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Santa Cruz Bicycles Chameleon D Complete Mountain Bike - 2016

Sale $989.40 $1,649.00 40% off

Item # SNZ005F

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  • Matte Black/Silver, M ($989.40)
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Item # SNZ005F


While we're certainly fans of many of Santa Cruz's full-suspension, single-discipline bikes, investing too much in a bike limited to one specific role can be a bit, well, limiting—especially when that investment is weight against options like the hardtail Chameleon D Complete Mountain Bike. The Chameleon obviously doesn't hit gnarly descents like an eight-inch DH monster, but with its huge range of fork compatibility and interchangeable rear dropouts, its colors bleed between sharp-angled XC climber, aggro trail killer, and singlespeed endurance machine to provide a bit of variance across multiple disciplines and styles of riding.

The Chameleon's most radical element of mutability is definitely the pair of rear dropouts, which can be swapped for a singlespeed setup, making for one hell of a gritty lizard that's guaranteed to net gnar points on any 100-mile endurance race or while sessioning park terrain. In the advent of an XC race or just a day on singletrack, the dropouts are shipped in ten-speed mode, keeping the Shimano double drivetrain in full working order.

The Chameleon's front end is also flexible, including the ability to fade from shades of short-travel XC to the distinctive hue of a six-inch enduro fork. The D build comes spec'd with a 130mm RockShox Silver TK Solo Air, which splits the difference between the frame's min/max spread of 100mm to 150mm for a neutral tone on the off-road travel color chart.

As alluded to above, changing forks also alters the bike's geometry. With a 100mm fork, the seat angle gets steeper and the bottom bracket height drops for a forward-leaning, aggressive XC geometry that puts power above all else while virtually banishing wheel flop. As travel approaches 150mm, the bike gets taller and the head tube slacks out for stability at speed that holds lines like, well, like a chameleon clinging to a stick with its little tail coiled up. Only not as cute.

Without a solid platform, all that mutability is just a pointless gimmick. The 6066 aluminum tubing — inflated to increase diameter and stiffness in key power transfer areas—proves that the Chameleon isn't just a pretty paint job that can perform neat parlor tricks. The larger diameter of the tubes also increases structural integrity, even with thinner walls. The Chameleon's weight savings and stiffness prove that there's still a place in XC racing for alloy frames, and the tapered head tube nets all the steering precision and responsiveness-under-torque that we've come to expect from Santa Cruz.

The Chameleon D is finished with a few colorful touches meant to encourage speed, including the stiff, tapered head tube and the oversized 12 x 142mm rear axle—both of which are touches that we expect from such a well-engineered frame. The build kit is no less capable, including a full complement of Shimano across the drivetrain for on-point shifting that doesn't push the Chameleon D into the price bracket of a car. The build is finished with SRAM's Avid-branded DB1 brakes for proven stopping power in the park or while scrubbing speed to avoid startled dog walkers on the trail.

  • A hardtail cross-country bike that's up for whatever you are
  • Rear dropouts swap between cassette and singlespeed setups
  • Moderate geometry rewards surgical line selection
  • Reliable alloy tubing keeps unruly trail furniture in check
  • Oversized 142mm thru-axle for yet more rear triangle stiffness
  • Curated blend of no-nonsense Shimano and SRAM parts

Tech Specs

Frame Material:
6066 aluminum
RockShox Recon Silver TK
Front Travel:
130 mm
Cane Creek 10
Shimano Deore SL
Front Derailleur:
Shimano M618
Rear Derailleur:
Shimano SLX M675 GS Shadow+
ISCG Tabs:
yes, ISCG 05
22 / 36 t Shimano Deore M617
Bottom Bracket:
BSA threaded
Crank Arm Length:
175 mm
11 - 36 t Shimano Deore HG50
Brake Type:
hydraulic disc
180 mm Avid G2 CS
Race Face Ride
Handlebar Width:
760 mm
Santa Cruz Palmdale Lock-On
Race Face Ride
WTB Volt Sport
Race Face Ride
[rims] WTB STi23 TCS
SRAM MTH 716/746
Front Axle:
Rear Axle:
[front] Maxxis Minion DHR2, [rear] Maxxis Ardent
Tire Size:
[front] 27.5 x 2.3 in, [rear] 27.5 x 2.25 in
not included
Recommended Use:
cross-country, trail, freeride
Manufacturer Warranty:
lifetime on frame

sizing chart

Chameleon size by rider height


Geometry chart

Santa Cruz Bicycles

Geometry Chart



Seat Tube


Effective Top Tube






Stand Over

Head Tube


Head Tube Angle


Seat Tube Angle


Bottom Bracket Drop




S 15.98in 22.2in 23.39in 14.37in 28.27in 3.54in 67.3o 71.3o 12.56in 16.5in 41.89in
M 17.01in 22.99in 23.74in 15.04in 29.02in 3.94in 67.3o 71.3o 12.56in 16.5in 42.72in
L 18.5in 24.02in 24.13in 15.94in 30.2in 4.33in 67.3o 71.3o 12.56in 16.5in 43.78in
XL 20in 25in 24.53in 16.81in 31.34in 4.72in 67.3o 71.3o 12.56in 16.5in 44.8in

Reviews & Community


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Great value

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

You will not find a better value for this price. I wish I had gotten mine for this price. DB1s are super solid for entry level hydraulics, 760 bars are perfect width, the 22 tooth granny ring is just about pointless, so slap a narrow wide on there and you are good to go. Comes set up tubeless with 2 extra small bottles of stans

Does this bike ship with tubeless tires and sealant installed or with tubes?

It ships with tubeless tires and sealant installed.


What would be the maximum tire clearance for this bike? What's the widest tire size it can take?


Hi Ernesto,

Santa Cruz says 2.4" max on this bike.

Let me know if you have any more questions!

Scott Gartman: Expert Gearhead-Bike



Great bike

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I've been riding for a year and decided it was time to upgrade. After contemplating what bike to get for a few months, I came across this deal and couldn't refuse. Excellent value for the money. The staff at competitive cyclist is extremely helpful, and ordering was easy. Despite Hurricane Matthew, the bike arrived a week later, well packaged. Took me about 45 minutes to get it out and put it together. Didn't have to adjust anything, it shifts smooth right out of the box. This is my second bike, so I don't have much to compare to, but the components are more than enough for the single track around me. Wouldn't hesitate to buy again.

Great bike

I'm 6'2" tall. Would you recommend the large or XL size? Thanks.

Best Answer

Hey Andrew - Based just on your height, you would be best suited with the Chameleon in an XL. Feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in ordering this bike or with any additional questions.

- Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead - klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

What's the bike and shipping weight?

Hey Wilson - The Chameleon weighs approximately 29 lbs. and shipping weight will be a couple pounds more than that. Feel free to contact me directly with any additional questions.

- Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead - klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337