If twitchy weight-weenie XC rides scare you and portly freeride huckers are excess, toss a leg over the 2011 Santa Cruz Blur LT R AM Bike for trail rippin' fun. Light and tossable, the 150-millimeter-travel Blur LT tackles rough stuff with confidence and rolls up climbs with cross-country ease.
Strengths: Great climbing, excellent traction under rough braking, good angles for downhill trail rides like Downieville.
Weaknesses: None yet...maybe price for SPX kit.
I just recently purchased the new 2012 Blur LT and have only taken it on a few rides, but my initial impressions are very good. Coming from a horst link bike I'm really amazed by the dual personality of the bike, or it's ability to climb like a hardtail and descent like a mini downhill bike. Depending on how you build it up you could end up with a 25# long travel race bike or a full coil freeride/light DH bike. The VPP really does what they say...firm for pedaling, plush for descending, and eliminates brake jack/stiffening.
I never really noticed brake jack much on my old horst link bike (cannondale rize), but now that I've ridden the BLT on the same trails I understand the difference that VPP makes. The best example is when coming up to a high speed corner where you have lots of brake bumps or ruts prior to the entry. On my old bike the rear end would stiffen up under braking and cause the back end to skip around off the bumps. The VPP suspension on the Blur does not exhibit this behavior at all. Instead, even under hard braking the rear wheel sticks to the ground which enables you to set your line better and also brake more effectively. The result is the ability to brake later and have a more accurate line into the corner...which just means you're faster both entering and exiting the turn.
The other place where the VPP is great is on the climbs. With the ProPedal off it still climbs very well with no perceptible bob, but it will accept bumps and compress if you're standing and mashing hard. But lock out your fork and switch the ProPedal on and the Blur turns into a hardtail.
Bottom line, this is just a great all around trail bike that you can build up in a variety of ways and use for a variety of different trails. If you're like me and only have one full suspension bike, this has to be at the top of your list to demo. Frame welds are clean, tubing is very stout and nicely shaped. The gloss "harbor gray" paint job looks really nice and sheds the dirt nicely. The additions to the new Blur are also another reason to take a look: tapered 1.5" head tube, dropper post cable stops, ISCG tabs, recessed grease ports on the pivot links. Geometry has also been updated to be a tad more slack to bridge that gap between the Blur XC and the Nomad.
I will definitely post another review in a few months when I've had a full season to beat it up.
Similar Products Used: Cannondale Rize4 140mm, Cannondale RZ120
Bike Setup: R AM Kit with some mods:
2012 XT Brakes (180F/160R)
Mavic Crosstrail UST wheelset
Purgatory 2.4 tires
a All Mountain Rider
from Atlanta, GA, Good o'le USA
Date Reviewed: February 13, 2012
Strengths: I had read about this bike back in mtb action in 2008. The onset of the LT2 and new VPP as well as the reviewer's raving and candid assessments of this bike over other very high end cycles he'd ridden really impressed me. I think the geometry is great, you point it where you want it to go and it goes, the geometry is friendly to the boys down stairs in the event you slip off the pedal and come off the seat. The pro pedal action is AWESOME and hooks up so nice when you go uphill. I don't even have to put the pro pedal switch on for the RP23. The suspension comes alive on downhills and serious rock gardens when you hit them which is nice and then it hooks up and let's you climb like a hardtail when you need to.
Weaknesses: No weaknesses that i can think about other than just needing to lubricate the linkages after cleaning them really well after a long and muddy ride. The areas aren't that well sealed and dirt and mud seams to get in there. No real damage caused other than annoying squeaks. All was solved though after a good thorough wash, light oil in the linkages and wipe clean. Haven't had a squeak yet.
A great bike and it can handle way more than i can throw at it. I will never go back to a hard tail. This bike did superb on a very tough, wet and muddy 34 mile course located in NE Georgia without any problems. It was fantastic and I'd put it up against any other bike. I see why this bike holds its value and really is a great setup. I would not go with a frame that was not the newer generation VPP2(2009 and above you are good). You can score a good deal if you buy a used frame and then xsfer components. That's what i did and it worked out super and avoided ticking the wife off.
