Product DescriptionThe Santa Cruz Superlight29 D XC Complete Bike proves that you don't have to go all-in with your life savings to get a trustworthy and high-performing big-wheeled rocket. The 100mm-travel Superlight29 uses the same refined single-pivot design that appears on the 26in Superlight and the Heckler. These Santa Cruz models have long been touted for their reliable, confidence-inspiring ride quality and value. Now you can get that workmanlike performance along with the fast-rolling advantages that 29er wheels provide.There are many reasons why good single-pivot designs are still relevant, and the Superlight29 highlights them. The suspension action is predictableAAAyou know what this bike is going to do in any situation. The Superlight29 frame is lighter than the VPP Tallboy Aluminum frame while sharing nearly identical geometry. The 15mm collet axle pivots that link up the Superlight29 are bombproof. And, of course, there is only one main pivot to collect mud and grime. Throw in a wallet-friendly price tag and a custom-tuned Fox Float RL shock, and it all adds up to near-unbeatable value for a trail-dominating steed.Lest you think the Superlight29 is just a bigger copy of the 26in Superlight, check out the tapered headtube, added to withstand the deflection forces applied by the larger front hoop. Additionally, Santa Cruz added cable/hose guides so you can upgrade to a dropper seatpost on the Superlight29. The length/stroke of the Fox Float RL shock differs based on the frame size. Large and X-Large sizes come with a 7.875 x 2in shock, while the shock on Small and Medium sizes is 6.5 x 1.5in. The smaller shock provides additional standover clearance for the smaller bikes. The component package for this complete bike offers great bang for the buck. You'll be squishing a RockShox Recon Silver TK 29 100mm fork that is plush and easy to service. The hoops are WTB Laserdisc XC rims laced to Shimano hubs, wrapped in Maxxis Crossmark 2.1in tires.
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Date Reviewed: June 13, 2014
Strengths: simple single pivot design
Weaknesses: simple single pivot design
I built it with a 120mm Fox FLOAT CTD fork, and the fox RP2 rear
Easton EA70 XL wheelset
Conti Trail King
Full XT 2x10 group, shifters, cassette, cranks, brakes, and rotors.
Easton EA70 stem and seatpost
Easton EC70 710mm wide flat handlebar
Fizik Tundra 2 Saddle
ODI foam grips
So far it has been exactly what I wanted it to be, a comfortable xc bike with decent downhill capabilites. Obviously coming from a fully rigid 29er it is a world of difference in the rough stuff. I haven't even ridden with the shock in descend yet. I have typically just left it in trail unless I need to be able to stand up and push hard, then I will flip it over to climb.
I have noticed a tad bit of flex in the rear, but nothing that bothers me. I bought this to be the fun do anything bike, but I took it up my favorite 2500' climb in the tetons yesterday and ended up setting PR's the whole way up and down which surprised me. I always thought my single speed forced me to go faster. Now that my fitness is decent I don't think this is the case.
the XT group is perfect. I hated hydro brakes before these new XT's. Now I am switching all my bikes to be the same. I never could seem to modulate any other brakes to feel right, but these are a breeze to set up. I was even able to shorten the lines without bleeding.
The only real problem with the frame is the fact that the rear compliance is not what it would be on a VPP, DW link, or four bar linkage. The fact that I paid about half of what all my friends paid to get their bikes built at similar specs, (tallboy C and Ibis Ripley) makes me feel just fine about that. Maybe someday I will want to get a full blown race bike, but for someone like me who likes to ride up and down, likes an efficient bike, and doesn't really race other than to say that I did it, the SL 29 is perfect. I have not had any pedal kickback that I could feel like others have mentioned, and the stiffness level of the rear has been just fine. I have noticed the front end wander a tad on climbs, but that is probably more because I am not used to riding the correct cadence, or distributing my weight with a suspension fork. Not the bikes fault.
Duration Product Used: about 60 miles so far
Price Paid: $2400.00
Purchased At: Various parts in var
Similar Products Used: Moots Rigormootis 29er
Surly Pugsley Necromancer
2005 Specialized Stumpjumper
2004 Specialized Demo 9
Bike Setup: 120 MM front
Date Reviewed: January 15, 2014
Strengths: Value, geometry, Fox CTD 120, efficient climber, very confidence inspiring on descents and corners, between the wagon wheels and Fox suspension can roll over anything, solid on tight single track. Crossmarks hook up surprisingly well. ( if we get significant rain will want a more open tread front)
Weaknesses: CTD dampener cartridge came defective, though warrantied, overall build a bit heavy - though to be expected at this price point ( a number of hardtails close to this price point not much lighter). Elixer 5 brake set up a little tricky.
this thing is as close to a lounge chair on wheels as I've ridden. Having said that once I got the set up dialed in, this thing is a blast. Sure a little sluggish on the uphills, but I'm the one who needs to lose the weight more than the bike. As some one with back issues, between the fox in the rear as well as up right seating position, absolutely no problems after 3hrs saddle time with my back. As some one who has been riding 20 years,with a few years of almost no off road cycling, thank you back issues, the superlight makes riding fun again. Great trail bike.
