Santa Cruz’s Updated Blur XC – What Changed, What Didn’t and Why

2012 santa cruz blur xc with tapered headtube and lighter frame

We posted some initial info on the revised Santa Cruz Blur XC already, but now we’ve got the full run down of changes and non-changes and the reasons why.

Visually, the tapered headtube is the first thing you’ll notice. They also have two new paint jobs, white/black/gold shown above and red/black/silver shown after the break. With the larger headtube, they were able to increase the size of the top- and downtubes as well, and they flared out the bottom of the seat tube. The result, they claim, is a much stiffer, stronger frame…which is actually saying a lot considering a) the original carbon Blur XC is a pretty stiff, strong frame and b) they managed to drop a little weight, too.

The weight savings comes from an updated carbon layup and molding process, likely similar to what they used in the new Blur TRc. Frame weight with shock is a “hair over four pounds,” which is darn competitive. So, what didn’t change and why? Click ‘more’ to see…

2012 santa cruz blur xc carbon with new red black and silver paint scheme

If you’re a fan of Santa Cruz and already get their email blasts, this is going to sound awfully familiar, but it really comes across best if we just let them explain things in their own words:

We didn’t use a press-fit bottom bracket. Could’ve saved a few more grams if we had ditched the trusty old thread-in standard BB, but we still cling to the outdated notion that bikes should enjoy a long life, be easily serviceable throughout that life, and be able to be serviced by people with regular tools found in most bike shops. That may have cost us a few grams, but we are okay with it.

We didn’t go to a 142x12mm rear thru-axle. We’re still using good old fashioned 135mm q.r dropouts. Since we have a suspension design that features a very solid one-piece rear triangle, there isn’t any measurable benefit to be gained (for us) from going to thru-axles. We’ve tested the heck out of them, with and without, and the difference in strength and flex is negligible (for us). Thru-axle wheels also tend to weigh more than q.r wheels, so while it may be a good call on bikes that have several individual pieces of frame that are all bolted together at or near the rear axle, it doesn’t make that much sense to us yet. Also, in XC race thinking, we feel the ability to swap out training wheels for race wheels, or fix a flat lightning fast, or slap a spare wheel in from another bike in a pinch, is still something worth holding onto.

We didn’t use a post mount for the rear brake caliper. Nothing against the things, unless you have a need to face your brake mount, or if you accidentally strip out the threads in the post mount hole. The casting precision on modern forks is pretty impressive, but we’re still not convinced that going post-mount on the rear is necessary – zero weight savings, and a whole new dimension of added headache if a caliper isn’t machined just right or if the mount isn’t exactly where it is supposed to be, or if a rider wants to run a rotor size other than what came with the bike.

We didn’t build an integrated seat mast into the frame. Being able to adjust your seat height is rad. Being able to fit your bike into a bike box is rad. Being able to one day sell your bike to someone who isn’t your clone is also rad.

There’s a common theme with all these points. It’s not a sexy theme, and it is real hard to fit it into a bullet point on a brochure. Basically, we believe that function trumps fashion. It is more important to us that our bikes are sensibly built, that parts can be easily sourced, and that our bikes can be easily serviced, than it is to jump on every new market trend that comes along in the hopes of snagging a few more sales. We throw a massive amount of technology into our bikes – our carbon fiber process is at the peak of how that technology is being applied to bicycles, our pivot hardware is the most sophisticated in the industry, and our suspension technology is second to none – but almost all of that technology is aimed at quietly doing its job and making our bikes ride better. We think that matters more than trend hopping.

Comments

lqdedison - 04/24/11 - 12:53am

I’ve always liked Santa Cruz and this new Blur is pretty sweet.

What’s even better is that they are honest with their customers about changes to the bike that were not added because they believed them to be no actual benefit. At least they were up front about it.

Nicely done Santa Cruz.

Robert - 04/24/11 - 2:51am

Having changed dozens of bottom brackets (and having proper facing and tapping tools) I changed a BB30 for the first time yesterday. I am not sure I get why a threaded bottom bracket might be simpler for someone at home. Tap out and press in (the tools are cheaper and simpler than my threaded kit) is quite simple. Perhaps the issue is deciding which BB std to use 30 – 95? At least the bearings are big even if crush tube spacings vary a lot. Or would it be better to say the actual choice of cranks is a bigger issue?

cldymnky - 04/24/11 - 10:09am

Seems like the build your bike at the santa cruz website was just “under construction” while they added there 2011 models.
Then we got the new colors matte black, carbon/blue and I forget the third color for 20011. I’m assuming there was no change in the frame other that esthetic from there 2010.
Now months later they came out with these frame and esthetic changes. This seems strange to me. Does anyone have theories or is this perfectly normal?

MashOr - 04/25/11 - 1:49am

I applaud the hesitation to jump on the latest and greatest bandwagon. I’m with you on the specs for both the new Blur and the new 29er hardtail.

Thank you for not making this another nightmare for shops to have to deal with.

bubba - 04/25/11 - 6:49am

their anti-post mount stand make NO sense. both systems have threaded holes, both have a face to mount to, and both can be adapted to different rotor sizes.

Adam SG - 04/25/11 - 7:04am

Bubba,
The post mount on the rear leaves you in a real bind IF the threads are to be become damaged or stripped. On a traditional tab style frame, you have the option of putting a longer bolt and a nut on the back side to hold your caliper in place.
Also, facing a post mount frame requires a different, and very expensive, facing tool.
Regarding the different rotor size, I’m with you on that, there are adapters available. The only limit would be if the frame is specced for 160mm and you want to run 140mm.

mountguitars - 04/25/11 - 2:28pm

with all their excuses for not using the latest on this bike, thank god they even made this bike in carbon. in my case, i’d rather see the latest on a bike and just get the aluminum version (like giant’s anthem X).

ADam - 04/25/11 - 2:43pm

Post mounts on the rear triangle are fine if they incorporate a removable barrel insert. see this: http://www.singletrackworld.com/files/2010/09/IMG_4556.jpg

MashOr - 04/25/11 - 11:15pm

With an IS51mm mount the caliper or the post style, 74mm adapter is threaded, not the frame or fork. I think what they were saying on the rotor size, is that with EITHER type of mount an adapter is required to go beyond 160mm, so again, back to an adapter. We never had problems when forks used the IS mount and now that everything is 74mm post, we’ve had to heilicoil many forks(softer mag/alum alloy does contribute to this). If repeated adjustments need to be made with an IS/74mm adapter, the wear and tear is on a $7 adapter. If you have a finiky brake, these repeated adjustments can strip out the threaded inserts in a frame or fork.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the clean look of the post mounts, just not sold on the current execution by builders.

Vonspanker - 04/26/11 - 12:03pm

What’s the advantage of a post mount brake?

Ken Arnett - 05/04/11 - 8:11pm

Does any one know the actual weight savings of the 2012 med blur XCC frame vs. Last year model?

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