Chameleon 27.5+ R Mountain Bike
As a staple in Santa Cruz's line for over 20 years, the Chameleon is a perennial favorite for its lively feel and adaptability to a wide variety of trail ecosystems, ranging from smooth-buffed singletrack to steep, rocky descents that would normally overwhelm a racier hardtail. Santa Cruz revamped the Chameleon in 2017 to be longer, lower, and slacker than ever with its lengthy front end, low-slung 12.4-inch bottom bracket, and relaxed 67.1-degree head tube angle. This particular Chameleon 27.5+ R Mountain Bike carries all of these updates, just with fresh color schemes for 2021, making it an an absolute blast to rail around corners, plunge into steep descents, and even pedal a few laps around the bike park.
Originally conceived as a heavy-duty trail bike that could handle the rigors of bike parks and slalom courses, the Chameleon has evolved into a fun-loving trail bike that's compatible with multiple wheel sizes and moonlights as a practical solution for long-distance bikepacking missions. It's offered here as a 27.5+ trail bike for voluminous traction and greater compliance over rugged trails with its 2.8-inch Maxxis Rekon Tires, but it can be run as a fast-rolling 29er with its interchangeable dropouts. Also, these interchangeable dropouts allow you to swap out the gears for single-speed use, should you desire a no-nonsense drivetrain or live in an area without major elevation changes. Note, you'll have to purchase separate dropouts from Santa Cruz if you want to change wheel sizes or convert to singlespeed use.
Seeing the Chameleon is designed to be a more utilitarian, low-maintenance trail bike, it's made from aluminum for optimal strength-to-weight, but without the added cost of carbon. This gives the Chameleon broader appeal than many of the full-suspension bikes in Santa Cruz's line, which is great considering it lowers the bar to entry for riders on a budget. This R-spec build kit gives you a nice selection of parts, including a 130-millimeter Fox Rhythm 34 Fork for smooth tracking and confident handling over rough trails, SRAM's NX Eagle drivetrain for a low-cost entry into a 1x12 set-up, plus a SDG Tellis dropper post for getting aggressive on rowdy descents.
- Versatile hardtail with a fun-loving persona on the trail
- 67.1-degree head tube angle for confidence at higher speeds
- Longer front end, short chainstays for an agile, playful feel
- 27.5+ tires maximize traction and compliance over rough stuff
- 130mm FOX Rhythm Fork soaks up the rocks and roots on the trail
- Interchangeable dropouts allow you to swap 27.5+ for 29in wheels
- Aluminum frame optimizes strength-to-weight at lower cost than carbon
- SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain delivers 1x12 gear range at reasonable cost