Santa Cruz’s Updated Blur XC – What Changed, What Didn’t and Why
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…
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 Could’ve saved a few more grams if we had ditched the trusty old thread-in standard BB, but we still cling to the outdated notion that bikes should enjoy a long life, be easily serviceable throughout that life, and be able to be serviced by people with regular tools found in most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.