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Built the way we would.
When Santa Cruz relaunched its Blur as a 29-inch cross-country race wunderbike, we have to admit, it was pretty cool. It actually made us want to don some lycra, toe the start line at a race, and look forward to that metallic taste of blood at the back of our throats as we throttle away from the start and push ourselves to redline on the climbs. However, unlike most Santa Cruz builds that leave very little to be desired, we knew right away if it was our bike, two things would get swapped that we can't live without, a dropper post and some meatier rubber. And while we're at it, opt to over fork it a touch so it's still a fun bike after you clip off the number plate. We know this is getting terribly close to Tallboy territory but we feel these minor changes wouldn't change the competitive spirit of the Blur' while making it an easier bike to live with day-in and day-out. It's almost as if Santa Cruz read our minds with the Blur Carbon CC X01 Eagle Trail Complete Mountain Bike, and built it up almost exactly piece by piece how we would if we were starting with just the frame. Steep but not too steep angles and aggressive race-ready geometry makes this Blur a demon on the race course and still a blast on epic rolling singletrack without another cyclist in sight.
The non-trail version of the Blur is an unapologetic racer that’s brutally efficient with its sole intent of getting you from point a to point b the quickest. The trail version still has this in its DNA as it shares the exact same frame but with obvious trail-enhancing features. The rear end utilizes the one-piece carbon VPP rear triangle that shares similarities with Santa Cruz's burly DH rigs. Its twin upright architecture gets inspiration from the Nomad and V10, providing a laterally stiff ride without excessive bulk. Keeping a good thing going, Santa Cruz carefully constructs a one-piece carbon front triangle that further adds to the impressive stiffness for tracking confidence through blown out braking bumps, washboard switchbacks, and root-latticed climbs. The VPP suspension on the new Blur is much like the VPP you'll find in other modern Santa Cruz bikes, which undoubtedly is an upgrade from the previous generation, with smoother ramping mid-stroke that prevents a wallowy feeling as you soak into the suspension, and with the smooth FOX Float Performance Elite DPS shock you'll find that the short 100-millimeters of travel feel so much deeper.
And while Santa Cruz may have taken a bit of a break 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 after year, this Blur Trail stakes its rightful claim between that of the standard Blur and Tallboy with its 68.5-degree headtube angle, and 73.5-degree seat tube thanks to its inclusion of FOX's new StepCast Float 34 with 110mm of travel, putting you on some progressive numbers perfect for racing on technical XC courses and marathon events. The wheelbase is spaced nicely for confidence over rough terrain, instead of tip-toeing through the rocks, without losing agility and adding a margin of safety and it helps shave seconds off of your time as you push towards the podium. The rear end gets the now ubiquitous Boost spacing, spreading the dropouts and hub flanges to help stiffen things up and providing plenty of clearance between the frame and the new 2.25-inch-wide Maxxis Rekon rubber.
This 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.
Again the only thing separating this bike from the standard Blur is its build kit and boy is this a good one. The suspension package is an all FOX affair with the Float Performance DPS air shock and Step-Cast 34 Performance fork, each tied to a new SRAM Twistlock dual-lockout to quickly activate it into a fully rigid bike on the start and climbs as well as making room for the Reverb dropper lever. The setup offers plush travel and easy tuning with renowned reliability. SRAM's always dependable and precise X01 Eagle drivetrain gives you a gear for every pitch you pedal into, so you can crush it to the top of the steepest pitches, and hammer down the descents without spinning out, while the Level TLM brakes, complete with 180mm front rotor lets you scrub speed with plenty of power and modulation at your fingertips.
- A bike built for technical XC, marathon, and trail
- Not quite a standard Blur, not quite a Tallboy
- Steeper angles offer nimbleness and racecourse agility
- Carbon CC frame sheds grams without sacrificing strength
- 4-inches of efficient and lively VPP suspension
- Wide range and precise SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain
- Reverb dropper post for more confidence and speed descending
- SRAM Twistlock remote for shock and fork offer on the fly lockout
- Step-Cast 34 fork add 10mm more travel and stiffness
- Item #SNZ00J3
- Q & A
Climb with the best of them
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I must admit I found myself initially wondering why the Blur Trail was necessary in a lineup seemingly so close to the Tallboy. One ride put those questions to bed. With my background in XC riding through the Midwest, I've always been hesitant to commit to a long travel bike . My riding style has never necessitated it. I like to climb fast and not be beat up on a descent - that's it. For folks like me, the Blur Trail strikes a balance between full-on aggressive XC racing and longer, slacker all-mountain machines. Swap out your dropper for a rigid post and mash through your local race circuit or drop your seat and have a blast descending most* trails. My only gripe with this particular build is the dual-remote lockout. Instead of a TwinLoc-style system, you're forced to use a twist lock left grip and only given an open/closed option.
That said, dirt roadies everywhere should rejoice as they can now enjoy riding a full-suspension XC bike.