Editor’s Note: Singletrack.com’s Zach White is reporting from the Santa Cruz Bicycles new bike introduction in Southwestern Utah. Here is a dispatch from the desert.
Offering a great option for Virtual Pivot Point buyers who feel a Blur XC is a bit too racey and a Blur LT just a tad too, well, LT, Santa Cruz is now offering a Blur TRc (trail carbon, or “turkey”….). Claiming to weigh in at a very impressive 4.9lbs. for the frame with a Fox RP23, the five-inch travel bike will be available sometime in late May at an MSRP of $2,699 (frame/RP23 only).
A greater variation from the Blur XC with its more relaxed angles (68-degree head tube verses 69.5-degree, and 72.5-degree seat tube verses 73-degree), and a longer wheelbase with the help of .3-inch shorter chainstays and the slackened head tube, the TRc has more in common with the one-pound heavier LT. Top tube is the same length as the Blur XC, which is 1/2-inch shorter than the LT’s.
Ride-wise, the Blur TRc was about as fun of a 5″-travel trail bike I’ve ridden. The actual weight of our XL test bike was a respectable 24.06lbs(without pedals), which leant itself to feeling very flickable and agile on the trail. Yet at the same time, when Gooseberry Mesa threw its notoriously steep, twisty, rocky sections its way, the frame held reasonably stable, especially considering its weight. There was a bit of noticeable flex in the front end, however there is a chance the wheels were more of the culprit than the frame. Hopefully time will tell with a long-term review in the future. The bottom bracket and rear triangle, however, showed no noticeable signs of flexibility.
Suspension is a touch more progressive and crisp when compared to the LT, and offered great pedal efficiency to the point of never bothering to turn on the Pro Pedal for the duration of the weekend. Chain growth is also stated to be down to 16mm, which seems to be just under the radar in regards to noticeable suspension interference.
As expected, the “in between” geometry felt more stable and comfortable than a Blur XC, yet quick and tight enough to justify occasionally racing on. The lower, 13.1-inch bottom bracket added stability through turns, albeit at the price of clipping a few rocks here and there.
Overall, the TRc seems like a great addition to the Santa Cruz line up. Hopefully we’ll get our hands on one for a longer-term review to get a better feel for the front end, its climbing prowess, and general characteristics outside of the rather specific trails in Southwest Utah.
Essentially a less expensive version of the very successful carbon Tallboy, the aluminum version is just a little heavier. Claimed weight for the $1,899 frame is 6.6lbs, when compared to 5.2lbs in carbon flavor. And come the next production run of carbon Tallboy frames, so to will come a “C” suffix, giving the new aluminum frame the exclusive “Tallboy” name.
Two minor differences from the original are compatibility with chain guides via an offset lower link, and one less frame size offering. The latter is specific to production simplicity as the aluminum Medium, Large and XL all share the same down tube. And according to Santa Cruz engineer Nick Anderson, while strength of the tube is more than adequate for an XL, using it in an XXL frame puts its integrity at risk. So, ironically, a frame named Tallboy won’t actually be available in sizes for the tallest of boys out there. Anderson also stated that chain guide compatibility for the Tallboy C is soon to come.
Taking the Tallboy for a ride was a pleasure on Gooseberry Mesa. True to reputation of its carbon predecessor, the aluminum version is no different in that it handles less like a 29er in the stereotypical bad ways. Getting the front wheel off the ground is almost as easy as doing so on a 26-inch bike, and wheelbase felt quite manageable.
Suspension worked well in combination with 29-inch wheels over the constant bombardment of rocky pitch changes, and the bike as a whole felt balanced front to rear. As with the TRc, the need to turn on Pro Pedal never came to attention with the VPP design, either.
General first ride impression is that, short of the added weight, there’s no real loss of performance in the aluminum version of the Tallboy. Granted, it wasn’t an option at the press camp to ride a carbon version back to back with the aluminum version, so there’s a chance the carbon ride characteristics would tilt more than the weight scale.