Santa Cruz Blur LTc £4429

Hardcore trail ride

BikeRadar score 4/5

We’re already big fans of the alloy Blur LT (Long Travel) and its ability to push its 140mm of travel and rider expectations well into big bike territory. Remarkably, transferring that ride onto a carbon chassis has not only shed a pound of weight but has also increased frame stiffness, versatility and rider confidence even further.

The Blur LTc’s complete commitment and balls-out muscularity were clear to everyone who rode it, whether we were on open moorland, local woodsy singletrack or a heart rate drag race. Despite the burly build, it was always handed back with a reluctant grin and an approving nod.

Ride & handling: Fitness and skill flattering all-day trail bike that gobbles up technical sections

While most other full-carbon bikes are slightly pliable and twisty in at least one direction, the Blur LTc is rock solid in terms of on-trail feel. In fact, the most common comment we had from our testers was that it just didn’t ride like a carbon bike.

Add decent width rims and a bolt-through RockShox Revelation fork, and you’ve got a bike that’ll drop its metaphorical shoulder and barge straight through anything you’ve got the balls to hit.

As much as the extra weight and constant swivel of the Joplin adjustable seatpost is irritating, it’s useful to prove the technical terrain versatility of the bike.

Taking one of our favourite test sections as an example, the LTc carves the tightest possible line up the cobbly diagonal from the cinder path, and the reactive VPP2 suspension nails traction through the next two corners.

Lean back, manual the first ditch, sprint again with no sideslip on the greasy off-camber, keep the power down, duck under the tree, drop the seatpost, G-out through the second ditch and then into the clincher...

Ninety percent of the time we either bottle or crash this chainring-scraping, stepped rock gully with a stream in the bottom, but the LTc feels totally secure.

Recent stormwash means a slot between two big cobbles is the straightest line and it never feels like we're going to miss it, even when the forks crush to full travel in the base.

The suspension bottoms out too but there’s no hint of deviation or hesitation as the LTc gets straight on the power, and there’s loads of feedback but no hint of power loss as it claws past the two stalling point corners and up, up and away.

It’s the same story two minutes later – a beautiful piece of double vertical drop-in, rock knife edge, powered corner low before a split-second dog walker check as you sprint middle ring, middle cog off a 5ft rock drop. Despite slippery tyres and some recent cowardice even on much bigger bikes, the LTc nails it without a second thought.

The new Fox Float shock at the rear keeps beautifully connected through the corners, before punching its Boost Valve controlled travel marker rings to full travel with no kickback in spite of a longer than usual flight time.

Frame: Incredibly stiff and precise chassis with responsive, big-hit-friendly suspension

While most manufacturers can’t resist a bit of tweaking when they switch between materials, the Blur LTc really is a carbon copy (tee hee) of the Blur LT.

The proven geometry is bang on for the correct handling style, with a 69° head angle for a 140mm fork, 68° for 150mm and 67° for 160mm travel forks. Choose from a range of fork options when you buy any Blur LT.

The tapered head tube gives a maximum stiffness start to an outstandingly stiff chassis that carves and kicks like a heavyweight at a welterweight mass.

There’s clearance for 2.4in balloon tyres and we’ve been hammering our alloy sample for 18 months without a single issue with the new ultra-sealed grease-ported bearings.

The LTc is clipped for a remote-adjustable seatpost, there’s a chain slap guard moulded into the chainstay and a gouge guard on the underside too.

It’s still usefully light (a large frame is 6lb/2.7kg), and with the anodised alloy frame costing £1,949 and weighing 0.86lb/0.4kg more, it’s worth the extra for weight watchers.

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