2 5
 @mhoshal: it doesn't have much support under heavy pedaling. My stumpy has more support and acceleration. The blur is way faster than both.
  • 5 0
 @DetroitCity: I have some doubts about your experience. I have Epic Evo. Initially I had a problem with putting enough weight on the front wheel. However flipping the chip to high position a swapping stem for a 7cm long fixed it (no spacers under it). After this it has almost identical geo as Blur and stretched out racy position. I also have higher than recommended pressure (cca 225psi for 82kgs) to get 25% sag.
With this setup I'm not slower on climbs than on my previous bike (Cannondale FSI). If I'm standing and pushing hard, suspension could be supportive but I dare to say that it is not worse than new Spark RC in open position (i've tried that). I's hard to believe that Blur TR, that has very similar suspension design would differ greatly.
I still believe that the limiting factor would be an absence of remote lockout and no middle position. And that applies for both Blur TR and Epic Evo. Since I've started to race more seriously I'm swapping my shock and fork damper for remote versions and 3 position suspension lockout to address that.
  • 19 0
 @DetroitCity: Funny, every time I raced my Epic Evo I finished the day standing on a podium... PMBAR, ORAMM, Swank, P55, some others... sure these are just my local races here in PNF but it's enough experience to say hell yes this thing is a race bike for rough trails!

Have you considered that you may not have a monopoly on being a knowledgeable, experienced race dude? I mean, you're coming off as quite a twerp. "I don't ride fire roads" "I've owned both... On the roughest trails in America." Eat a piece of humble pie my dude, your ego is getting in the way of any actual fair points you might make. And allow that other people's experience may be different and valid. I built my Evo as my first race bike and crossed over from casual trail rider. I built my Evo with a 150 dropper post but still got the weight down to 23lbs. Compared to a 28lb trail bike, this of course feels like a rocket ship - it begs me to accelerate all. the. time. Combine that with my love for the steeps, the geo felt natural and comfortable to me to drop any trail in Pisgah *almost* as fast as I can on a big bike, hitting the gaps and dancing through chunder. I don't need to own every bike to give the Epic Evo my full throated endorsement. It's fast and fun, and yes it can win races!
  • 7 0
 @mhoshal: By soggy, he obviously means the rear suspension is over dampened... sorry, I'll see myself out.
  • 1 3
 @kcy4130: I can imagine that would imply too much rebound damping in particular. Most suspension units have a dial for that.
  • 4 0
 @DetroitCity: well, I did click on your username and your profile lists you as living in Detroit… sounds like you’ve moved on- there’s certainly some good riding in Tucson.

I don’t have any desire to enter a Cat 1 XC race. For Cat 2, I’ll happily ride a slightly slower bike if I really like the bike. The Blur is billed as more of a race bike, and I accept your feedback that it is.

I have a hard time believing that a Stumpjumper outclimbs the Evo… unless you’re looking only at rough tech climbs where traction is the single most important variable. I also don’t find it to be flimsy… quite the opposite- for the frame weight the stiffness and precision of the bike are astonishing. Pushing downhill through rock gardens, 5-6fft drops, big jumps… no problem. But I weigh 155lbs …

I know 4 other Evo owners who I ride with regularly, and the consensus is it’s a really amazing bike. I’m sorry you had a different experience.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: cmon - keep up...whoosh
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Well, that's what I'd call soggy for a suspension system. If it doesn't rebound quick enough, that feels like it is being sucked down. That entirely is down to the rebound damping, I don't see how someone could blame it on the frame design. Is there a different definition to "soggy" in mountainbiking lingo?
  • 1 6
flag DetroitCity (Dec 7, 2021 at 14:47) (Below Threshold)
 @Lokirides: riding in pisgah is climb fire roads and descend trails. I would absolutely smoke you on my stumpy on any climb on any trail in pisgah. Traction is faster. Cool that you went fast on fire roads and then need a 66hta to descend the trails in pisgah. Im good on that.

Its definitely a good bike for cat 2 Clydesdale racing.
  • 1 0
 @basic-ti-hardtail: at no point have i said its not a good bike. Its a great bike for general use and it's the bike most riders on overbiked 160 bikes should be riding. I weigh 20lbs more than you and am racing cat 1. The bike gets flimsy. I put in the high position, the bike gets smaller. That doesn't help.

I only ride my stumpy on tech trails, the epic evo suspension does not support huge power on climbs through rocks. The stumpy does. The stumpy uses the same size shock as my Blur. I can swap them, thats a bonus. The blur is for racing. I train with the Santa cruz factory race team and none of them have ever talked about descending performance of an XC race bike. As soon as someone talks about how good their xc bike descends, I know we are speaking two different languages. It doesn't matter how fast you can descend if I am 40 seconds faster up every climb. You can make up 5 seconds on the DH, maybe.
  • 2 3
 @vinay: its like riding a water bed. How many different ways can you hear the same things. Its made to be ridden with momentum. It climbs great, with momentum. When you have to pick your way through and accelerate over stuff it just gets soggy. Its basic physics and design. The bike is made to shred flow trails where you stand over the middle of the bike and "flow" through corners. Its made to be stable. Stable is good unless you need every last second. The Blur TR is made to keep traction on the rear wheel over tech climbs. The epic evo is made to climb fire roads and descend flow trails. Just like the Transition Spur.

The 120/115 top fuel also blows the epic evo off any climb.
  • 2 0
 It's one thing to say "I found that my stumpjumper climbed deliberate tech trails better than my Epic Evo. I found the Blur TR was better for me at my races."

It's different to categorize it and say "It accelerates slow. It climbs slow. It is flimsy on descents."

The latter is disingenuous.
  • 1 0
 @Mannra: but it is flimsy because XC parts are flimsy, and when you can push them as hard as "trail geometry" its flimsy. It accelerates slow because the suspension is tuned for descending. It climbs slow because the front axle is way too far in front of you for a pure XC race bike.

Let me know a single pro rider who chose the epic evo over the epic, for an xc race, or marathon race. Based on all these dad bods saying so, the epic wvo should be raced in world cups. Because I guarantee no one is racing that technical of a course, at those power outputs, in amateur racing. So cool, the epic evo makes you feel confident. I obviously don't need my bike to make me more confident. I need it to go fast. The epic evo is a good bike, but its not an XC bike. Which the Blur is. If anything this article should be about the Epic evo in the downcountry bikes. Its definitely the fastest downcountry bike, where sacrifices are made. It's cheating in that category. Its DEFINITELY not an xc race bike, and they never claimed it was.
  • 2 0
 @DetroitCity: no one is claiming it's an XCO bike. It not being an Epic does not make it slow, though.

