Santa Cruz bicycles

Is it possible to gain respect from pro riders and cycling fans, producing just a little more than a dozen models? Many may be surprised by the fact that such a company remains afloat and is successful. Santa Cruz bicycles has proven to everyone that more doesn’t necessarily mean better.

Santa Cruz brand

“Santa Cruz” bikes first appeared in 1993 in Santa Cruz, California. Founders of the company decided to create a bicycle, unlike others. In 1993, they released their first full-suspension mountain bike – “Tazmon”. This bike was very successful, despite the fact that it had no mass distribution, it gained respect from pro-riders and cycling magazines.

Today, Santa Cruz has only 16 bike models in their line-up, and several professional teams that systematically show good results in different MTB disciplines. “Santa Cruz” brand does not position itself as the best bicycle manufacturer in the world or US, but believes that their approach to business differs (in a good way) from their competitors.

Santa Cruz suspension technology

Branded VPP rear suspension technology is the reason why many pro-riders and cycling fans value “Santa Cruz” products for. This suspension is installed only on their top tier bike models. VPP stands for Virtual Pivot Point. A lot of time and research was invested in creating this technology, but in the end it fully justified itself.

Its main feature is two connections that rotate in opposite directions: first is near rear shock absorber, and second is near the bottom bracket. This design ensures a very soft and effective suspension.

Maintenance of VPP units isn’t hard, especially since the company guarantees a lifetime warranty on the maintenance of suspension bearings.

The compactness of VPP nodes allows engineers to create neat bikes with a nice design and pleasant appearance.

Santa Cruz Pro-Teams

Today “Santa Cruz” is represented by 2 teams: Santa Cruz “Syndicate” and “Enduro“. First team is very successful in downhill discipline. DH teams official sponsors are Maxxis, Oakley, Fox and many others bike parts manufacturers. Team members have been able to prove the superiority of the company’s extraordinary look at seemingly obvious things. We are talking about “V10” downhill bike, namely 29 inch wheels model.

Santa Cruz “Enduro” team only has three riders. Although they are not as successful as their colleagues from the “Syndicate”, they take part in all stages of the Enduro World Series. Teams bike – “Hightower LT” with 29 inch wheels.

Santa Cruz Lineup

We have already mentioned that Santa Cruz model range isn’t that big. Nevertheless, professionals and enthusiasts are able to choose themselves a suitable model for competitions and active riding in bike parks, on trails and mountains. The official company website divides all bikes into three categories:

  1. 27.5 inch wheels bikes
  2. 29 and 27+ inch wheels bikes
  3. 26 inch bikes and 700c.

Santa Cruz Blur XC

Proven over the years, aluminum alloy frame has succumbed to carbon. New generation of the VPP suspension system has been implemented in an all-carbon frame with a 105 mm travel rear suspension, and the weight of the frame has been reduced by 400 grams. The classic cross-country geometry combined with the highest rigidity of the frame will open new horizons for the riders to conquer, guaranteeing maximum comfort provided by an ultra-sensitive rear suspension. With the advent of the Blur XC Carbon, the time when full-suspension in cross-country racing was considered a compromise has passed.

Santa Cruz Blur LTc

Take the most universal, most tested aluminum bike in the lineup, and completely copy it on carbon fiber frame. It would seem that doing this is simple, but a lot more time was spent on developing the Blur LT Carbon frame than it might seem at first glance. Thanks to technology of complex molding, this bike was made completely out of carbon fiber. Blur LT Carbon has no restriction on weight and fork travel, all the best that could be achieved was put together for the most demanding fans of All Mountain. The fastest climbs, confident descents, excellent performance of new generation VPP suspension, there are no limitations for riding this bike.

Santa Cruz LT

This bike was originally conceived as an experiment on a cross-country bike model, and became a bestseller of the entire model range. The most versatile bike in the lineup has undergone a dramatic transformation: new tubes for front and rear triangle, new generation of VPP suspension, a modified shock absorber, ports for lubricating lower link bearings, 15mm axles and angular bearings in the hinges of suspension. 140 mm of travel will provide you with confidence on the descends, without losing the ability to climb efficiently: all that is needed for an All-Mountain riding style enthusiasts.

Santa Cruz Tallboy

Unsurpassed performance of the latest version of VPP suspension plus the latest technology for manufacturing carbon structures, plus 29-inch wheels – all this is the new Santa Cruz Tallboy bike! The smooth lines of carbon frame conceal enormous strength and rigidity, precision control and extremely low weight. 100mm of rear suspension travel and 29 inch wheels are the ideal solution both for fast routes and marathon distances.

Santa Cruz Nomad

New design and awesome performance of new generation of VPP suspension – new Nomad is Santa Cruz’s response to needs of aggressive riding style. 160mm of travel in rear suspension, chain guide mount, no flex in rear triangle, carbon upper link, ports for lubricating lower link and 15mm axles. This is the look of a modern trail bike. This bike has a lot to offer. Long All-Mountain style rides?- YES! Light freeride and local competitions?- Definitely YES!

