Strengths: Superb handling, strong climbing and descending, very light weight, very well sealed bearings
Weaknesses: UK price was pretty laughable until spring 2012 when it became more sensible from some retailers (the RRP in GBP is still much higher than the USD number). People's perceptions of it "only" being a 4-inch race bike. Finding the right headset for modern bikes is a nightmare.
I was a long-term Santa Cruz rider (Heckler mk1, Superlight, Blur Classic) but pretty much discounted one as my next bike as this frame was £2500BGP (that's $3800) in the UK in spring 2012 and the TRc much more. As I was looking at Pivot Mach 4's and Trek EX's the UK's main SC retailer threw in an offer of F120RLC Kashimas for free with the frame - effectively making it £1750 - and I ordered immediately in the red/grey/black colour.
I wanted a lightweight trail bike that could handle everything from long rides to rocky Welsh trail centres, with an eye on the fact I live in southern England - not mountain country - so the fashionable 5-6" bikes are overkill for 99% of my riding. The frame is beautifully built and finished and I was happy mine was tapered but still ran QR rear and a threaded BB. Unlike my Blur Classic the suspension is well able to handle UK mud.
I built it with full M970 XTR (3x9 speed as I still prefer rapid rise mechs), basic formula brakes, i-beam saddle, raceface deus 665mm bar and 70mm stem - it was a sensible not an overly weight weenie build but the bike still comes in at 24 pounds dead with my lighter wheels running 2.25 Rocket Rons. Impressive.
I have been blown away with how the bike rides - SC's always handle well, this one climbs like a goat with the suspension really helping you seek out grip on the bumpy stuff, and it is stiff, responsive, and so quiet after riding alloy bikes.
But what I was worried about was how it would handle bigger stuff - all the mags in the UK are advocating 29'ers or 6" 26ers - had I bought a dinosaur? No way - slap on some 2.4 tyres (the frame has massive clearance) and proper 32-spoke wheels and it eats up a rocky trail centre like Coed Y Brenin. Compared to my Blur Classic and Superlight it just goes where you point it on the rough stuff - the extra stiffness is really noticeable, and the suspension delivers a great performance downhill as well as up.
This is a fantastic bike that lets you have your cake and eat it (that probably means nothing to people outside the UK...) in terms of light weight, huge stiffness, and fantastic handling up and down hill. Hammering downhill might be fun but unless you are lifting to the top (which is not what this bike is for) you spend most of your ride pedalling - this bike will make you feel faster, for sure, and it is very very comfortable on long rides.
Similar Products Used: Heckler mk1, 2006 Superlight, Blur Classic
Bike Setup: full M970 XTR except for PG990 cassette and chain, F120 RLC Kashima, i-beam seat/post, RaceFace Deus bar/stem, Formula K-18 brakes, Chris King headset, range of wheels from EA90 to Hope 32-spoke
Strengths: very light, strong, stiff, great climbing machine, VPP
I have been riding this bike for about a year, pretty much full XTR, DT swiss, Rock shok front, RP23 rear. I have this bike about 23Lbs. Best XC bike I ridden, prior to this I rode a Trek, SC Blur AL. All I have to say is if your looking for a great epic XC bike for long rides than look no further, If your XC racing then just stick to a hard tail, but if you need Full suspension XC this is IT! The bike climbs like a goat and downhill is very responsive. quick,
Strengths: Stiff, fast and very little bob. Great all day comfort and a speed machine.
Weaknesses: Too little time to ride it!! The slack angle of the seat tube made the setup a bit difficult but nothing that a zero offset seatpost could not handle.
Having ridden and tested a Yeti ASR, Morewood Zula and Tallboy- this is the best of the lot (Tallboy also very good). It is fast to accelerate, fast in the turns and nimble enough to go very fast in singletrack. I have used this twice on a 250km stage race and had no issues with comfort- this is ideal for anything from XC to stage races.
Similar Products Used: Yeti ASR, Commencal Meta 4, Morewood Zula.
