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Before Virtual Pivot Point bikes, Santa Cruz's line of iconic single-pivot bikes populated everything from singletrack to DH. Contrary to evolutionary logic, that suspension design didn't fizzle out. In fact, it continues to thrive in the Superlight 29 D XC Complete Mountain Bike due to a wallet friendly balance of performance and value.

With 100mm of wheel travel, a hydroformed aluminum frame, and a Shimano Deore drivetrain, the Superlight 29 D XC offers performance to rival bikes costing twice as much -- with the reliability to keep it out of the shop and on the trail. The light yet strong front and rear triangles are shaped and butted to place more material where it's needed, ensuring strength and stiffness.

But, that strength isn't going to hamper the climb to the top, because of the hydroforming. Santa Cruz eliminated any excess weight to keep the Superlight, well super-light. With big wheels, stiffness is paramount, that's why you'll find that the rear triangle has an asymmetric shape. This prevents flex and ensures suspension motion is directed to the rear shock and not into flexing the frame, which would cause it to dog trot around switchbacks or across rock gardens.

The Superlight relies on SC's proven suspension pivot location. It's placed slightly above and forward of the middle chainring, to offer responsive pedaling when seated. One drawback of single pivot designs has always been out-of-the-saddle sprinting, because the suspension will compress under rider loads -- losing energy to moving parts. Luckily, shock technology has mitigated that drawback. The Fox Float CTD equipped on this Superlight has three distinct damping settings, and one of them is designed to counter those stand-up pedaling forces.

The CTD, or Climb, Trail, Descend, setting on the rear shock offers damping for any trail situation. If you’re going to sprint up a fire road, the Climb setting will essentially lock out the rear shock -- but remain compliant over water bars or sharp edge bumps. The trail setting provides a more active motion to assist with traction when climbing punchy root-laden hills, and flowy sections of trail. And the descend setting offers unrestricted motion for technical downhill sections of trail.

Up front is a 100mm Rock Shox Recon Silver TK fork with a standard quick release and Turn Key lock out adjustment. For wheels, the Superlight rolls on a hand laced and tensioned wheelset consisting of WTB i19 rims, DT Swiss 14 gauge spokes, and SRAM MTH 716/746 hubs. The wheels are slowed by Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm front and rear rotors.

The Superlight R XC kit consists primarily of X5 drivetrain components; such as the front derailleur, shifters, and crank. Out back is an X7 rear derailleur and a PG 1030 11-36t cassette with a KMC X10 chain connecting everything together. Race Face completes the Superlight 29 D XC package with Ride handlebars, seatpost, and stem.

The Santa Cruz Superlight 29 D XC Complete Mountain Bike comes in sizes Small though X-Large and two colors, Black/Green or Burnt Orange/Silver.

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