These things are all very degrees of difference. Does the regular blur render the blur TR slow?

The bike doesn't agree with you and that's fine. I myself didn't love the Top Fuel when I tried it. The sweeping categorizations are what folk are pushing back on I'd guess.
  • 1 0
 @Mannra: its a super fast downcountry bike or normal mtn bike. For sure. My gf rides one, friends ride them, I had one, I believe its a good bike. Quality production, etc. I think it's flimsy if you try and ride it like a trail bike. And it accelerates and climbs slow compared to an XC bike. The blur TR or XC are actual XC bikes that compromise descending speed. The blur doesn't belong in this test is the greater point im trying to make. As well as the epic evo doesn't compare to the blur like these people want it tested. The epic evo climbs faster than the Spur, but the spur is not as flimsy descending. Having owned all these bikes.
  • 4 0
 @DetroitCity: Pick _____ and be a dick about it. You sure got the "be a dick about it" part on lock. This is the second time I've seen you tell another pinker you're going to beat them in a race... seems like you really have something to prove. Have fun with that, I had a good race season and just wanna ride my bike. Good luck on your Blur, it's another great bike for going fast!
  • 2 0
 @Mannra: I have ridden the new Blur with 100 and 120 SID Ultimate since May and honestly I don’t think there is much difference in how fast I ride XCO or XCM with either. The differences is more of how in control I feel, and on really long and technical trail-races the 120mm makes my hands and upper body a lot less fatigued.

I have remote lockout on both setups because without it’s really not a race bike, with no remote it’s a trailbike.
  • 1 0
 @magnusc: So without a lockout, it goes from xc race bike to trail bike? WHAT HAPPENED TO DOWNCOUNTRY!?
  • 1 7
flag DetroitCity (Dec 8, 2021 at 6:49) (Below Threshold)
 @Lokirides: I said I would smoke you on any climb within 40 miles of Brevard on my stumpy vs your epic evo. Never said I would race my stumpy in Pisgah because...they ride up fire roads and descend trails. The difference is I ride up black mtn, and you ride down. I ride up heartbreak, you ride down. I ride up Bennet, you ride down. Then if I'm going to ride a 3 mile fire road to the top of farlow, im bringing the stumpy for maxium action on the way down. I used to live in Brevard, im not just making things up. If you are boasting that you podiumed races, and can't take being told someone is faster, you need a reality check. There is always someone faster.
  • 1 0
 @magnusc: I have both SID ultimate 100 and 120 also. No lockout on the 120. Its a race bike not a wannabe trail bike. Not sure why its even in this test
  • 1 0
 @vinay @DetroitCity

He was joking...soggy --> over dampened
  • 1 0
 @AndrewFleming: Where I live most XCO courses are now more scary and technical than what most trail riders usually ride, so if there was something called DownCountry it would be somewhere between Trail and Enduro. Most modern XCO bikes will soon have 120mm travel, the problem with the bikes in this test is that they are missing the remote lockout so they are more like a very expensive and light weight trail bike.
  • 1 2
 @magnusc: Remote lockout is absolutely useless and has zero impact on anything other than marketing and pinkbike comments. You clearly have never done any testing to proves this theory that is easy to prove. Remote lockouts are so the marketing department can gave more buzzwords while the engineers think they are the dumbest thing ever. They would rather build a shock or fork with a real damper.
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: I've heard this several time - still doesn't resonate with me....how does locking out NOT improve efficiency and give you the best of both worlds regardless of damper setup? I'd think a non-locked out bike would need to make a compromise, supple sus vs efficient, with a lockout you can have both....what am I missing?
  • 1 1
 @RadBartTaylor: traction, and suspension engineers don't design the suspension around locking out. They make the pedaling performance separate from the lockout. The lockout is added after. The suspension is designed to be pedaled not locked out. Older bikes with crap suspension locking out actually may have helped. Technology is too good now to need a lockout for anything other than pinbike comments and sales talk
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: and @magnusc: So, lock-outs are both useless and they killed down country. Amazing.
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: proving yourself once more the biggest douchecanoe on pinkbike by being simultaneously hugely egotistical and wrong. Lockouts are going to have a place in XCO courses as long as riders still sprint. But I'm sure you'll explain how you know more and are faster than Nino Schurter, who's himself a big fan of Twinloc. If you think a Scott Spark, Epic, Twostroke, etc, AREN'T designed around being locked out, you're even dumber than I thought.

Let me go ahead and write your response for you: blah blah blah you don't know anything and I'm an expert blah blah blah I'm way faster than you blah blah blah I've ridden every bike ever made blah blah blah.
  • 1 0
 @Lokirides: haven't we established im 6'2 and between 160 and 170 depending on if I pooped. Theres much bigger on here.

So your argument is because Nino uses a lockout, lockouts are good? Have you ever talked to suspension engineers about lockouts? Have you ever tested in real world conditions with and without lockout? On the same bike with the same shock but different damper?

What is your experience testing with and without a lockout?
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: well if you optimize for suspension performance on the descents or on rough terrain, doesn't a lockout give you the best of both worlds? Some platforms are designed to be more active, they feel better on the descents, so why wouldn't you design around an active / supple suspension and allow a lockout for the climbs?

Several frame manuf, (with input from engineers) put shocks with lockouts on their bikes.

I have a shock with lockout on my Enduro bike and "XC" bike (Banshee Phantom), they work great IMO but since I've heard the point you are making from more than one person, I'm trying to be open minded and understand the issue.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: do you know how a damper works? One with a lockout platform and one without are built differently. Thats the start of it.

Make no mistake. Any bike with a lockout is because the product manager wanted it there not the engineers. Its all about what sells not what's best.
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: So the argument is that shocks w/lockouts don't perform as well as ones without? I know my $900 Storia shock has a lockout and believe the Push ones come with them too so not sure how I can reconcile lack of performance with lockout or not.

Don't shock engineers talk to frame engineers?

I can say without question that an enduro bike with lockout (at least with the shocks I've tried) works just as good downhill and is much better on the climbs.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: "as well" is subjective. "Different" is objective.

Shocks with open and locked are different than open medium firm. Most enduro type shocks ive seen are open or firm. The sid is open or locked. Imagine if you have open and firm on xc bikes. Two different pedaling platforms not one, with a pure lockout. Imagine some compression adjustment too.

Theres always a compromise with lockouts. Yes frame designers talk to suspension engineers. But do you honestly think anyone other than the specialized marketing team wanted the brain? The engineers just build what they are told. Then have to hear everyone complain. Product managers give a list of buzzwords the frame needs to cover, features "the people want". Then frame designers design it on a computer using a hypothetical shock. Then they have the shock made.
  • 1 0
 I don't use lockout but it seems to me that if you're having it, could just as well have a remote switch for it. So that you can turn it off when you realize it is still one once you've entered a fast rough section where you don't want to take your hands off the bars.

