Santa Cruz overhauls the Blur into an even more modern XC racer

The new model progresses the geometry, saves almost 300 grams, and has room for two water bottles.

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Cross country mountain biking is once again booming and with that comes a whole new array of fresh bikes that cater to both dedicated racers and those seeking a more versatile yet fast ride. 

Today, mountain bike specialist Santa Cruz has announced a complete overhaul of the Blur, a long-standing cross country platform that has traditionally leant a little toward the capable, comfortable, and fun end of the racing spectrum. This new model is said to be the lightest frame Santa Cruz has ever produced, and it’s arguably one of the most competitive race machines we’ve seen from the Californian bike company in a long time. 

The new Blur follows common trends in full suspension cross country bike design with a more progressive geometry, room for two water bottles, and a simplified suspension design that saves weight. 

XC versus TR 

Just like almost every other full suspension cross country bike release in recent years, Santa Cruz will be offering two distinct versions of the Blur – the XC and the TR. Both share the same front and rear triangles. Both are based on 29er wheels. Both feature longer reaches and slacker head tube angles respective to the previous Blur options. And both are available in two levels of carbon frame – the premium CC and the more affordable C. 

The XC is the race-focused version and offers 100 mm of suspension travel front and rear. It features a remote lockout for the suspension. And complete bikes will come with lighter tyres (Maxxis Aspen), a short length (lighter) dropper post, and RockShox SID SL suspension. 

Meanwhile, the TR is the trail-friendly version. It features a 120 mm fork with 115 mm out back that’s achieved with a longer-stroke shock. On complete bikes the remote lockout is removed, and is replaced with a stiffer Fox 34 Stepcast fork, larger brake rotors, a full-height dropper seatpost, and burlier tyres (Maxxis Rekon). The Blur TR will also be available from the women’s-specific Juliana brand. This model is called the Wilder. 

The Juliana Wilder is a close match to the new Blur C TR.

Updated geometry

Like every other new mountain bike release, the new Blur models also feature longer front-centres (matched with shorter 60 mm stems), slacker head tubes, and steeper seat tube angles. Additionally Santa Cruz has moved to size-specific chainstay lengths for each of the four frame sizes. 

Longer and slacker? Yep. But it’s not lower; that’s unchanged.

The new Blur XC is now 0.7° slacker than the previous Blur, while the new Blur TR is 1.4° slacker than its respective predecessor. 

Complete bikes start from US$6,149 for the Blur C with a RockShox SID SL Select plus fork and Shimano XT 12-speed gearing. 

The Superlight name returns 

Go back approximately a decade and the lightest, most cross-country-focussed machine in Santa Cruz’s lineup was the Superlight. This single-pivot machine stood alongside the more advanced Blur, but was eventually phased out as Santa Cruz moved away from dedicated cross country machines. Now Santa Cruz is bringing back the Superlight name, but this time it’s used to label the Blur’s new simplified single pivot suspension layout that employs a carbon fibre flex stay. 

The previous three generations of the Blur have used the company’s Virtual Pivot Point concept (VPP) suspension layout, and this move to a vastly simplified suspension layout has unsurprisingly come with a significant 289 gram saving from the previous Blur 3 CC. The simpler suspension layout has also opened up room for a second water bottle within the main triangle. 

The Specialized Epic was one of the first full suspension bikes to allow the carrying of two bottles within the main triangle. Such a feature has become a huge selling feature (almost a must-have) for marathon racing purposes.

The new Blur XC frame is claimed to weigh just 1,933 g for a size large with a RockShox SidLuxe rear shock and all hardware. That weight is for a frame with the lighter “Dark Matter” finish, while a frame with colour is said to be about 48 g more. Comparing weights against other manufacturers is tricky business given there are no standards for what must be included, but it’s safe to say the new Blur CC is certainly competitive. At the time of publishing Santa Cruz had not provided a weight for the lower-cost Blur C frame. 

Despite those weight savings, the new Blur comes with a lifetime warranty as standard. Like other Santa Cruz bikes, that warranty even extends to the frame pivot bearings. 

New Reserve wheels 

Launched alongside the new Blur is a new lightweight 29″ cross-country racing wheelset from Reserve. With a 28 mm inner width, this 385 g carbon fibre rim is the lightest Reserve mountain bike rim yet and produces a complete wheelset weight of just 1,367 g (with DT 180 hubs, 24 spokes front and rear). 

The 28 XC wheels are the lightest mountain bike wheels from Reserve to date. The rim is intended for wider rubber and ultra low pressures; it’s not ideally suited for gravel racing use.

The rims are said to feature a shallower rim bed that’s designed around the latest generation of high-volume 2.2-2.5″ cross country tyres. The rims and wheels are backed by Reserve’s generous lifetime warranty. 

For more on the new Santa Cruz Blur, stay posted to Pinkbike – Sarah Moore has just received one for review.

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