Any Santa Cruz owners out there? – advice/opinion sought

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  • Any Santa Cruz owners out there? – advice/opinion sought
  • Well, like I wouldn’t get advice/opinion from the STW massive!!

    Thinking about possibly getting a Santa Cruz frame, but not sure which looks the best for me – I ride a Chromag Samurai and a Spesh stumpy FSR 120 Expert (which I’m about to donate to my eldest son, if he ever gets up off his ass, puts down the PS3 controller, and comes out riding).
    Anyway, I do prefer a more relaxed head angle, I like the “cockpit” feel of the Chromag, and the Santa Cruz frames look fab, so they are my number one choice.
    Problem is, I’m not sure which one to go for:
    Blur (anodised) at £1007
    Heckler (Anodised) at £1350
    Nomad (anodised)at £1457 (gulp)

    I think they are all £100-200 less for paint finish

    Also, is it worth the extra for a Fox RP23 (£82) or the DHX 5.0 coil (£132)

    Any thoughts on fork selection?

    Now it’s early days and I will still do plenty more research, but would be interested in any advice.

    I tend to ride Dartmoor rocky stuff, trail centres, Quantocks, Alps each summer. I like to ride to my limits, nothing special as long as I’m scaring the bejesus out of myself, plus I like the shore/jumpy stuff, but again, no hucking or big doubles (I’m way too old :-))

    Any thoughts team?

    Ta in advance.

    Premier Icon ton

    i bought a heckler
    i thought i was gonna become a freeride god.
    i crached and bled.
    i do not own a heckler now.

    but they are very good bikes.
    if you are fit enough i do not think you can go wrong
    pikes and a dhx5 coil on the rear, no bob at all.


    do not tell anyone, but i think i would like a new one too.


    mtbr and pink bike both have santa cruz specific forums where they should be able to give you some advice, i just bought a new lizard frame though would love a nomad.


    I have had each of the three generations of Hecklers. I originally went for single pivot for the low maintenance side of things. The current Heckler rides well. I run 2006 Marzocchi All Mountain 1’s on the front and vary the travel from 140mm to 150mm. Set at 150mm and the bike descends bang on. I’m interested to try 160mm on the front but I think it would be too much for day to day stuff. I have always ran coil shocks as well. Just very plush. In the Peaks on Sunday and it was riding well (along with the owner). Handles rocks, boulders and drops with ease. I guess the Nomad would be more full on.


    I have a Superlight, I love it


    I have owned a Blur LT and a Chameleon, both were not that good


    I’ve got an orange powdercoat 07 Heckler and love it. I was too tight and couldn’t wait what they were telling me to fork out for the anodised version.

    Good, strong frame which is just under 30lbs all built up so does me for all my riding which is cross country but I am pretty heavy at 17.5 Stone but you could do it all on this bike.

    I have TALAS forks which I have been very happy with but very little to compare to, enoy the adjustable travel and lockout for long climbs and a standard Fox Float rear shock which again I have been impressed with, don’t notice bobbing when I am climbing or trundling along but again not much to compare it to. My mate just got a Stumpjumper with an RP23 and I was very impressed with the lockout option etc.


    Got an 08 Hecker with DHX 5 coil – I am 15st and dont like nor trust air cans which would need to support such a weigth as have had a few in the past that either lock or blow seals, coil is fit and forget and much plusher too, was fitted with Mar Z1 orange special anniversary bombers, didnt like the Z1’s so now fitted a pair of 09 RS Revelations, same as pikes but just not bolt hrough really – dual air and ride like a dream (lot lighter than Marz occhi forks)
    Bike/frame climbs real well and donwhill, well read the other reviews,takes everything,trails,freeride,DH and jumps-had a Yeti ASX before, this is far superior !, Buy the heckler dude


    Superlight here with Revelations giving a more relaxed head angle.

    Highly recommended.

    Premier Icon ton

    stop saying nice things about em

    wheres my credit card… 😉


    Token photo 🙂

    Premier Icon ton

    wonder if i can make a new one this fugly.


    Too wee to see properly!