Duration Product Used: 2 months
Similar Products Used: 04 hardtail stumpjumper pro. Considered Giant Anthem, Scott scale, Carve expert, Airborn Goblin
Bike Setup: Stock build with Fox upgrade front and rear.
Date Reviewed: November 11, 2013
Strengths: Terrific Handling
Climbs and descends well, Looks very nice love orange, The frame has been great, Like the rockshox Reba dual air always works great, Fox rear shock is very nice.
Weaknesses: The Avid Elixir 5 brakes are junk my bike only has four months of riding and i have paid a bike shop to bleed and replace rear pads once .I have had to replace the pad four times this summer alone have to do it myself can't keep paying bike shop to do something this often . My LBS said after Avid redesigned these brakes they went to crap. Also my head set went bad Santa Cruz warranted it and i replaced it. Now my bottom bracket is bad and they say it is not covered under their life time bearing warranty wish they could make up their mind on what is a life time warranty they claim on their bike bearings. This is not a bottom of line bike and should not have so much problems for $2500 plus tax .I can more than afford to keep fixing this bike but feel it should not of had so many problems in four months of riding .
Duration Product Used: 4 Months
Price Paid: $2500.00
Bike Setup: Superlight 29er RXC
Date Reviewed: August 31, 2013
Strengths: Fantastic rear suspension. CTD shock is awesome although it is overkill. I mostly leave it in open setting and it sprints and climbs with the best. Nice geometry.
Weaknesses: On large frame water bottle doesn't fit unless you flip the shock. ???
Similar Products Used: Salsa Spearfish, Specialied Epic 29, Specialized Camber 29, many hardtail 29ers and a really long list of 26ers.
Bike Setup: Fox 29RL, CTD, 2X9 XT,Sun Black Flag tubeless with Specialized Fastrak Sworks 2.0.
Date Reviewed: August 12, 2013
Strengths: Great Value
Climbs and descends equally well
The WTB saddle is really comfortable, and I'm especially picky when it comes to saddles
The black and green color scheme looks nice
Weaknesses: The Avid Elixer 5 brakes squeak a lot
While this bike isn't especially light - my size XL comes in at around 31 pounds according to my bathroom scale, which may or may not be accurate - it doesn't feel heavy on the trail. In fact, it climbs amazingly well.
Some of the competing models I tried felt like they weighed about the same when I picked them up, but they felt really heavy and slow on long climbs. I'm not sure why, but the difference was really noticeable.
The day after I bought the Superlight 29er, I did two laps on Moab's Slickrock trail, which is my all-time favorite trail and has some really steep sections. I had been on it a number of times but had never ridden it as well. Getting behind the saddle for some of those steep descents, and then moving to the front of the saddle for the steep climbs, was easier and more fluid than I've experienced in the past.
I was not only able to make it up a few sections that always stumped me previously, but I also had more confidence descending, and successfully rode one or two sections I had walked in the past.
My subsequent rides - mostly on singletrack - have been an absolute joy. This bike just happily eats up the miles and cruises over ruts, roots, rocks, etc.
The geometry of this bike feels perfect. This is the only bike I've owned where I've felt "in" the bike as apposed to "on" the bike. I've gone over the handlebars of previous mountain bikes before, and I was pleased to discover that my center of gravity feels lower on this bike. That's a real confidence booster!
The suspension on the Superlight 29er very good. I will note, however, that I've read others say they don't feel a difference between this single-pivot suspension and the VPP suspension on the higher end Santa Cruz bikes. I completely disagree. That VPP is amazing! I demoed that system on the carbon Tallboy, and was blown away! It will be worth the extra money for many people. But not for me. Not now, anyway.
I chose to go with this single-pivot design, because it comes at a better price point and is still very good. Once my student loans are paid off, I'll probably buy a bike with the VPP system, but until then, this suspension system is one I can be very happy with.
The only thing I really don't like about the bike is the Avid Elixer 5 brakes. They stop the bike just fine but make a lot of noise. I would have happily paid a few more dollars for SLX or XT brakes.
