Update: March 14, 2012

We shipped our Blur TRc to Laguna Beach and it was outfitted with the newest dropping post called the Kronolog. It also got the latest Crank Brothers wheels and parts. The trails were unfamiliar to us as Hans Rey and Richie Schley took us around. But the Kronolog complemented the TRc perfectly. The TRc has a steep seat angle and it pedals well but the rider is a little bit forward on steep descents. But the dropping post puts the rider back down in a very comfortable position to tackle the unexpected.

Check out our riding video on the great San Juan trail of San Juan Capistrano, Southern California.

Skip to 5:08 for the TRc riding footage.




This review is a collaboration between Francis Cebedo and Ron Aclan. - Francis is more of an XC, singlespeed rider while Ron can air it out and ride manuals all day long.

The Bike Reviewed:
Model: Santa Cruz Blur TRc SPX XC kit
Price: $5099
Frame Price: $2699
Frame Weight: 4.77 lbs in medium
Bike Weight: 24.7 lbs without pedals

Test ride video added Dec. 19:

What you need to know:

This is the prototype for the modern trail bike. It features 5 inches of plush travel with a Fox Kashima shock. It is ultralight at 4.77 lbs frame weight but stiff, strong and efficient. It has the latest evolution of the trail bike geometry with a slack head angle for control, a steep seat angle for pedaling efficiency, low bb for handling and short stays for climbing. What you're left with is an incredibly versatile bike that can be a 22 lb. race bike or a 27 lb. do anything ride.

Downsides:

The frame is not cheap at $2700 and the kits Santa Cruz offers are not very imaginative with triple chainrings and ultralight front tires. This bike does not embrace the modern technologies like rear post brake mounts, rear maxle or oversized bottom brackets. This bike sticks with older but proven concepts and focuses on frame construction design and manufacturing techniques. Also, the BB is low at 13.1 inches so while it's ideal for some areas of the country like the West Coast, it may not work out everywhere.



Features, Design and Ride:
  • Geometry, geometry, geometry - slack head angle, steep seat angle, low BB
  • Simply amazing range from XC to All Mountain duty
  • Beautifully designed, full carbon, lightweight (4.77 lbs.) frame including the super stiff Carbon Link
  • Clean lines with cool, understated graphics in matte black and green
  • Matte finish on the green black is very current and seems to look better with age.
  • Grease ports and leading edge frame bearing design - no creaks!
Geometry Notes:
  • 16.9" chainstay vs. 17.0" on the Blur LTC
  • 23" Top Tube vs. 22.5" on LTC
  • 68 degree head angle vs. 68.1 on LTC


Build Notes:
  • The build SPX XC build is very light and suited for cross country racing. It has a triple front chainring and ultralight tubes and Maxxis Crossmark tires. The bike weighed in under 25 lbs without pedals.
  • Fox RP23 rear shock with Kashima is coating ensures an active, plush, and smooth like Irish Butter action
  • Fox Fit RLC 130mm travel 32mm stanchion Fork
  • Mtbr put a shorter stem, some Michelin Rock'r tires, a Specialized Blacklite dropping post and a Purely Custom bash ring in place of the big chain ring.
Video Overview by the Manufacturer featuring Mike Ferrentino






The Scoop from Ron Aclan:

I really like this bike and if you prefer a flickable, jump worthy, technical rock strewn trail eatin', singletrack trail rompin', able and stable descender that definitely favors more fun on the downhills, small jumps and log drops (ie. Braille Trail and Sawpit) vs. all day cross country, long steady mountain climb epics (ie. Henry Coe or Mt. Diablo), then the Blur TRc is the bike for you. I think a smooth rider may even get away with some Whistler A-line, Dirt Merchant stuff on this bike (I rode there this summer.) As an all around trail bike this bike rocks! The TRc climbs reasonably well (would be better with adjustable travel fork), descends like a swooping eagle on the hunt for a lake trout and is cat-like nimble yet rock solid stable on fast technical descents.

I first laid on eyes on this stealthy lookin' trail steed at this year's Downieville gathering...I eagerly anticipated a moment when I might be able to steal away with this rig on the nearby Deer Lake trail, but it wasn't to be on that weekend as the UltraLord had claimed this weekend as his alone to test the Blur TRc.



