The Santa Cruz Blur – A full carbon comeback story

There have been a lot of classic names in mountain biking, that have come back, years later, to remind us how great they were. From the return of the Ibis Mojo in 2005, to Orange’s rehabilitation of the Clockwork, to the rebirth of the Malverns Classic race events, we mountain bikers love a good resurrection. And so it is certain to be with the Santa Cruz Blur. Absent from our trails since the LT2 C was replaced by the Tallboy LT in 2014, the Blur was probably the first full suspension mountain bike to not only work downhill, but up, over and along them as well

When it arrived in 2002, the Santa Cruz Blur set a number of precedents for the mountain biking world. In a time when everyone else was moving their manufacturing to Taiwan, the Blur was hand built in the USA. When attempts were being made to extend travel, the Blur settled on a sensible 105mm travel for the perfect balance of speed and control. An asymmetric rear end, with just one upright strut, made some ‘experts’ predict a lack of balance and stiffness – they were wrong. The Virtual Pivot Point, designed in collaboration with world renowned expert Dave Weagle, made quite a few journalists so confused that they simply hung up their keyboards and went out riding instead

And the ride was equally confounding; somehow the Blur managed to be blisteringly fast and have a bottomless travel feel that encouraged riders to push harder and faster than ever before. Despite being made of aluminium, not the increasingly popular carbon fibre, it was still shockingly light. The geometry also pushed boundaries, with a ‘too slack for XC’ 68 degree head angle, actually proving to be very easy to handle when heaving up a climb, but incredibly confidence inspiring when overtaking every other rider in sight down the other side. The frame was also disc brake ready, when every other XC race bike sported V-brakes.

But everything responds to the time. The Blur went through a number of changes and developments through the years. It gained a bit of travel to keep up with the number of riders who saw it as the perfect ‘trail’ tool and not just an XC race bike. The fantastically stable platform made it popular with 4 Cross riders, so a coil spring, beefed up version was produced. Santa Cruz even increased the travel of it LT (long travel) model to be able to take forks up to 160mm travel (an early enduro attempt, before they got the Nomad right). Finally, there was a short lived carbon model, before the Blur disappeared for what seemed like the last time in 2014.

But now the Santa Cruz Blur is back – and it is AMAZING. Some things have stayed the same as the original. This is a cross country trail bike, for XC races, marathons and long, fast days in the saddle. This Blur has a short travel back end, at 100mm and is matched to a similar fork up front. There is a Dave Weagle designed Virtual Pivot Point out back and a modern XC head angle up front. The new Santa Cruz Blur is, in many ways, a very direct successor to that first Blur back in 2002.

But sixteen years has seen a good number of changes too. First up, serious XC bikes these days are all 29ers and so it is with the Blur. Wagon wheels roll faster for longer and the new Blur features big hoops for getting you round the race course at lightning speed. Carbon fibre is king in 2018 and the brand new Blur comes in either of the two excellent grades of carbon on offer from Santa Cruz, the affordable ‘C’ or the ultralight ‘CC’ option. The top tube is longer and the stem shorter than the old model. Oh, and that single strut rear triangle has been replaced by a more conventional set up to give the Blur probably the stiffest, best tracking back end of any full suspension XC race bike you can possibly ride. Boost spacing, internal cable routes and dropper post compatibility are new too.

So what about that ride? Journalists everywhere have already gone crazy over the new Santa Cruz Blur. They can’t get enough of the bottomless travel feel of the Virtual Pivot 3 system. They are raving about the way in which the Blur can tackle the toughest, most technical XC descents, but leaves other bikes in its dust when things flatten out. They lack of pedal feedback when climbing means that riders are able to blast their way up rocky, rooty climbs without feeling that they are aboard some sort of pogo stick. The 1x specific set up gives the Blur better mud and heel clearance while also allowing for larger volume tyres than a lot of its ‘we kept the front mech just in case’ competitors. It is truly a ‘bike of the future’.

Just like every Santa Cruz, you can get the new Blur in a range of build kits or go for a full custom set up based around the amazing CC grade carbon frame. All of the options feature high performance Fox 32 Forks, with most models coming with the super lightweight Step Cast version. 1x 11 and 1×12 drivetrains from SRAM or Shimano are available to meet all tastes. Carbon seatposts, bars and even Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheels all feature for dedicated weight weenies. Oh, and there are two great colours to choose from, so you don’t have to buy a whole new race kit. You even get your tyres set up tubeless on every model, to save the hassle of messing about with sealant after you buy the bike.

As many manufacturers have become lost in more travel, bigger bars and heavier hits, the Santa Cruz Blur has come back to remind us what we might have been missing. Blasting along singletrack, at full chat, then dropping your mates up the next climb, before , oh yeah, dropping them again down the other side; that is what mountain biking is all about. We want get out and ride, race explore, have fun. The Santa Cruz Blur brings all of that back to us and more.