By the way, I got the "R" build, which includes the Fox Float front fork with 120 mm of travel, SLX hubs, Deore crankset, etc. While I'd prefer full XT components, this kit performs just fine for a great price. The difference in weight is apparently only a couple of pounds.
The way I see it, I can spend $1,500 for the upgraded components or make up the difference by cutting my body fat by just 1%. I've already done the latter, which for me was the better way to go.
The bottom line is that I'm very pleased with this purchase. The Santa Cruz Superlight 29er is simply a terrific all-around cross-country bike for a fantastic price!
Date Reviewed: August 4, 2013
Strengths: Large wheels get you over stuff so much easier!
Great suspension system.
I could go on all day!
Weaknesses: If I had to choose something I'd say MAYBE it's a little heavy due to the larger wheels. Maybe. Not a deal breaker for me though.
I am a 5' 6" female and when the 29ers started coming out thought they were only for people like my husband, 6' 2" tall . I was so wrong. I have never felt so safe or so balanced on a mountain bike before.
The day after picking up the bike we rode Slickrock in Moab. (If you're even a little familiar with the trail you know that it is a great place to get a good feel for your new bike's capabilities. :) ) Well, I was taking stuff I never would have dreamed of on my 26er. Drops I would normally dismount and walk through I was riding with no fear. I feel so good on this bike!
It is so easy to get in front of or behind the saddle in a split second and still be totally balanced. The geometry of this thing is spot on! I just can't rave enough about it!
Ladies, if you're contemplating a 29er but wondering if it's just going to be too big for you, lay your worries to rest. If nothing else, rent one for a day. If you're not sold within the first 10 minutes of riding...well, I'll eat my helmet. :)
Date Reviewed: July 16, 2013
Strengths: Great bike. upgraded to R XC version which is a much better value.
Weaknesses: Maxis Crossmark tires are subpar.
Price Paid: $2500.00
Similar Products Used: Trek Superfly, specialized Camber, Niner RIP
Bike Setup: Stock
Date Reviewed: June 11, 2013
Strengths: Love everything about the bike
Weaknesses: Maybe the front tire and the saddle
Purchased At: the Racer's Edge, Bo
Date Reviewed: May 27, 2013
Strengths: I got the RX build which I would recomend. This is a great riding bike. It rides much better then my Specialized Enduro and Astrix Rook 29. The geometry on this bike works well for me and deserves a 5 from this stand point. The bike shifts well with no noted issues. With the proper pressure in the tires I have had no issue with them and they seam to grip well.
Weaknesses: The issues I have had with this build is why it loses chilis. The Elixer 5 brakes have failed twice and were rebled the same (down and out until the breaks were bled). The fox fork failed right out of the gate (returned to fox and serviced (down at least a week)). I seam to be returning the bike for service on a regular basis due to the parts. I have had the bike for 6 months but in the shop for many weeks.
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Purchased At: sports challe
Date Reviewed: May 10, 2013
Strengths: This review is on the 2012 SC Superlight 29 DXC build.
A good solid bike with a light frame. The suspension is not like the Tall Boy but it is a proven design that SC has used on many of there bikes in the past. I only ride about 2 to 3 time a week and I wanted a FS for exercise. I had a hardtail 29er before this bike. At this point in time I could not justify spending more money until I get in better condition and become a better rider.
Although, I would recommend for anyone thinking of getting this bike to go with the RXC build if you can swing it. The extra $500 cost is worth it along with different tires as noted below.
Weaknesses: I have found that the weakness of this bike is the tires. From day one this bike wanted to wash out on easy down hill turns. Because of this I never wanted to push it on down hills. I know that some people like the maxxis crossmarks, but they did not work me. There is a cure. Read below
It took about 20 mins of my test ride to realized that I was flying down these single track trails like never before. The turns were coming up quicker and it seemed like I was not peddling as hard. It was like I had a driect drive to the rear wheels. On the down hills it was holding the corners, although I was still afraid to push it on this test run.
Finally, yes, this is how this bike should be running. I had doubts about the 29er wheels and was thinking of going back to 26er wheels. But no more.
I have since got a few more rides in and it is just wonderful. I'm looking for hills to climb and steeper down runs.
Santa Cruz has a good bike in the Superlight 29 but it needs good tires to bring out the best in this bike. I guess this would hold true for any bike. Where I ride there are varying track conditions. Mainly loose over hard-pack and the crossmarks don't make it.
I'm a happy camper now because of my new tires.
