Santa Cruz Blur Long Travel
By Maurice Tierney
A new bike is due out from Santa Cruz Bicycles in April, a redesigned Blur LT. This bike represents two things. One is a move to slightly longer travel (140mm), better filling the niche between the Blur and the Nomad. My take is that the Blur XC is more of a racer bike at 115mm, and the Nomad is a much “Bigger” bike with 165mm of travel and a 1.5” headset, putting it usually beyond my daily needs as a mountain biker.
The other thing this bike represents is the combined engineering and bike-life skills of this company. The Blur LT project started soon after the original Blur LT came out in 2005, so there’s years of prototyping, riding, learning, thinking, more prototyping, and… …well you get the picture. Another cool thing is that many of the improvements seen here today will soon find their way into the whole Santa Cruz line.
First, the VPP design has been tweaked. A little more active in the beginning of the stroke, more linear toward the deep end.
Then there’s the bearings, an area of imperfection in the past, now new hope for the future. Angular contact bearings are now the order of the day, with new full contact seals designed to allow grease to purge. Grease you say? Yes, Virginia, Blur LT’s now have grease injection for the lower pivots, and this development will have many riders believing in Santa Claus.
The pivots themselves have been redesigned as well, with new 15mm pivot axles that thread into the frame on one side and lock via new collet-heads on the other. The idea is eliminate any creaking you may have heard in the past. Sweet.
As for frame construction, the increasing availability of formed tubing has led the way to a swoopy top tube much like the Nomad for improved standover. And the swingarm is designed to be stiffer and provide more mud clearance. Thankyouverymuch.
So anyway, I was fortunate enough to ride a new Blur LT in the mountains above Santa Cruz recently, and made a new friend. A well-mannered friend, willing to take me through anything in style, comfort and speed. Well-mannered? The suspension is refined so it never burps or farts or otherwise falters. Comfort? With the generous amount of travel. Speed? 28-pound weight, two pounds lighter than anything I’ve been riding lately, thanks to continued engineering and a sweet parts pick. And yet he’s ready to huck the many 2-3 foot drops and jumps found all around Santa Cruz’s local trails.
The little niche they’ve filled with this machine is right where I want to be. I am really stoked and ready to give ‘er a full thrashing for your reading enjoyment.
Check out the photos from the Santa Cruz Blur LT press camp in the Dirt Rag Photo Gallery.
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