Chameleon 29 Mountain Bike Frame
Sure it's a tall order, but the Santa Cruz Chameleon frame may be the basis for the world's most versatile bicycle. Ready for 29-inch wheels or 27.5 Plus with a simple dropout swap, and built to handle everything from bikepacking to hardcore trail riding, to mid-week cross country races, consider this the starting point for a machine that will cover more bases than any other bikes in your quiver.
The Chameleon has become one of Santa Cruz's longest running and most beloved models in a large part because of its no-nonsense functionality. Originally conceived as a heavy-duty trail bike that could handle jumping, slalom, and a plethora of build options, the Chameleon has adapted to modern trends but retains 100% of its trademark utility.
This version of the Chameleon is compatible with both 29-inch and 27.5+ wheels. The change requires different dropouts, which are available separately from Santa Cruz, should you want to get a second wheelset. The dropouts also provide adjustable chainstay length, which can be used both to fine tune handling, and to provide chain tension should you opt for a singlespeed build in the future.
As befits a truly utilitarian steed, the Chameleon is built from aluminum, which is both impervious to rust and highly resistant to impact damage. This choice of materials also results in a fairly modest asking price, which makes the Chameleon both an excellent introductory mountain bike, and a tempting addition to any well-equipped stable.
Geometry plays a key role in the Chameleon's versatility, with short chainstays, fairly long reach measurements per size, and a relaxed 67.5-degree head tube angle. The 5-inch fork takes the edge off of rough trails without resulting in the dramatic geometry shifts that can occur on hardtails with longer travel forks. And while it's certainly a jack of all trades, the Chameleon shines in a number of different roles and practically begs to be reconfigured over time to meet your changing needs.
- Versatile hardtail for trail riding, bikepacking, and adventure
- 67.5-degree head tube angle for confidence in technical terrain
- Swapping dropouts adapts the frame to 27.5+ or 29in wheels
- Aluminum frame is built to go the distance
- Easily convertible to singlespeed with replaceable dropouts