Blur Carbon R Complete Mountain Bike
Light enough for XC hot laps yet tough enough to take a long-distance beating in the backcountry, the Blur Carbon R Complete Mountain Bike handles all of your XC endeavors without compromise. Back after a hiatus from Santa Cruz's lineup that left us on longer travel bikes than we'd typically want for marathon and cross-country racing, the Blur has quickly reestablished itself as one of the leaders in the category. Offering steeper angles and aggressive geometry, the Blur rockets up steep climbs and flies across long stretches of trail. When it comes time to descend, a stiff carbon frame and 4-inches of VPP suspension deliver precise tracking and ground-hugging traction that you don't often see on featherweight bikes of this genre.
Hearing the words "rugged" and "cross-country race rocket" used in the same sentence might cause some hesitation, 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 smooth FOX Float DPS shock you'll find that the short 100-millimeters of travel feels 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 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 headtube angle, and 74-degree seat tube, perching you on top and in control of your steed while you barrel through miles of singletrack. The wheelbase is stretched slightly, with some help from a slightly stretched chainstay, another unusual stray from trends, but we'll get into that later. This longer wheelbase lends itself to 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 this 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.
This particular Blur is built using Santa Cruz's Carbon C construction, which provides all the benefits in lateral stiffness and unbelievable strength of its higher-end Carbon CC sibling, but with a slight weight penalty of about eight or nine ounces. The upside to the Carbon C construction is you save a good chunk of cash, which is always nice when you're a self-sponsored racer that's footing the bills for your own builds and racing fees. However, the complete bike is still weighs in the arena of 26 pounds for this particular Carbon R build, meaning it's no slouch when it comes time to don a race plate and toe the starting line.
- Santa Cruz's ride fast, ride far, ride hard XC race bike
- 69-degree head tube angle provides razor-sharp handling
- 4 inches of efficient and lively VPP suspension
- Carbon C frame for torsional stiffness and strength
- Twin upright rear triangle inspired by downhill bikes
- FOX fork and rear shock for ground-hugging traction
- NX Eagle offers Eagle's massive range without the hefty price