Santa Cruz Bicycles Blur TR Kashima Alloy Frame $2,150.00
The 26-inch wheel's all-star.
We acknowledge that there are those who believe that the 26-inch mountain bike wheel is washed up, no longer relevant, a compromise relative to the new, larger-diameter wheel standards out there. To them we say: no problem. Keep on looking, and save incredible machines like the Santa Cruz Blur TR Kashima Alloy Frame you see here for riders who recognize that 26-inchers are far from obsolete, still bringing huge fun and advantages to the trail, such as awesome durability and rapid handling and acceleration, to name just a few — and the super-smooth, Kashima-coated Fox Float CTD shock you'll find bolted to it just makes it that much better.
The original Blur made waves when it hit the scene a few years ago, primarily because it was so damn versatile, the market didn't know what to make of it. It could climb like a champ, bomb the gnarliest of descents, and then podium in dual-slalom. Was this a crazy-light all-mountain rig, or a gravity-worthy XC machine? The answer to virtually any of these questions was: yes. Eventually gaining more travel and morphing into the trail-focused Blur TR (hence the designation), this version zeroed in on the platform's trail worthiness without compromising any of its other split personalities, resulting in a bike that still confused many, but somehow satisfied even more.
The Blur TR relies on 125mm of travel out back, courtesy of the ingenious Virtual Pivot Point (or VPP) linkage system found on many of Santa Cruz's models. VPP is, essentially, two counter-rotating links that precisely control the rear wheel's movement through its travel. Through the beginning of its movement, the rear wheel moves vertically to ensure that the suspension is reactive to even minor trail inputs to keep things smooth. As it begins to compress further, however, VPP begins to move the wheel rearward, lengthening the bike's wheelbase for greater stability under hard landings or over technical terrain. Because the lower link of the VPP system articulates the wheel away from the crank, pedaling forces are mitigated, ensuring that hard pedaling during sprints or climbs do not unnecessarily compress the suspension, keeping the system reactive to the trail while still remaining efficient and firm when you need it to be.
It's an ideal blend of taut and supple, and its flexibility is further enhanced by the three settings available to the rider in the Kashima-coated Fox Float CTD shock — Climb, Trail, and Descend — which can be easily toggled while riding via a top-mounted switch, along with the shock's rebound and damping settings. Climb firms up the shock to compress as little as possible for maximum efficiency, while the Descend setting opens the shock completely to utilize its full range of travel. Trail mode finds a balance between the two and is where you'll probably leave the switch most of the time. But what's Kashima? Kashima is a special coating of the stanchion used on top-shelf Fox shocks, which not only prolongs seal life, but reduces friction, lending a smoother feel to the suspension and to the bike overall. The entire VPP system is secured by SC's super durable collet-style pivot hardware that's easily serviceable in your own garage if necessary.
While the carbon Blur TR claims the overall performance crown, the aluminum version leaves very little to be desired. Santa Cruz has long been established as a master of alloy formation, utilizing oversized, hydroformed tubes rendered in shapes that have resulted from years of both computer simulation and real-world testing to dial in the stiffest, most responsive, and most durable design possible while still keeping weight very reasonable. A tapered head tube keeps the front end stiff and handling precise, and the threaded bottom bracket is revered for its solidity and simplicity. The Blur TR's diverse set of skills is also in part afforded by its superbly balanced geometry, with a 68-degree head tube angle and a 72.5-degree seat tube angle. Those numbers mean you're canted forward enough to get aggressive on the pedals when you need to, but slack enough to pull your center of gravity back for excellent stability and predictability when the trail points downhill. Indeed, ask any rider who's spent some time on a Blur TR: it really can do anything.
The Santa Cruz Blur TR Kashima Alloy Frame comes in size Small only, and in the colors Red/gloss blue or Black/gold. A size Small frame with shock weighs approximately 2,620 grams.