Chameleon Carbon 29 SE Reserve Mountain Bike
As a staple in Santa Cruz's lineup for over 20 years, the Chameleon has long been a favorite of aggressive riders who do not want or need a full-suspension bike. Over the years, the frame has evolved from 26-inch wheels to plus and 29-inch varieties, rim brakes to disc, quick-releases to thru-axles, 3 chainrings to 1x, and geometry tweaks making it capable of handling more technical trails. One constant has been its frame material: aluminum. Well, that all changes with this carbon update to the seventh generation Chameleon. Leveraging Santa Cruz's mastery of carbon fiber construction, this latest Chameleon drops some weight while improving the ride quality. This particular version, the Chameleon Carbon 29 SE Reserve Mountain Bike, combines a shred-ready SRAM GX Eagle group with Santa Cruz's own 29in Reserve Carbon rims, which are then laced to Hope's legendary Pro4 hub in a special anodized color that matches the bike perfectly.
This fun-loving, do-it-all trail bike is compatible with multiple wheel sizes and is also on our short list of bikes we'd pick for long-distance bikepacking missions over rugged terrain. It's offered here as a speedy 29er for covering ground as quickly as possible, but you can also set it up as a 27.5+ trail bike offering excellent grip and floatation over loose trails with its plus-sized tires. The dropouts also allow you to swap out the gears for single-speed use, should you desire a near-maintenance free drivetrain, live in an area without major elevation changes, or you just enjoy flogging yourself from time to time. Please note we carry the separate dropouts for plus and 29-inch wheels and the singlespeed spacing is 142mm while the geared version is Boost 148mm.
What we love so much about the Carbon Chameleon is it can jump in a singlespeed race one weekend, hit the berms in the bike park after work, and load up with a week's worth of camping gear for a bikepacking vacation next. Eagle eyes will notice two bottle cage mounts, including a triple-bolt cargo cage mount under the downtube for carrying large water bottles or various other items for bikepacking.
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 120-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.
- A carbon fiber version of Santa Cruz's renowned hardtail
- Carbon C construction drops weight while improving ride quality
- 29er configuration is ready for big miles and high speeds
- Huge tire clearance and 3-bolt cargo mount lends well to bikepacking
- SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain offers plenty of range for the hills
- Reserve carbon rims with Hope Pro4 hubs and color-matched Hope headset
- Backed by a lifetime warranty on frame
- Interchangeable dropouts allow for wheel size swaps and toggling between gear or SS use