Bike Setup: built up from a frame, ZTR Crest- hope hubs- DT spokes wheels, Hope Race brakes, Thompsons seatpost, Specialized Phenom saddle, XO gripshift, SPD pedals
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 18, 2012
Strengths: Best climbing & efficient bike for long rides.
Weaknesses: Frame Sizing
This is the perfect cross country bike.
I'm 5' 10" & all my bikes are Medium size frame, the distributor here advice me to get the Medium.
However, the cockpit feel cramp even with a 100mm stem & it is clear that the sizing is smaller than the industry standards. After the bike is build, the distributor agrees that the size is small for me as my lower back hunch excessively in normal riding position.
I love this bike so much that I placed an order for a Large size frame to transfer my component over & It is unfortunate for me that we do have customer satisfaction policy here that I have to dispose my Medium frame via ebay at an anticipate lost.
If you wanna avoid costly lesson, NEVER trust a sales person to fit a bike size by looking at your physical appearance. Instead, write to Santa Cruz to check sizing & these guys read & reply mail promptly,
In a nutshell, this is the bike by which I judge all other full suspension XC bikes. Santa Cruz has nearly a decade of experience building VPP frames and it truly shows with this iteration of the Blur XC. The bike accelerates quickly when you put the power down without undue monkey motion from the suspension. Stand on grind or sit and spin the result is the same, forward motion without bobbing. The Fox shock with Propedal helps in this department, but even with the Propedal at the lowest setting, you still get minimal bobbing. Due to the light weight and dialed suspension, the bike climbs better than any other FS bike I have ridden.
So, you think great, it climbs well, it must suck going down hill. You would be wrong. The VPP suspension soaks up hits like nobody's business when the trail points down. If anything, I think it works better as your speed increases. This bike just soaks up square edged hits and drops (within reason) and lets me descend faster than I would on ANY hardtail. And, when it's time to slow down, you don't have to worry about brake jack like on some other FS bikes I've ridden.
So, how does it handle? Amazingly fast is how it handles. I have the bike set up with a 100 mm fork and can honestly say that it took a bit to get used to how quickly this bike turns in compared to the 2004 Blur that it replaced. The Chainstays are shorter than on the old Blur and this combined with an XC oriented head angle makes for almost instantaneous steering. I kept early apexing turns for the first few rides until I got more used to how fast this thing handles. You can slow that down a bit by putting a longer travel fork on it.
So, it climbs great, descends great, handles great! What more could you want? A lower price maybe, but this is a boutique bike brand and we know we're going to pay more for it than your average Trek or Specialized.
What are you waiting for, go out and buy one. You won't be dissapointed!
Bike Setup: Manitou Marvel Expert fork (Super stiff & aids the awesome handling of the Blur)
Hope hubs laced to Mavic 717s
X9 drivetrain & shifters
Avid BB7 brakes (yea, I have yet to drink the hydro Koolaid)
Thomson Seat Elite Seat Post
Selle Italia Flight saddle
Easton EA70 Stem
LP Carbon handlebar
Shimano 535 pedals (heavy but bulletproof)
a Cross Country Rider
from San Antonio,Texas
Date Reviewed: January 15, 2012
Strengths: Carbon, if your not on it, you're missing out. Of course it is light and handles great. Everything positive that you have read about this bike is true.
Weaknesses: Cheesy decal/logos
I had been riding the original Blur for the last 9 years The original Blur (classic) was my dream bike. It lived up to the hype. Light, quick handling, climbed great, full suspension perfected. In December my frame broke at the seatpost tube above the bottom bracket. This is a common defect according to posts. Santa Cruz was great and replaced my frame with the option of a free super light frame or Carbon Blur for $900 ( fair considering the frame retails for $2499 and my frame was almost 10 years old). Great support from SC. The ride is amazing. Completely happy, didn't know my dream bike could get better. If you havent test riden a Santa Cruz, do it. The bikes are worth the money. I've ridden every make/model out there and nothing compares.
