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Item # SNZ0013

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Item # SNZ0013

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Whatever your stripes, the Chameleon will match them.

In contemplating the mountain bikes that have stood the test of time, the Santa Cruz Chameleon stands atop the list. In nearly a decade of existence it’s seen little change, mostly just updates that reflect current construction techniques, like hydroformed tubing. For a bike to go this long without a significant facelift is remarkable, and it's indicative that Santa Cruz got it right the first time.

The keys to the Chameleon’s longevity are adaptability and appeal to multiple disciplines. Whether you’re a long established mountain biker, or you’re new to the trail and looking for a place to start, the Chameleon will satisfy. While every other hardtail on the market is intended for XC or dirt jump use only, the Chameleon is designed for a much broader audience. How can a hardtail do all this? The short answer is great design from the people at Santa Cruz. The long answer is in the details.

The Chameleon’s unique frame geometry can work with forks that have as little as 100mm of travel or as much as 160mm, with 120-140mm being ideal. At the 100mm end, you have a steep seat angle and a lower bottom bracket height. The change in stance gives a forward-leaning, aggressive cross-country geometry. Put a 160mm fork in and the bike gets taller and more laid-back, adding high-speed stability and steep-terrain confidence. The beauty of the Chameleon is it’s not limited to XC riding, and when set up with a taller fork, it makes an excellent first mountain bike because of its forgiving nature and simple operation. Run a travel-adjust fork and you’re riding a true do-it-all machine.

Another distinguishing aspect of the Chameleon is its tubeset. The massive tubes in the rear triangle are made from 6066 aluminum and provide stiffness for great power transfer. The large diameter is stiffer and has the added benefit of allowing for ultra-thin tubing walls that reduce weight. The heavily gusseted front end also means gobs of strength. The Chameleon will encourage you to constantly expand your riding style and limits to include stunts and jumps without flinching – not something we recommend on a dedicated XC rig.

The bottom bracket shell is designed for eccentric bottom bracket assemblies, and one comes installed so you can adapt it for a single-speed drivetrain if you choose. The frame accepts tires up to 2.5", enabling the extra traction needed for loose and sloppy forest exploration. And if you’re looking for stopping power, a 180mm rotor will fit in the rear without any clearance issues.

When hanging parts on the Chameleon, the bike takes on the qualities of the parts, not vice-versa. This frame can run the gamut, from an efficient single speed to a freeride brute. The parts kit and your imagination will determine its characteristics. The Chameleon can satisfy the most dyed-in-the-wool mountain junkie, or offer a novice the platform to develop and expand off-road skills.

The Santa Cruz Chameleon is powder coated in your choice of Black, Gloss Black, Brown, Lime Green, Sea Bright Blue, Red, White, or Orange. It has a 1-1/8” head tube, and a 30.9mm ID seat tube. The bottom bracket shell is 68mm wide, and it uses a 34.9mm dual-pull front derailleur. The rear derailleur hanger is replaceable and has the ever-convenient bottle opener. There are water bottle braze-ons on both the top and underside of the down tube. It has a two year warranty against manufacturing defects.

  • Accepts suspension forks between 100 and 160mm to give you options
  • Replaceable derailleur hanger makes wrecking a little less painful –for your wallet anyway
  • Hardtail design provides great consistency and durability
  • Gusseted head tube junction is built extra-tough for less-than-perfect landings
  • Will fit tires up to 2.5in

Tech Specs

Front Triangle:
Seatpost Diameter:
30.9 mm
Bottom Bracket Width:
68 mm
Manufacturer Warranty:
2 years

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Here's what others have to say...

Unanswered Question

can a standard shimano xt crank work with...

Posted on

can a standard shimano xt crank work with this bike?

5 5

Good for everything

Built up 1x9 with a 120mm Float. It's great for trail riding, jumping, cruising, everything. Burly and strong, but light enough that I've got a 26-ish pound bike with a pretty solid build on it.

I'm 5'11 and opted for the medium. I run it with a 70mm stem, and am comfortable in the saddle for hours on end.

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