Do you think a bike brand can be in demand by consumers with just over a dozen models? Yes, if they are Santa Cruz bicycles. Many may find it surprising that a company with such a rich history in the past isn’t expanding its product line today to reach a wider range of customers. But the Santa Cruz company has managed to prove that the main thing is not the quantity, but the quality of the produced models.
Today we will get acquainted with the company Santa Cruz and the range of bicycle products, we will learn why many cyclists prefer exclusively American bikes, and we will tell what technologies are used in the production of reliable and stylish bicycles.
Information about the Santa Cruz bike brand
That’s today, Santa Cruz is a world-renowned company that produces high-performance bikes for true cycling enthusiasts. Back in 1993, only a handful of people knew about it. Santa Cruz Bicycles was founded in an area the size of a one-car garage.
Back in the early days of its popularity, the founders of the brand thought they had to create a bike that would not fit into the standard notions of two-wheeled transport. In 1993, the first Santa Cruz bike came out – it was the Tazmon, a single hinged bike with two suspensions that changed the established standards. In those days, dual-suspension models were far from the norm, and an all-purpose bike (what we call a “trail” or “all-mountain” bike today) with rear suspension was considered an out-of-the-box solution.
But company founder Rob Roskopp didn’t feel attached to trends and clearly didn’t see the need to use stereotypical thinking. Suddenly he realized that full suspension was an innovation that needed to become a reality as soon as possible. As a result, the developers managed to create a bike unlike other models.
Today, the brand has only 16 models in its catalog, and its arsenal includes a lot of experience, its own developments and even several sports teams that systematically show good results in cycling disciplines.
We’ve already said in passing that full suspension was the key that allowed the company to reach a certain level by becoming a stand-alone cycling brand. So it is the proprietary VPP rear suspension technology that is one of the qualities that riders praise Santa Cruz products so highly.
This technology is used only in the production of top brand models. On the development worked long, but the result exceeded all expectations. The essence of VPP is in the presence of two joints which rotate in opposite directions:
- The first is where the shock absorber is mounted.
- The second is near the carriage.
Such a design ensures soft operation of the entire suspension system directly. A pleasant bonus for consumers: there is nothing complicated about servicing the suspension, and the lifetime warranty on bearing maintenance is eloquent proof that the manufacturer is confident in the quality of its work.
Variety of Santa Cruz bikes
We have already said that the company’s range is not diverse and motley in the presented copies. Nevertheless, there is something to look at. Of particular interest is the lineup of Santa Cruz bicycles for professional riders and fans of off-road races. The company’s official website offers information on three categories of two-wheelers:
- bikes on 27.5-inch wheels;
- models on 29-inch wheels, or so-called “nainers;
- Seeksters and 700Cs.
The first category is represented by bikes for active and aggressive riding. Here there is both the legendary DH-bike and no less iconic unit for trail 5010. The minimum suspension travel on bikes with 27.5-inch wheels is 130 mm. Today only two-pods are produced on such wheels, although they used to make hardtails as well.
The line of nainers and bikes with 27.5+ wheels includes aluminum country bikes, as well as models for trail and enduro. And recently an improved V10 has joined the line of high-performance bikes. It is not available to the general audience, but pro-rider Greg Minaar had time to evaluate this machine in action.
The last category is represented by only two models – Stigmata for cyclocross and Jackal for dart. These are not the most popular bikes, but they have their connoisseurs in their respective disciplines.
Pros and cons
Speaking of the positive qualities of Santa Cruz bicycles, it is impossible not to note the unmatched quality of assembly and stylish design of two-wheeled units. These are high-performance and reliable models that are popular with professional riders and those who have to do with cycling.
The manufacturer values its reputation, and the products are consistent with the stated characteristics. Santa Cruz bicycles are:
- high quality of assembly and reliability of components;
- Stylish design and a good choice of models;
- Lifetime warranty on maintenance of the suspension bearings;
- Customer support and assistance with bike maintenance (although practice shows that Santa Cruz bikes break very rarely).
As for the disadvantages, there is only one – the relatively high cost of the models. We did not use the term “relatively” for nothing, because 80 thousand rubles for the average cyclist who needs to ride around town systematically is really a lot. And if we are talking about a professional athlete looking for a high-performance machine, even 100 thousand for a bike is not money.
