Given the incredibly efficient designs of today’s trail and enduro bikes, it’s easy to overlook the world of XC bikes. Unless you’re racing, you wouldn’t want something with short travel and skinny tires. Right? One look at the new Santa Cruz Blur TR suggests that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are plenty of reasons to opt for a more efficient, shorter travel rig, and with the slight modifications of the TR build, the new Blur seems like it’s ready to party.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

Between the Blur and the Blur TR builds, the frame utilizes Santa Cruz’s VPP suspension design to squeeze 100mm of travel out of the lightest full suspension frame they’ve built at that travel. Offered in C and CC carbon builds, this is their higher end CC construction which offers their lightest and stiffest carbon frame. Like other bikes in their lineup, the new Blur has received the updated VPP design with a revised lower linkage, and a twin upright rear triangle design for improved lateral stiffness.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

Up front, the TR builds take it to 11 with a Fox Step Cast 34 fork with 110mm of travel instead of the 32 Step Cast forks with 100mm of travel on the XC builds. Designed for 29″ wheels and tires, the frame uses Boost 148mm spacing and has clearance for 29 x 2.4″ tires.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

But even with the extra bit of travel, both the shock and the fork are still controlled via the RockShox TwistLoc remote (an interesting choice given the Fox suspension). The TwistLoc functions like a GripShift – you twist the handle to open the suspension, and thumb the small button to lock both the front and rear suspension out. It’s a good thing this bike is 1x, because there’s already a lot going on with the suspension lockout remote and the Reverb 1x remote.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

With the exception of the brake hoses, cable routing is internal with the rear shift housing popping out of the downtube before reentering the rear triangle to the rear derailleur.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

As mentioned, the TR build includes a RockShox Reverb dropper seat post which is another difference for the TR vs standard build. XC racers would probably choose to lose the post in favor of shedding grams, but I’ll take the dropper over a good bit of weight every single time.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

This particular build is the XO1 TR, so it’s equipped with a SRAM X01 Eagle 1×12 drivetrain including an X1 Eagle Carbon DUB crank with a 34t ring and threaded bottom bracket.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

It might still be an XC bike, but a molded down tube protector and chainstays/seat stay protector ensure that your investment stays safe from rock strikes and chain slap. There’s also a second bottle cage mount on the bottom of the downtube which could come in handy – more on that in the final review.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

Stopping duties are performed by SRAM Level TLM hydraulic disc brakes and 180/160mm SRAM CLX Centerlock rotors. Again, the XC builds opt for 160mm rotors front and rear to cut weight.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

To finish off the cockpit, Santa Cruz adds their own 740mm SCB XC carbon flat bar held in place with an 80mm Syntace LiteForce stem.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

It’s always fun to see how WTB integrates the bike brand’s design into their co-branded saddles, and this one opts for a simple line scheme that continues the theme found on the top tube.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

While the stock X01 TR build includes Race Face ARC aluminum rims, our tester was shipped with Santa Cruz Reserve 25 Carbon rims which are a $1200 upgrade option on this build. These feature a 25mm internal width, 30.6mm external width, and 3mm asymmetrical offset. Meant for tires up to 2.4″ wide, they’re a perfect match for the Blur TR which ships with Maxxis Rekon 29 x 2.25″ 3C EXO TR tires. With the DT350 hubs, the wheels have a claimed weight of 1607g.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

And the whole bike weighs in at 24 lbs 04 oz, or 11kg with sealant but no pedals. That’s less than claimed at 11.28kg / 24.86lbs, and for reference, about two pounds more than the XC X01 build. As shown, the Blur CC X01 TR with Reserve Carbon wheels runs $7,899.

The Blur already has a fairly progressive geometry for XC bikes with a 69° head tube angle and 74° seat tube angle, but with the 10mm of extra travel the TR build slacks both out by 1/2° and runs a bit less BB drop. Otherwise, the geos are pretty similar with 17.01″ chainstays, and 435/440mm reach numbers for the medium shown here in XC/Trail guise.

