The 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.
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
I have own this bike for almost a year (10 months). About 2 week ago I finally replaced the tires and this bike absolutely came alive. I bought the "Specialized Ground Control" tires but I think any tire known for good traction would work. It was about $60 per tire but well worth it. I kept the tubes in for now.
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.
a Cross Country Rider
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.
I am not a real avid biker. This my second bike. My first was Specialized Rockhopper. This Superlight 29 is way better. I am very happy with it. I got the rx kit. Glad I got the 29 instead of the 26.
Strengths: Its Quick or Fast both up hill and downhill
Weaknesses: None for the cost
This Cheetah can climb as quick as it descends. I tried many bikes and realized I was not only drinking the 29r Kool-Aid I need it. A list of 29rs I rode were Trek Super Fly - Rumble fish, Tallboy Carbon, Kona Hei-Hei,Yeti 95, and Pivot MACH429. All great bikes but for the money and the types of trails I have in southern California the Superlight 29 does it for me. If one day I can drop 7k on a carbon bike I would have a tough desition on weather I get a Tallboy LTc or a Pivot MACH429.
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.
Favorite Trail: Top Of The World - Laguna California
Duration Product Used: 8 Months
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
a Cross Country Rider
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.
Updating my previous post - Fox sent back a fork that works better than the original overall. However it has an annoying squeak after it heats up (10 miles or more). Also the stock WTB STi19 wheels are not very impressive. Two nipples failed after 75 miles on the rear wheel - on each side of the pinned joint. This after no abuse. Never had a nipple failure. SC says send the wheel back and they will build a new one. Not sure if I will want a new one or simply need to invest in a better wheelset. Also not that thrilled they want me to send the wheel back, then they send a new one as I have sent in photos of the failure, and actually repaired the wheel so I could ride over the holidays. Being down for a week plus is not what I call great service. They need to send a new wheel to me, and I'll send back the bad one. Second warranty claim on the bike since new in October. Never had any warranty claim on any other bike. Still like the bike, but I'm not as pleased as I was originally.
Date Reviewed: November 28, 2012
Strengths: Size and Cost
Weaknesses: None so far at 100 miles.
I am a short guy 5'3" and anxious to join the 29 craze. This bike fit me perfectly. Lighter than my 26 inch Blur. Feel secure and confident and makes my 26 feel like a kids bike. I purchased the RXC built which lists for $2450 with Shimano parts except Elixir brakes, which seems to be the standard for bikes in this price range. My local shop did me good and got it at $2038. So I think it is a bargin
a Cross Country Rider
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
This review is for the 2013 model RXC build with the new Fox Float CTD suspension front and rear. It shipped with the Fox Float 29 120 CTD fork. I have the XL frame bought on the advice of an advisor at Huck 'n Roll (now Competitive Cyclist). I am 6'1" and it fits me perfectly. It handles tight trails that I ride frequently extremely well. I just love the ride quality, slow speed and high speed handling. Very easy to go faster on than my 100mm travel 26er I just gave up. I have 4 rides on it now and around 60-70 miles. I was used to it within 5-10 miles, and it feels like something I've ridden for years. This is the first 29er that I've owned. Having ridden the 2011 Specialized Camber Elite (a bike I like but feels way more stretched out than this bike and does not handle the really tight stuff very well) and the 2012 Trek Rumblefish Elite (a bike I thought I would like but really didn't feel at home on at all) on rides in California as rentals, I knew they were not perfect. The Santa Cruz is perfect for me. I've been riding 17 plus years now and am 53, but in good shape. I ride south Florida mostly (Oleta River - rocks, trees, roots, very tight; and Amelia Earhart - fast, flowy, minimal tight woods) and this bike shines in that variety of terrain. I would highly recommend this bike to anyone looking fr a cross country oriented 29er. A bonus is that the price is excellent fro what you get. Shimano Shadow SLX rear derailleur shifts as good as anything I've tried (mostly XT) and the Avid Elixir 5 brakes even work well. They squeak when they get wet, but otherwise perform well. Wheelset is a little heavy, but works well. I have converted to full tubeless swapping out the Maxxis Crossmark on the front for a Specialized Purgatory Control 2.2 which helps with front end grip. I swapped the stock Truvativ 27" aluminum bars for a pair of Ritchey Pro Carbon low riser bars that are 26" wide for the tight trees I ride in. Otherwise it's stock.
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.
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.
Date Reviewed: October 13, 2012
Strengths: Got the 2013 rxc which has a good compoment group. I think the bike is very neutral handling and playful, not bad going down hill or up though i'm not saying it would win a world cup if you get my drift. Its a simple sturdy design that works well.
Weaknesses: I upgraded to xt brakes and an ardent on back for where i'm riding but really no weakness
I'm a 55 yr old clyde and am loving this bike it does everything i ask of it what more need i say?
