I quite fancy a shortish travel XC bike as the 6" trail bike is overkill on most of my local riding. How are these to own and ride?
Santa Cruz superlight 26er - opinions?
I've had one, not as light as the name suggests.
Now mainly ridding & loving for a long time the Turner DW Flux with a 120mm fork on the front.
Used frames can be had very cheapily & I would highly recommend one.
a Superlite is a classic design that has been around for years. They are good bikes. Single pivot so a simple FS. You can build em pretty light if your throw some not to expensive but choise bits on to the frame. It's lighter than a DW link Flux but possibly not as good a ride but a really good choice all the same.
Get the 29er version - great simple xc/trail bike.
29er not on the cards. This needs to be a 26" rebuild from my HT.
Never actually ridden one in anger but always wanted one. Lovely looking bike and a classic IMO.
Morewood Zula could be worth looking at, another 4" single pivot.
Had mine for 3 years or so now - ridden all over the UK on it, trail centres, mountain routes etc. Local routes for me are white / dark peak and its great for that kind of stuff.
Gets out of its depth on really steep or rocky stuff (e.g Snowdon ranger)
Run mine with 120mm forks, and a 1 degree slackset.
Well I have bigger bikes for bigger stuff but there's a lot of rolling XC around here and hauling those bikes around is draining at times.
How does it pedal?
I got my first in 2000 and moved to the 2007 frame when the original one cracked.
Despite my 100Kg girth mine rides wonderfully. Copes with trail centres (just come back from a week in CYB) and feels far faster than I truth be told.
120mm forks and a shorter than the previous 100mm stem made a world of difference to the handling around said trail centres.
With a rather expensive build list it did weigh under 25lb, but I have now put some Hope/Arch EX wheels on that have taken it up slightly. Feels a lot tighter with my weight than the previous 355 rims.
I've been itching to have a go on something a bit bigger like a Bronson or similar, but this is mainly due to how good they look and my itchy 'buy' finger. Probably won't happen as I like the SL rather a lot.
However, having said that I have set faster times down the two Cannock Monkey descents on my hardtail (C456), so not sure what that says
I really enjoyed mine (07 or 08 I forget), always thought they were ultimately best as an XC bike when run at 100mm travel, it'd zip through the tight stuff. I have 115mm U-turn forks, and it was good fun with that amount of travel, but I didn't want to run longer, as the front end became too light to climb as well as it could (though lots of ppl run then at 120mm). No it's not a superlight frame weight wise, but it doesn't take huge amounts of money to make it lightish (though I don't weigh my bikes, I'm no weight weenie), Reba's/Hope wheel & brakes/XT chainset on mine & it's definitely not heavy by any means.
Some of my friends believed I am faster at trail centres on the SL than my Prophet, as the SL is so 'nippy', definitely great fun either way.
Need to sell mine, as I do have the 29er bug.
Mine dates back to 08. Not really super light, it weighs about 28lbs but is great to ride. Like many others I have 120mm forks. It's a great cross country bike, lovely through singletrack.
Like mine a lot although I've not ridden many other FS bikes for comparison. Prefer it with 120mm forks personally. Pedals pretty well, sometimes I commute on it if I'm going to take a diversion onto the trails.
Use mine to commute and do the Ashton Court loop every day. Great bike, had it a few years and reckon i'll always keep it as my xc bike. Its been everywhere, bivvys up black mountains, trail centres, all dayers, did the top to bottom sponsored Anglesey to Bristol ride on it with road(ish) tyres a couple of years ago too. Still going strong! Highly recommended.
Zippy - I had mine with 85-115mm Reba air U-turn forks at first, and as you say it felt very odd with them set at 115mm.
When I saw the comments about using it at 120mm I was very sceptical but a few twitter conversations with SC UK (Probably the office junior at Stif at the time lol) I decided to go with 120mm forks when the Rebas were relegated onto my daughters bike.
Not sure what the A2C measurements on each fork is, but 120mm SIDS feels nothing like I remember the Rebas at full extension
Climbing is very planted and I run out of puff before the front lifts.
I had a 2009 Superlight for a couple of years. I personally found it a huge improvement over the top 853 hartail I previously rode. That hardtail was pretty great, but the Superlight gave me more speed and confidence downhill and breezed over rough trail sections compared with the hardtail. Another feature was climbing steep loose stuff - the single pivot seemed to dig in and grip really well.