    Blur (anodised) at £1007
    Heckler (Anodised) at £1350
    Nomad (anodised)at £1457 (gulp)

    Have you got Heckler and Blur the wrong way round?

    I had a Blur – sold it and have ridden hardtails ever since, never looked back.


    If you can still find one blur 4x, slack HA 115mm travel gnarly enough for anything really. uber fun


    I’ve got a Nomad. It’s lovely. Unbelievably good when you point it down hill but not so great on the uphills – but then I ride for the downhills so it doesn’t’ really bother me. It’s handled epics in scotland, wales and the lakes, as well as two trips to the Alps.

    Things i’d change….
    – Don’t get Hayes strokers or Saints. They have both failed me.
    – Not getting the paint finish. It’s not as good as the ano one.
    – Get SLX instead of Saint and save some weight on the cranks.

    Thing’s i’d not change
    – Getting a nomad
    – Building it quite burly.
    – The DHX5 Coil – awesome.

    Anyway, here’s some pictures of me and my Nomad.

    On top of helvellyn

    Swiss national downhill course near Chatel

    Snowdon Ranger path


    I could go on! Bottom line is that it’s a bit heavy if you build it burly, but to that I say strap your c*ck on and man the f*ck up. Oh and put flats on it.


    I’ve an 07 Heckler & think its fantastic, Pike forks, Crossmax XL, XT. Rides lovely, gives loads of confidence to chuck about, rides a whole lot lighter than it looks too.
    Dont bother with the RP23 or large volume – I’ve never had the ProPedal on, no noticable bob & with the large volume air can it blows through its travel to quick – I have the outer sleeve filled with grease to reduce air space – common fault reported on mtbr. New powder coat yellow looks great too so save a load of cash & get powder coat & basic shock.
    5’11” riding a large with 100mm stem & maverick Speedball layback post.


    Bikescene is guisborough have SC frames on sale. Definitely the nomad and maybe the blur.

    dougie – i’ve never understood the santa cruz fascination. overpriced californian designed tat imo.
    have you considered a Turner or a Nicolai ?
    Turner is more progressive deep thinking design, and the Nicolai’s are generally a robust Horst Link design with massive tyre and mud clearance and pivots (ceramic bearings) that last, as well as preload adjusters.
    you could get either the Turner or the Nicolai for the same price as the Nomad (thereabouts).
    Turner 5 Spot DW Link or Nicolai Helius CC or AM sounds about right.
    Sorry for the slight hi-jack, perhaps not what you wanted to hear .
    Check out Gravity Sportsfor pricing, contacts, etc.


    I’d say Heckler and sell me the Stumpy. TBH why push your hobbies onto others?!! If someone tried to get me off my bike and playing on a PS3 I’d be miffed! Let him enjoy his own passions 🙄

    Ewan- what mk is your Nomad? They have quite a high BB?? 14″ I think?? How does it feel? High or low still?

    Premier Icon metalheart

    Checking the SC website your prices are way out for both the Blur and Nomad (for 09 bikes anyway) being £1949 & £1999 respectively!.

    For that kind of money I’d have to agree with TLR and say it’s over priced and you could get better.

    That said I serious looked at a Heckler a year back and would have definitely gone for the coil shock option (but got a 4 bar bike instead).

    Oh and do you really need in excess of 120mm travel? I didn’t and sold it!

    Bought a BLT2 in May and couldn’t be happier. The new VPP design has much better bearings and seals so should not give any problems like the BLT1. I find it more than lets me explore the limits of my skills, from XC to reasonable technical stuff like the black at Laggan. It is also meant to be fine for reasonable drops and jumps, but that’s only in my dreams at present.

