Santa Cruz Has A New Carba-Carba-Carba-Carba-Carbon-Chameleon

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Here’s some news that we think a lot of you are going to be quite interested in; Santa Cruz Bicycles has a brand new mountain bike.

Arriving as the Californian brand’s first official bike release for 2019, this one is made from carbon fibre, which to be honest, is a pretty safe bet for any new Santa Cruz model these days. The frame will fit 29in or 27.5+ wheels, and you can run a 120-130mm travel fork. Nothing too unusual there then.

However, you won’t be finding a rear shock on this one…

santa cruz chameleon
This is the first time we’ve seen a carbon fibre Chameleon.

It’s no secret that the current Chameleon absolutely blew the doors off of any expectations Santa Cruz had prior to its launch back in 2017. With its simple alloy frame, 29/27.5+ wheelsize adaptability, mildly-wild geometry, and the ability to set it up geared or singlespeed with its adjustable dropouts, the Chameleon was certainly a neat hardtail, but it wasn’t supposed to be a bamboozler.

Something about the recipe resonated with a load of you, and it wasn’t long before the Chameleon soon became The Little Hardtail That Could™.

santa cruz chameleon
Ooh shiny bits!

In fact, so popular was the bike that Chipps got an exclusive first ride on, that Santa Cruz simply couldn’t keep up with the deluge of demand from UK mountain bikers who were looking for a low-fuss, fun, versatile hardtail for year-round riding good times. Early shipments rapidly sold out, and it took some time for Santa Cruz to get through the backlog of preorders from bingry (oh, that’s ‘bicycle-hungry’ ICYW) riders keen to make one their own.

While the dust was settling on all of that madness, Santa Cruz began work behind the scenes on the logical next step for Chameleon world domination – a carbon fibre version.

santa cruz chameleon hardtail
Backyard Trail Thrashing. Photo: Gary Perkin.

Apparently designed for ‘backyard trail thrashing and backcountry soul searching‘, the Chameleon C aims to bring the same versatility to the table as the alloy version, albeit with a lighter carbon fibre frameset.

Whereas the Highball is Santa Cruz’ lightweight XC race whippet, the Chameleon C is pitched as a fun trail hardtail that’ll accommodate a 120-130mm travel fork, and you can run either 29in or 27.5+ wheels by making use of the adjustable dropouts.

Santa Cruz Chameleon C Features

  • Carbon fibre 29/27.5+ trail hardtail
  • Modular dropout design: Setup for gears or singlespeed
  • Max tyre clearance: 29×2.5in or 27.5×3.0in
  • Fork travel: 120mm (29in) – 130mm (27.5+)
  • 67.2-67.3° head angle
  • 72.7-72.8° seat angle
  • 415-430mm chainstay length
  • Two water bottle mounts including a triple-bolt cargo cage mount under the downtube
  • 73mm threaded bottom bracket shell
  • ISCG 05 chainguide tabs
  • Dropouts: 148x12mm (geared) or 142x12mm (singlespeed)
  • Available sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • Frame RRP: £1,399
santa cruz chameleon
Anti-slap rubber armour.
santa cruz chameleon
Sliding dropouts give a 415-430mm adjustable chainstay length.
geometry chameleon santa cruz
Santa Cruz Chameleon C Geometry.

Like the alloy version, Santa Cruz will offer four frame sizes in the Chameleon C, with reach measurements going from 412mm to 487mm. The geometry shown above is for the 29er setup with a 120mm travel fork. The angles slackens just a lick with the 27.5+ setup and 130mm travel fork, though the BB height stays pretty much the same.