Date Reviewed: April 5, 2013
Strengths: 29 inch wheels roll well, uphill and down. I think got a good value for my money.
Weaknesses: No good place for waterbottle.
Purchased At: HWB Zanesville, Ohio
Date Reviewed: March 11, 2013
Strengths: Its Quick or Fast both up hill and downhill
Weaknesses: None for the cost
This is a Superlight 29 review and I for one love it, little by little I have been upgrading stuff as warranty items come up. I bent a front chairing tooth and after several trips to the LBS of them bending the tooth back they replaced my chain(KMC hollow chain ring upgrade), dear derailleur (X9 upgrade), crank bottom bracket and chain ring (XT upgrade) with me paying the difference for the upgrade cost. Once they replace my crank the instead of the initial (bend the tooth back) the bike has not had one issue shifting. It climbs like a hard tail, descends so quick I bought a mouthguard so I don’t chip my teeth or bite my tongue. I haven’t, lost control on a downhill yet, and my strava times constantly show PR when I ride consistently once a week. Lines are easy to find since the 29" wheels make their own path. The bike sits low enough that I don’t get thrown over the front handlebars on descends and turning is sharp and concise. The rims are tubeless ready but the tires are not. I bought the stans kit and am now running tubeless, I personally can’t tell a difference but know that if I don’t ride every week or two I need to add air to the tires. I am very happy with the way the bike rides looks and feels. One day I will upgrade my rims and buy a dropper post.
For now I will enjoy my weekend rides at Top Of The World, Whiting Ranch and the Fullerton loop.
Duration Product Used: 8 Months
Price Paid: $1850.00
Purchased At: The Path Bike Shop -
Similar Products Used: 29r Trek Super Fly - Rumble fish, Tallboy Carbon, Kona Hei-Hei,Yeti 95, and Pivot MACH429
Date Reviewed: January 1, 2013
Strengths: Handling, value for money
Weaknesses: Fork blew up after 60 miles - tends to squeak after rebuild, wheels are heavy and managed to have two nipples fail on the rear after 75 miles - nipple failure (brass) is basically unheard of. Both failed nipples were very corroded.
Date Reviewed: November 28, 2012
Strengths: Size and Cost
Weaknesses: None so far at 100 miles.
Date Reviewed: November 22, 2012
Strengths: Compact geometry, ride quality, handling.
Weaknesses: Slightly heavy, but feels lighter than it is when riding; front fork failed after 60 miles - Fox Float 120 CTD
The one flaw so far is that the Fox Float 29 CTD fork has failed internally. It has developed a squeak on small bumps, tops out badly, and during the last ride won't compress beyond 80mm of travel. Spoke to Fox yesterday and they are being very nice about it but have asked me to ship it back for repair after just 60 miles or so. Disappointed in that especially as this is the first Fox fork I've owned. Every other brand I've had in 17 years (Rock Shox, Marzocchi, Magura, and Manitou) and no failures of any kind except seals. I'll see how Fox does and if this is a one-off issue or a bigger problem in the new CTD line.
Duration Product Used: 2 months
Price Paid: $1890.00
Purchased At: Competitive Cyclist
Similar Products Used: Specialized Camber Elite 29, Trek Rumblefish Elite
Bike Setup: Stock except Ritchey Carbon Pro low riser bars and a Specialized Purgatory 2.2 front tire. Tubeless using supplied WTB valves on the stock WTB TCS rims.
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Related Superlight 29 Forum Posts
Because of the chainstay configuration? I've only seen other riders go down rocky trails on this bike. They seem to just glide along without making any noise. So the first thing I notice is that the chainstay is ABOVE the chain! Does it help? Any "reduction of chain slap?" Anybody with experie ... Read More »
I'm a tall rider - 6'4", in east coast. Would love to get a Tallboy LT, but too expensive. Therefore considering a Superlight 29 RXC, XL frame. Any thoughts / opinions for a tall guy? I've yet to ride the Superlight, but if it's anything even close to a Tallboy it seems like a great deal. Other bi ... Read More »
Hi Ladies, Posting the cliche question trying to find the right bike for my 5'6 (31" inseam) intermediate girlfriend. We are definitely going Santa Cruz, and trying to decide which option is more confidence inspiring/fun to ride? Superlight 29- 29" for rollover confidence and probably overall ... Read More »
Trying to figure out the best bike for my 5'6 (31"inseam) intermediate Girlfriend. I had planned on a Superlight 29, to give her a little bit more wheel to keep up with and the rollover confidence a 29er brings. Then I started wondering if the Blur TR is a better alternative. No 29" wheels, b ... Read More »