Similar Products Used: GT avalanche hardtail. Rode this badboy for 3 years.
Bike Setup: Rockshox Revelation (awesome,awesome fork)
sram x9 shifters and rear derailleur
avid bb7's (awesome!)
Fox rp23 rear shock
a Cross Country Rider
from Boston, MA
Date Reviewed: October 31, 2011
Strengths: Excellent geometry for most people
Cheap price (Taiwan)
Weaknesses: Pivot bolts are too weak for intended purpose
Grease ports are easily damaged on bottom link
Bearing design is not durable in wet/nasty conditions
Suspension action is not smooth and packs down on technical climbing
NOTE: I AM A LIFE-LONG NEW ENGLAND WOODS RIDER. MY REVIEW IS BASED ON THE TIGHT, SUPER-TECHNICAL, SLIPPERY, MUDDY TRAILS OF MY HOME TURF.
ABOUT ME: 6'3", ~200lbs ready-to-ride, 20 years of riding all over the country, ride about 3x a week. Prefer steep, technical trails, very much a power rider, not a racer.
At the start of 2011 I found a deal (on Chainlove.com) for a Santa Cruz Blur LT 2 frame that I just couldn't pass up. At the time the Santa Cruz frame was only $850 and although it wasn't my first choice, it was a solid bike that was certainly more modern than my old (and trusted) Specialized Enduro Expert. I decided to give the Santa Cruz a try since so many of my riding buddies ride this frame...
At first I thought I had gotten a good deal, but throughout the year I had many issues with the frame (busted upper pivot shafts twice, broken grease port, clogged grease port, busted bearings(2x)). I feel that most of these problems should not have really been an issue if this frame were design properly. I take excellent care of my equipment and fix/tune it often. This frame design was clearly not intended for really muddy conditions as the lower link is just too exposed!
I ride a couple stunts, but nothing really serious, some mild drop offs and some easy wheelie drops. Not a big deal, no huge hucks or jumps or anything. The bike seemed to handle them OK, but after a ride one day I noticed I just couldn't hold a line... was falling off everything. After the ride I check the frame and found that the upper pivot bolt had failed at the beginning of the threads but the collet-head was still holding it in place (hiding the failure).
In addition (though unrelated to my experience), 3 out of 3 of my riding buddies busted their frames at the rear-triangle upright (right in the center of the frame). Not sure about the details of each, but I will say that one of those frames was a Blur LTc which is supposed to be super-strong. I won't judge the design based on this, but its not a good sign.
This frame never rode the way I wanted, specifically, the Blur always seem to wallow in its mid-stroke and even on flat ground I found myself reaching for the Pro-Pedal lever to keep the back end up. I played with air pressure and damping all the time, but the bike never performed the way I expected... it was always VERY harsh compared with my old-reliable Enduro...
Although many people have sung this bikes praises when climinb, I found that really didn't perform all that well on the REALLY steep, wet, technical climbs that we have here on the east coast. When I was in the granny ring and really digging hard to clear an uphill root or rock, the back end just didn't seem to be up to the task. It would either squat really bad (forcing me to use Propedal to keep the front end down) or it would impact harshly causing me to lose momentum. This probably isn't an issue for 90% of riders out there since this sort of terrain is rare in most of the country, but here in New England its an every-day occurrence. If I added more air, the suspension got really harsh and I lost all the small-bump sensitivity, if I increased damping, it would pack down.
I think this frame is a good design for most people... I think that the sort of terrain that I ride regularly is pretty rare in Cali/Colorado/etc. But if you ride in the muck on VERY technical trails (BC, England, New England etc) I would not recommend this frame. The newer Blur LT's seem to have addressed some of the problems (re-designed lower link to move grease ports, changed HT angle) but overall the VPP suspension is not as good as the DW Link on my new Turner.
I'll give this bike 3 chili's for Value and Overall based on my experience, but I can see some people liking this bike much more based on what their local trails are like.