Bike Setup: XT/ XTR, Thompson, race face cranks/bottom brackets, Chris king headset, fox shocks front/rear, mountain kings
a Cross Country Rider
from San Mateo County
Date Reviewed: September 28, 2011
Strengths: I have yet to find a flaw with this bike. Light, stiff, fast, stable at speed, quick handling, outstanding component group... the Ferrari of mountain bikes.
Weaknesses: Price of course.
Believe the other reviews, the Blur XCc is a phenomenal bike. I beat this bike hard, and it just smiles back and says "give me more". I find the 69.5 degree HA with a Fox F100RLC provides the bike with perfect balance - not too aggressive, not too relaxed, and matches up superbly with the Monarch RT3 in back. The new M980 XTR groupset and Formula The One brakes are icing on the cake.
Once you get the fork and shock dialed in, just set and forget. Love the RT3 on this bike - I run it wide open all the time. It just eats up tight, twisty single track and fast, choppy downhill bombs. The bike climbs equally well sitting or standing and mashing, with no peddle bob.
The Blur XCc is definitely race-worthy, yet easily keeps pace with AM bikes. You will be flying by other riders whether going up or downhill. You can't possibly go wrong with this bike.. it truly is the best XC bike available.
a Weekend Warrior
from Mountain View
Date Reviewed: August 26, 2011
Strengths: Clever Component Groups
Weaknesses: Avid Elixirs
If you love the feel of VPP, you'll love this bike. I love it, but the anti-squat nature of the VPP bugged one of my riding buddies and he ended up on a Yeti, so ride before you buy, even it it's just around the parking lot.
One thing Santa Cruz has always done is to come up with really clever build kits. My SPX xc kit was 1 lb heaver than XTR, but the components that matter - contact (bars and seat) and swing weight (stem, seatpost, rims), are the same, so I opted for durability over weight, not to mention saving $1200.
I am not so crazy about the Elixir brakes. The reservoir is small, so I end up bleeding the levers every six months or so. And the brakes came with metallic pads, which were OK on the front, but terrible on the rear (grabby with poor modulation). Organic pads fixed the rear - turning the brakes from terrible to wonderful. But this is largely moot, since the new SPX xc kit uses XT brakes. I read this past year that Avid has addressed the reservoir problem in the latest iteration of the Elixirs. Stil, I would the try XT next time. The non hygroscopic nature of mineral oil is appealing.
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Superlight (10 years)
Specialized Epic (parking lot test ride)
Santa Cruz Blur LT (parking lot test ride)
Ibis Mojo (parking lot test ride)
Bike Setup: SPXc - XT level with Sram drivetrain
a Cross Country Rider
from Seattle, WA, USA
Date Reviewed: August 2, 2011
Strengths: Climbs, descents, tracks like it is on rails, looks, simplicity
Weaknesses: Price (you get what you pay for on this frame though)
BELIEVE THE HYPE. This is absolutely the best performing xc bike I have ever ridden. I was skeptical of all the hype surrounding the climbing capability of this bike. One ride in a pack and I am a true believer. I pass guys who used to beat my butt on climbs like they're backing up. I can't believe the way this bike responds on an angle. It also tracks like it is on rails and soaks up the bumps like a 5"+ bike. I rode a Specialized FSR XC for several years thinking there was little to gain in buying a new rig. WOW was I wrong. I just wish I had done it sooner. I have taken this bike down Crank It Up and B-Line with no problems whatsoever and have confidence it can handle more (I don't push the airs too much). The bike is truly at home on lonely epic singletrack or on the xc course at Sea Otter. I absolutely love the simplicity of the XX 2x10 setup too. I'm 5'11" and 173lb and I ride primarily technical singletrack on a LG frame in the Pac NW on dry to sloppy conditions. Buy it if you ride xc and want to beat your buddies handily both up and down. Skip if you are less inclined to earn your DH the old fashioned way.
