The first World Cup XC race of the year is getting underway in Albstadt, Germany, and Santa Cruz has a brand new bike on hand for their racers. We first caught a glimpse of it last month
, but now it's possible to take a closer look at the details of the new frame. Santa Cruz still aren't officially releasing the bike yet, so exact geometry figures, pricing, etc... will have to wait a little longer.
One thing's for sure - there's no dual-link, VPP suspension layout to be seen. Instead, the bike uses a single pivot design with flex stays, a move that makes it much easier to keep the frame weight down. There's also internal routing to run a remote lockout for the rear shock in order to gain any possible efficiency advantage on smoother sections of a race course. Given the current trends in the XC world, it's very likely this new bike has 100mm of travel front and rear.
Chainguides used be big clunky things used only on DH and freeride bikes, but now that 1x driverains have taken over they're used in all disciplines, including the gram-conscious cross-country world. After all, a dropped chain is much more likely to wreck a race than the 35 gram weight penalty that a tiny guide like the chainstay-mounted one found on this bike incurs.
Other details that can be gleaned from these photos include a threaded bottom bracket, molded chainstay and downtube protection, and SRAM's Universal Derailleur Hanger. Keep an eye out for the race results later this week to see how the bike performs during its World Cup debut.