Review: With a 120mm fork, the Santa Cruz Blur is a pocket rocket trail bike

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As far as contemporary XC bikes go, the latest generation Blur from Santa Cruz Bicycles ticks a lot of boxes.

Plugging an important gap that the Tallboy left behind as it steadily morphed into a trail bike, the new Blur (also known as the ‘Blur 3’) heralds a spectacular return to its cross-country roots. This is a bike that has been fully engineered from the ground-up as a lightweight full suspension race bike.

To that end the Blur is equipped with a high-tech carbon fibre frame, 100mm of travel, fast-rolling 29in wheels, and geometry that aims to combine an aggressive head-down-bum-up racing position with sure-footed handling. The frame is dropper-ready and 1x specific, and thirsty riders need not worry – it’ll still take a water bottle inside the mainframe, and you can fit a second underneath the downtube.

santa cruz blur
Santa Cruz has brought back the Blur. All photos by Brent MacKenzie.

Like other Santa Cruz models, the Blur frame is available in both C and CC carbon fibre grades. We’ve got the higher-end CC frame here, which Santa Cruz states is the lightest full suspension frame it has ever produced at 2060g. I recently found out this is quoted without the rear shock though, which explains why this Medium-sized test frame came out at 2250g (5.58lb) with the rear shock, thru-axle, hanger and seat collar.

Respectable, but a little ways off an equivalent Scott Spark RC (1779g claimed) or Canyon Lux SLX (2053g claimed).

santa cruz blur
This is the Blur CC, which uses a lighter and more expensive grade of carbon fibre.

I travelled to California earlier this year to test out the new Blur on some of the trails local to Santa Cruz HQ, where the Blur had been prototyped, tested and refined into the production version you see here. I got along with the Blur very well, but I did find the Fox 32 Step-Cast forks felt a little twangy compared to the stout frame, and the Maxxis Aspens it came with weren’t exactly the grippiest of tyres. Sure it’s a pretty dialled race setup out of the box, but to me the speedy Blur felt like it was being held back – at least for my limited riding skills anyway.

To explore the outer realms of the Blur’s capabilities, and to see whether it could be more than just a skinny XC whippet, we got in a standalone frameset and built it up from a blank canvas. Here’s a closer look at how we took this thoroughbred XC race whippet and gave it a steroid injection.

santa cruz blur fox 34 step-cast
We built up the frame from scratch with a full custom build.

 

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If you’d like to read more, check out all the details on the Santa Cruz Blur in our launch story here. You can also read my first ride review of the new Blur here, and if you need a good laugh, then see how the bike came together in this build video (hint: very slowly).

And if you’ve been inspired by this review to ‘trail-ify’ your own XC bike, then make sure you check out our feature article “Ditch The Twitch – 14 Ways To Turn Your XC Bike Into A Confidence-Inspiring Rad Machine!

As always, we’d love to hear what you think of the Blur and how I’ve got it setup here – let us know your thoughts, and shoot me any questions you’ve got in the comments section below!

santa cruz blur fox 34 step-cast
The Blur is meant to be a pure XC race bike. But with a bigger fork and burlier spec, it becomes a whole lot more fun and approachable than that.

Santa Cruz Blur CC Specifications

  • Frame // Blur CC Carbon Fibre, 100mm Travel
  • Fork // Fox 34 Step-Cast Factory Series, 120mm Travel, 51mm Offset
  • Shock // Fox Float DPS EVOL, Performance Series, 170x35mm
  • Hubs // DT Swiss 340, 110x15mm Front & 148x12mm Rear
  • Rims // Santa Cruz Reserve 27, 27mm Internal Width, 28h, Tubeless Ready
  • Tyres // Bontrager XR5 Team Issue, 2.3in Front & Rear
  • Crankset // SRAM X01 Eagle DUB, 32t X-Sync 2 Chainring
  • Rear Mech // SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-Speed
  • Shifters // SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-Speed
  • Cassette // SRAM XG1295 Eagle, 10-50t, 12-Speed
  • Brakes // SRAM Level Ultimate, 180mm Centreline Rotors
  • Stem // Renthal Apex 35, 50mm Length
  • Bars // Renthal Fatbar Lite Carbon 35, 10mm Rise, 760mm Wide
  • Grips // Ergon GE1 EVO Factory, Slim
  • Seatpost // Race Face Turbine R, 150mm Travel, 31.6mm
  • Saddle // Ergon SM Pro, S/M
  • Size Tested // Medium
  • Sizes available // Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • Weight // 11.64 kg / 25.74 lbs

Review Info

Brand:Santa Cruz Bicycles
Product:Blur CC
From:Santa Cruz Bicycles, santacruzbicycles.com
Price:£2,999 (frame only with Fox Float DPS Kashima shock), $4,999 AUD
Tested:by Wil Barrett for 3 months

Comments (7)

    That looks a fantastc fun trail bike.

    Red and orange though…

    Santa Cruz, rode many models for 12 years, now, seems to be a one trick marketing pony, going down, V10, enduro, Nomad, going rad, Bronson, X country, Blur, so where’s the SC X Country team, Scott etc will muller this bike for fun, seems they produce too many itterations of a bike for the dollar only, the Syndicate that many.of us bought into is, in my opinion, no longer relevant, there are new kids in town beating what many thought a benchmark, work to do Santa Cruz.

    Agreed @Tim black fork all day long

    I noticed 27mm internal rims, I think it’s time for hope to rename their 23mm “Enduro” wheels ;0)

    Doesn’t look like the bottle cage mounts inside the main frame are much use with that cable routing…

    I think there is something wrong with the orientation of your dropper Post’ Head?

    Awesome write up. I look forward to following the progress with the Blur’s build. Good luck with the race prep too!

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