Santa Cruz Driver 8

8 inches of new generation of VPP rear suspension, ability to raise or lower the saddle by 7 inches, most reliable bearings, 1.5 inch head tube, 150mm wide rear hub and “Maxle” axles. The new Santa-Cruz bike is hard to assign to any particular family… Downhill? Bike parks? Freeride? Trails or backcountry? This is a truly universal bike, ideal for riding for your own pleasure, regardless of the laws of gravity.

Santa Cruz V-10

We can list this bikes championship titles for a long time. This flagship of Santa Cruz lineup has become the messenger of a new era in creation of downhill bikes, falling into the hands of “Santa Cruz Sindicate” team riders. 254mm of rear suspension travel + a virtual pivot point (VPP) will cope with any track anywhere in the world. The suspension kinematics and geometry on this bike are specially designed to make sure that the owner will get a podium in any competition.

Santa Cruz Bullit

What does freeride consist of? First of this is a discipline where all the forces and all of the ability to control the bike is required. Secondly, these are the people who are passionate, imbued with the spirit of aggressive riding. And thirdly, these are of course the bikes – durable, reliable, allowing the rider to achieve much more than it would seem at first glance. Bullit is just such a bike. Powerful aluminum tubes, suspension with a 180mm of travel, interchangeable dropouts for choosing between light 135mm or heavy-duty/unkillable 150×12 bushings, 1.5 inch steerer. This bike has everything necessary for the fans of aggressive riding style

Santa Cruz Heckler

Heckler – is truly a legendary bike, the “golden mean” of the lineup for many years. And over the years, nothing has changed – Heckler has remained the same reliable bike for daily riding. The frame is based on light but very durable aluminum, frame geometry is identical to the Blur LT frame. 150 mm travel in the rear suspension is ensured by a robust and unpretentious single-hinged design.

Santa Cruz Superlight

This name perfectly reflects everything that the future owner of this bike is thinking about. Superlight – doesn’t have a gram of excess metal. But at the same time it is durable and tough – hit of sales for many years. Someone might say that this model is in the shadow of more “sophisticated” models with newfangled multi-link suspension systems, but also left in shadow – are real riders taking away real gold, competing on this bike.

Santa Cruz Juliana

The task of creating a bike that is suitable for any woman may seem uncomplicated – add some flowers here and there, put a wider saddle, a narrower handlebars and softer grips. But when it comes to a real racing bike models, things get a little more complicated. Santa Cruz accomplished this task by creating an easy and precise to handle bike, that really suits any woman, whether you believe it or not.

Santa Cruz Stigmata

This bike quietly appeared in 2008, rode from Massachusetts to California, riding on ice in Kansas, passing all the obstacles, from coast-to-coast. Bike has a large clearance to make sure that dirty wheels won’t block, confident steering and no weight loses from unnecessary wings and trunk mounts – this is the look of a classic cross frame weighing only 1300 grams.


Santa Cruz Chameleon

You can change the color, you can remove some metal, but this bike will not change. It will remain the same tested and proven universal hardtail, which you can equip with a 100 to 160mm travel fork. The eccentric bottom bracket assembly will allow you to easily convert it into a single speed bike, if necessary. Rigid and sturdy construction withstands hard landing and allows you to climb hills just like on a classic cross-country hardtail.

Santa Cruz Jackal

After two seasons of tough exploitation by team “Syndicate” riders – Jamie Goldman and Curt Vorier, the frame received a rework and a completely new look. On this bike you won’t find any amusing suspension links, which are so cool to talk about on the Internet. This is a DIRT/JUMP bike. Nothing on this bike suggests a comfortable ride and shock absorption. But when it comes to a hard, short rear triangle and vertical take-offs, when it comes to soft and hard touchdowns – the brand new Jackal is a great topic for discussion.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Roman, my husband is an avid cyclist and I know he would love and appreciate this article. I’m forwarding a link to him in a sec. I think I may regret this though. Thanks so much this article was very thorough.

    1. Thanks for sharing. Check out my other articles on cycling brands.

  2. Hi Roman, Wonderful work on the Santa Cruz lineup. Before reading this I was not very educated on SC now I know plenty. I’ve been a MTBer for a looong time and have had the pleasure of some great bikes. Looks like my wife is going to say, “here we go again”! Thank you.

    1. Santa Cruz is one of my favourite MTB brands. They do have some really nice models in their line up. Glad you found this interesting.

  3. Hey Roman,
    As an old cyclist, I had a great time seeing those bikes. Very informative!
    Keep it up, man!

  4. This is an awesome post! I’m a big fan of mountain bikes and Santa Cruz is most definitely one of the best companies out there. They’ve proven the quality over the years. I’ll take some of those models into consideration. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Very nice overview, thank you for sharing!
    Good luck!

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