Chameleon Carbon 27.5 Plus SE Reserve Complete Mountain Bike
The Chameleon's shreddy spirit and renowned versatility has captured the hearts of riders for over two decades. Originally conceived as a do-it-all bike that spanned the gap between freeride hardtail and XC race rig, over time the Chameleon has evolved into a more trail-focused machine. The versatility has not been lost though, as the aluminum-framed Chameleon released by Santa Cruz in 2017 expanded the bike's capabilities into the realm of bikepacking adventures. Now, much to our liking, Santa Cruz bestows us with a carbon fiber version of the Chameleon that delivers a snappier, more responsive ride while shedding 250-grams of weight compared to the aluminum version. And while the geometry remains largely the same as the aluminum version, this carbon fiber Chameleon Carbon 27.5 Plus SE Reserve Complete Mountain Bike comes with a few features that help this reptile stand out from the crowd. In addition to the lighter and faster carbon fiber frame, the new Chameleon comes with triple-bolt cargo cage mounts under the downtube for enhanced carrying capacity on multi-day adventures. This is a huge plus for bikepacking enthusiasts or those that prefer to ride without a hydration pack. This top-end build also comes with guaranteed-for-life Santa Cruz Reserve carbon rims laced to trusty Hope Pro4 hubs, as well as a matching Hope headset. Not only do these bits add some color-matching awesomeness, but they might just make your bike last forever.
From backcountry epics to backyard jump sessions, the Chameleon is easily adaptable to suit its environment. With a low-slung bottom bracket and moderately slack geometry, this bike handles tricky descents and the occasional day at the bike park, but is happy to rack up miles on an all-day sufferfest too. It's offered here as a 27.5+ trail bike for voluminous traction and greater compliance over rugged trails with its plus-sized 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 that teaches you to focus on technique and channeling raw power to clean those tough climbs and technical sections of trail. Note, you'll have to purchase separate dropouts from Santa Cruz if you want to change wheel sizes or convert to singlespeed use.
This Chameleon frame uses Carbon C construction, which takes advantage of Santa Cruz's most advanced carbon fiber layup techniques in conjunction with heavy-duty raw carbon materials. Santa Cruz frames are known for their exceptional durability and superior ride quality, and they come with a lifetime warranty for additional peace of mind. This SE build kit gives you a reliable selection of parts, including a 130-millimeter Fox Performance 34 Fork for stiff, confident tracking over the rough stuff and plush absorption of rocks and roots on the trail. SRAM's GX Eagle 1x12 drivetrain gives you a massive gear range with its 10 to 50-tooth cassette, allowing you to tackle a wide variety of terrain while enjoying smooth shifting, infallible chain retention, and quiet operation. It's rounded out with a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper for getting the seat out of the way on those steep descents where you'd benefit from a more aggressive body position. And as mentioned above, Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon rims with Hope Pro4 hubs deliver precise handling and keep you rolling true no matter how rugged the trail.
- The versatile Tin Lizard gets a fast and lightweight carbon frame
- From trail riding to bikepacking to dirt jumping, the Chameleon is a winner
- Triple-bolt cargo cage mount for extra capacity on multi-day adventures
- 67-degree head angle balances stability and maneuverability
- Longer front end and shorter chainstays for an agile, playful feel
- 27.5+ wheels maximize traction and compliance over rough terrain
- Interchangeable dropouts allow you to swap in 29in wheels or set up singlespeed
- Reserve carbon rims with Hope Pro4 hubs and color-matched Hope headset