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I have a 2001 (?) chameleon which I rebuilt upgraded and waxed ;) during this last year,
It's a little short for me (medium + 110mm stem + layback post) but It's an amazing AM bike which serves me great while racing my XC friends as well as challenging my trail-buddies when we go trail / light FR (I have a VPX for the rougher stuff).

I really want to upgrade it with Hydro discs, but, while reading the posts here, I got the impression that the adapter isn't such a great solution and it seems that the caliper's position makes it highly vulnerable.
I have a friend which is more than happy to buy it from me at a reasonable price, but just as I was about to sell it I realised this cammy as a lot of soul in it (I guess "they don't build them like they use to" works here in more than one way).

so, here are my pros and cons (nothing's final, and here's where I need you guys):

+ the new frames seem better suited for fun BUT less for XC.
+ a new frame will be a Large which will allow me shorter stem and a straight post.
+ hydros will be great with a new frame, a bit risky with the old
+ the new will be have ordinary solid color vs. a rare polished made in the US jewel
+ Not sure how to rank the "soul" issue but it's there alright...

I'm adding some pics,
thanks for your insight...
 

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I won't be selling my Chameleon anytime soon. I had the opportunity to test ride a few back in 98 and 99. Each time I rode one, I was immediately comfortable and loved the geometry and handling. This appreciation lingered for years until I ordered a new one for myself in 01 and have thoroughly enjoyed it to date. It has been through several incarnations ranging from heavy duty trail/lt fr build to light xc build w/ light rim brake wheels,etc. I have owned and ridden many different bikes over the years and this is certainly one of my faves. As far as your hydro disc concerns, here are my experiences. The adaptor is heavy, the horizontal drops make it somewhat of a pain for rear wheel removal and I had to purchase a longer hydro line when I installed my rear disc. The caliper is mounted upside down and the hydro line does hang down more than I would like. I was always concerned of smacking or snagging on something, but I never encountered a single problem over the years. I would definitely prefer to have the new mount without the issues and weight of the old style adaptor if I were considering getting a newer or larger frame though. Currently, I'm trimming the bike collection and will be building it up to be my new singlespeed and will be selling my current SS because I can't part with that sweet handling and geometry. Many of my bikes have come and gone but this one's a keeper.
 

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SS Pusher Man
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The older style frames seem to ride a bit nicer than the newer gusseted frames. I have had a '01, '03 and currently ride a '05. The '05 definately is stiffer than the older versions.

The disc brake adapter thing is not really an issue. Yeah, the caliper hangs down below the chainstay. I never had a issue hitting it on rock or getting it caught up in tree branches. If you ride it in a skate park or on ledges where you might drop down on a lip or something, then maybe. Otherwise, for 90% of the riders out there, you will be fine.

mtnbikej
 

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Get a the new one, yah , why not - if your heart is into it. But Leave the old frame around as it’s a true classic that you don’t send away unless you really have to. Besides, maybe U'll be into single speeding one day and then you'll have a true shining Jewel to pull out.

I had to send mine away, she was somthing….


E.
 

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I'm keeping mine

I think it is a 2000. It was at first my geared XC race machine,
then I got a litespeed HT so I made the Chameleon a single speed,
then I scabbed most the parts off of the Chameleon for my new superlite FS xc machine

The frame is worth maybe a couple hundred bucks on the open market but it's worth a lot more to me than that for, it's XC & downhill worthy.

When the Chameleon rises again it will still be single speed, but this time around I'm going to run the finest 100mm frt fork fox has to offer.
 

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how high do you run your seat post...?
is the setup on the first picture, you optimal pedaling extension...!?!?

if that is the case, i think you are doing fine, actually you need to take into acount seat angles and in the case of El Camaleon is pretty step (at least compare with the current slacker seat angles) you pedaling angle looks pretty much spot on (view on the old but proven knee over pedal) if you want to gain some room and also a little front end mass transfer you can try to "Flip your stem" (actually i'm sure even a shorter one will work) since a little lower stem will increase the distance in between your shoulders and the grips,,A.K.A. letting you ride with a little shorter stem (20mm less) and conserve the same rathio of arm extension...
I hope this makes sense, just trying it, will for just fine for sure.

about the brakes,,, i think a well set up v-brake is as good as most disc, just get a nice brake brace, plus rim brakes are lighter and give you more ground clearance, yes if you bend the rim you will have problems and mud will pile on the v-brakes more than the disc brakes...

in short i think you bike fits you just fine (If that is the height you ride the seat) and the brakes is not even a issue,,if you still like Disc brakes is a few other adaptors in the market diferent than the one offer for santa cruz that will work for the conversion.. plus the old models do ride a little nicer than the new ones,,(I have the two and somehow i like the older better)

well i hope this helps..
 
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