25lbs & counting
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: July 11, 2012
Strengths: Great geometry, 15mm thru axle tapered fork, good parts selection R xc kit. Fully covered cables for the shifters, YESSS! Room to upgrade to dropper post too.
Weaknesses: Avid Elixir 5 brakes
I am truly impressed. I've demoed a Tallboy several times and never could pull the trigger on that bike as the fit just didn't work. I'm 5'6" and never had standover clearance with the Tallboy. First thing I checked was clearance so all good on a size medium. My thoughts were that with the longish chain stays and geometry that this bike would feel like my small Niner EMD 9. Which is a great bike, but just didn't have that quick mobility that would make me want to ride fast. My small EMD 9 and the medium Superlight have about the same geometry. So my first impression was that it was going to feel like my Niner with full suspension.
I was wrong. I was glad to have waited..... I have enjoyed Santa Cruz bikes for years. Owned a 03 Blur,2010 Carbon Blur, 06 Superlight and Chameleon. I was bummed when they brought out the Tallboy due to the fact that they start at a medium. Low and behold Santa Cruz has come to the aid of the short people. Tried both small and medium and found a better fit with the medium, with proper clearance for the boys.
Parts are good, I would have been happy for a while with the stock kit. However I was using a Giant XTC 1 29er that was upgraded with Easton EA90 wheels,Thompson post.70mm stem, light WTB saddle and Easton EC 70 bars, which transitioned over to the Superlight. This brought the bike down to the 25 lb. level. That is where the ride really got sweet. The ride is smooth, quick, stable and balanced. I don't find that this is a "racer" level bike, doesn't feel like it needs to be pushed fast as most race bikes do. Instead this bike brought the fun into riding. Climbs well, desends well, tracks the trail and just gives a smooth flow to the ride. That is the best way I can describe it, doesn't do any one thing like a rock star ,it just makes everything flow.
The only thing that I have issues with is the Elixir 5 brakes. I had a Giant 29er XTC 1 that featured those brakes and could never get the damn things to stop squealing. So far, knock on wood, I have yet to have that problem with this bike. Comparing this bike to the Tallboy, I find that you get the thrill and feel of the Tallboy without much more added weight. Yes the VPP suspension offers a little more when the going gets rough, but I remind myself that I just bought an entire bike for the price of a frame. That being said, if you give the Superlight a try first, I bet it would be hard to defend the need to spend more for a Tallboy. Grab the Superlight, step up the wheels and there you go.
Better yet, need a light trailbike?.... Haven carbon wheels, dropper post, Fox TALAS 120 fork. Stay tuned....
Strengths: Great price with good component build in the R xc kit
Weaknesses: Single pivot is a weakness I guess compared to the VPP and other designs, but can you really call something a weakness because it is cheaper and more simple?
I demoed this bike for several hours at Dirt Fest in PA. It rode really well, I didn't notice any bad pedal bob or chain issues. The bike had some flex in the rear end compared to the Tallboy, but really for an entry level 29er FS it fit the bill perfectly. The price should bring many people into the sector.
Strengths: This was my first bump up from the sub-$1000 bikes. For just under $2000 all said and done I got a 29er with ten speeds in the back, with decent parts. I've been riding it several times a week for the last three and it is a well built machine. It is light for a full suspension bike but it doesn't feel as light when you pick it up as it does when you are rocketing up the trail. It almost gives you the feeling that it is pulling itself up the trail. Orange one is pictured here but I went with the black and neon green, looks nice.
Weaknesses: I may have lost a little power with the upgrade from to a 29 inch wheel but I only feel that when going uphill. Some pedal bob when "pro-pedal" is not activated.
I'm really happy with this purchase. Will update to report on how it holds up over time.
Strengths: I bought the upper end model with the better components, the RXC 29. The Shimano XT components respond quickly and smoothly to shifting as one might expect. This model also weighs only 27 lbs which is light compared to other aluminum bikes near this price range. I weigh 135 lb, so this light of a bike really helped me during climbs which I previously had trouble with when riding my 34 lb bike. This bike also DOES NOT have pedal/ wheel interference even in the small frame. The geometry of this bike made climbing and downhills very comfortable for me.
Weaknesses: I was overall very happy with the bike. The seat that came with my bike was very stiff but this is an easy and inexpensive fix.
I was very happy with my purchase of this bike. Santa Cruz was doing a demo tour during which I rode this 29e'sr small and medium frame. Their staff was very helpful and knowledgable. I also feel this bike is priced very competitively compared with other full susp 29ers with aluminum frames. The only thing that surprised me was that I fit best on medium frame and I am only 5'6". One of my friends is 5'11" and felt most comfortable on the large frame. I would encourage you to try the frame larger than you would expect before buying. I also was very happy with the Santa Cruz dealers in San Antonio. They are competitively priced compared to some other dealers in Texas.