We don't generally cover changes of equipment sponsors here on BikeRadar but this one's a big one – the Santa Cruz Syndicate are switching from SRAM to Shimano for 2012.
This move doesn't just entail a change of groupset. The SRAM 'family' also provided the highly successful downhill team with RockShox suspension, Truvativ finishing kit and Avid brakes, much of which was custom kit developed through their hush-hush BlackBox programme. This means almost everything except the bike – the full-carbon Santa Cruz V10 – will be changing.
While a reliable source has confirmed that the outfit will be running Shimano shifting kit and brakes – presumably from the Saint downhill group – there's no word yet on who'll be providing the dampers and cockpit kit. The obvious suspension choice would be Fox Racing Shox but X-Fusion are making a big push into the aftermarket side of things this year, Marzocchi's recent 888 forks have marked a return to form and Bos have a great reputation, too.
Bars, stems and seatposts could come from Shimano's PRO offshoot, as used by the Athertons, or the Syndicate could pick a separate brand, as with their ENVE carbon wheels. Whatever kit they end up with, it's going to be a big change for the team after eight years with SRAM – and 16 years with RockShox for Steve Peat.
“Leaving SRAM is a tough one for me," said the former world and World Cup champion, from Sheffield. "I've been with RockShox for 16 years so you could say the brand is engraved [sic] in me. But like most things in life nothing lasts forever and it's been a great time over the last 16 years. I want to thank each and every person at RockShox and SRAM who have helped me achieve my goals in my career. I've made lots of friends and had some fun times. Thanks guys!”
Santa Cruz main man Rob Roskopp said: “Our partnership with SRAM saw many milestones achieved, Steve Peat’s 2009 world championship in Canberra, Greg Minnaar’s win at Maribor in 2010 aboard the first carbon bike to take a World Cup win, and countless podiums over the last eight years. I'd like to thank the whole crew at SRAM for the great memories and support.”