Presenting the All-New Santa Cruz Blur and Santa Cruz Highball

Written by Contender Bicycles, on March 03, 2021

The cross country mountain bike world is changing, and fast. Courses have become sloppier, steeper, and rockier, and XC mountain bikes have become longer, lower, and lighter with geometry geared toward descending stability. As the lines between XC, XC marathon, and trail bikes become blurrier, the focus on well-balanced over super-focused grows. Santa Cruz’s newest XC bikes, the Santa Cruz Blur and the Santa Cruz Highball, are more comfortable, lighter, more capable, and decisively more balanced than any XC bike they’ve developed before. Even as the mountain bike market continues to change and develop, there will always be a place for light, efficient and fast race machines. To Santa Cruz Bicycles, the Blur has been many things, from a 140mm travel trail crusher to a 100mm travel ultra-focused race machine. It wasn’t just lightweight, but a confident handler that pushed the boundaries in geometry, high-speed stability, and suspension kinematics. Santa Cruz claims the all-new Blur “rides faster, more comfortably, and more efficiently than any XC bike we’ve ever designed.” To do so they’ve aimed on two pieces of development: lightweight and handling. Starting with a 29er-specific all-carbon chassis, Santa Cruz claims a frame, rear shock, and hardware weighs in at just 2060g (size MD), lighter than most other XC mountain bikes, and light enough to make you feel guilty for that brownie you grabbed with your morning coffee. Santa Cruz Blur CC X01 Reserve side profile Low weight inherently makes any bike more lively and responsive, but they’ve coupled this innate playfulness with modern XC geometry. With a 69 degree headtube angle, a 74 degree seattube angle, greater reach across all sizes than the cross country competition, and a shorter than average rear center, the Blur promises race-ready climbing performance and none of the high-speed dartiness that plagues other XC bikes. Combine this with their ultra-efficient VPP suspension kinematics, and the Blur undoubtedly is one of the best XC bikes on the market today. Other features include space for two water bottles, internal dropper seatpost compatibility, and shorter standover height than the competition across all sizes. The Santa Cruz Highball hardtail mountain bike is designed for those with zero tolerance for waste, who want all of their pedaling power to go to the wheels. For 2018, they started with a half pound lighter frame design. Weighing in at just 966g for the frame, it is among the lightest hardtails on the market; if you didn’t feel guilty for that brownie, than you’re sure to feel guilty now. Not to be limited to weight-weenie status, Santa Cruz’s R&D lab engineered greater vertical compliance than any previous hardtail before, thru vastly offset seatstays and a more refined carbon fiber layup. A slacker headtube angle (69.5 degrees), a steeper 73 degree seat tube, and more reach than the competition across all sizes make this bike a vastly better overall performer over the course of a marathon race or an all-day adventure. Full internal cable routing, a 27.2 seatpost for additional compliance, and three bottle cage mounts add to the bike’s newfound versatility. The fact that the Santa Cruz Highball CC XX1 Reseve weighs in at just 19.1 lb adds to the stoke. 2018 Santa Cruz Highball Mountain Bike 2018 Santa Cruz Blur Mountain Bike Both the Blur and Highball will be offered in carbon-only C (light) and CC (lighter) frames. They’re also 29er and 1x specific, and offer a remote suspension lockout on nearly every model. Both come with a threaded bottom bracket for greater durability and reliability, as well as Santa Cruz’s lifetime warranty. Prices start at $2800 for the Highball C “R”, and $3700 for the full-suspension Blur C “R”. These new bikes really round out Santa Cruz’s offerings, from their mean V10 slayer to the ultra-versatile Chameleon. We already have a Santa Cruz Blur CC X01 Reserve in the shop and it looks fantastic and comes in at just barely over 22 lbs. The all-new Santa Cruz Blur and Santa Cruz Highball are each impressive in their own right. They're both successful in blurring the lines between what it takes to tear through high-speed singletrack and the necessities of an all-day marathon style rig. Both are built to be surprisingly fun short travel bikes that are worth of the Santa Cruz headbadge. As always, if you have any questions about the all-new Santa Cruz Blur and Santa Cruz Highball cross country mountain bike, give us a call during shop hours, or send an email anytime to info@contenderbicycles.com.

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