As for what "sells", I honestly don't know. It seems like you have the people like Mike Levy and @detroitcity who'd rather not have it and you have the people who @detroitcity talks about. Whether it sells depends on who's buying. Me personally? It wouldn't attract me to a bike nor would it push me away. What matters to me is whether the bike works well for how I want to use it. Though mind you it isn't so black and white as lock-out or not. Some brands have a climb switch which often implies a heavier compression damping or, in the case of Cane Creek, also heavier rebound damping. Where would you draw the line?
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: well "firm" is also subjective, firm to the point of locked out, vs extremely firm....could be close to the same. Even shocks that are locked out have some give...I think it's just a marketing term used, you could easily make a "lockout" lever that simply firms up a shock....80%, 90%, 96.25% of locked out.

I guess my point is that "locking" out suspension to feel like a hardtail on the climbs is good, hardtails normally climb better than FS especially when out of the saddle hammering and smoother trails. If that comes with a decrease in shock performance on the down, maybe it's not worth the trade-off, but that is just an engineering problem vs an inherent issues with "lockouts" or as you point out a marketing term.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: on top of the lockouts they hate to design they hate to design lockout mechanisms even more. Have you see the rockshox twist lock? What engineer who rides bikes would ever want to spend any time designing and building that dumpster fire. Someone thought it would be a good idea to turn half your grip into a button that locks and unlocks your suspension. Engineers were not those people. Graphic designer project manager types are.

I would rather have a dropper than a lockout. Even on pavement.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Don't forget Loic Bruni winning in Lousa after locking out his shock. But that was just a marketing gimmick don't you know?

There are MANY climbing situations, both XCO and "normal" where a lockout is definitely going to help you climb faster and more efficiently. Other times traction is more a priority. You have some shocks designed around XC racing with full lockouts, and other shocks designed around trail and enduro that to maximize damper performance don't have a full lockout, just a firm setting. Until all our suspension is brained, live-valved or flight controlled, lockout levers are great for XC racers who need to keep hands on the bars but switch between platforms.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: hardtails rarely climb better than full suspension. And nobody would design a full suspension to ride like a hardtail.

The SID shocks and forks lockout. As in they are locked out. Can't make it any clearer than that. You have open and locked out not moving. Fox and other brands have firm settings. That still move a little.

I need a shock with 1 setting. Open. Lets ride. I ride my stumpy in open on the pavement. Because its more efficient to have the bike doing what it was designed for.
  • 1 1
 @Lokirides: please name one situation on a mountain bike trail where having the suspension locked out is faster or more efficient than open with a good damper. You clearly are an amateur in terms of suspension performance. You clearly have no idea how many microbumps the suspension and tires are deflecting. Explain to me how having the suspension locked out makes it perform better over a bump. Its all mental.
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: Dude, I have suffered your foolishness long enough. You climb your stumpy on pavement in the open setting? Have fun with that. Proper tire pressure will smooth out any microbumps on a smooth trail, so if you are out of the saddle on a non tech climb, because you're motoring, being locked out will help. If it's rougher, the middle position is great (I prefer Fox on my xc bike for this reason). Climbing a gravel road, locked out is better if I'm going for a PR / racing, but if I'm chilling and want to save my ass a bit, I use the middle position. You're right that smoother = faster, but wrong in that tire pressure has far more to do with that than your shock. The fact that all the pros use some kind of lockout system on their bikes, and win, is not marketing - it's FASTER. If it was faster to not be locked out, road bikes would have shocks on them, but surprise surprise, they're stiff as hell.

And NO ONE wants to ride a bike with you, not because you're faster, because you're an A HOLE.
  • 1 0
 @Lokirides: good point on Loic, I forgot about that!
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: do you still use a chain or did you stop when Gwin won a race without one?
  • 1 0
 @Lokirides: under no situation is a locked out bike faster on a climb. Even on pavement. A hardtail is faster on pavement, usually being lighter is why, not because its a hardtail. Send me your testing. Or post it up for all to see.

youtu.be/BR10jYyJ4yE
  • 1 0
 @Lokirides: pros use lockouts because win on Sunday sell on Monday. The pros don't design the bikes. They have some input, but they get what's given to them.

When are you going to start talking about real world experiences and not things you saw on TV or read online?
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: great point - you win....trying to have a reasonable conversation, my bad.

It defies common sense as to why lockouts wouldn't work....if it's hard to articulate that either means you are not good at articulating a good point, you don't understand the issue well enough to articulate it or it's simply wrong. Was trying to be open minded with the first and second since I'm always up to have my mind changed but have not heard any great arguments...

Doesn't the Loic example illustrate the point? What about all the other XC folks who run them? I've used them and they seem to work great.....
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: no, because the pros did something is low hanging fruit. They can make anything work. You said that a hardtail is better for standing and hammering. Thats been disproven years ago. All your arguments are from 2007.
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: Dylan's video doesn't cover situations where you are standing on the bike - times when your power goes well over the 250 mark and into the 4-500's or higher - when you are likely to experience deeper and more pronounced bob. Those are the times it makes a bigger difference, and why pros like Nino will continue to use their lockouts to win races. He also doesn't go into body maintenance, the fact that keeping your bike higher in its travel is easier on your knees. A "climb" position is great for that on trail, and the lockout is nice for smoother terrain.

Dylan does good work - I like his stuff. He's also not a dick about it, a quality you might learn from.
  • 1 1
 @Lokirides: if you want to keep referring to what pros do. Jolanda doesn't use a lockout. Is she dumb like me? Lockouts are all mental. Putting more watts into the suspension actually favors having it unlocked more than locked. Its just gonna break the back tire loose. I would love to hear some of your real world actually testing. In case you don't know I use to live with Dylan and have tested and talked about this before this video ever came out. He rides full suspension on races where the other top pros are on hardtails. Giving up 5 or 6lbs AND not using a lockout. Lets see your data though.
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: gotta love it these days, can't even have an adult conversation, instead of walking through logic you just tell me I'm wrong....
  • 1 1
 @RadBartTaylor: I tried to explain that traction is the most important thing to make speed. Its harder to make traction locked out. You said because some pro used a lockout that means they work, or because they are on the bike that means they work, or because they exist they must work. Your mind is not willing to understand the difference between marketing and performance.
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: lol, I came from a position of reason....the same place Dylan did, he didn't know the answer before he tested it for himself, if you are saying I am closed minded than I guess Dylan is too. It's logical to assume lockouts work, it's intuitive and makes sense, I was challenging you to show my why they don't work and frankly I haven't heard a good answer

That vid is neat, but he's much lighter than me, climbing at 150 W less than I do and not sprinting. It's also highly dependent on sus design, some probably work better locked out than others. I'd guess the difference between XC bikes locked vs unlocked would be smaller than a 8" enduro bike locked vs unlocked.....I think that's the nuance you are missing.
  • 1 1
 @RadBartTaylor: if lockouts are so much better, why isn't the bike always locked out? Do bumps only matter going downhill and not up? The bike suspension is designed to move. Not be locked stiff. Where does the energy go at that point?
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: Bottom line is, stop insulting everyone else. Who cares if you're right if you're a turd?

