The definition of adaptable.
From trail riding to commuting to bike packing, the Santa Cruz Chameleon 29 R complete bike lives up to its reputation as one of the most adaptable bikes yet devised. 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 functionality.
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 Chamelon 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 the well-equipped stable.
Geometry plays a key role in the Chamelon’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 thanks to its carefully tuned balance.
The 29 R Chameleon is built for adventure without any updates necessary. The Fox Rhythm 34 fork smooths out braking bumps and rough sections of trail, while providing easy setup and tuning. SRAM’s NX drivetrain offers plenty of gear range for big rides, while Level T brakes maintain control at speed. And it rolls on hand built wheels with Novatech hubs and WTB rims for easy tubeless setup.
- Versatile hardtail for trail riding, bikepacking, and exploring
- 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
- SRAM's workhorse components privilege function over fashion