Santa Cruz Blur – first ride review

The Blur is back as a pure cross-country racer

GBP £0 RRP

Our review

A speedy cross-country racer for the modern era
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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. 

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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
Santa Cruz

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
Santa Cruz

“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
Santa Cruz

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
Santa Cruz

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
Santa Cruz

First impressions

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

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
Santa Cruz

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
Santa Cruz

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.

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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. 

Product Specifications

Product

Name Blur XX1 Reserve build
Brand Santa Cruz

Available Sizes S M L XL
Chainring Size (No of Teeth) 34
Saddle WTB Silverado Carbon
Seat Angle 74
Seatpost Syntace P6 Carbon HiFlex Seatpost - 31.6mm
Shifters SRAM XX1 Eagle 12spd
Stem Syntace LiteForce, 70mm
Year 2018
Spoke Type DT Swiss Competition Race
Rear Tyre Maxxis Aspen TR - 29x2.25
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.9
Chainstays (in) 17
Seat Tube (in) 16.9
Standover Height (in) 28.4
Top Tube (in) 23.5
Wheelbase (in) 44.7
Rims Santa Cruz Reserve 25 Carbon
Rear Shock FOX Float Performance Elite DPS w/remote
Brakes SRAM Level Ultimate w/160mm rotors
Frame Weight 2090
Cassette SRAM XG1295 Eagle - 12spd, 10-50t
Chain SRAM X01 Eagle 12spd
Cranks SRAM XX1 Eagle DUB
Fork FOX Step-Cast 32 Factory 100, w/ remote
Fork Offset 44
Frame Material Carbon
Front Derailleur Not compatible
Rear Hub DT Swiss 240
Front Hub DT Swiss 240
Front Tyre Maxxis Aspen TR - 29x2.25
Grips/Tape ESI Chunky
Handlebar SCB XC Carbon Flat Bar - 31.8x750mm
Head Angle 69
Headset Type Cane Creek AER IS Integrated
Rear Derailleur SRAM XX1 Eagle 12spd
Frame size tested M