I never got to race Dylan, but I looked at his time for the P55 and I beat him by about 17 minutes (granted, I think the weather was awful that year). I have plenty of real world riding and racing experience.

The only person to consistently beat me racing around here this year was Thomas Turner. He raced everything on a hardtail with no dropper. I guess that proves... that TT defies physics and is bad ass? but I didn't need science to tell me that.

At the end of the day, maybe you don't have all the answers, aren't the fastest rider, and don't need to be such an a*shole. Have reasonable conversations and people will listen. Allow for things to be more nuanced than black and white, right or wrong. Come in saying people are slow and stupid, and people get their hackles up.

If you want to keep talking, DM me and tell me when you were riding in Pisgah. We probably have friends in common in this little community. Whatever you do, just please stop acting like a jerk.
  • 1 0
 @Lokirides: But Turner's beard is basically full suspension and a dropper combined.
  • 2 0
 @AndrewFleming: LOL I think he hides his gels in there too; I've never actually seen him eat... super nice guy and bad ass rider!
  • 2 0
 @DetroitCity: is that a serious question, why isn't the bike always locked out? Bumps matter going up of course, which is why I wouldn't lock out a bike on a tech climb....but of course many races have buffed gravel climbs. I did the BC Bike Race in 2019 (was top 25 overall for a period of time too), LOTS of gravel climbs, lockout on a a good 120mm platform bike is great there....and judging by the fact the Felix Burke had one on his bike, he seemed to think so too....

Again - the tone of your posts is pretty off-putting, I was trying to have a honest convo vs a flame fest....
  • 1 1
 @RadBartTaylor: im sorry I dont have any input about climbing gravel. I ride on trails.
  • 2 0
 Maybe this wasn't quite the place for this discussion, whether you call it downcountry or trail, these aren't race disciplines. This is a bike that's made for riding and having fun doing so. Not necessarily to be fastest and definitely not to be fastest on smooth stuff or tarmac. To me it seems about finding your challenges and tackling them. Which are your challenges is all up to ourselves to decide. That's called ownership. This isn't racing after all. Personally I ride a hardtail. I know I can get more traction on a climb with a full suspension bike. I tried that, it works. Which is more efficient? Sorry, I'm not calibrated. What does matter to me though is that I actually appreciate the challenge of finding traction through balance and modulated power. If the rear suspension removes that challenge, what's left for me is merely to stomp and suffer. Possibly less suffering even in a way, yet what's left of it is the lowest quality stuff. Now I'm sure some could call me an idiot and I'm not even going to argue. As that would merely lead to an argument as can be behold above. Brands give you different options and I'm still pretty sure every single rear suspension design is a compromise. Heck, with these massive cassettes people run these days anti-squat numbers are going to vary wildly depending on which gear you're in so that "perfect" anti-squat number (which leads to sufficiently active yet stable suspension) you'll only get in some gears. In the other gears it is a compromise already. Only some marketing people (and those who believe them) are going to claim that it isn't. It is only up to us to decide where we want to balance that compromise. And that brings us back full circle to the concept of ownership. Pick what "performance" you expect from your bike, pick what challenges you want to have left for yourself, get the bike that strikes that balance.
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: can't help yourself can ya? You should try the BC Bike Race some time.....puts all the races in the states to shame technically but yeah, ya gotta do some gravel climbs to earn those turns....

And on that note, I guess all the Enduro courses are not ridden on *trails* since the majority of the climbing in those events are on gravel roads as wel...
  • 2 0
 @Lokirides: The metaphysical plane where he resides does not need food, only wind in his beard to propel him.
  • 1 1
 @RadBartTaylor: I can buy a new bike frame for the price of doing that race. I think I've made it clear I don't have any interest in climbing gravel in a 25 mile race. Either way I would not use a lockout. I remove those immediately and put a shock with a normal switch. A lockout is not faster on any surface. If the bike is being pedaled, a lockout is slower. The more you weigh and the more power that is even more true. The only thing touching the ground is the contact patch of the tire. Efficiency is measured in how much energy makes it to the contact patch. Not how much your suspension bobs up and down. Thats why wheel horsepower is measured.

Why don't dirt bikes have locked out rear suspension? Because the back tire would spin. Just like what happens when you stand and hammer your locked out full suspension.
  • 2 0
 @DetroitCity: racing in the hard multi day stage races and challenging yourself isn't cheap, I agree there, but it's all relative. If cost is an issue, keep your old bike which won't slow you down and do the race....win/win.

Dirtbikes....obviously, they have 40-60 hp, not 1/2 hp and you are going UP just as fast as going DOWN, you need the suspension on the ups.

My HT doesn't spin.....lots of people ride HT at a high level and don't have that problem.

You are all over the place with this and largely incoherent. I never said you were WRONG, I was just challenging the thought....
  • 21 0
 I think SC got it right with this one. They even state it's a race bike for longer, tougher days. I could see having one of these and a second, lighter wheelset (and tires), a shorter-stroke shock (like the Blur XC) and 100mm fork for XCO-type races. Easy swap in 30 minutes or so, and a full-on WC race bike.

Pro XC racers set up the bikes to climb well first and descend well second. Nowhere did they say it's a poor descender, and I bet it's more than a match for anything I'd ever see in a XC race (or marathon XC). Pemberton bears very little resemblance to my local terrain, and even if it did - I'll take minutes on the climbs over seconds on the descents.
  • 4 0
 Thats what I did. I have the XC model, and a 190x45 shock and sid 35mm.
  • 2 0
 Does World cup xc allow changes like that between short track and xco? My understanding is you have to use the same bike but I don't know how strict that is.