    Also rode a Nomad with Talas 36’s which was awesome but would be overkill for what I need. the new Nomad now has the same VPP system as the BLT2

    Have no experience of the single pivot Heckler so can’t comment on those, but have heard nothing but good reports

    Some suggestions:
    * Pikes match the BLT2 perfectly and are nice and rigid for the bigger stuff
    * The ano finish is worth it as it will look better for longer, but I do like the powdercoat colours. Sounds horrible, but the ano Skidmark is dead smart
    * Do not use Hayes brakes
    * Go for one of the build kits as it is way cheaper than buying the frame and building from parts. A good LBS will allow you to swap specific parts as well
    * My LBS reckons an air shock works much better on the BLT, but a coil is better on the Nomad
    * Go BLT2 if you want 140 travel, or Nomad if you want 160

    Here’s mine

    Premier Icon jimmy

    I’m a Heckler owner, too. Initially bought it as a lightweight DH bike but it quickly became my do everything bike. Came to Utah for a fortnight of hammering about, rode alldayers in the Peaks until I moved away and it took the abuse in Wharncliffe as well as uplift days at Innerleithen. It is a superb bike which can be built light or ‘core and used for either. Since moving to Scotland I haven’t really felt the need for full suss in general so it has not been ridden in months 🙁

    As for Turners, I rode one the other week and I would probably say it felt better in terms of the actual suspension – no bob, in fact couldn’t feel the suspension working at all. The whole ride was very smooth. Only thing putting me off was the fact that every part of the frame had been replaced due to breakage. The Heckler has survived 2 years of abuse so far without even changing the bearings. Oh, and that includes MEGA on top of riding listed above.

    Premier Icon jimmy

    gratuitous shot


    My brother potentially has a good condition 06 ano Nomad frame for sale (and some 09 36 Talas), email me if you’re interested.


    Bought my Blur LT last April and once i got the set up right i have to say that i love it. Mainly used as an XC machine and it suits me well. I did consider the Heckler but wanted the VPP rear. I run a high volume RP23 rear shock which i have had sorted to my weight by MOJO and it now works realy well although i did consider changing in for a DHX5 before sending it the MOJO (glad i stuck with the RP23). As i don’t use mine for jumpy stuff i have a set of 08 Rev U-Turns up front which, again once set up, have been fine although i would like to change them for a set of the new 09 Revs with the bolt through.

    In short, yes they are not cheap but IMO worth the money and more bike than i will ever need.


    I’ve had an 03 Heckler and now an 07 Nomad, and an 03 Superlight.

    IMO the Heckler can be built up for all day rides and mucking around on jumps/playing at light DH etc. The Nomad “should” be built up a bit burlier and is still well pedallable but it is gonna be more hard work on an all dayer etc – so beware if you are not fit enough. I find the Superlight fleexy adn I’m not sure I think that short travel makes sense – I don’t know if the blur might feel similar.

    All I am saying it that they are different bikes and you should work out what type of bike you want compared to your existing bike, riding, fitness etc.


    Another vote for the Blur 4X if you can find one. It would seem to meet all your requirements. I haven’t managed to get many photos of mine but anyway…

    Hob Nob

    Blur 4X for me also. My most used and versitile bike. So much fun to ride. I come from a more DH specific background so the longer wheelbase, low BB & slack headangle makes it a perfect trail bike for me.

    I’ll sacrifice a bit on the up so I can rip the sh*t out of it on the downs.

    It likes bearings though!

    Premier Icon Mike_T

    After a Superlight, a mk1 and mk2 Heckler and now an 06 Nomad I would have to say a Heckler is the way to go, it’s just right for the UK and if you build it burly enough it handle anything the Alps and Sierra Nevada can through at it also.

    I’ve had a Nomad for 2 years and to be honest there’s nothing I would swap it out for at the moment, may be an Intense Tracer VP, but that’s basically a Cruz in disguise.

    06 Nomad
    Ano Black
    Van 36 R’s
    Hope Pros, Mavic’s, Kendas
    Hope M4’s
    Race Face Cranks

    It’s all been abused for 2 years with 2 big Hols with SwitchBacks and AltitudeAdventures and it’s never failed me, touch wood, but if I had to start again it would have to be a Heckler Air sprung, do the Ano finish though SantaCruz paint looks like shit after 12months of abuse.

    Just Do it…..