PS. The guy is right about the DW Flux but then it's a lot more money. If you can afford a couple of hundred extra for a used DW frame or even HL frame then do it. If not them the SL is also a great bike with cheaper maintenance.
Here's my bikes. One is fancy pants costs a lot.
The other is my ride to work bike, to be honest there's not much between them.
Save lots of money and buy a Mount Vision frame.
I love mine, it's an older version (2003) which i've upgraded with an RP2. I think the newer ones are prettier (07 on?).
The older ones were only designed to take a 100mm fork at the front so if you add a 130mm fork it slackens it off slight to give a more moderm geometry.
Ahhh all this talk that the Superlight is not super light! It is a 2.5kg frame and shock which is the same as a Giant Anthem. It is the build that makes it light or heavy really... I had mine built to 9.4kg with a lot of classifieds trawling and patience and it was perfect for the long rides/ events I enjoyed.
There is no other comparable frame offering the same value, reliability and ride in my opinion.
The SC superlight is a fantastically balanced little bike. Bob isn't an issue- the basic shock is more than fine. Pedal strikes are also a non-issue. I would imagine that those who suggest otherwise could have taken more time to set up the shock (took me a week or two to dial in). When the shock was due for a quick check over Loco also tuned it to reduce a little mid stroke wallow I felt could be improved for my style of riding.
In my opinion the thing that really sets the SL apart is the geometry. There is no other way to describe it apart from perfectly balanced both up and down, on tight singletrack and on fast open rocky descents. I love to climb super steep rocky, rooty trails and have always been frustrated by other bikes- needless to say the SC delivers. The other advantages of a nice clean, simple suspension design were exactly what I was after. In 18 months of use I have only had to replace the lower shock bushing.
As for disadvantages, I would say that the paint isn't the best- it tends to look scratched a little easily.
Magazines tend to refer to the Superlight as a "fun" bike and that is the tyoe of thing you write of a industry BS until you get a chance to ride one
You might also find this thread interesting: SC Superlight thread
Simple & effective. I'm on my 2nd now after the swingarm broke on the original but the new design is much better. Does all you would reasonably ask of a short travel XC bike. Don't worry about it being a single pivot, it's perfectly placed and doesn't bob. The only time I notice it is a single pivot is with a bit of pedal kickback when really grunting up a hill in granny gear and you hit something solid. Get a size larger than you think-they come up small. Anodised finish is very tough.
I don't think Santa Cruz offer anodized finishes any more, at least they didn't when I bought my Superlight. Either it was getting very expensive for them or they were struggling to control the quality... something along those lines.
My SL journey includes 2001 and 2003 models and I currently ride the 2008 incarnation. I did have a daliance with a 2004 Blur but I preferred the ride and simplicity of the SL. The earlier frames were mated to Fox Talas RL forks, but most of the time they were set to around 100mm of travel. Current setup is 100mm Fox RL100's and 170mm crank arms and I can't recall the last time the forks bottomed out or I experienced a pedal strike. Regularly piloted around the Surrey Hills, and has survived week long trips to the Atlas Mountains and Snowdonia. Anodised finish every time, my 5 year old frame has very few signs of use. I still smile every time I swing me leg over.
Paint wears off easily and has a normal headtube. But it has a nicely long top tube, long stroke shock, 30.9mm seat tube, rides nice with 120mm fork, climbs and pedals really well. Like a 'small' heckler or so says a mate who had a heckler back along. The mud clearance is just fantastic too though I am not sure that was a priority when/where they designed it. If you buy a new one you also get replacement bearings free for life and the one time we have done this they turned up no questions asked (I properly mashed the inside seals on the old ones getting them out with my ghetto split collet removing thing) and super quick too.
I had a 2007 model with 120mm fox fork , xtr groupset and hope pro 3 wheels set with tubless set up 2.25 Maxxis Advantage tyres ,was 24.8lbs , rode really well, climbs great and awesome downhill low BB helps, only when it gets really rough it can get out of shape, I had a 2007 hecker at the same time, which had lyrics and coil shock so felt nothing like but would plough most things
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