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By Matt Pacocha
Santa Cruz is unveiling its latest cross-country machine, a carbon fiber Blur XC, which looks to be the fastest endurance race bike the brand has ever built.
The new frame weighs just 4.2 pounds in a size medium, according to Santa Cruz, which translates to a sub 23-pound complete bike when built with the manufacturer’s XTR-XC kit. It’s light: a pound lighter than the old aluminum frame, but the key to its race worthiness will likely prove to be the next generation VPP suspension design. Santa Cruz touts the new version of VPP as offering efficient bump absorption and quick pedaling response without the need for a shock lockout or platform.
Santa Cruz reduces the new Blur XC’s travel by 10mm, which brings it to 105mm of rear wheel travel. The shock rate is reduced by roughly 60 percent and the chain growth through the range of the travel is almost cut in half. The new bike is built with all of the conveniences of the redesigned Blur LT, including multi-tool breakdown of the VPP linkages for maintenance and grease ports for the lower linkage. The new design also features an increase in stiffness over previous VPP iterations.
This new bike represents Santa Cruz’s first foray into carbon fiber. It says that it was nervous about the bike being strong enough, so it doubled its usual critical test targets for failure. Santa Cruz says that this is stronger than “just about every frame we make.” It’s claimed to be stiffer than most of the brand’s long travel bikes too. They even reconfigured its impact test to break the final version of this frame. Previously that test had been used to “crush frames made for people who wear pads.”
Look for an depth introduction to the new Blur XC this spring on VeloNews.com.