Not that many of us are racing at that level, but it's an interesting question
  • 4 0
 @DetroitCity: Do you actually switch them? I just have the TR version and was thinking about having Fox put a remote top cap on the 190x45 shock & putting a remote damper in the fork. TR + lockouts = marathon race bike
  • 2 0
 @mtb-thetown: I think the only thing you can change is tires... you have to use the same bike.
  • 1 0
 @PAmtbiker: I was thinking more to have the TR setup for general training and marathon racing, and the XC fork, shock and tires for the 90-min format races.
  • 20 0
 I really want to see this go head-to-head with the Epic EVO.
  • 2 0
 Honestly I'm surprised no one has done this... I think the Epic may be a bit lighter and it's also a little longer. Would be cool to ride both, though.
  • 18 0
 Blur song puns and then a Liam Gallagher reference. Is this just to generate comments!?
  • 1 0
 I loved that haha
  • 7 0
 @henryquinney: you’re the model of a charmless man
  • 1 0
 Came here to say the same thing
  • 21 4
 Consider consulting an audio engineer to train your video editors. Volume levels are all over the place in these videos and your podcasts.
  • 11 2
 Bike companies: We have achieved maximum anti squat as that's the only way to really climb efficiently.
Everybody: Yay, take my money!

Bike companies: We have added more anti squat so you can finally climb efficiently.
Everybody: Yay take my money!

Sound familiar...

Bike companies: We now introduce 29" wheel so you can carry more momentum and get maximum roll over.
Everybody: Yay, take my money!

Bike companies: We now introduce 27.5 wheels so you can accelerate faster and still get good roll over.
Everybody: Yay. take my money!

Bike companies: We now introduce mixed wheel size bikes so you can accelerate fast AND roll over things! How were you even riding a bike before? We don't know...
Everybody: Yay, take my money!

Soon to come:

Bike companies: We now introduce 26" wheels for ultimate acceleration, still rolls over things fine, we promise!
Everybody: Yay take my money!


The new Blur looks sick though! Smile
  • 13 2
 Henry is such a brilliant addition to the staff. Adds a lot of humor and character to the reviews.
  • 11 1
 Do you guys have to switch brakes around between Henry and everyone else because he rides Euro/moto setup?
  • 75 0
 Yes. Unfortunately, the training program to get him to ride them the regular way failed.
  • 11 2
 @Kango Just here to point out that it's neither "Euro" nor "moto". It's just a default off the shelf setup in countries that drive on the left so Henry got used to it as a kid in the UK.

Most European riders have their brakes set up the same way as you, as do most actual moto riders in right side driving countries who switch between their pushbikes and motorbikes with zero issue.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: This solves this problem: TRP Hydraulic Hose Coupler Kit
  • 13 0
 If only I could learn @mikekazimer
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: that's the video we really want to see
  • 2 0
 The paragraph breaks in the review imply that there is a lockout for the brakes. So XC.
  • 8 0
 I would just like to chime in that in almost all of Europe, the rear brake is one the right side. It's really just a UK thing, and if I recally correctly, also the reason they segregated from the EU because we couldn't find common ground on this issue
  • 8 0
 @hardtailpunter: correct, most Brexit voters are UK mountain bikers who hired bikes in the Alps and have gone out the front door grabbing a fistful of front brake
  • 10 0
 Are they locked in wooden toilets or what ?
  • 59 0
 Locking tech editors in wooden toilets is the only way to get them to finish their reviews.
  • 11 0
 @brianpark: Well done. Contemporary management.
  • 18 0
 @brianpark: Inside+ ??
  • 11 2
 If I’m going to purchase a bike that is over $10k after taxes then it better do everything well within it’s category.
  • 19 10
 KTM 450 SX-F MSRP of $10,199.
  • 9 11
 @ncrescenti: meh. Completely different markets, technologies, materials and parts used, etc.
  • 10 2
 KTM 450: hey look an ebike with an onboard gas generator
  • 2 0
 @generictrailrider: Have a look at the BOM of bicycle and motorcycle, and ask why the latter can be produced for same amount of money? I have a hunch it's not solely because KTM et al enjoy better economies of scale.
  • 9 2
 I don’t think it’s so much 4 piston vs 2 piston.

I replaced my G2 ultimates with Dominion T2 and got like double the power. The Sram brakes just aren’t very powerful. Maybe it’s pad compounds, who knows.
  • 7 0
 What do you mean it ain’t Down country? It’s the embodiment of the genera. Afterall, the original Blur TR was the OG down country before we called it such. This is just lighter and better.
  • 5 0
 @mikelevy In all the talk about about single percent gains and losses, due to an idler or some added weight or even the chain lube, I'm curious how many fast focused people pay attention to things like drag from a rain coat hood inflating. Us mountain bikers sure have some interesting blind spots and obsessions.

Thanks to the whole team for the field test content!
  • 1 0
 Similarly shorts vs pants. When going downhill shorts are like pointing two parachutes down the hill... Much cooler when it's warm though
  • 7 0
 I lost an XC "funduro" race by 4 hundredths of a second over 6 stages and attribute it to wearing baggies instead of lycra. Nothing will change my mind.
  • 4 0
 @bruvar: Could've been the chain lube /s
More seriously, coming out on the loss side of that small a margin has got to infuriating, sorry to hear it.
  • 9 0
 Oh , Mike is back , I can start watching PB videos again .
  • 11 6
 Be honest...is that fake rain for the bike shots, particularly the last one? Is Levy out of the frame spraying water from his mouth? Or do you guys really have studio lighting set up in the rain?
  • 66 0
 Ha, have you been to BC in the late fall? There's definitely no need for fake rain.
  • 57 0
 So. Much. Rain.
  • 46 0
 @mikekazimer: [catastrophic flooding has entered the chat]
  • 9 0
 Seeing as this past November was the rainiest November on record here, and that November is the rainiest month of the year in what is an already very rainy part of the country, I'm surprised that some shots don't appear to be underwater.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: I don't even remember what sunshine is any more...
  • 7 0
 Out of all the downcountry bikes on test, which would be the first pick for an xc race?
  • 16 0
 For me, it'd be this bike.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Blur or Spur??
  • 6 0
 Never previously would have agreed with Levy that sketchy is fun, but bought a short travel to try out little while back and I'm totally onboard.
  • 9 0
 More sketchy, more fun Smile
  • 10 7
 In short...meh. Also, is the slight improvement in shifting precision with AXS worth the added weight penalty? It doesn't make a ton of sense to me given the bike's intended use. Then again...blingy parts make for better parking lot chats.
  • 6 5
 Yes. I didn't initially think it would be, but for long XC races, after 5 or 6 hours of shifting a cable (even XX1) my thumb gets extremely tired. The perfect quick nature of AXS makes such a difference. And in a 6 hour race, it is the difference between being able to focus on the next line rather than the next shift.
  • 3 0
 On a long muddy day/race? Yes.
  • 2 4
 YOU JUST GOT ROASTED RYAN
  • 1 0
 @owl-X: I was asking the question because I’m considering it. My Propain Tyee cable routing had to have been designed by the engineer who brought us Slingshot bikes and this would solve 50% of the problem.
  • 1 0
 @ryan83: that was the chainstay on my old ibis. So bad I bought axs and never worried about it again.
  • 4 0
 I had a 2006 blur 4x back in the day and loved it! I'm curious though how durable those seatstays will be... looks really flimsy to me! Also, does it flex side to side significantly?
  • 20 0
 They look tiny but flex-stays have been around a long time and I've personally never seen an issue. Everything can break, but I (think) that I'd argue that a flex-pivot should be more reliable than one that has a bearing pressed into it and a bunch of hardware. Didn't note any lateral flex.
  • 5 1
 @mikelevy: Bingo. If they break, it'll because of the design or user error. Flex stays (in carbon) have worked so well on so many bikes for so many years that I think it's safe to say they're pretty tried and true at this point.
  • 4 2
 @mikelevy: Thanks! Interested to try some out one day... I think I'm still skeptical enough not to throw a bunch of money at it though especially with prices these days.