First Look: Santa Cruz Blur TR checks in for XC oriented fun on the trails

The next time you see this bike it will have some new tires, so stay tuned!

santacruzbicycles.com

 

37 COMMENTS

  1. They had me at “fun xc bike” but lost me at Reverb and dual lockouts.

    Lockouts may have a place, but the reviews I’ve read say that the lockout isn’t needed on the new Blur, and this would have been the build to leave them off of. Maybe they can offer a downgrade kit?

    Lockout and dropper preferences aside, this is exactly the sort of thing that I like for our local riding. And the purple hits are ace.

  2. Bob, as a huge Shimano fan and former employee, you clearly have not ridden new SRAM products. Yes I would rather have an XT 12 speed, but since that’s going to be another 1.5 years! And I’m pretty happy with my GX Eagle (not as smooth as Shimano but solid non the less). And I trust if Santa Cruz puts SRAM brakes on their bikes, they must be solid as they are notorious for putting what’s best for the price range. Go complain about something else and keep riding your XTR 9 speed Turner XCE

    • Sram parts are terrible quality new old whatever, nothing that I’ve owned from sram has lasted more than 2 years. I’ve had road chainrings snap, crank arms fall off and brake disc warp from heat. All garbage stuff.

    • it is well accepted that their brakes are inferior to shimano. plus maintaining them is orders of magnitude more difficult. DOT fluid, enough said. as for their drive train, the shifters are crap, not being able to shift up with either thumb or finger is a huge PITA even though it is something trivial. the rest of their selling points are just to look good on a spec sheet.

      Trusting a bike company to put only the best stuff on is a bit naive. they put sram brakes on because they have a sram drive train. pure and simple. And they use sram drive train because it looks good on a spec sheet. “It’s got a 50T, and bigger is better”. it is still all about the Benjamins.

      • I have no trouble upshifting on sram with thumb or index finger. Maybe you need to adjust the position of the shifter?

        • I believe he means that the smaller trigger on Shimano, the one for shifting to harder gear on the rear, can be pulled or pushed, whereas on SRAM it can only be pushed. It does seem like an odd thing to get so angry about, though.

      • Maybe that was true five or more years ago when Avid/ SRAM had so many problems with their Juicys, Elixirs, and their road brakes. But Codes and Guides have a pretty decent reputation. Shimano has also had problems with its brakes- wandering bite point, ovalized master cylinders, micro-cracks in the ceramic pistons of higher-end brakes which let air in. Mineral oil does have some benefits over DOT, but it also contains around 8% air in solution, which means that even if the oil doesn’t boil, the air does. (Personally, I’m still on cable brakes and am very happy with them! So I don’t really have a dog in the race.)
        I would agree that SRAM’s build quality has gone down over the past ten years- older 9.0 stuff shifted amazingly well. It’s the usual- attract customers by making great stuff, then switch to mass production after they’re already on board.

      • Internal cable routing is indeed bad. The only reason manufacturers offer it is because it’s easier to manufacture, esp. for carbon frames. They’ve sold it to consumers on aesthetic grounds, and people have by and large bought it; maybe they don’t work on their own bikes. If we’re talking about rattling, I’d say I’ve seen that on both internal and external setups, and that it can easily be eliminated on external setups by using some zipties. Pretty, no, functional- yes.

        • The blurs internal routing is perfect. you push the cable through the hole, it comes out the other side. no rattle. Not all internal is bad.

          • The same has always been true of external, though. If internal works great, great. But until it working well becomes the overwhelming norm, it’s still if.

    • Good idea, that would be more inclusive and understandable for a big chunk of the readers here. But I do think the majority of readers here are USonians. Probably Santa Cruz are more to blame for the post being in imperial units rather than metric.

  3. Good looking bike but ouch almost $6500 w aluminum wheels. Looking at 100mm XC bikes in this space. This looks good as well as the Intense Sniper and the Canyon Lux (2 water bottle holders, 110 fork and dropper for $5K).

