Chameleon 29 R Mountain Bike
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 67.3-degree head tube angle. This particular Chameleon 29 R Mountain Bike carries all of these updates 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 29er for a rolling faster down the trail and absolutely steamrolling rocks and roots standing in your way, due to the 29-inch wheel's larger angle of attack. If you'd like to swap out the 29-inch wheels for the massive grip afforded by 27.5+, the interchangeable dropouts allow you to change wheel sizes with little effort. 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'd like to convert to 27.5+ or 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 120-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.
- Santa Cruz's workhorse hardtail for trail riding or bikepacking
- 67.3-degree head tube angle for confidence on technical terrain
- Longer front end, short chainstays for an agile, playful feel
- 29in wheels carry more momentum and easily roll over obstacles
- 120mm FOX Rhythm Fork soaks up the rocks and roots on the trail
- Interchangeable dropouts allow you to swap 29in for 27.5+ wheels
- Aluminum frame optimizes strength-to-weight without cost of carbon
- SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain for 1 x 12 gear range at affordable price