Dr. Santa Cruz or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blur XC

Blur XC (RXC) – $2950

The Blur XC in all its anodized glory.

The Blur XC in all its anodized glory.

I love cross county biking. Down hill is fun, road is great. But my heart is with cross county. So I’m a bit of a wussy when it comes to going down hill. What I mean is the group pretty much has to wait at every cross roads for me to catch up (and so I don’t get lost which tends to happen). This week I rode the Santa Cruz Blur XC. It is a beauty. With Kenda Navigal tires it holds the trail with amazing control. Hugging each turn like a champ. The first time I rode the Blur was at Lambert Park on the bottom half of Rodeo Down. For those of your who haven’t ridden it I highly recommend it, it’s short but a lot of fun. This trail flows like a bobsled track, back and forth with great banked turns some close to 4’ tall. I first fell in love with the Blur when I enjoyed how well it took this course. I have never been able to flow smoothly back and forth between the berms. With the Blurs build and traction I glided down like a pro. Hit the top of every embankment while leaning waaaay over. No more hit your head on the trees because it’s to hard to lean. This is a bike that will improve your xc descents.

On my next ride I headed to the Race Course (above Timp Park, some people also know it as Franks). So the race course starts out with a fairly long, whindy, annoying gravel uphill. You know one where you pedal and pedal but some how you still feel like you are going backwards. But not today. Today I felt like I was going forward just the tiniest bit. Wow so that’s what it feels like. Well as you can guess that ride was fun and so much faster then on my normal bike. I love imediate improvements don’t you? Of course there was one part where…

Here's my first fall on the Blur XC.

Here's my first fall on the Blur XC.

My back wheel decided it needed a turn being the front. So without permission from me (or my front wheel) it shot forward to take over. Now I didn’t like this and surprisingly neither did the front wheel, it fought. Now that I’m back and sitting comfortably in a arm chair I like to think of them as little round gladiators, each one fighting against the other to stay leader. The front wheel won, but not before throwing me over board, I guess fronty didn’t care what happened to me as long as backy learned his place. And all I’m thinking as I’m going over is “Oh crap this is a demo!” I’ve said it before and I’ve proved it again, I will throw myself under the bike to save it from getting scratched. So I did, no scratches on it. Although I think it may have tweaked my front hydraulic brakes. Once I pulled myself off the ground and said “I’m okay,” to the guys behind me I took off like lightening so I wouldn’t start crying, how embarrassing falling in front of two guys you don’t know. When I caught up with the rest of my group I took assessment. I scraped up my shoulder pretty good, and remembered why I wear a helmet. But in the end the bike was okay and I felt bad ass for taking a good fall and not crying. After this assessment I started wondering why I fell, I haven’t gone down on that hill since the first time down and this bike is way better. I had two realizations: 1. My tire was filled way to high so it was sliding out instead of hugging the rocks and 2. I am a 5’4” girl riding a mens medium, I just can’t get far enough behind the bike. Now you might think I should have realized these things before but it gave me some other insight. This bike is made for cross country, while it can do big hills and did once I let some air out of the back tire it became clear that this is not what it is specifically made for.

My last ride I did on the Blur was South Fork. What I was happy to find was how fast it was uphill even on technical part with rocks and/or roots. There is one little spot that isn’t that steep but for some reason I’ve never been able to make it over without falling before. But not this time. I geared up and powered over. Needless to say I was tickled pink. That, and I was faster than one of the boys. Yeah for girl power!

In the end there are still a few things to consider before purchasing. Size. I’ve ridden mens bikes for the last few years but I just can’t get behind them. I need a bike that is made for me. Come on Santa Cruz make a bike for girls that is cool and powerful. The Juliana is cute but it’s to wussy for me. Next the Santa Cruz emblem fell off, how lame is that? You spend a lot of money for the name only to have the emblem fall off? Boo. It’s like buying a Rolls Royce and having your Angel fall off the bonnet after the first week. Not to say that the Santa Cruz is pompous like the Rolls Royce but you see my point.

Of course people probably steal the Rolls Royce emblems and put them on ebay where the original owner can buy it back unknowingly. Hmm… I think I know what my new “job” will be.

Lastly consider the price. The build kit on the R XC is decent and every component is truly the piece it says it is. With Shimano XT rear derailleur and LX front derailleur and shifters, and brakes Avid Juciy 5’s the bike feels perfectly adequate. Which would normally be find but with a price tag of $2950 I felt a little let down. Love the Blur XC but girls try it on multiple rides to decide if you can work the size.

The Blur XC gets a big shinny gold star.

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