Similar Products Used: Specialized FSR XC full XTR kit; Klein Palomino; Gary Fisher Sugar 2
Bike Setup: SRAM XX group (ders, brakes, shifters, chain, bb, crankset), SID XX 120mm fork, Fox RP23 shock, Thompson Elite Seatpost and Stem, Easton EC70 Bars, WTB Rocket V SLR Saddle, Dave's SpeedDream King Disc/Stans Tubeless Wheelset, Kenda Nevegal UST tires, Cane Creek S8 headset, ODI grips. ~22.5 lbs
Bike Setup: XT groupset, Fulcrum Red Zero wheelset, reba race.
a Cross Country Rider
from St. Paul, MN
Date Reviewed: June 18, 2011
Strengths: Stiff, fast, easy to service. Adaptable for racing, riding epics, or just messing around on local trails. Super easy to make a super light bike if that's your thing.
Weaknesses: Too pretty to ride!
I've put a lot of miles on this bike in the past 18 months and it's still a sweet, grin-inducing ride regardless of terrain. Great climber, but really shows its pedigree when swooping loopy single track at a fast pace. It's a speedy fun ride that has been well worth the bucks.
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Superlignt for many years
Bike Setup: SRAM XO shifters and rear derailleur; AVID Elixir brakes with 6 inch rotors front and rear; Easton XC One wheels; XTR crankset with eggbeater ti pedals; Reba Race on the front and Fox RP 23 on the back.
a Cross Country Rider
from san francisco
Date Reviewed: April 11, 2011
Strengths: i "regressed" to this frame from 5.5 to 4" travel - no regrets!- after having had an ibis mojo sl for 2 years - i never loved the ibis - it always felt like a newborn horse- not quite in control of its long legs - Blur is not as plush as the ibis - but it sure makes up with much better handling - i can pick lines i could never do with the ibis - near telepathic, i no longer have to guess if it will stick through the turn - Blur frame craftsmanship is amazing - makes ibis look like a garage carbon job - details, finish & alignement are fantastic - did i mention the frame is stiff? - ibis wasnt nearly as stiff, even w lopes link
- i have been riding bikes from the mid eighties, and there were several "pivotal bikes" through the years - Blur xc carbon is another one
A word on 2011 xtr - shifting is superb - whole groupo is very quiet smooth - brakes are insane, way better compared to anything avid i had in the past - true one finger braking (trail version)- 180/160 setup is the way to go -
Weaknesses: bit on the firm side - but expected from a super efficient xc platform
love this bike - its fast as hell - amazing climber - best out of saddle rear suspension
Strengths: Laterally quite rigid fairly light, sleek looks without looking too wanky.. Frame itself awesome, with the troubles I have had with components on this particular bike, the Frame is the only thing stopping me from selling it all and starting again.
Weaknesses: Pivots require regular attention, The components on my particular bike. (XT derailleur, lasted three months, HG chain snapped first ride, Avid elixir 5 brakes, stop well but lack adjustabillity, Truvative handlebars too much back sweep for a cross country bike, Sid team shocks the most flimsy flexible shock I have used, on third set in three months.
Buy the Frame you'll love it but do it justice with good components..
Strengths: Super stiff laterally and the VPP platform is the best I've ridden when making transitions from in the saddle to out.
Weaknesses: I was old to check the pivot bolts frequently because they have a tendency to com loose. I just give a quick check before each ride. 10 secs of prevention...
It is an expensive frame, but it's not much different than other high end carbon frames... they're all expensive.
This is a great frame with purpose; a stiff 4" travel frame with neutral geometry and a short back end. It climbs the bumpy stuff better than anything I've ever ridden, descending is predictable and stable, and the carbon is beautiful.
Similar Products Used: Test rode Ibis Mojo SL (too flimsy), Mojo HD (thinkin 140travel; almost went that way till i rode the SC), Turner Flux (great if the price was half), Canondale Scalpel (canondale is gay), Trek Fuel EX carbon (gay, but also ridiculously priced for a frame..$3500... Somebody needs a reality check).
Bike Setup: 9spd XT drivetrain, Fox F36 @ 120mm, Sun Charger wheels, Avid elixir CRs. The fork and wheels will be changed soon.