Santa Cruz Chameleon 7th Edition Unveiled

March 15th, 2017

By Andrew Dodd in Bikes,Features

Santa Cruz Chameleon – The Original Versatile Hardtail

The Santa Cruz Chameleon has always been a versatile hard tail that has many guises. The early models first appeared in the in the mid 90’s, and could be built up as jump bikes; handle a set of Bombers up front for free-ride antics or even be set up single speed. They were light enough for XC racing; and sturdy enough to handle a pasting – one of the original hard core hard tails.

Although the Chameleon has changed over the years as the Santa Cruz range diversified, the 7th incarnation of the Chameleon is still a multi-use hard tail and is bang up to date…

Santa Cruz Chameleon 2017-2

Santa Cruz man on the ground Seb Kemp was in the UK shooting the new Chameleon recently, and popped by the Factory Jackson office to show us his personal whip. His was running on 27.5 Plus Size tyres, and was dripping in Hope Tech Purple Anodised kit which looked great against the green frame.

The Details

The new Santa Cruz Chameleon is designed around a 120mm length fork and can be set up with 29in or 27.5 Plus Size wheels.

Adjustable drop outs allow chainstay length can be tweaked from 415mm – 430mm to adjust ride feel, accommodate the different wheel sizes and keep geometry consistent.

The swap out drop outs cater for both wheel sizes to be used whilst maintaining ride height and angles. There are 148mm Boost 27.5 Plus and 29in options with mech hangers; and 142mm 27.5Plus and 29in Singlespeed options.

Here are the main details:

  1. Aluminium frame with tapered head tube and internal dropper post routing.
  2. Compatible with both 29in and 27.5 Plus Size wheels.
  3. 67.3degree head angle on 29in model
  4. 67.6 degree head angle on 27.5 Plus Size model
  5. Swap out Drop Outs for altering geometry
  6. Boost Rear Spacing
  7. Mounts for two bottle cages
  8. Frame set available
  9. Four builds available – 2x 29in and 2x 27.5 Plus
  10. Frame retails for £549
  11. Complete builds from £1599
  12. Full details are here: Santa Cruz Bikes Chameleon 

Full Geometry Chart: Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 16.00.13

There are two sets of water bottle mounts on the Santa Cruz Chameleon – one on top of the down tube, and the other on the underside. For bike packing missions this poses no issues, though UK riders particularly might be better off using the under side mount for something like the Fabric Tool Keg – rather than putting their water bott le in the firing line of dog eggs.

The purple and green combo on Seb’s bike just looks right – and looks pretty similar to one of the first Chameleon images that comes up on Google. Check out this little green and purple fella – not far off!

Seb is a big fan of Hope stuff personally, and was telling us how it continued to draw so much attention – especially over seas. He rates Hope stuff as some of the best kit available. Life long Chris King fans should check out the Hope Tech history – as the iconic British company really does stand out as one of the best in cycling.

Whilst the new Chameleon has an internal run for the dropper post, we really like the direct route of the rest of the cables – on the underside of the top tube. It’s a no-fuss set up and means changes can be made quickly and easily.


Santa Cruz Chameleon

Seb Kemp took the new Santa Cruz Chameleon on a tour of the UK, and switched between wheel sizes for different spots. This shot is taken on a ride out with the Singletrack folk, near Hebdon bridge. Photo | Gary Perkin


Seb Kemp and photographer Gary Perkin were tasked with taking the Chameleon to a destination that they thought reflected the bike and the way it would be ridden. Considering Seb’s previous globe-trotting adventures, it says a lot about the new bike that they picked the UK.

It’s always been a popular bike in the UK, but with a modernised touch the new frame will be better than ever for UK riding. From street riding to skate parks, and bike packing to endurance XC racing – the Chameleon has it covered.


Santa Cruz Chameleon

Seb Kemp has been working with Santa Cruz bikes for some time now – and always manages to get the right end of the deal. This time he’s been showing the new Chameleon off to UK media. Great guy – we’ve got a lot of time for Seb.

Those that know Seb will also know of his versatility as a rider – there isn’t much he can’t do when it comes to mountain bikes. The Chameleon makes a great do-it-all platform for him, and would make a great all round ride for any UK rider – novice through to experts.

Despite how advanced full suspension bikes are these days, a good hard tail can still do a hell of a lot. The latest incarnation of the Santa Cruz Chameleon is a great example of this.Santa Cruz Chameleon 2017-1

For more info check out the Santa Cruz website right here

What do you think of the new Chameleon?

Like the idea of a simple hard tail – or would you prefer another model from the Santa Cruz range?




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