Blur Carbon S Trail Complete Mountain Bike
We've got a certain soft spot for cross-country race machines. Maybe it stems from our younger years toeing the line on race day, or maybe its just those early alarms that get us up on weekends to watch the races, despite most of their cross-Atlantic start times. But even with our speedy cravings, we also have a hankering for more capability than most cross-country machines provide beyond the smooth ribbons of singletrack, and so we're eager to saddle up on Santa Cruz's Blur Carbon S Trail Complete Mountain Bike. Packing in just a bit more comfort and supple travel than its ultra racy brother, the Blur Carbon S Trail features the same frame as the standard build, with the same race-proven geometry that's capable of soaring up climbs with its 100mm of lively VPP suspension, but with an additional 10mm of travel in the fork to boost your confidence when you're letting gravity rule, and sending it into rockier lines that don't require you to take the time to evaluate your line.
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.
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 smooth FOX Float DPS shock you'll find that the short 100-millimeters of travel feel so much deeper.
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.
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. We don't have specifics on the weight gain for this particular frame (we'll have to wait until Santa Cruz publishes their figures), but a typical Santa Cruz Carbon C weighs approximately eight to nine ounces heavier than its Carbon CC counterparts. 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 bike is still incredibly lightweight in the arena of 24 pounds for this particular Carbon S build, meaning it's no slouch when it comes time to don a race plate and toe the starting line.
- Santa Cruz's race-rocket takes on gnarlier trails
- Updated geometry zips the Blur into the modern era
- Steep head tube angle provides razor-sharp handling
- 4 inches of efficient, lively handling VPP travel
- Carbon C frame for torsional stiffness and strength
- Twin upright rear triangle inspired by downhill bikes
- SRAM GX Eagle 1x12 drivetrain with massive gear range
- Longer 110mm FOX fork offers more travel for taking on rocks and roots