January 30, 2009
Here’s Santa Cruz’ general description: “Daily duty DH racer? Park bike? Freeride bike? Heavy duty hucker? Backcountry bomber? Yep. All of the above…”
They go on to say:
It has 8 inches of next-generation VPP rear wheel travel. It also has enough room to raise or lower the seat through a 7-inch range. It’s got a 1.5″ head tube, an 83mm wide bb with ISCG05 mounts and 150mm rear spacing with a Maxle thru-axle. So, just what kind of bike is it supposed to be?
We designed the Driver 8 to be a general duty, daily driver gravity hauler. It is a super tough, super versatile bike that is ideal for a life at Whistler. It’s a damn good long travel high speed trail bike (Wait, is that freeriding, or all-mountain high speed trail riding? What about low speed, sphincter pinching gnarl? Does it speak with a Canadian accent? Man, this gets confusing…)
Anyway, it’s a kickass park bike, more lively and poppable and jumpable than the V-10. And it is also a very handy downhill race bike, probably a better race choice for most riders who aren’t World Cup pros on most courses that aren’t World Cup courses. But it can still plow through big rocks and huge drops with the best of them. 8 inches of travel is still a whole lot of cushion for the pushin’…
When the seat is slammed all the way down (7 inches of up and down adjustability, remember?), it is in a similar fore/aft location to the seat on a V-10, but can be run even lower. However, due to the angle of the seat mast, when the seat is raised up as far as it will go, the pedaling position is about the same as that of the Nomad, which is a pretty good location to kick at the cranks and point a bike uphill.
With regard to that “general duty, daily driver” comment, we’ve gone heavy duty with the VPP links. The upper link is carbon fiber, insanely strong, and pivots on four beefy radial contact sealed cartridge bearings. The lower link gets grease ports for easy service, huge 15mm pivot axles with the same trick locking collet head feature as the Blur LT, Nomad and new Blur XC, and it swings on EIGHT angular contact bearings. All bearing sets, top and bottom, are encased in a further set of lip seals and labyrinth washers to further combat the ingress of dirt. The bike comes with its own grease gun, and you won’t need a personal mechanic to deal with any of that.
You can call it a freeride bike, if you’re into that. You can call it a park bike. You can call it a downhill bike. It can do all that, and more. We’re sticking to our guns. We call it the Driver 8.”
All looks like an exciting bike in the works from Santa Cruz…
It’ll be coming out in the States mid-May. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear a UK date and retail price, but we imagine that Santa Cruz UK are probably still trying to work out what the exchange rate is doing…
The US Santa Cruz website is here.