    Thanks all, some diverse opinions (as usual – good to see a range of thoughts). I’m thinking that the Heckler may be the way to go. I did look at Nicolai and they are very nice, and also the intense 6.6 but they are really pricey.
    Definitely the ano finish, still unsure about forks and shock, possibly the DHX 5.0 as I do like coil shocks. Upfront – mmnn dunno yet, but I’d like 6″ travel I think.
    TBH if it wasn’t for the jyp my back gives me after all dayers (I broke it 2 years ago riding on Dartmoor so it flares now and again) I probably wouldn’t stop riding the Chromag – I love that bike, but can’t walk somedays after the ride – always gonna use it for singletracky stuff though.
    I’ve sort of outgrown the stumpy, dunno why cos it’s still a great bike but I just feel like something new. I would sell it but 2nd hand value is rubbish, so like most of us, it joins the “stable” as a back up.

    Really appreciate all the input folks, thank you.

    Now all I have to do is find one!


    RichyB – am definitely interested – would have to be a medium frame though – am I being thick what with this new forum set up – I can’t see your email address on your profile – does it work differently now?

    Mine is:

    Premier Icon auricgoldfinger

    Had a Nomad Mk1 – very good bike – only bike I never crashed on and was the one I rode over the “gnarliest” terrain (if that is the correct vernacular..). Anyway, I can see why you’d go for the Heckler – at the price of the new Nomads and Blurs they are looking much better value right now. If you were going for a Nomad or Blur, what TLR said earlier is right (have a Nicolai now)IMO.


    had 2 superlights and now have 09 heckler ano – and its my favourite(was tempted by a nomad and will probably get one one day if the price is right)

    superlights are very light and great for all dayers but for rougher stuff the heckler is burlier and just feels tougher so you dont worry about it(i’m 14 st of old gristle) – no bob with rp23 rear shock but havent tried a dhx coil

    good luck deciding cos you’ll never be sure you made the right choice



    My bike is built up burly

    New shape heckler with DHX 5 coil, Ti spring and now pushed.
    RS Lyrik coil u turn up front
    Avid code brakes
    Mavic EX729’s on hope hubs. Bulb front , pro II back
    Bontranger 2.5 tyres
    Thomson seatpost and stem
    Burgtec Ride wide bars
    E 13 DRS
    XT crankset
    Charge saddle

    crashtestdougie – you CAN buy an anodized Nicolai Helius AM or FR for less than you can a Nomad.


    Could I suggest a titus some great prices out there, i have a supermoto only one ride old but impressed, the elgaupo was I think Ben Howarths selected bike seen them hardly used for 600.

    Hecklers are good but horst links better 😀

    ps look at knollys

    Premier Icon Shandy

    Where are these bargain Nicolais to be had then?!

    Interesting thread, always fancied a Blur 4x myself, pity they were discontinued.

    And auricgoldfinger do I understand you correctly, you had a Nomad and NEVER fell off it?! Unless you had it for a week surely no falls means no balls?!


    Hecklers are luuurvely! well mine is anyway….

    i was thinking after a day at stainburn i’d quite like some longer travel forks with a through axle, maybe a lyrik or pike for the big squishy stuff. It does very well as it is though so until i win the lottery a shiny new lyrik is out of the question! climbs like a dream. Point is, you can build a heckler up HOWEVER you want.

    Premier Icon auricgoldfinger

    Shandy I had the old Nomad for well over a year (a long time for me). The only time I fell of it, despite my best efforts, was on greasy tarmac on a bend! I came plenty close numerous times (most memorably at Ae and in the Lakes) but the trusty Nomad never chucked me off. I would almost agree with WMB the other month – it is uncrashable.

    Nicolai’s are no bargain, but check the cost of the latest anodised Nomad with a DHX Air and you’ll see what TLR means. It seems to bother the Yanks more this, but the Nomad is made in Taiwan now, and some feel that is a lot of coin for a something fabricated en masse in the Far East (go and have a read through some of the threads on MTBR). The owner of my LBS was telling me that he’s had a lot of folk asking about the new Nomads and Blurs but most aren’t following through and buying. They are going for the cheaper Hecklers instead.

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