The Santa Cruz Chameleon goes carbon

A new carbon chassis and 29 and 27.5+ inch wheels promises to extend the Chameleon's capabilities

Santa Cruz's ever-popular Chameleon has been given a new lease of life with a brand-new carbon frame construction, whilst retaining almost identical geometry to the award-winning alloy model.

Well, that was relevant

The new range of carbon Chameleons cost from £3,799 up to a lofty £5,699 for the top end ride. There are four models, an S and S + and SE Reserve and SE Reserve +.

The new Santa Cruz Chameleon Carbon

Although the most dramatic change to new the Chameleon is the carbon frame, the geometry has seen some minor tweaks over the aluminium bike.

The 27.5+ bike sees a reduction in reach numbers across all of the available sizes from the aluminium bike of around 4mm, a reduction in wheelbase by between 8 and 14mm, but the head tube angle is made slacker by 0.3 degrees.

Internal cable routing is sleek
Internal cable routing is sleek

The 29er bike's geometry maintains identical reach figures to the alloy model but shrinks in wheelbase length by around 10mm on each size and the head tube angle remains the same.

Interestingly, Santa Cruz hasn't chosen to 'modernise' their geometry to be more akin to the latest swathe of hardcore hardtails like Bird's Zero or Stif's Morf. The Chameleon also runs a surprisingly slack 72.7 (25.7+) and 72.8 (29er) degree seat tube angle.

Although Santa Cruz claim the Chameleon will live up to its name and adapt to any type of riding, the geometry figures suggest that it'll be more suited to XC and all-day-epics rather than outright high speed razzing and jumping.

You can expect a high quality finish
You can expect a high quality finish

Other features include two bottle cage mounts, internal cable routing and the possibility to run either a single speed or geared setup.

The dropouts can be changed for either singlespeed or geared setups
The dropouts can be changed for either singlespeed or geared setups

Spec wise, the Chameleon C bikes all get Fox 34 forks with the Performance damper, SRAM's 12-speed GX Eagle groupset and the Reverb Stealth dropper post.

Across the four different models — the S and SE 27.5+ and S and SE 29er — there are subtle changes in spec including rims, hubs and brakes. The tyres also change across the models.

Santa Cruz Chameleon specs and geometry

The top of the range bike comes with Santa Cruz's Reserve Wheels
The top of the range bike comes with Santa Cruz's Reserve Wheels

Chameleon 25.7+ geometry

SizeSMLXL
Reach (mm)411436456486
Stack (mm)614618628637
Heat tube angle (degrees)67.267.267.267.2
Seat tube angle (degrees)72.772.772.772.7
Seat tube length (mm)390420450490
Chainstay length (mm)415/430415/430415/430415/430
Front centre (mm)704731755789
BB height (mm)314314314314
BB drop (mm)47474747
Wheelbase (mm)1117114411681201

Chameleon 29 geometry

SizeSMLXL
Reach (mm)412437457487
Stack (mm)613618627636
Heat tube angle (degrees)67.367.367.367.3
Seat tube angle (degrees)72.872.872.872.8
Seat tube length (mm)390420450490
Chainstay length (mm)415/430415/430415/430415/430
Front centre (mm)703730754787
BB height (mm)315315315315
BB drop (mm)55555555
Wheelbase (mm)1112113911631197

The Chameleon C comes in four models
The Chameleon C comes in four models

Santa Cruz Chameleon C S 27.5+ and 29 specs and prices

  • Frame: Carbon C 29/27+ Hardtail
  • Fork: Fox 34 Float Performance, 130mm, 29" (27.5+) / Fox 34 Float Performance, 120mm 29" (29)
  • Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle, 12spd
  • Shifters: SRAM GX Eagle, 12spd
  • Cassette: SRAM XG1275 Eagle, 12spd, 10-50t
  • Chain: SRAM GX Eagle, 12spd
  • BB: SRAM DUB 68/73mm Threaded BB
  • Headset: Cane Creek 40 IS Integrated Headset
  • Tyres: Maxxis Rekon, 27.5"X2.8", 3C Exo TR (front), Maxxis Rekon, 27.5"X2.8", 3C Exo TR (rear) (27.5+) / Maxxis Minion DHF 29"X2.35, 3C Exo TR (front) Maxxis Ardent Race 29"X2.35, 3C Exo TR (rear) (29)
  • Sealant: Stans
  • Front hub: DT Swiss 370, 15x110, 32h
  • Rims: Race Face AR Offset 40 27.5" (27.5+) / Race Face AR Offset 27 29" (29)
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Competition
  • Rear hub: DT Swiss 370, 12x148, XD, 32h
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide T 180mm
  • Crankset: SRAM Stylo 7k 148 Dub, 30t - 170mm (XS-S), 175mm (M-XL)
  • Handlebar: Race Face Aeffect R
  • Stem: Race Face Aeffect R, 50mm
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Pro
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 31.6
  • Grips: Santa Cruz Palmdale
  • Price: £3,799 / $3,799 / AU$N/A
50to01 rider Craig Evans razzes his Chameleon hard
50to01 rider Craig Evans razzes his Chameleon hard

Santa Cruz Chameleon C SE 27.5+ and 29 specs and prices

  • Frame: Carbon C 29/27+ Hardtail
  • Fork: Fox 34 Float Performance, 130mm, 29" (27.5+) / Fox 34 Float Performance, 120mm 29" (29)
  • Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle, 12spd
  • Shifters: SRAM GX Eagle, 12spd
  • Cassette: SRAM XG1275 Eagle, 12spd, 10-50t
  • Chain: SRAM GX Eagle, 12spd
  • BB: SRAM DUB 68/73mm Threaded BB
  • Headset: Hope Integrated Headset
  • Tyres: Maxxis Rekon, 27.5"X2.8", 3C Exo TR (front), Maxxis Rekon, 27.5"X2.8", 3C Exo TR (rear) (27.5+) / Maxxis Minion DHF 29"X2.35, Exo TR (front) Maxxis Ardent Race 29"X2.35, 3C Exo TR (rear) (29)
  • Sealant: Stans
  • Front hub: Hope Pro4, 15x110, 28h
  • Rims: Santa Cruz Reserve 37 27.5" (27.5+) / Santa Cruz Reserve 27 29" (29)
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Competition
  • Rear hub: Hope Pro4, 12x148, XD, 28h
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide R 180mm
  • Crankset: SRAM 1X Eagle 148 Dub, 30t - 170mm (XS-S), 175mm (M-XL)
  • Handlebar: Race Face Aeffect R
  • Stem: Race Face Aeffect R, 50mm
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Pro
  • Seatpost: Rockshox Reverb Stealth, 31.6
  • Grips: Santa Cruz Palmdale
  • Price: £5,699 / $5,699 / AU$N/A
Alex has been riding bikes since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. He first raced back in 2003, winning the Juvenile category on a sketchy hard tail Planet X bike. Alex lived in the Alps for seven years so isn't shy of a climb or two and loves getting out in his bike in all weather. His favorite thing to ride is steep loamy tracks with loads of opportunities to slam the bike into turns and really give it some frame bending welly! He's broken his fair share of frames, so any bike between his knees is going to get a right seeing to.
  • Discipline: DH, Enduro, XC, BMX, Road
  • Preferred Terrain: Epic descents covered in the world's finest loam and hero dirt
  • Current Bikes: Nukeproof Mega 275 / Giant Anthem Advanced 275 1 / LeMond Reno / Deluxe Pro 2 BMX
  • Dream Bike: Giant ATX 1 DH (1999 model)
  • Beer of Choice: Teetotal
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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