I purchased this bike in early May, 2015 and have spent a decent amount of time riding it this season in Utah. So far this bike has covered 212 miles with 30,401 ft in total elevation gain over the course of 24 rides. I am 6'5" and obviously purchased an XL. Weighing the bike at home with clipless pedals comes to just over 30 pounds.
â¢Feel: I love how this bike rides. Definitely an all mountain bike. I climb better on this bike than I did on my previous Specialized hardtail, this includes leaving my rear shock in "open/descend" mode. Descents are a blast and I can romp through some technical and rocky terrain with plenty of control. Steep descents are easily handled as well even with my height. I have never felt like I was going to endo but at the same time I've never had to bump my butt against the rear tire, which speaks well to the center of gravity down steep sections. The suspension performs very well and I love the feel of the VPP both in climbing and descending. As I mentioned before I climb with the rear shock in "open" and the VPP suspension operates as Santa Cruz advertises. Additionally the carbon frame is so stiff and solid; I love it.
â¢Facts: My Strava times have improved dramatically, FWIW. I frequently ride with my uncle who destroyed me on downhills in the past and now I hang off his back wheel the whole way down. I clean/wash the bike pretty frequently depending on how dirty the ride was and I have yet to notice any paint chips from rocks flipping up off the tires. Although the bike did fall over once and scratched the paint on the side of the bike. I keep the chain lubed with Boeshield T9 and that stuff is amazing. My chain has been in great shape and I can run several rides in very dusty conditions without picking up dirt and hearing no noise from the chain; I still lube frequently.
-In late August I was moving the bike and heard a weird clanking noise coming from the frame. Lifting the rear tire off the ground there is something rolling around inside the down tube. I have no idea what it is as the down tube is completely sealed internally so I have no way of extracting it out. The bike has never been crashed so there is no way something would have broken off from an impact. I can't hear any noise when riding, only when I tip the bike up in the air so it doesn't bother me that much.
-Stan's sealant does dry out and the Maxxis High Roller II's can puncture. I learned this the hard way when I hit a rock garden particularly hard and 50 yards later found my front tire flat. The result was a 1/4 inch cut in the tread and a pin-sized hole in the sidewall just above the lip of the rim (snake bite flat). A patch on the inside of the tire sealed it back up and I'm running fresh Stan's again. However, I noticed that the tire is now permanently deformed and has a wobble to it. The rim is true but the tire seems to have stretched somewhere so a 6 inch section is off center.
-A mystery dent has appeared in my rear wheel. Sometimes I feel the back end hit really hard when going through rocky sections but I always make sure I have enough pressure in my rear tires that I shouldn't be bottoming out. I'm getting that dent straightened out but the tire still seals and runs tubeless.
â¢Upgrades: No upgrades have been made as of yet (pending wife approval for budget). First thing I will do is get a dropper post. This bike does not come standard with a quick release lever for the seat post so unless you have a dropper or buy a quick release lever you will be using a 4mm hex every time you need to raise/lower the seat. A 1x11 is in my future but only once my drivetrain needs to be replaced. ENVE wheels would be awesome but they are $$$$$$$. For now this bike rides great how it is.
After almost a full riding season I still love my purchase.