It's been some time since the Blur left Santa Cruz's lineup, leaving a bike-shaped hole in our hearts that we've been trying to fill for what seems like decades (okay, — maybe it was just four years). We've tried countless other machines that claim total XC domination, some were flimsy featherweights that flaked under pressure, others so heavy we felt like we were pulling too much extra baggage with each pedal stroke, and some seemed to be a good match, until an eventual hang-up would surface, and things would come crashing to the ground— or rock garden. Ultimately, we had come to the consensus that the Blur was the one that got away — until now — with the welcome resurgence of the Santa Cruz Blur Carbon CC XX1 Eagle Reserve Complete Mountain Bike. We're as giddy as we were over our first school-yard crush, and completely enamored with the personal growth that the Blur has achieved over its hiatus. It comes to us as a redefined race machine, driven and forceful, light enough to soar through hot laps, and rugged enough to conquer 48-hour endurance races.
We may have a tendency to hesitate when we hear the words "rugged" and "cross-country race rocket" used in the same sentence, but with a one-piece carbon VPP rear triangle we can't help but spot the similarities between the Blur and Santa Cruz's burly DH rigs. Its twin upright architecture gives cues to inspiration from the Nomad and V10, promising a ride that's uncompromising and stiff, but without the bulk to follow. Keeping a good thing going, Santa Cruz carefully constructs a one-piece carbon front triangle to pack in lateral stiffness that provides tracking confidence through blown out, washboard switchbacks and root-latticed climbs. The VPP suspension in the new Blur is much like the VPP you'll find in other modern Santa Cruz bikes, which undoubtedly an upgrade from the previous generation, with smoother ramping mid-stroke to prevent a bottomed out feel as you soak into the suspension, and with the buttery-smooth Kashima coated FOX Float Factory shock you'll find that the short 100-millimeters of travel feel so much deeper.
Santa Cruz may have taken a bit of a divergence from the XC scene in the past few years, with the Tallboy being the closest thing to a cross-country offering in recent time, and geometry stretching to slacker angles year over year, so we're more than excited to not only see the Blur rejoin the lineup, but with geometry that takes a U-turn from the trends, and reverts to true race-ready steep angles. Even steeper than the previous generation, the new Blur features a 69-degree head tube angle, and 74-degree seat tube, perching you on top and in control of your steed for nimble handling and maximum pedaling efficiency while you barrel through miles of singletrack. The wheelbase is stretched over an inch, giving the bike more confidence through rough terrain, enabling you to pick the gnarlier line, shaving seconds off of your time as you push towards the podium. The rear end is updated with Boost spacing, stretching things out and stiffening things up, and while we usually see Boost pairing with tucked-in wheels and extra-stubby chainstays, the chainstays on the Blur move out just under a quarter of an inch to 17-inches, so you can still comfortably get behind the saddle when you need to, without feeling like you're going to go over backwards.
The Blur is built using Santa Cruz's top tier CC carbon fiber construction. By using some of the finest, and strongest, raw materials available, Santa Cruz is able to make its CC level frames extremely lightweight, while maintaining outstanding impact resistance, exceptional stiffness, and just the right amount of finely tuned flex to cancel out trail chatter. Of course, balancing these factors requires true mastery of carbon fiber, and the design team at Santa Cruz has proven time and time again that their command of carbon fiber construction is unsurpassed in the bike industry. The result is a frame that will hold up to years of hard riding, will provide a comfortable ride, and will do so at a very competitive weight.
It seems only appropriate that a steed crafted from top-tier carbon would roll on top of two equally meticulously constructed hoops, so it's no surprise that this build is equipped with Santa Cruz's Reserve Carbon Rims, laced neatly to DT Swiss 240 hubs. The rims have a knack for showcasing Santa Cruz's carbon expertise, with a highly refined profile and reinforced nipple beads that nearly eliminate any chance of failure. And should you defy those odds, the Reserve rims are backed by a no-nonsense lifetime warranty—just like Santa Cruz’s carbon fiber frames.
This build comes with a medley of top-tier components to ensure you push ahead with the best ride quality possible. It begins with a worthy suspension package from Fox: a Float Factory DPS air shock and Step-Cast 32 Factory fork, each paired with remotes for quick adjustments on the fly, without obnoxious levers and bolts to twist. This setup offers a supple and buttery-smooth stroke, and easy tuning of their 100-millimeters of travel that gives just the right amount of cushion to the trails harsh blows. SRAM's cream-of-the-crop XX1 Eagle groupset dials you in with a gear for every pitch you pedal into, so you can crush to the top of quad-scorching climbs without burning out, and turn around to hammer down descents at warp speed, and Level Ultimate brakes keep you under control with a slimmed down build as you cook it a little too quickly into corners.
- Santa Cruz's race-rocket returns from its hiatus and is here to dominate
- Updated geometry zips the Blur into the modern era
- Steep angles keeps you perched with nimble control
- 4-inches of efficient and lively VPP suspension
- Carbon CC frame sheds grams without sacrificing strength
- Top-tier XX1 Eagle drivetrain offers a gear for every pitch
- FOX suspension equips you with remotes for on the fly adjustments
- Reserve carbon hoops bring SC's carbon genius to the rim world