As any regular readers of our blog will know by now, we're based in an area of Southern Oregon with some outstanding riding on all fronts; road, MTB, gravel. So our personal rides tend to reflect this, and our enthusiasm for the made-in-USA brands that we specialize in here at AVT.
And so it was against this backdrop that I set out on the search for a new mountain bike.. the perfect machine for regular rides in my backyard of the Ashland Watershed.
My starting point was my 2016 Ibis Ripley, a damn fine bike for our local terrain. It was time to retire my Ibis, as it was getting a little heavy for some of the long climbs we have locally. I rarely take a shuttle (unlike a lot of mountain bikers around here) and prefer to get a good hard workout in riding up before hitting the many technical & fast downhill trails. But I'm no XC racer and didn't want a traditional XC style full suspension bike.
Thankfully in recent years we've seen the emergence of a new breed of slacker more aggressive XC bikes. I'm guessing these are fueled by the development of lighter more durable components which allow riders to maintain a more trail orientated riding style. Combined with shedding weight from key components like frame, fork & wheels. My choices came down to the Intense Sniper and Santa Cruz Blur... the new Canyon Lux was an outsider, but it's just a little too Euro XC racer for my liking.
Singletrack Magazine had put the SC Blur through it's paces recently and experimented with a slightly bigger 120mm fork, so largely based on the strength of this review, and seeing our local trail pro Nathan Riddle shredding Enduro races on a Blur my mind was made up.
The Final Build.
Using a mix of parts from my Ibis, plus a new Fox Stepcast 34/120 fork, some White Industries goodies and a carbon dropper from KS, the Blur was ready to roll... almost! Switching over from the standard out-of-the-box XC set up with remote lock out front and rear turned out to me a little more complex than expected. But thanks to a last minute / fast turnaround service from Dirtlabs, I was able to have the rear shock modified to remove the remote lockout and replace it with a standard 3pos adjust lever.
|Frame & Fork||Santa Cruz Blur CC. FOX 34 Stepcast 120mm Fork with 44mm Offset.|
|Wheels||Praxis C32 Carbon rims laced to Chris King ISO Boost Hubs.|
|Tires||Teravail Honcho 29 Tanwall.|
|Headset||Chris King Dropset 1|
|BB||White Industries BSA30.|
|Crank||White Industries G30. 32t.|
|Seatpost||KS Lev Carbon Dropper.|
|Rear Mech||Shimano XT.|
|Dropper Trigger||Wolf Tooth ReMote.|
|Bottle Cage||Arundel Carbon Side Loader.|
This week's wheel build of the week is another super versatile gravel set up that's equally at home on road or CX.
Astral's Wanderlust Carbon rim is originally designed as a lightweight adventure / gravel rim capable of running up to 2.5" tires. But given their rim profile (23mm internal, 29mm external) they can perform double (or triple) duty as a pure road rim or cyclo-cross race wheelset.