@big-red: what kind of user error were you thinking? Asking as I'm a bit sensitive when people say that! I hear that often but I'm 6'6" 220lbs and it's tough to find stuff that is durable for us larger folks. A rear triangle with flex stays seems like a pretty important thing to "right size" based on the frame size rather than a one size fits all approach which has been a frustration of mine over the years!
  • 6 0
 @derekr: At 220 lbs I would suggest that this 23lbs bike is not for you. I'm a big guy too, I get the frustration.
  • 2 0
 @derekr: I hear ya. I'm not far off your size myself. Used to ride a flex-stayed Felt Decree, which has since been handed over to my friend who still rides it and has a few pounds on me. So there are definitely designs out there that work for us larger folks (though checking any manufacturer weight restrictions is important once you cross the 200lb mark).

However, when I say "user error" I mean crashes or improper care and maintenance of the bike.
  • 2 0
 @big-red: Thanks for the feedback on your old Felt that's great to hear it's still alive!
  • 1 0
 @big-red: I had that bike. It didn't have very good rear suspension which has made me distrustful of flex stays.
  • 4 0
 I've been riding a stanton sherpa hardtail for three years. I am now looking for a more comfortable alternative. The blur looks like a fun mile munching generalist which fits this bill. Thanks for the review.
  • 4 0
 Great bike....that you can't buy. I pre-ordered one in the spec texted here (TR X01 AXS RSR) back in MAY and it's no where to be found despite Santa Cruz telling them it was part of their initial allocation.
  • 3 0
 It is probably off the coast of Santa Cruz on a large cargo ship waiting to be off loaded... Very nice looking bike though.
  • 3 0
 Love the field tests but good lord the audio mix is terrible! The interview portion sounds like it was recorded with a banana mic and the riding footage is so much louder it makes the vid feels like a 90's Smashing Pumpkins record.
  • 5 0
 I must have been a sleep for a while, but since when is 67.1 HTA and a reach of almost 460 considered conservative geometry for a downcountry bike?
  • 5 0
 Manufacturers are now labeling trail bikes as downcountry to try to capitalize on the hype. In my mind, the Blur is the only one in the field test considered downcountry as levy intended it.
  • 7 1
 video evidence you dont need the latest and greatest DH geo to love a bike
  • 7 1
 so many typos. If you guys need a copyeditor, I'm searching for a new job.
  • 14 0
 The audacity to ask for a copy editor job while making typos in the request. I gave you a thumbs up anyhow.
  • 2 0
 You should probably look for a new job that doesn't involve editing copy....
  • 8 6
 I love how they make flex pivot sound revolutionary "without the associated weight gains that come from a standard pivot" they make it sound like those tiny pivots added pounds to your bike lmao. Sorry but I'd take a real pivot over something flexing any day. Flex means eventually fatigue and then failure.
  • 3 0
 It was funny how they were strungling to avoid saying "single pivot", like there is something wrong with it.
  • 3 0
 @drib: I mean it definitely is a single pivot with a flex-stay.
  • 14 0
 Definitely not revolutionary - we've written entire articles about how long the flex-pivot has been around and how effective it can be on the right type of bike.

But yes, when we're talking about 100-grams here or there, moving to a flex-pivot can save that kind of weight. If you really think about it, what's more likely to be reliable: a flex-pivot that has to move 0.05 degrees (pulled that out of my ass) or a pivot that's manufactured to have a couple of big steel bearings pressed into it for an interference fit and then a bunch of aluminum hardware holding it together? I've never seen a broken flex-pivot and have complete faith in them.
  • 5 0
 @drib: Nah, I love plenty of single-pivot bikes. We're just trying to describe it and that's how it came off Wink
  • 5 0
 My old Yeti ASR had a flex pivot in 2001(?). The pivot at the back flexes so little, has no maintenance (unlike an actual pivot). Much preferred on a short travel bike.
  • 3 0
 I really like the “models” part of the videos! It’s very helpful to listen to you guys talk about your choice, instead of the top of the line one brands usually send you.
  • 2 0
 I picked up the X01 blur a couple months ago and absolutely love it. Good spot on review from the PB guys. I bought a gravel bike a year ago because I loved the idea. Then I found out I hate gravel bikes because I'm a mtn biker. The blur is sort of like a gravel bike for mtn bikers who hate gravel bikes except it's way more capable on trails.
Feels super light just as advertised which makes it easy to throw around and really excels on climbs & long days. Downhills are not a problem at all on the blur but for sure there are much better bikes for downhill. I'll give up a little on the downhills for the quickness and light feel this bike has though. Is it a single quiver, do everything bike? Not really, but for a lot of us it's probably good for 70% of your rides. You just have to hang on a little more if you want to mach speed that downhill on the other 30%.
  • 3 0
 I don't disagree with you in any way - I just want to point out how a different point of view (and riding experience) will totally change how one sees a certain bike, which I think is super interesting.

I started riding MTB in 1991. Raced BMX before that. I've raced XC, road, CX, gravel, and even DH for a season.

Our local trails are rooty, flowy (in places), rolling terrain, real mountains are 2 hours to the west.

A bike like the Blur would feel like almost too much bike for here and the riding and racing I do. I say "almost" because trails are becoming rougher and more eroded, and the extra travel and slacker geometry are more appropriate here now than before. I would never describe it as a "gravel bike" and though I'd ride it on gravel (locked out), I'd use a road or gravel bike instead.

For comparison, I had a Spur and it felt like a straight-up trail bike here, and far too long and low (and slow to accelerate) to ride fast here. It was more fun in the mountains but it still was a light trail bike, not downcountry.

