Santa Cruz Blur - first ride review

The Blur is back as a pure cross-country racer

Santa Cruz has relaunched one of its most iconic bikes. After a hiatus, the Blur is back in the Santa Cruz arsenal as a thoroughbred cross-country racer. The latest Blur is fast, light and will meet the needs of hardcore racers that have been left behind by recent long-travel trends. 

Santa Cruz Blur highlights

  • Full carbon frame
  • VPP suspension
  • 100mm of rear travel / 100mm fork
  • 1x drivetrain specific
  • 73mm threaded bottom bracket
  • Top build weighs 21.9lb / 9.9kg
  • Frame w/shock weighs 4.61lb / 2,090g
  • Complete bike pricing: $3,699 - $8,999 /  £3,699 - £7,899 (Australian Pricing TBC)
  • Frame only pricing:  $2,999 (UK and Australian Pricing TBC)
  • Available now

The Blur is back

Without a dropper the Blur weighs less than 22 pounds
Without a dropper the Blur weighs less than 22 pounds

The Blur along with the V10 are foundational bikes in the Santa Cruz product line. These models launched concurrently in 2001 to showcase the versatility of the company’s recently-acquired counter-rotating link suspension design, known far and wide today as Virtual Pivot Point, or VPP. 

Over the years, the Blur lineage grew with the introductions of the Blur XC, Blur LT, Blur 4X and Blur LT.

The Blur's geo is inline with other modern cross-country bikes
The Blur's geo is inline with other modern cross-country bikes

“We intentionally worked to keep this a full-on cross-country bike. If we didn’t, it would wind up being some sort of trail bike like everything else we make,” said Josh Kissner, product manager at Santa Cruz Bicycles.

The VPP suspension serves up 100mm of rear suspension
The VPP suspension serves up 100mm of rear suspension

To that end, the Blur sports 100mm of rear suspension with a matching 100mm upfront in a Fox SC32 chassis, many of the builds also include dual remote suspension lockouts. None of the kits comes with dropper seatposts, though they all feature internal routing, should you prefer one. 

The driveside upright brace bolsters frame stiffness, but precludes the use of a front derailleur
The driveside upright brace bolsters frame stiffness, but precludes the use of a front derailleur

The full carbon frame has a claimed weight of 4.61lb / 2,090g (medium). Though there are lighter race whippets on the market, many shave grams by replacing cartridge bearings with bushings, while others cheat the scale leaving out essential items, such as the thru-axle, seatpost collar or water-bottle bolts. The Blur’s weight includes all those bits as well as the Fox shock.

Despite the focus on weight savings, the Blur still has a downtube guard and a second set of water bottle bosses under the downtube
Despite the focus on weight savings, the Blur still has a downtube guard and a second set of water bottle bosses under the downtube

First impressions

The Blur is quick and composed in technical situations
The Blur is quick and composed in technical situations

I spent several hours and 20 miles testing the Blur on the Skeggs Point trail system north of the company’s headquarters in Santa Cruz, California. The terrain consisted of smooth, undulating, bench-cut singletrack with plenty of roots, a few steep plunges, and one grinder of a climb thrown in for good measure.

The build was the top-shelf XX1 Reserve kit, which boasts an Eagle drivetrain, a Fox Factory SC F100 fork and matching Kashima-coated Float DPS shock tied together with a remote lockout, and the Santa Cruz Reserve 25 wheelset. As mentioned above, the stock kits lack a dropper seatposts. I opted to run one so I could spend my limited time focusing on the Blur’s performance, rather than struggling to remember how to highpost.

The driveside upright brace bolsters frame stiffness, but precludes the use of a front derailleur
The driveside upright brace bolsters frame stiffness, but precludes the use of a front derailleur

The most striking feature was how confident this short-travel bike felt at speed. The Blur’s 69-degree head angle is no longer considered slack by XC standards, but the use of a shorter, 44mm offset fork — something increasingly employed on longer-travel mountain bikes — does increase high-speed stability.

Slow-speed handling is neutral. The Blur requires asks very little of the rider to steer up and around tight switchbacks.

If you're looking for a brighter bike, the Blur is also available in red
If you're looking for a brighter bike, the Blur is also available in red

Pedaling performance is very good even when stomping out of the saddle and just enough small-bump sensitivity to maintain traction when scrambling up slimy roots. The Fox dual remote isn’t necessary for everyday riding, but I can see how it would come in handy in a sprint or when hammering up a long, smooth climb.

Early verdict

The reborn Blur fills a hole in the Santa Cruz product line that has been vacant for many years. Riders looking for a dedicated full-suspension platform for endurance racing will be well served by this reimagined race machine. 

Josh Patterson

Tech Editor, US
Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Age: 35
  • Height: 170cm / 5'7"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 72cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

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