After that weekend, I would dream about having some trail time on Santa Cruz's new release. As luck would have it, I was able to pick up the ride for testing soon enough. First ride was at Santa Teresa featuring Rocky Ridge. While climbing, the bike was an able ascender with no noticeable pedal induced bob and none of the creaking sounds I had been relegated to on an older generation 2005 Blur LT. With the absence of annoying creaking sounds and strategically placed grease ports as well as locking collet axle hardware, this seems to be a great design upgrade as the pivots feel solid without binding...time will tell on overall durability, but my guess is these will hold up well. Though the top tube on the TRc is 1/2" longer than that of it's LTc brother, while climbing, this bike lacked the stretch room required for an optimal power climbing position. The wide bars and shorter stem likely contributed this effect, but I gladly prefer the trade off when the incline and direction of the trail are pointed downhill! On my initial ride at Santa Teresa park, I set the bike up with 1/4" of sag for the rear shock and 1/4 of the 130MM travel for the front, but that equated to about 185 P.S.I for the rear shock as I weigh 185 lbs. fully loaded so I thought that would be OK. The resultant ride was harsh and certainly not as plush as I imagined the ride to be and I also had the Michelin Rock't 2.4 tires inflated too high as well in anticipation of a pinch flat on the super sharp Rocky Ridge rocks. Back to the drawing board...I set up the rear shock with 165 PSI and closer to 3/8" of sag and lowered the air pressure in the Fox RLC and set the rebound to a little faster setting and that that was just the ticket...the suspension came alive on my next ride and managed an new PR on the Rocky Ridge descent...still not as fast as the D-bug, but faster than my fastest on my old Blur LT and with a lot more style :)

Another recent ride begged to be part of the field test grounds...UCSC/Pogonip beckoned. Performing so well at UCSC/Pogonip with a mix of swoopy singletrack, small double jumps and a few rock drops and steep steep rock gardens, the TRc could stand for "Trail Ready Contender"!



The rockin' performance continued on when I had a chance to do a double Braille day at the Soquel Demonstration Forest. With some rain during the week on the dusty late summer beaten trails, it was as if the man upstairs carefully hosed down all the prime single track in the forest and gently brushed that dirt dry as if we were in the final moto of a BMX race. This day was to be "Hero Dirt Day!". On my hero dirt ride with Grahhh and couple other buddies, I was able to hit all the features on Braille including the first log jump launcher to the right side of the trail after the big log rollover near the top and did so with aplomb on this rig. I didn't go for time on the descent, but rather opted to go for the fun factor and fun we had as we discovered that the trail had been augmented with a couple new features. The five inches of travel was just nearly maxed out as I didn't ding the dinger (cause the o-ring marker to fall off the shock body). I also used nearly all the travel on the Fox fork as well, so this bike is ample for 2-4 foot drops.

Given that my Blur LT is now 6 years old and ready to be put to pasture, I really want to buy this bike now!

The TRc is beautifully crafted like a well cared for microbrew...the balance of a Pliny comes to mind...as the Pliny is heavy on the hops, the TRc is definitely downhill bent, as the Pliny is smooth and citrusy on the finish...the Blur TRc is smooth on the super gnar and chunky and allows you to smile on the finish :)

The Bottom Line by Francis Cebedo:

If Ron thinks this bike is downhill ready, then Santa Cruz did something right cause I also think it is XC ready. What we have here is a bike that rides low to the ground, has a slack head angle for descending and a steep seat angle for climbing. Plus it's stiffer and lighter than most frames out there. So this is a bike of many faces and it looks very good from different angles and applications. It is a very good bike that will grow and morph with the developing skills and tastes of the owner.

It can be set up as a 22 lb XC bike since the frame is so light at 4.77 lbs. But we think it is really unleashed with big tubeless tires, a dropping post and a a Talas 140-110 mm fork. This will deliver a bike with incredible range. All that's needed is rider with lots of riding time who can enjoy and grow with this bike.

It is expensive and the stock builds aren't ideal. But in the end, it is a very worthwhile investment.

Value Rating:

4.25 out of 5 Stars

Overall Rating: We're rating the frame at 5 stars. We're not as enamored with the XC build kit.

5 out of 5 Stars

Shop at HucknRoll.com:
Santa Cruz Bicycles Blur TRc - R XC Build Kit - 2012 - $3799
Santa Cruz Bicycles Blur TRc - SPX XC Build - 2012 - $5099



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