So just before deadline we headed up to the rather cosy Dog and Partridge at Tosside to see the new 2012 next-year offerings from Santa Cruz. No Powerpoints in stuffy darkened rooms from these boys, instead two days of riding bikes round Gisburn Forest before retiring for the evening to drink beer and be really well fed. Win.
So first up is the Alloy Tallboy a 100m travel VVP 29er that can run 100-120mm forks up front. The Tallboy is proving popular with the long distance and 24 hour crowds and this brings the same benefits for a little more weight (claimed 6.6lb with shock) compared to the more expensive carbon version. Retail is £1749.00
In keeping with all the new bikes the Tallboy features a headtube suitable for tapered forks,
Max tyre size is 2.55″, test bikes came fitted with 2.1″ Maxxis Crossmarks which offered plenty of clearance. We’ve got the Alloy Tallboy lined up for an upcoming bike test so you’ll have to wait until we’ve had more saddle time for our verdict but first impressions were promising.
Next up, venturing back into the land of “normal wheels” is the Blur TRc; this is a new additon to the Blur family a 125mm trail bike best suited to a 140mm fork up front. The all carbon frame weighs in at a claimed 4.9lb weight (inc shock) and retails at £2699. (Santa Cruz UK points out that the TRc will have a Fox RP23 Factory Kashima rear shock which does partially account for the hefty price, along with carbon price rises for next year too.)
Again the tapered headtube and amount of material behind it combine to create a very stiff front end. The bike features a 68º head angle and similar top tube length to the more xc orientated frames.
The VPP suspension features a carbon swingarm and top pivot link, with dropouts and disk tabs moulded into the frame during layup. The lower link has two recessed grease ports. Both links have angular contact bearings and aluminium oversized axles. First ride impressions? Fast, capable and very enjoyable to take for a spin.
Adding to the hardtail end of the Santa Cruz range we have the Highball, a 2.45lb carbon 29er frame that’s aimed at racers and everyone else who appreciates speed. Frame retail is £1699.
A curved seatube and short chainstays keep the wheelbase feeling snappy and nimble. Whilst the frame will take a max tyre size of 2.2″-2.3″, we reckon the 2.1 Crossmarks fitted to test bikes gave the right balance of clearance given it’s intended role.
Again dropouts and disk tabs are moulded into the frame during one piece layup, to create a very light but stiff pedalling platform that spins up to speed incredibly efficiently. At the time of writing there’s a “Racing Red” frame winging it’s way across the pond for Dave’s next longtermer, more thoughts on this frame once it’s been built up and ridden.
And last but not least we have the Blur XC, an 105mm travel 4.4lb VPP carbon frame designed for 100 – 120mm forks, that shares all the same build features as it’s TRc big brother. Frame retail is £2399.
A fast and nimble short travel bike that’s ideal for racing or hooning. We liked it a lot.
We tested the Blur XC in issue 53 so pop over to the mag archive for our full review.