Chameleon 29 S Complete Mountain Bike
The Santa Cruz Chameleon has always been one of the most capable hardtails on the market due to its aggressive design, providing well-balanced composure on technical trails where you'd normally leave the hardtail at home in favor of a full-suspension bike. For 2019, the Santa Cruz Chameleon 29 S Complete Mountain Bike upholds its adaptable namesake with the ability to run both 27.5+ and 29-inch wheels courtesy of interchangeable drop-outs, as well as modern trail geometry that's longer, low-slung, and relatively slack. 6000-series aluminum retains high levels of strength and stiffness without incurring the cost of fancier carbon frames. Noteworthy frame details include stealth dropper post routing, multiple water bottle mounts, and a threaded bottom bracket that eliminates the annoying creaks of press fit systems.
Examining the Chameleon's geometry in 29er form, you'll find a relatively slack 67.3-degree head tube angle offering the stability needed for dropping into descents littered with rocks and roots. This slacker head tube angle is desirable if you're an aggressive trail rider looking to conquer steep, technical trails without the bike feeling squirrely on the descent like racier XC bikes with steeper head tubes. However, the head tube angle isn't the only geometry cue that's telling of the Chameleon's personality, so you'll be delighted to know its longer reach and wheelbase create a roomier cockpit that maintains stability when you're opening it up at high speeds. And because the front end is longer, the engineers at Santa Cruz kept the chainstays short at only 16.3 inches, allowing for quick maneuverability and easier lifting of the front over trail obstacles standing in your way.
Being one of the most versatile hardtails on the market, it only makes sense that Santa Cruz equipped the Chameleon with interchangeable dropouts, allowing you to swap out the provided 29-inch wheels for 27.5+ fatties should you desire voluminous traction and bump compliance. Adding to the versatility, the interchangeable dropouts allow you to swap out the gears for single speed use. This is nice for trail riders in less hilly areas where a singlespeed is far more efficient and much lighter than a geared bike. 15 millimeters of fore and aft adjustment manages chain tension and chainstay length for swapping between wheel sizes and gearing options.
This particular Chameleon 29 S comes with the obstacle-rolling abilities of 29-inch wheels, making it a great choice for tackling trails with speed-robbing roots and rocks. Not only do the bigger 29-inch wheels roll over obstacles with ease, but they carry momentum with greater efficiency than 27.5-inch wheels. This also makes them a great candidate for fast, flowy terrain where momentum is essential and riding across large swaths of terrain where efficiency equates to less energy output. The S build kit is the premier build for the Chameleon lineup, coming with more performance-oriented components than any previous Chameleon completes have. A Fox 34 Performance fork delivers plush travel with a good range of adjustability, paired with SRAM's GX Eagle drivetrain employing a wide gear range and a helpful 50t bailout gear for those steep, prolonged climbs. Bomproof DT Swiss hubs laced to Race Face AR Offset rims keep you rolling true, with a Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper post that lets you lower your center of gravity for more confidence on the descents.
- Versatile hardtail that handles XC, dirt jumps, all-mountain
- 67.5-degree head tube for stability at speed & on descents
- Long front-center and short chainstays give a playful ride
- 29in wheels hold momentum and don't get hung up on obstacles
- Interchangeable dropouts let you swap in 27.5+ wheels
- Alloy frame optimizes strength & weight for less money than carbon
- Plush 120mm Fox 34 fork soaks up bumps and choppy terrain
- SRAM GX Eagle 1x12 drivetrain has massive gear range with 50t bailout gear