When Santa Cruz extended the travel on the legendary Blur, they didn't just change the linkages to milk more out of the shock - they built a whole new front end for it.
The LT mainframe uses a big 'filler' gusset behind the headtube to give enough strength to allow up to a 160mm travel fork, while the swingarm subframe is the same as the super tough 4X dual slalom bike. New linkages for the VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) system increase rear wheel travel from 115mm to 135mm, while keeping weight (6.3lb) to within an ounce or two of the old Blur's weight.
Overall tracking stiffness is good and the handling angles (69.5 head angle/72.5 seat angle) are also slightly more relaxed for better speed and cruising confidence. The VPP linkage suspension really like the big stuff too, sucking up square edges or big drops on any technical trails you shove in the Blur LT's way. It digs in under power too, although noticeable pedal feedback and occasional 'over travel' isn't to everyone's taste as we discovered.
Also, while mud clearance is less of an issue than it looks, bigger tyres (2.2in plus) will always be a bit of a squeeze. A mid-height (13.2in) BB meant we occasionally caught the pedals over bumps and lumps too. Overall, the Blur LT is a very well balanced, responsive trail bike with some very useful extra punch for knocking out most of the bigger stuff you'll meet on the trail. This easy all-day, all-terrain confidence means one of our fave mid-travel full sussers is still right up there.