Similar Products Used: Turner 5.Spot (replacement for this frame)
Bike Setup: 2010 XL Blur LT 2, Fox Vanilla RLC 32, Fulcrum Red Metal XL 1 wheels, assorted SLX/XT/XTR components, Hayes Brakes.
a Cross Country Rider
from Scottsdale, AZ USA
Date Reviewed: August 1, 2011
Strengths: Awesome everything ! The 15mm thru axle makes all the difference in the world in handling-you can drive right out of a rain groove ! I love the 10 spd. 36 btooth rear, & anyone who thinks a 2 speed crank is better then having a granny gear must never have climbed a long technical hill (mountain). The grease zerts make maintaining the BB pivots a breeze !
Weaknesses: Came w/ an adequate but relatively heavy wheel set (Mavic xm 321 rims, w/ Shimano XT hubs & DT spokes).
Came w/ 4mm cable housing.
Came w/ Maxis tubed tires.
This bike is f'n awesome ! The 15 mm thru-axle in & of itself is a phenominal difference in handling & confidence ! Haven't had a flat since I went tubeless. (On AZ trails, when you get a flat their are usually several holes in the tube, not just 1 !)The best 3 grand I ever spent ! Worth every nickle & then some !
Santacruz really nailed it w/ this bike !
Similar Products Used: My last bike was a Santacruz Blur.
Bike Setup: "Fire engine in heat" red frame w/ 5mm Shimano cables, Fox shock, Rock Shock Revalation RL fork, Stan's ZTR Crest rims on American Classic hubs-tubeless w/ Kenda Nevegal DTC 2.35 tires w/ Stan's No-Tubes-over 2 lbs. lighter then stock wheels ! Thompson seatpost, WTB Vigo white saddle, Crank Bros Eggbeater 3 pedals, 120 mm white Truvativ AKA stem, Cateye Micro wireless computer, Avid Elixer disk brakes, Truvativ Stylo bars, & Shimano drive train. White Raceface grips.
a Weekend Warrior
from Pembroke Pines, Florida
Date Reviewed: January 26, 2011
Strengths: Light, Strong, beautiful, comfortable ride, geometry makes the rider feel very positive about taking risk and improving on the downhill as well as the uphill.
Weaknesses: Sincerely, I only had one issue, which was at the beginning when I started riding it. When I was pedaling, my right foot was touching the rear triangle of the frame. I solved this by sliding the cleat to the right side. Other then that, I haven´t noticed anything else that bothers me or makes the ride uncomfortable.
I did a lot of research on the bike of my dreams. Im a college student, so this was going to cost me a lot of money, therefore I wanted to get the best I could afford. My research came down to 4 bikes: Specialized Stump-jumper (which most of my friends ride), Trek Remedy, Giant Trance, and Kona Supreme. These bikes that I just mentioned are all great, but the Blur LT stands out among them. Why ?? First of all, the geometry. The first thing I noticed on the bike was that I could not fit a bottle on the frame. That´s because of the way the top-tube comes down. This difference on the frame gives the rider a feeling of security when going downhill. It also makes the climbing a lot easier and comfortable. After experiencing this by riding the bike, I did not care about the bottle, anyway I need to take the camelbak for the rides. The second reason why I chose this bike was because of the way the suspension works. It is real awesome, works under breaking, lets you land the jumps without any issues, and gives you lots of control. Finally, my 3rd reason, simply, this bike is beautiful. I know its expensive, but its worth it all the money. I have not used the grease gun yet, but when time comes, I will leave a comment talking about how that works. Mountain bikers out there, I recommend you this bike, you are going to love it. Thanks SANTA CRUZ for making such an amazing bike.
Bike Setup: 2010 SANTA CRUZ Blur LT, Rear shock FOX Float RP23 140mm travel, fork FOX TALAS RLC 140mm travel, Avid Elixir R breaks, with 203mm rotors front and back, Shimano deore shifters, Shimano XT front and rear derr. Selle Italia Saddle.
a Weekend Warrior
from Vic, BC
Date Reviewed: December 28, 2010
Strengths: Climbs like a mountain goat (un modded RP23)
Well balanced, easy to shift weight around
Works well with Fox Talas I have, with 150mm you can do some sweet jumps and the bikes just takes it all in its stride. Just glides over stuff.
Point and shoot!