  4. That is a damn good race bike build. The all-black look is perfect.

    The Bob’s of this world need to get with the times and realize that Shimano doesn’t care about mountain biking, and SRAM parts are very very good and much more preferred by hardcore riders. Shimano has zero parts that have any clear advantage these days, and yes that includes brakes. 1x won, and 2x / 3x is dead. Get over it.

    • Why do you say that Shimano doesn’t care about mountain biking? Im not saying that isn’t true, just want to hear why you say so.
      I’ll agree that SRAM has won the innovation game in the last several years and that Shimano is lagging, and also that Shimano parts seem to lack a clear advantage over SRAM ones, but I’d say it’s more the case that SRAM is better on innovation but in terms of shift quality, durability, warrantying bad stuff and so on, the two companies are about equal.

      • Perfectly rational here. I stand by my statement. Shimano’s efforts in mountain bike parts in the past 5 years have been so weak it is unsettling. They gave up on wheels so just give up on drivetrains already. Their dropper post is a joke. Stick to pedals, they can do that right. They only seem to understand pure XC and that market is dead. The new XTR release is a joke.

        BTW, Shimano doesn’t care about cyclocross either. They don’t care about gravel bikes. They don’t care about fat bikes. I can keep going. They should just throw in the towel and stick to road bikes at this point.

        Everyone loves their shifting and brakes yeah? I think SRAM does them both better and everyone would be wiser to try it themselves long term and you’ll forget about Shimano. Every bike shop I have visited in the western US of has abandoned them also. They just stock brake pads. bye Felicia!

          • Yup. XT Di2 came out most recently right? Seen it on any OEM bikes? No. Know anyone who bought it? Probably not. Great product right? Why isn’t it selling? Nobody want the 2x synchro shifting? Probably. Help me out here. You can’t tell me they are succeeding or even trying to succeed. Once SRAM got the euro OEM market that was the death of Shimano.

        • SRAM, Shimano…run whatever you want. No one gives a rats ass. I have no personal vendetta against Shimano, but I have remained a SRAM fan since ’05 and Shimano has not provided me with any reason to return. There is no question who won the drivetrain wars, but again run what you like. Both shifting systems work; it comes down to what one prefers in terms of feel. I prefer SRAM’s harder dare I say clunkier feel over Shimano’s smooth dare I say vague feel. In the brakes department, I have ran Codes in various incarnations since ’06 and they have remained trouble free, with plenty of power and far superior modulation to any Shimano brake I’ve ever ridden. The closest were the XTR trails, but they cost nearly 3x as much. I have ’18 Code R’s now and they as their forbearers simply kick ass. Every single publication out there ranks them at the top of their tests too FWIW. Again though, whatever turns you on.

          • Interesting sram shimano discussion. I’ve doggedly kept my shimano 3×9 and 3×10 bikes going for 5 years, because 1x never gave me the range. I so wanted 1×11 shimano to be right for me but its almost embarrassing how far behind it was on day 1. The 11-46 cassette monstrosity confirms how badly shimano slipped into a lazy stupor.
            Yet… sram cassettes are too expensive. No way I am locking myself into that ecosystem.
            My big hope is XT or SLX 1×12 with cheaper consumables, but I have no faith whatsoever that Shimano can deliver on that before 2022.

  5. In the 90s, all kinds of people hated Shimano for its having a near monopoly on mountain bike parts. Its main competitor in the MTB market, SR Suntour, went bankrupt and a small number of people paid top dollar just to have non-Shimano parts, or to have parts that were made in the US. These parts routinely broke or wore out long before even lower end Shimano parts would do the same. Now Shimano risks becoming the next SR Suntour (at least in the high end market- SRAM is basically absent at Tourney level spec, which is the majority of the cycling market.)
    Now there’s an alternative to Shimano, and what do people do? …They long for the good old days when Shimano was top dog. People are funny!

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