Santa Cruz might have an extensive range of new-fangled linkagetastic VPP bikes, but it’s remaining committed to the rugged simplicity of the good old single pivot too. The venerable Santa Cruz Superlight design, far from being pensioned off, has had a substantial makeover for 2007.
Actually, “makeover” isn’t quite right. Although the front half of the new Superlight looks like the old, this is actually an all-new bike. The most visible difference is the swingarm, though. Gone is the old angular item and in comes a new, slightly curvy unit that takes design cues from the Blur and Nomad. Rather than a pair of uprights between pivot and shock mount, there’s a swoopy Y-shaped forging with a yoke at the bottom of it for the pivot. Square-section stays curve in to meet it and there’s a minimalist shock mount at the top.
The new ‘arm has a number of benefits over the old. That it’s stiffer and lighter almost goes without saying – it’s rare that a new frame comes out that doesn’t promise to be stiffer and lighter than its predecessor – but you also get a replaceable dropout at the back end. There’s also no longer a bolt-on brace across the seatstays, so tyre clearance on top is considerably improved.
And how does it ride? Reassuringly, just like a Superlight, only without the gentle flexing that some riders never really bothered about but some found offputting. It’s easy to forget how good a single pivot bike can be, but you only have to get on a Superlight to be reminded. It’s light (the frame and shock come in at a whisker over 5lb), agile and bursting with get-up-and-go. Yes, the pedals kick back under certain circumstances, but the long-for-the-travel RP23 shock keeps things impressively controlled. And there’s very little to go wrong. We like.