Made me feel more confident and made my climbing come on leaps and bounds (ssshhh no one try the El Moco StickE in the rear you wouldn't like it)
Wide rear triangle, the 2.35 Kendas fit in easily
Weaknesses: Black (grrr I wanted clear coat) paint scratches if you look at it.
Rear derailleuer cable frame mounts need drilling for uninterrupted run.
Not sure if one of those lube nuts will get smashed off the underneath of the linkage.
Two year warranty? C'dale, GF etc do lifetime. C'mon.
It's sick. I need to buy TC a few beers for getting me on it.
Similar Products Used: Jekyll, Prophet, Rize
Never thought I'd shift from C'dale
Bike Setup: XTR shifting, E13 ring (1x9), SLX cass, Cane Creek X headset, TruVativ cranks, No Tubes Flow, Pro 2 hubs, Hayes Stroker Ace, Kenda El Moco (winter), Excavator (summer), Atac pedals, Fox 32 Talas 150, Fox RP23
Strengths: Well built frame with good tolerances. Ano frame much better than previous painted frames and the 'bad weather' modifications seem spot on.
Weaknesses: Despite the simplicity of replacing the grease ports (most people won't even use them anyway!), maybe SC should follow Intense and put them in a different location. Just a thought....
I'm very surprised at this frame and I'm not easily impressed. My last frame was a Ventana and it was very very good (super smooth, no chain growth and beautifully built). Changed as I wanted something slacker in the HA for some of the steep, technical decents but couldn't afford a custom setup and still wanted to run the 650b setup. A friend suggested I try the BLT2 if I wanted to stick with 650b.
The bike is great, what more can I say, despite the frame being very well used (the previous owner had a different definition of 'excellent condition' to me!). I've now done the RP23 modification to limit the mid travel wallow (see the Turner threads - it's very easy once you find the right CD container!!) so it's now managing my 200lb+ riding weight with smooth and progressive suspension without the blast through the mid-travel that some have complained about
I could repeat what's been said but why bother...put it on the test-ride list and then choose for yourself. Just be aware of the short top-tube length when choosing your frame and if you're over 190lb then think about a shock mod (Push, regular sized RP23 or the 'modification').
Most bikes these days are pretty good but on this occasion I have to admit that this is one of the better ones.
Similar Products Used: Lots and lots of hardtail and full suspension bikes since 1988. I've done 26er, 29er and now 650b.
Bike Setup: 2008.5 BLT2 with Fox RP23. X-fusion Vengeance (at 130mm), 650b wheelset (Velocity blunts with Negegal and FireXC tires), usual XT components etc etc.
Weight is less than 30lbs
a Cross Country Rider
from Northern Utah
Date Reviewed: November 10, 2010
Strengths: Inspires confidence both up and down, very predictable and stupid fast!
Weaknesses: Took WAAAAAYYYYYY too long to get my grubby paws on it (almost 3 months); please get your bikes out quicker Santa Cruz! I won't say it was worth the wait, but I LOVE this bike... If not for Wimmers I'd be on the new 575 or a Genius.
Waited a year and a half for a dream bike; my research started and ended with the Blur. Pulled the trigger, waited three months, I LOVE this bike. There are many awesome bikes, the Blur is just MORE awesome. It's limited by a sloppy driver, but it's made me a better rider as I learn just how hard I can push it and myself. It's a killer feeling knowing that when I screw up the bike can bail me out.
Similar Products Used: Yeti 575, Canyon AM, Rocky Altitude, ...
Bike Setup: RP 23, Revelation 150, Elixir CR Carbon, ZTR Flow/hope/DT Comp, KS I900/SDG Bel Air, XT/X9, Jagwire, Thomson X4 70mm/Funn Fatboy 740mm, Grips Santa Cruz/lizards skin, High roller 2.35/Crossmark 2.25
a Weekend Warrior
from Sacramento, CA
Date Reviewed: October 20, 2010
Strengths: Super responsive, fast, this thing will take you for anywhere you want to go. Comfortable geometry for long days of riding. This bike puts a grin on my face everytime I ride.
Weaknesses: Heavier than I expected but not enough to justify the extra $$ for Carbon.
