Santa Cruz Chameleon frame review£569.00

Aggressive all-rounder

BikeRadar score3.5/5

The Chameleon is as versatile as its name suggests. The deep ring-reinforced head tube is backed up by a throat plate and box gusset spanning the square-headed hydroformed main tubes.

The seat tube penetrates the top tube, which curves down and flares out to a fantail wishbone for maximum tyre space between the massive rectangular stays.

Simple, chunky dropouts hold the rear wheel, while an eccentric bottom bracket lets you adjust chain length and geometry, but there’s no ISCG mount.

The handling is stable but responsive with a 140mm (5.5in) fork, but it’ll take any fork with 100 to 160mm (3.9 to 6.3in) travel.

Weight is fairly low (2,270g/5lb) considering its strength, which helps you accelerate quickly, and the top tube length gives plenty of breathing space if you can cope with the stiffness.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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