Anyway, just thought the contrast, likely based on experiences and local trails, was interesting.
  • 3 1
 @tommyrod74: Admittedly, calling it a gravel bike was a bit of an exaggeration on my part Smile But I did feel like most of the rides I did on my gravel bike I'd be better off with straight bars and just a little bit of suspension. But maybe if you put a roadie on a mtn bike and the same trail they'd think the bike would be better and faster with drop bars and without the suspension.

Totally agree with you, much of the right bike comes down to what trails we ride in our local area too. Beyond that, I personally think most of us are over biked and this whole 'downcountry' thing is people slowing realizing this. Like you, I started riding mtb in the early 90's and many of the same trails we do today we all did on hard tails back then and never thought twice about it. But it sure didn't take long to get used to a little bit of cushion for the pushin'! However somewhere along the way people started buying 170mm travel bikes to use on the local bike path.
  • 4 0
 I really love Henry's take on these reviews, to me, he comes across at the "everyman" type of rider.
  • 5 0
 Yeah, I'm starting to vibe with Henry. I'm glad he's in the mix.
  • 2 0
 100% agree. Henry was always a pleasure to watch on the other channel and their loss is most definitely PB’s gain.
  • 2 0
 with regards to the "fogiving" suspension: curious whether live valve would improve the efficiency test and downhills (prob not..), but keep the fast climbing?? for XC, I would choose a lockout shock, me thinks
  • 2 1
 Smokin schweet bike. But i will put the 10k to use elsewhere. This is a real bike musky could blow in serious miles on. No need fer motor. Dun rite for trail use n ugly diets n shaved legs topping out on the backround peaks most folks see and turn back down for a quick lap to a beer or big mac.
  • 2 1
 Its not a $10k bike if you build it yourself. It's a $3400 frame. You could easily build this for $7000-$7500.
  • 5 0
 @Baller7756: oh sweet only 7k!
  • 1 1
 @Gwizard: Well… you could build it for $5500-$6000, if you go with lower end (heavier) components. The point is… never buy a complete bike… always build your own and save 25%.
  • 3 0
 Would love to see comparison with previous version models with ascending and descending time data. Maybe answer the question of "is newer better?"
  • 1 0
 Considering these are the transmission specs I have on my enduro bike, I could consider a 36t for more open terrain. So it's good that the bike was designed for a 34t at least, so that those running that chainring size wouldn't be decreasing the anti-squat even more on an already anti-squat-poor design. Although to tell the truth, it's likely that this bike was indeed conceived for a 32t, and the less anti-squat is only the consequence of running a 34t. It's likely that the climbing abilities would be preserved just fine, or likely enhanced with a 32t chainring.
  • 1 0
 This bike is a race bike. Its going to preform like one. If u dont want a bike that feels and rides like a race bike, dont buy a race bike. The blur is designed for and marketed as a racey bike for xc courses with gnarly descents and marathons and I think it will crush the competition in those environment. But it wont crush the competiton doing something it wasn't designed to do. SC said it best themselves, its not a DC bike. Its just a badass, fast as hell, race rocket.
  • 1 0
 Transition fanboy here. Move along.

Anyway, coming from the camp of partying in the woods, comparing the blur tr to the spur warrants some interesting figures.

First, xo1 to xo1, the Blur comes out swinging with the factory 34sc, and at about half a pound lighter overall bike... But it's also $1150 more than the Spur. I would have preferred Fox squishy parts on my Spur initially, but I've been impressed with the sid/luxe ultimate parts so far.

As a hefty lad of 210lb, I can say that the level tlm brake isn't suited for anyone over say 170lb, and the g2 rsc on the spur warrant the trivial weight penalty of the parts for the extra oomph regardless of your size. Similar xo1 drivetrain, carbon cranks, but a better suited 32t on the Spur. The spur comes with the Gucci oneup carbon bars at 800mm and a raceface turbine stem vs a much more xc flat 760 and syntace stem on the Blur.

It's an odd amalgamation on the Blur honestly. The wheels are slightly overkill for the intended application especially shipping with rekon race rubber, the suspension is more downcountry than xc (sid ultimate and sidluxe ultimate rear shock combined are lighter than the 34 for comparison), and a reverb seems out of place outside of groupset budgetary requirements (iykyk).

Based on the review and sentiment of it being the least friendly downcountry bike pointed downhill, you'd think sc would go for broke on making it light. Sid parts, a oneup dropper (marginally lighter, more reliable, and half the cost of a reverb), and dt xr1700/350 wheels... Should shave 2-3 pounds and make it a bit cheaper.

Being both a biased fanboy as well as my legs falling asleep here on the toilet, I'll leave my final thoughts, that dollar for dollar, the Spur xo1 is THE "downcountry" bike. I think the tr looks like a damn fine bike, but the geometry, brakes, and cockpit choice... And the price penalty definitely kept it off my radar when it was time to get the new short travel whip.

Can someone bring me a roll of tp?
  • 1 0
 A XC race bike geometry will take a while to get used to, but once you feel familiar with the bike, you can really rip it and have incredible fun - up and down! This is probably the best, fastest, most comfortable a race bike can be without being too heavy. I've set up my 2016 Ripley LS as XC bike at 23lbs or 23.4lbs with dropper, wider front tire, riser bar. Best combo ever, no matter if XCO race or marathon stage race.. if it had 2 easy to reach water bottle cage mounts..
  • 1 0
 To replace a stolen trail bike, and with bike shortages being what they are, I ended up picking up the new XC C version of the Blur. Still looking for ways to make it more trail/down oriented (outside of the 40 mm riser bar and tires)....thinking of maybe and angle headset to get another couple of degrees....turning out to be not a bad bike....good building platform for multi riding types....
  • 1 0
 So the "game-changng" lowered thru-frame shock design, started by BH and perfected by SCB is no longer needed with the new flexy pivot? Or do we have to wait for next year's blur variant?.... or is it no longer "game-changing"?
  • 3 1
 while they did technically align the valves with the logos, they are 180 degrees out between front and rear and this makes my head hurt.
  • 1 0
 I'd be interested to hear some opinions on the stiffness of the new 34 SC. I found the new (non-SC) 34 to be a bit flexy at 140mm, but it's spot on at 120mm (for me at 160 lb, at least). How do the two compare?
  • 3 0
 Have this bike with the 34 SC. I put some pretty good miles on it this weekend in the desert and was pleasantly surprised at the stiffness. I had one of the original 34 SC and it felt softer. No issues at all with this fork at 215 lbs and taking it down some chunk and drops
  • 3 0
 How are the wheels not mentioned? Aren't they like 1300 grams? That must feel incredible.
  • 2 0
 Levy loses me when he says he likes it because it's sketchy on the downhills. I got no problem making things sketchy on the downs, and want my bike to be reassuring.
  • 1 1
 Geometry that’ll work for most XC terrain and good suspension-seems like a winner.