Coming from a long line of stumpjumpers, I was hesitant to dive into a new direction. After riding a few 2010 FSR stumpys, I was about to pull the trigger on one until I rode this thing. The responsiveness, agility and speed of this bike make it no comparison to the new Stumpjumper FSR's. It climbs like a rear lockout and the downhill ride is a dream come true. It has a "feel" like no other bike I've been on. If you're reading this, you're probably asking yourself, "But the price though..." Yeah, it's not cheap, but like others have said, you will not regret the extra you spend on this gem. Go get one!
Favorite Trail: Olmstead, Clementine, Salmon Falls, blah, blah, blah
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Similar Products Used: 2003, 2008 and 2010 Stumpjumper FSR's
Bike Setup: R-Am kit: Revelation front fork, Rp23 rear, the rest is XT.
a Weekend Warrior
from Salt Lake City
Date Reviewed: October 15, 2010
Strengths: Lightweight-ish, solid feel, good geometry.
Weaknesses: Couldn't find many...
I rented this bike for the day to ride the Ribbon Trail outside of Fruita, CO. From the beginning, I loved it. It decends well, climbs well, and has a great geometry for a trail bike that can be ridden very hard. I was able to drop a few 4-5 ft drops to flat and it still felt solid. I'm only 150lbs, so that may be why it felt so solid (I was expecting more lateral flex). I'm a very hard rider and dont like bikes that make me feel limited by their capabilities. I was not limited at all by the Blur LT. Either way, I'm looking to purchase this bike asap because I was so surprised by its capabilities. For additional reference, I also tested a Trek Remedy and it was half the bike for the same msrp.
Similar Products Used: Trek Remedy, Specialized Enduro, Rocky Mountain Altitude
Bike Setup: Rock Shox Revelation, RP23, full xt everything else.
from Croton On Hudson, NY, USA
Date Reviewed: September 13, 2010
Strengths: Very stiff front to rear full suspension design, Strong frame, Great climbing position, when seated, for a long travel XC bike
Weaknesses: Terrible small bump compliance, terrible linear shock ratio, one of the worst feeling rear suspension for square edge bumps and big hits. You blow through the travel because the rear suspension feels like it does not ramp at all at the end of the travel, it feels very linear throughout the entire stroke.
What is up with all the hype regarding this bike? After over 1 year of riding every trail condition imaginable, I think this is one of the worst feeling XC/All mountain bikes I have ever owned! The rear suspension design is terrible. The linear rear shock rate feels the worst. The suspension is not active, has very little small bump compliance and does not do well on square edge bumps. I'm 220lbs and run a rear shock rate of 200psi and still blow through the rear travel just pedaling up steep technical terrain. It has no pop to the ride. I thought by upgrading the shock to a DHX 5.0 air I can utilize the bottom out option on the shock to give the bike a better riding feel by changing the suspension curve to ramp more at the end of the travel, but the bike fights the shock and blows through the travel just the same. The only time the bike feels good is when you are out of the saddle bombing down a trail, but if the trail has many terrain obstacles, like roots, rocks and drops, it turns into a hard tail as every hard hit will bottom out the rear suspension. Bottom line is this; the bike is strong as heck, very stiff and a nice center riding feel that allows for good climbing on non technical terrain, but the rear suspension on this bike is WAY overrated and on technical terrain this bike is absolutely terrible! This is only good for smooth Northern California style riding. Northeast riding, steep climbs, roots and rocks, spanks this bike into submission. My Iron Horse MKiii with a DW link rear suspension or a GT force with an I-drive blows this bike away hands down. I'm upset with Santa Cruz putting out a crappy bike like this, I have been ridding a SC V10 downhill bike for the past 6 years that I wouldn't trade for anything, but the Blur LT2 feels like it was put together with very little thought or maybe the concept that one bike can do it all attitude just did not work well for Santa Cruz.
Similar Products Used: IronHorse MKIII, Heckler, Bullit, GT Sensor, GT Force
Bike Setup: XTR setup, Pike 454 fork, DHX 5.0 rear shock (Originally came with RP23)
a Weekend Warrior
from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Date Reviewed: August 12, 2010
Strengths: Easy to shift your weight on the bike, suspension feels reasonably plush, but it still pedals pretty firm. For the most part, I really like the bike.
