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You've got a knack for conquering climbs, and threading through technical switchbacks with power, and as such, you generally crave the rides with a little less travel, and more agility for earning places on the podium, and pushing quickly through miles of rolling singletrack. You're not alone, and its more apparent than ever with the newly redesigned Santa Cruz Blur CC Mountain Bike Frame. Refined for 24-hour endurance and hot-laps alike, the new Blur is ready to show you what it's made of — light and stiff CC level carbon, 4-inches of VPP suspension for a nearly bottomless feel on chunky descents, and race-ready geometry built around a 69-degree head tube for slaying steep climbs and carving new lines through the race course.
We may have a tendency to hesitate when we hear the words "rugged" and "cross-country race rocket" used in the same sentence, but with a one-piece carbon VPP rear triangle we can't help but spot the similarities between the Blur and Santa Cruz's burly DH rigs. Its twin upright architecture gives cues to inspiration from the Nomad and V10, promising a ride that's uncompromising and stiff, but without the bulk to follow. Keeping a good thing going, Santa Cruz carefully constructs a one-piece carbon front triangle to pack in lateral stiffness that provides tracking confidence through blown out, washboard switchbacks and root-latticed climbs. The VPP suspension in the new Blur is much like the VPP you'll find in other modern Santa Cruz bikes, which undoubtedly an upgrade from the previous generation, with smoother ramping mid-stroke to prevent a bottomed out feel as you soak into the suspension, and with the smooth FOX Float Factory shock you'll find that the short 100-millimeters of travel feel so much deeper.
Santa Cruz may have taken a bit of a divergence from the XC scene in the past few years, with the Tallboy being the closest to a cross-country offering in recent time, and geometry stretching to slacker angles year over year, so we're more than excited to not only see the Blur rejoin the lineup, but with geometry that takes a U-turn from the trends, and reverts to true race-ready steep angles. Even steeper than the previous generation, the new Blur features a 69-degree headtube angle, and 74-degree seat tube, perching you on top and in control of your steed while you barrel through miles of singletrack. The wheelbase is stretched slightly, with some help from a slightly stretched chainstay — another unusual stray from trends, but we'll get into that later. This longer wheelbase lends itself to confidence through rough terrain, enabling you to pick the gnarlier line, shaving seconds off of your time as you push towards the podium. The rear end is updated with Boost spacing, stretching things out and stiffening things up, and while we usually see this pairing with tucked-in wheels and extra-stubby chainstays, the chainstays on the Blur move out just under a quarter of an inch to 17-inches, so you can still comfortably get behind the saddle when you need to, without feeling like you're going to go over backwards.
This particular Blur is built using Santa Cruz's top tier CC carbon fiber construction. By using some of the finest, and strongest, raw materials available, Santa Cruz is able to make its CC level frames extremely lightweight, while maintaining outstanding impact resistance, exceptional stiffness, and just the right amount of finely tuned flex to cancel out trail chatter. Of course, balancing these factors requires true mastery of carbon fiber, and the design team at Santa Cruz has proven time and time again that their command of carbon fiber construction is unsurpassed in the bike industry. The result is a frame that will hold up to years of hard riding, will provide a comfortable ride, and will do so at a very competitive weight.
- A light and nimble steed for XC power and endurance domination
- The Blur zips into the modern era with updated geometry
- Steep angles keeps you perched with nimble control
- Carbon CC frame sheds grams without sacrificing strength
- 4-inches of efficient and lively VPP suspension
- FOX suspension equips you with remotes for on the fly adjustments
- Item #SNZ00GZ
- Q & A
Do it all, or do it well?
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Does this sound familiar? "XC bike on the climbs, trail bike on the descents!"
How about this? "Race rig with a rowdy alter-ego!"
These are usually half-truths. Bikes that carry the "downcountry" distinction frequently disappoint me. As an XC racer, I want a bike that is truly efficient, sharp, stiff, and well.... racy. Gnarly XC usually translates into "Efficient short travel trail bike." This isn't necessarily a bad thing! There are a LOT of folks out there who don't ride aggressively enough to warrant enduro sleds, but also want to ditch the twitchy handling of an aggro XC rig. If that sounds like you, buy a Tallboy!
The Blur is a race bike. It's truly light, it comes with a lockout, and the handling is remarkably sharp. With a fixed post and 100mm fork, it really does fit the bill for World Cup XC racing. Andrea Tiberi of the Santa Cruz FSA team races the Euro circuit on this bike all year long. It's a legit race bike.
Now, being the dirt-roadie that I am, I was a little bummed when I could only get my hands on the TR (trail) version. TR means that your Blur is served up with a Fox 34 120, dropper post, and gnarly-er tires. As I rolled away from the car on my first ride, I had this nagging feeling that I'd end up with another sluggish somewhere-in-the-middle bike that would be sort of good on the way up, and pretty good on the way down.
I was wrong.
The 34 chassis lends itself to an incredible amount of stiffness, and the 68.5* headtube angle is spot-on perfect. When you stand up on the pedals, the front end doesn't feel sloppy and lethargic. The whole bike feels incredibly composed and agile.
When gravity takes over, the Blur really shines. The 34 makes the front end track well, and the VPP suspension is incredibly reactive out back. It'll take a big hit just about as well as the next XC bike, but it feels far more playful than anything else that I've ridden.
The Blur is also simple. It isn't plagued by outlandish integration or weird standards, and it has a threaded bottom bracket! (Huge shout out to SC on that one.)
All in all, I really do think that the Blur is the premier XC bike. Shoot me an email at email@example.com if you want to do a deep dive.
XC Race Rig
Built it up with light parts, xx1 eagle, next sl cranks, Evnve 525s, 9point8 dropper. Weighs in at 22.8 lbs with pedals and cage. Lighter with rigid post. So far I've been thoroughly impressed. Feels like a mini trail bike on the down and a race rig on the up.