Contender Ten Best of 2021: A Superlight Santa Cruz Blur CC TR

Written by Alvin Holbrook, on December 31, 2021

Day Ten of the Contender Ten Best Bikes of 2021 goes to a superlight Santa Cruz Blur CC TR.

The ongoing quest to make a better bike sometimes means a brand might sacrifice the principles that set them apart. While the Santa Cruz brand touts a number of characteristics that define the brand, few are more deeply embedded in the brand than VPP suspension. This Santa Cruz Blur CC TR does just that, embracing what they call their “Superlight” platform. Does that make this Blur CC a proper Santa Cruz mountain bike?

2022 Santa Cruz Blur CC TR XX1 RSV Contender Bicycles - side profile

We’ve actually gone in-depth into the features of the Santa Cruz Blur. See our Santa Cruz Blur first look review here.

On to whether the Blur is a true Santa Cruz. VPP is something that the previous-generation Blur had, but interestingly, that was the first Blur to have VPP (the original Blur didn’t have it either). The Superlight suspension layout allowed Santa Cruz to claim a 290-gram cut in weight compared to the previous Blur. The suspension is also short compared to other Santa Cruz bikes, offering just 100mm suspension out back, or 115mm suspension in the Blur TR (or Juliana Wilder). The result is the lightest full-suspension mountain bike Santa Cruz has ever made.

2022 Santa Cruz Blur CC TR XX1 RSV Contender Bicycles - handlebar detail

VPP or not, Santa Cruz bikes tend to have high anti-squat values that make their bikes feel supportive as you climb seated through the loose and technical bits one might encounter. In cutting all the excess that VPP might have that makes for a buttery ride, the Blur becomes a much more serious bike, one that urges the rider to pedal harder and faster. But it does add a touch of bounciness to its suspension. Counteract that with volume spacers or adjusted shock tunes, and you add some of the buttery suspension feel but start to lose some of the bike’s zippiness. This is not the generalist Santa Cruz bikes typically are.

2022 Santa Cruz Blur CC TR XX1 RSV Contender Bicycles - rear shock detail

One might be able to call Santa Cruz’s other bikes versatile, but the Blur TR isn’t quite that. If you want a generalist that feels comfortable just about anywhere, the Tallboy is the bike for you. Rather, the Blur TR is a great marathon-style cross country bike for those who appreciate climbing but want more of a margin for error than a traditional cross-country bike. Nothing wrong with that. 

2022 Santa Cruz Blur CC TR XX1 RSV Contender Bicycles - frame detail

Is this a proper Santa Cruz mountain bike? We think so, and it comes from the details. Three water bottle cages on sizes M and above are a worthwhile change, but the size small still fits two bottles! A threaded bottom bracket is a Santa Cruz signature, and the molded chainstay and downtube protectors, dedicated chain guide, use of a SRAM Universal Derailleur hanger, and use of high-quality hardware feel highly polished. The Reserve 28 SL wheels here follow through on that polish that we feel make this a true Santa Cruz.

2022 Santa Cruz Blur CC TR XX1 RSV Contender Bicycles - Reserve 28 SL wheelset

The Santa Cruz Blur CC TR is self-assured in its positioning in the mountain bike world, delivering as a highly-polished cross country or marathon bike that knows exactly what it is. VPP or otherwise, the Blur is a legit Santa Cruz. 

See the build sheet and more photos below.

Frameset Santa Cruz Blur Carbon CC - Matte Black - Size L
Fork Fox Factory 34 Stepcast - 120mm
Shock Fox Factory Float DPS - 120mm
Headset Cane Creek AER IS Tapered
Groupset SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS shifter, XX1 AXS derailleur
Crankset SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS - 175mm
Brakes SRAM Level Ultimate, SRAM CLX Centerlock Rotors - 180mm
Gearing SRAM Eagle 34t chainring, SRAM XG-1295 10-50T - Rainbow cassette
Wheelset Reserve 28 XC Carbon/DT Swiss 180 EXP hubs/Sapim CX-Ray spokes
Tires F+R: Maxxis Rekon Race, 29 x 2.4” WT
Handlebar Santa Cruz Carbon Flat Bar - 760mm
Stem Syntace LiteForce - 60mm
Seatpost Rocshox Reverb AXS - 150mm, 31.6mm diameter
Saddle WTB Silverado Ti Fusion - Medium
Accessories ESI Chunky Gris. Complete weight: 23.4 lbs

See the Contender Ten Best Bikes of 2021

2022 Santa Cruz Blur CC TR XX1 RSV Contender Bicycles - lower side2022 Santa Cruz Blur CC TR XX1 RSV Contender Bicycles - dropper lever reverb axs2022 Santa Cruz Blur CC TR XX1 RSV Contender Bicycles - 2022 Santa Cruz Blur CC TR XX1 RSV Contender Bicycles - XX1 AXS drivetrain rainbow oil2022 Santa Cruz Blur CC TR XX1 RSV Contender Bicycles - cassette detail


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