The Chameleon C will be available as a standalone frameset in that glorious metallic bronze finish for £1,399, or in one of four complete bike options starting at £3,799 and going up to £5,699. Check out the models and specs below;

santa cruz chameleon carbon hardtail
The Reserve option comes with Santa Cruz’ own carbon fibre rims. *Note: tyre spec is incorrect in this image*

Santa Cruz Chameleon C SE 29 Reserve

  • Fork // Fox 34 Float Performance, 120mm Travel
  • Headset // Hope Integrated
  • Wheels // Santa Cruz Reserve 27 Carbon Rims & Hope Pro4 Hubs
  • Tyres // Maxxis Minion DHF 3C EXO 2.3in Front & Ardent Race EXO 2.35in Rear
  • Drivetrain // SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 w/X1 Carbon Cranks
  • Brakes // SRAM Guide R w/180mm Centerline Rotors
  • Cockpit // Race Face Aeffect R Bar & Stem, RockShox Reverb Stealth Dropper & WTB Silverado Pro Saddle
  • RRP // £5,699
santa cruz chameleon hardtail
The Chameleon C SE 27+ Reserve has an ever-so-slightly raucous vibe doesn’t it?

Santa Cruz Chameleon C SE 27+ Reserve

  • Fork // Fox 34 Float Performance, 130mm Travel
  • Headset // Hope Integrated
  • Wheels // Santa Cruz Reserve 37 Carbon Rims & Hope Pro4 Hubs
  • Tyres // Maxxis Rekon 3C EXO 2.8in Front & Rear
  • Drivetrain // SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 w/X1 Carbon Cranks
  • Brakes // SRAM Guide R w/180mm Centerline Rotors
  • Cockpit // Race Face Aeffect R Bar & Stem, RockShox Reverb Stealth Dropper & WTB Silverado Pro Saddle
  • RRP // £5,699
santa cruz chameleon carbon hardtail
Complete bikes kick off at £3,799 for the Chameleon C S 29.

Santa Cruz Chameleon C S 29

  • Fork // Fox 34 Float Performance, 120mm Travel
  • Headset // Cane Creek 40 Series
  • Wheels // Race Face AR Offset 27 Rims & DT Swiss 370 Hubs
  • Tyres // Maxxis Minion DHF 3C EXO 2.3in Front & Ardent Race EXO 2.35in Rear
  • Drivetrain // SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 w/Stylo 7K Alloy Cranks
  • Brakes // SRAM Guide T w/180mm Centerline Rotors
  • Cockpit // Race Face Aeffect R Bar & Stem, RockShox Reverb Stealth Dropper & WTB Silverado Pro Saddle
  • RRP // £3,799
santa cruz chameleon carbon hardtail
You can also get the Chameleon C S with chubby 27.5in wheels and 2.8in Maxxis tyres.

Santa Cruz Chameleon C S 27+

  • Fork // Fox 34 Float Performance, 130mm Travel
  • Headset // Cane Creek 40 Series
  • Wheels // Race Face AR Offset 40 Rims & DT Swiss 370 Hubs
  • Tyres // Maxxis Rekon 3C EXO 2.8in Front & Rear
  • Drivetrain // SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 w/Stylo 7K Alloy Cranks
  • Brakes // SRAM Guide T w/180mm Centerline Rotors
  • Cockpit // Race Face Aeffect R Bar & Stem, RockShox Reverb Stealth Dropper & WTB Silverado Pro Saddle
  • RRP // £3,799

santa cruz chameleon
We don’t need no stinking rear shock! Photo: Gary Perkin.

So what do you folks think of the new carbon fibre Chameleon? A smart move by Santa Cruz? A hardtail that’s now on your most wanted list? Or not quite your cup o’ tea?

If you want to know how it rides, then make sure you check out our Santa Cruz Chameleon First Ride Review here.

And you need to watch this. You do.

See? Doesn’t your life feel just a bit better now?

If you’re looking for more information on the Tin Dragon, or you wanna find your nearest Santa Cruz stockist, head over to the Santa Cruz Bicycles UK website.

Comments (3)

    BINGRY? You are dead to me.

    Give me a Chameleon and I may just forgive you.

    glorious metallic bronze finish

    Brown? It’s brown. Why brown? Yuk.

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