This vision of loveliness is the all new Santa Cruz Blur XC. It’s notable for all sorts of reasons, but not least is the fact that this is SC’s first-ever carbon fibre frame. Having decided that they’d taken aluminium about as far as they could go, Santa Cruz’s engineers made the leap to magic blanket in a big way – the new Santa Cruz Blur XC is pretty much all carbon fibre, including the dropouts, caliper mount and upper VPP linkage.
The resulting numbers are fairly impressive. A large Blur XC frame comes in at a claimed 1,948g (4.2lb) including shock, which is a whole pound lighter than the already feathery aluminium XC. Despite its startlingly low weight, Santa Cruz says that the Blur XC is stronger than nearly every other frame it makes, and stiffer than all of them whichever way you measure it. It’s designed to take up to a 120mm fork, and there’s no rider weight limit.
Santa Cruz’s stated aim with this bike was to make an XC race bike that was real world, every day trail capable (a notable parallel with the goals that RockShox had when designing the SID with which the pictured Blur XC is equipped). It’s certainly light, it doesn’t sound like it’ll be at all noodly and if it’s as strong as SC claims then you shouldn’t have to treat it gently either.
Inevitably there’s been a reworking of the VPP suspension system, too. Unusually, travel is actually slightly shorter than the outgoing model, at 105mm from a 38mm stroke shock rather than 115 from a 51mm stroke shock. Those with a penchant for mental arithmetic will note that that’s a higher average leverage ratio, but the pivot positions and linkage arcs have been changed so that the rate changes through the travel are considerably less dramatic than on the old frame which should lead to a more “absorbent” feel.
The linkages and pivots have all had the same constructional treatment as found on the latest incarnations of the Nomad and Blur LT – large diameter aluminium pivot axles, angular contact bearings, carbon upper link, grease ports, easier serviceability and so on.
But never mind all that, just look at it. The various incarnations of the Blur have never been pretty, until now. This is, to our eyes, one hell of a good-looking bike – if it rides even 17% as good as it looks, it’ll be a winner.
You can doubtless find more details at www.santacruzmtb.com. No word on UK pricing yet, but we’re going to hazard a guess at “not cheap”…