Still-wonder how much you give up dropping down a few grand to an “affordable” build kit. And I’ll bet it would be better with a 65 head tube angle.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy
How would you describe the suspension charakteristic on the downs? Does the Blur blow through its travel easily? I know it's an odd thing to ask for a capable country oriented bike.
  • 1 0
 It will definitely depend on what trails you ride and how aggressive and fast you ride downhill. I have a new Blur and on my local trails here in Northern California I often use the entire rear travel, front shock not very often though. But honestly the only way I realize it is looking at the ring on the shock after the ride. I've never really felt a hard bottom out necessarily. Compared to my 5010 the blur is definitely more of a 'hold on tight, baby jebesus take the wheel' descent on the blur if it's steep and techy but I don't find it to be that big of an issue. I'm very happy to give up a little on the downhill for the speed and lightweight feel of the blur. I really love my Blur but If blasting downhill for the KOM on steep techy trails is your main focus then this is not the right bike.
  • 1 0
 @jng7000: Thanks. I am mainly riding long distances, and on the downs slow tech stuff, with thight switchbacks.
  • 1 0
 The audio in the roundtables in this latest round of tests have an echo-y, hollow sound. Almost as if all three mics are picking up all three guys. Previous roundtables have had significantly clearer audio.
  • 3 0
 How are these tires faring?
  • 3 6
 I bet a knob ripped off while I was reading this comment #becauseschwalbe
  • 5 0
 I got on pretty well with them. They're not Minions but they're not supposed to be.
  • 7 0
 I think they're almost like a mini cut spike in anything soft or gravelly. For something so XCish they clear pretty well and really manage to penetrate dirt - which is something I tend to dislike about the more shallow variant of fast rolling tyres. That does come at the cost of grip on the slabs or rocks where they were a bit... exciting but then again for how well they roll you've got to make a trade off somewhere.
  • 7 6
 I don't think it's good to glamorize long range guided missiles to a youngish crowd of hyper-influenced 12 year to 88 year old mountain bikers.
  • 4 2
 Huh? No, the title is perfect.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: it was a joke or at least an attempt thereto: "hyper-influenced 12 year to 88 year old[s]"
  • 2 0
 @mi-bike: it certainly was meant as a joke! Smile
  • 1 0
 Great review! That is the coolest bike on this field test. I would've bought one instead of my Hei Hei if they were available at the time.
  • 3 1
 Can we all agree that if it weighs more than 25lbs it’s not down country?
  • 1 0
 The seat tube on XL is quite high at 520mm. I’d struggle to fit a large on TT length but then also struggle with a high ST on XL. Maybe I’m just odd shaped..
  • 1 0
 Such a charmless man, Henry. Damon Albarn would be proud. There's no other way you could've done it. Go back to your Coffee & TV.

Cheers, Tracy Jacks
#yourgenxfriend
  • 1 0
 No pun INTENDED on this one...also why wasn't last years blur colorway (salmon) called BLURberry???
  • 5 3
 sexiest bike of the test IMO
  • 2 0
 Not sure about Capable Country, but I'm pretty sure Henry is West Country?
  • 2 0
 Anyone else watch the videos just to watch Henry and Mike fight?
  • 2 0
 I want one painted up like an old team issue Gary Fisher Sugar.
  • 1 0
 Still have my 2012 Blur XC on 26”. Still one of my fastest and favorite bikes.
  • 1 0
 Looks like a very nice bike! Geo and performance seem spot on for a solid xc rig.
  • 2 0
 They killed the Blur spirit.
  • 1 0
 I'm pretty sure @henryquinney knows his Blur from his Oasis...

The "very big house in the country", well played :-D
  • 2 0
 Looks like a session...I mean supercaliber
  • 3 1
 Looks like a 10 year old Scalpel
  • 1 0
 Is time for a "down country field test and" of 12 bikes that have at least 120 mm suspension
  • 1 0
 I read 23 pounds. Read the article . It's all a blur . I do remember 23 pounds. Sweet!
  • 1 0
 Anyone know what the weight difference is between the C and the CC frames?
  • 8 4
 chances are they weigh the frames at the factory. light ones go in one bin and heavy ones go in another.
  • 2 0
 Not enough to justify the price difference
  • 1 0
 I was told the difference on my wife's Tallboy was 200g
  • 1 0
 "The Blue offers a sensation..."
  • 2 0
 VPP ZZzzzZZzzzZZ
  • 1 0
 Which bike would you choose between epic evo and this one?
  • 1 1
 Epic Evo simply for the price
  • 1 0
 Is Kaz's seat lower than the other two? Maybe he's just all legs..
  • 1 0
 How does the Blur stack up against the Kona Hei Hei?
  • 1 1
 @mikelevy do you think this bike would be any worse with a slacker head angle, longer reach and shorter stem?
  • 2 1
 another dentist priced bike
  • 3 0
 Mad isn't it... You could buy the Canyon Lux Trail and a Santa Cruz Chameleon for less
  • 2 0
 @HankHank: you can buy two nice used dirt bikes for the price of that one piece of crap
  • 1 0
 Damn reach on the tr is alot shorter than on the xc version
  • 1 0
 I would love to get my hands on one of these. rocketship
  • 1 0
 I seriously need to look at the price before I read these reviews.
  • 1 0
 great vid
  • 3 3
 stop trying to make "downcountry" happen!
  • 2 0
 crazy they make up these names just to sell more bikes to stupid people when I started riding you road mountain bikes up the hill or down the hill crazy how stupid people are....
  • 3 3
 Those seat stays ... " hi is that warranty again ?"
  • 1 2
 Funny they reviewed blur when tallboy is more down country?
  • 3 0
 We’ve already reviewed the Tallboy when it came out and it hasn’t been changed since Wink Whereas this Blur is new and fits the category better.
  • 6 0
 Ummm, the Tallboy weighs 30.5lbs putting it in the Trailbike category.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: How does this compare to your personal Spur? I was curious to see your version. Kassimer shared his, where’s yours?
  • 1 0
 @dlford: To be fair, the Top Fuel weight is closer to the Tallboy than to the Blur. I totally get Levy's surprise when Henry said he's pick the Top Fuel for an XC race... unless he just didn't care about the result.
  • 2 3
 *Damon Albarn
  • 1 0
 I think you're getting the wrong end of the stick on this one.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: I concede, I'm too lowbrow and didn't get your reference
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