Weaknesses: For me the biggest weakness is the location of the lower link for the rear suspension. I'm using a large bash guard to protect the link, but it doesn't protect both sides of that link. It is probably a result of the rocky terrain that I ride on and my sloppy riding, but I've broken the rear triangle twice in the few months that I've been riding the bike and I think it's because of hits on that lower link. Also, I would probably like a slightly (only slightly) slacker head tube angle given that it's a 5.5 inch bike.
I really like the bike, but I'm disappointed that they haven't built the bike to either take a hit on that lower link or moved the link so it can't be hit. I've been told that when the bike is weighted, the link moves up and out of the way, but when you un-weight the rear end, it will come back down and that is when I have hit it. The service has been good (no complaints there) and this is probably not a problem for a lot of people, but if you think you may be doing a lot of riding on really rocky trails (rock step-ups for instance), you may want to consider another bike. Otherwise, you will probably really like this bike.
Strengths: great build, super fit and finish, high grade components used for construction,I like the grease fittings,rides like a dream-very predictable
Weaknesses: wasn't free- but you get what you pay for . If you want a cheapo-they're out there, but the owner satisfaction level will not be what you'd get with this bike.No gripes from me.
I'd buy this bike again in a heartbeat! it's done everything I've asked it to and them some- even done a few short roadrides with it (though I'd really rather ride my roadbike on the road for obvious reasons). I've been pretty tough on this bike and crashed pretty hard more than once (my kid says if you aren't crashing then you aren't trying hard enough- easy for him to say), but all I got from my wad-ups was a slightly tweaked front wheel (and a few scabs)- and the wheel is so well made that it was easy to re-true myself. The Test I've seen written on this bike usually start with- "if you could only have one bike- this would be the one" - and I greatly agree. This bike will do almost anything, maybe excepting extreme down hill stuff- but if XC, All Mountain, or serious single track is your style- then boy are you going to like this bike!
Similar Products Used: Cannondale Jekyl, Cannondale Rize 140, Trek 930, Cannondale F-5, Specialized R/Hopper 29er comp
Bike Setup: Full X/O gruppo ,Sram 991 drive parts, Avid Elixir CR brakes, RaceFace Deus XC crankset, FSA carbon fiber stem and bars, Fox 32 Talas RLC forkset,Mavic Crossmax SLR wheel set, Hutchinson XC python tires, Joplin hydraulic seat post,trick billet goodies- only 27.8 lbs w/ my computer,mud fender and seat bag in place
a Weekend Warrior
from Bend, Oregon
Date Reviewed: June 14, 2010
Strengths: Stiff, agile, light, strong, great in any terrain, handles drops well, rough decents well, technical climbs well, does it all really nicely. Really with the right set up it can do just about anything in your comfort.
Weaknesses: Too early to tell, don't anticipate any. Will see how the carbon holds up over time.
Great bike, I was hesitant on the carbon at first but it is proving to be very strong and durable. Had issues at first with rock kick-up into the down tube but resolved with a couple chain stay protectors underneath. Bike is very plush, very fast - accelerates quick and can handle some big hits. Went with the Rock Shox Lyrik up front and love that fork. 160mm just fits the bike and gives me the extra comfort to throw caution into the wind. Factory Sag rate says around 20% for the RP23, however I find that after firming up the rear to about 10-15% I like the ride much better and feel the bike responds better to 3-4 ft drops. I am a larger rider at 6-1 205 Lbs and was on the fence at to go with a Nomad or the Blur LT2. Happy so far with my decision. I cant wait to ride some more challenging trails because the bike has brought my game up a few notches, and the stuff I was riding on my XC bike now is kind of boring. The LT frame design has always felt very balanced and very steady compared to other brands. The bike feels stable in the air and balanced when climbing out of the saddle. VPP is solid, the new pivots are quiet, only sound coming from the bike is chain slap, but can be resolved with the right protection if it is bothersome. Santa Cruz does not let down.