There are those who believe mountain bike suspension technology has plateaued. Then there are those who feel that the peak was just a false summit leading us to the real peak along the ridgeline towards the Mt. Everest of suspension design. I’m of the second camp. Yes, suspension technology has settled into a handful of efficient designs (thankfully), but there’s still plenty of improvements to be made along the way. In my opinion, the road to that summit involves tweaking, trimming down, increased efficiency and overall rideability.
Fortunately for us, Santa Cruz feels the same way as I do and the new Santa Cruz Blur LT is a great example of the evolution of the species. Building on the wildly successful Blur platform, Santa Cruz has taken the Blur to the long travel trailriding market by squeezing an additional inch out of the rear end, slackening the angles, shortening the top tube and beefing up the head tube. The result is a beefier, more comfortable Blur that epitomizes just what a true mountain bike should be. A bike that can ride uphill with the best of them, but doesn’t sacrifice much going down.
The Blur LT utilizes the patented VPP suspension design. The beauty of this design is the overall plushness that’s felt throughout the entire spectrum of travel. Because VPP designs have more sag than other suspension designs, you get both positive and negative travel. So, stutter bumps become that much smoother since the suspension can not only compress to absorb the bump, but also extend into the rut to reduce overall choppiness.
Having ridden many VPP and VPP “clones” over the past several years, I’m a fan. I have yet to find another suspension design that has as plush of travel throughout the entire spectrum.
The Blur LT can be outfitted as an XC, endruo or long-travel trailbike–depending on your preference. Slap a 100mm travel fork on there, and you’ll have razor-sharp handling and straight-as-an-arrow climbing. Or, slap a 160mm for on it and enjoy buttery-smooth descents and rock gardens that feel like fire roads. Either way, the bike can be outfitted in the 30 lb. range plus or minus a couple of pounds.
Santa Cruz Blur LT Review
The Santa Cruz Blur LT I rode and reviewed was decked out with the new RockShox Revelation 426, which provided a solid 5″ of travel. The size Large frame actually fit my 5’11” frame quite well. I thought it would feel too stretched out, but surprisingly it felt comfortable. Shifting was handled by the benchmark SRAM X.9 drivetrain and all stoppage was easily done with the awesome Avid Juicy 7 disc brakes. The Kenda Nevegal 2.35’s rounded out this package perfectly, allowing the Blur LT to grip in the rocky, sandy and loose conditions at Bootleg Canyon.
On the climbs, the Blur LT felt absolutely solid–propelling me forward without any extra movement. Everything felt stout underneath me as I stood and sprinted, or powered through steep sections. Seated climbing was smooth and comfortable over the rocky terrain in Bootleg Canyon.
I took the Blur LT down both a fast-rolling roller-coaster downhill and a rock garden special. Leaning hard into the smooth corners, the Blur handled beautifully. Down the sharp-edged rocks and drops of the rocky section did show the limits of the LT, but only after hitting the section at full speed. You don’t have the brute force to plow through everything in sight, but you won’t be tossed like a short-track XC racer if you barrel into a technical, rock garden.
I was completely satisfied with the performance of the Blur LT in all conditions I threw at it. I rode it for about an hour and enjoyed both climbing and descending on it.
The Bottom Line on the Santa Cruz Blur LT
Overall, the Santa Cruz Blur LT is a solid choice when looking for a lightweight, long-travel trailbike that can successfully blur the line between XC and trail/freeride. I found it a much more comfortable and solid ride than the venerable Turner 5-Spot. Santa Cruz has long been a player in the high-end bike market because they provide quality products that just plain work. Stepping away from their proven single-pivot designs has been a test of faith, but the crew at Santa Cruz has taken the VPP design mainstream just like they took single-pivot bikes to the masses. The Blur LT does live up to its name, both in the niche it carves out and the view others will have of you as you pass them on the trail.