Given that there are not many models in the Santa Cruz range, it is worth briefly telling about the most striking instances:
- Santa Cruz Chameleon. A hardtail designed for cross country and non-aggressive trail riding. Optimal for those who like to conquer trails and untraveled roads. The model is available only on an aluminum frame, so it should not be used for serious XC competitions. The weight of the bike is just under 13 kg. Wheel size has two variations: 29 or 27+ inches. The model comes in different configurations: with Fox or RockShox fork with a stroke of 120 mm. The bike is equipped with Sram hitches. The “cherry on the cake” is a seatpost with remote adjustment, which makes this particular model the most suitable for trail riding.
- Santa Cruz V10. The iconic model and one of the most advanced bikes for downhill. This one comes with VPP branded suspension with up to 216mm of travel. Available on 27.5-inch wheels, but there are isolated instances of downhillers. The model is equipped with Sram X01 DH mounted equipment, Maxxis downhill tires, Avid hydraulic disc brakes on 203 mm rotors in front and 200 mm in back. It’s a bike with no competition – the V10 is deservedly in demand among professional riders.
- Santa Cruz Nomad. The striking design and flawless performance of the new generation VPP suspension is the result of the fruitful work of the engineers and developers of the American company Santa Cruz. Nomad bike efficiently copes with the tasks, which are characteristic for aggressive riding. Rear suspension with a stroke of 160 mm, one and a half inch steering tube, carbon top link, no rear triangle flex – the look of a high-performance trail bike.
- Santa Cruz Blue XC. Proven bike on an aluminum alloy frame for years is now available on a carbon base. Branded suspension, classic Cross-country—what-it-is–nuances geometry combined with high frame stiffness open up completely new horizons for the rider, guaranteeing maximum comfort and endurance.
- Santa Cruz Tallboy. It’s time for big wheels. The innovative VPP suspension system is used here as well, which guarantees an efficient handling and soft damping of bumps. Behind smooth lines of a carbon frame the incredible durability and rigidity of design, absolute accuracy of control and low weight of a bicycle.
- Santa Cruz Heckler. Perhaps this bike can be called a legendary model and the “golden mean” of the company’s entire range. Despite the years, the Hecker is still the same reliable unit for everyday riding. The frame is made of lightweight but durable aluminum tubes. The frame geometry is identical to the Blue LT. The rear suspension with 150 mm of travel and the unpretentious Superlight single-joint design provides a soft ride and confident over obstacles.
We should say a few words about the bike Santa Cruz Bullit. This is the case where the manufacturer has fully embraced the peculiarities of aggressive riding. Strong tubes made of aluminum, a massive suspension pivot, replaceable dropouts (lightweight 135 mm hub on an eccentric or undestroyable 150*12 axle) – this and much more gives an incredible experience to freeride lovers.
Let’s not lie, Santa Cruz bikes are not mass consumption products. These are bikes designed for real professionals and athletes. The products of the American bike brand will appeal to experienced freeriders and those who prefer flat roads to bumpy off-roading. Despite the fact that potential buyers of Santa Cruz bikes know what they want from the equipment, we will provide some recommendations to help make the right choice:
- Buy a bike for your height. Not by color, not by design, not by price/quality ratio, but by frame size.
- If your goal is to buy a brand-name bike, go to an official representative. An overly attractive discount on a potentially expensive model should alert the buyer. But at the same time, do not forget that there are certain times when you can buy a bicycle at a good discount.
- Always check with your dealer to find out where your bike can be repaired under warranty. Not every shop will undertake the resuscitation brand bikes, so the owner of Santa Cruz should know where you can buy spare parts for bicycles and repair fighting buddy.
Well, finally it is worth saying a couple of words about how not to run into a counterfeit and a fake. Before you buy a branded bike, it is worth to go to the official website of the manufacturer and get acquainted with the distinctive features of its products.
Santa Cruz is an American manufacturer of bicycles, which has concentrated all its efforts on creating a small assortment. And each of its representatives is characterized by unsurpassed quality and great design. Those looking for a high-performance bike for steep descents and trail riding should consider Santa Cruz products.