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 stunning pair of Gold Chris King R45D hubs laced to ENVE Foundation 45 rims.
Made in the same Utah facility as ENVE's top of the line SES rims, these Foundation 45's (and the deeper Foundation 65's) represent one of the best value, USA made rims available sharing much of the same technology as ENVE's more expensive rims.