The single pivot swingarm Superlight has been the evergreen XC entry bike into the Santa Cruz line up for years and the 29in version follows the established template closely. The bike’s curved seat tube allows for the same 100mm travel as the 26in version, while geometry is born from the proven balance of the Tallboy. Like the Tallboy and the 26in wheeled Superlight, the 29in version also willingly accepts a 120mm fork if you want to lean it back a little.
Our initial ride proves the short tapered head tube keeps tracking keen and trustworthy, whether whipping round the backside of bushes or trying to stay inside of Sedona’s big cactus stands on loose sweeping bends. Despite our concerns — and those of Santa Cruz when they started the project — the swingarm doesn’t get too out of shape even when you’re properly pushing it sideways despite the conventional 135mm quick-release dropouts.
There’s definitely flex between the main frame and tyre contact patch, but it’s friendly and predictable. In other words, it actually helps trail conforming traction and contributes to the bike’s playful feel rather than loading up during corners then catapulting you off line as soon as you unweight.
Santa Cruz's Superlight 29
Santa Cruz meld the bikes mainframe and swingarm with their well-proven adjustable 15mm axle collet bearings. Tyre clearance is more than generous, even with a stout 2.25in 29er tyre. Our test rig sported a relatively conservative mid-length stem and mid-width bar, which mated with the geometry to produce a balanced, agile, and attentive feel on the often zero tolerance ledge trails and sandy outer edge corners of Sedona. Complete bikes also come with the option to change the stem and crank length without increasing price.
Frame and shock weight is claimed at 5.9lb for a large size, while the Shimano Deore, Easton EA30 based R XC29 kit and heavyweight Maxxis Ardent 2.25in tubeless tyres bring total bike weight to 12.75kgs/28.12lbs for our medium. Even so, our Superlight still didn’t feel sluggish out of corners and it cantered up climbs nicely.
Suspension action is as predictable, intuitive, and rider referencing as you’d expect from a single pivot, too, with the larger wheel and tyre size chamfering the edges of Sedona’s ledges very nicely. We found it to G-out and take last minute ditch slams acceptably well, and while it doesn’t feel as sophisticated on the trail as the alloy Tallboy, it’s significantly lighter and much cheaper.
In terms of other details, the top tube gets dropper post cable/hose guides and gear cables use continuous outer housing. Santa Cruz now specifically identify thread-in, external bottom bracket cups as a bonus — a fair point considering the sometime bewildering minefield of different press-fit standards.
Smaller swingarms on the small and medium sizes minimize the kite tail effect on the smaller bikes and the hammock curved top tube of the small is claimed to have the lowest standover for its class at 692mm/27.2in.
The shock length on the smaller bikes are also shorter to increase their leverage ratio. While this may sound like a drawback, it is a move calculated to give even the lightest riders a useful range of rebound adjustability from the shock, due to their higher operating pressures.
Pricing is promised to be very close to the 26in models, right through the range, with the D XC kicking off the complete bike options at US$1,850, and the R XC bike we rode at $2,399."
Anyone who has the opportunity to throw a leg over the big-wheel Super will discover another chapter of Santa Cruz's signature handling and easy pedaling action. Back in the day, when the 26er version was one of the top performing trailbikes, I gravitated towards the Superlight when I had no idea what a particular ride had in store - up and down, the Super could handle it. The same holds true for the Super' 29. Its moderately-slack-for-29er, 71-degree head angle felt steady while plying the stepped drops and shifting rocks that pepper the trails of Sedona, and its tight-tracking rear end made for a lively bike in the turns, which is refreshing for a 29er in any form. Its numbers are the same as the carbon fiber Tallboy, and you'll be happy to know that the Superlight 29 is a spitting image on trail - versatile, predictable and energetic.
Suspension travel is limited to 100 millimeters, which at one point was considered cushy for any 29er dualie, but after plying the bumps for a year or so on 150 mm-plus bikes, I used up every millimeter of the Superlight in the first kilometer on the trail. In XC fashion, most of the big hits and short drops I launched on the Super' required damping and spring assistance from my arms and legs. Once the bike and I came to an agreement over which bumps were the domain of the suspension and which were to be shared events, the ride became quite seamless. Better still, the moderate travel front and rear provided enough pedaling firmess to allow me to ignore the blue platform features on the fork and shock.Sweet! The bonus effect of pounding over relatively technical terrain on a minimal-travel machine is that the fore/aft balance is rarely upset, so the rider and bike are in good position to handle any surprises.
Component choice on the Superlight 29 I rode was the predominately Shimano Deore XT RXC 29 ensemble that puts the retain price near $2350 USD. The highlights were its Ice-Tech rotors and Deore XT brakes, Fox RP2 shock and Float RL fork. Wheels were AM-width Mavic TN179 rims converted to tubeless and spinning on Deore XT hubs. The 30-speed DynaSys drivetrain was also Deore XT. The Superlight 29 shifts and stops like a much more expensive machine.
The Superlight 29's good fore/aft balance and moderately slack head angle made poking around on Sedona's slick rock quite fun. Ron Kratch photo
Pinkbike First Impressions:
If the Superlight was your first introduction to mountain biking in general, you would be hooked. If the Superlight 29 was your first-ever dual-suspension big-wheel bike, you would probably fall in love with it in one ride. Its affordable price belies its enthusiast-worthy do-anything performance and its trustworthy handling is the reason that Santa Cruz riders are an unusually loyal group. Is it perfect? No value-priced bike is. The Superlight 29 could use a through-axle in the rear and some may wish for a fashionably slacker head angle, but those additions would short circuit its purpose - to be the most versatile, easy-to-ride XC/trail 29er in the entry-level dual-suspension 29er market. I've ridden a lot of 29ers in the 100mm category and I felt right at home on the Superlight 29. A warm welcome to an old friend.. - RC"
My first full-suspension bike was a Santa Cruz Superlight. I bought the spartan grey frame with Fox Float shock third-hand, from a Swiss Frenchman named ‘Fred’ whom I used to ride with on Hong Kong’s mountainous Lantau Island.
I’d already been living in Hong Kong for several years, and rode the cobra-infested trails of the outlying islands every chance I got. My ragtag crew of riding buddies consisted mostly of Mad Dog Englishmen—some of whom insisted that riding hardtails was mountain biking’s purest incarnation.
Of course, much of their bluster about hardtails—and against the advent of dual-suspension bikes—was simply due to the fact that my mates had not yet ridden a bike with front-and-rear suspension. And the main reason they hadn’t ridden them was because these bikes took ages to arrive in Hong Kong.
The technological advancements that were recognized in North America and Europe generally took a year or two to make their way down the commercial food chain to Asia. And general acceptance usually lagged a year or two behind that. All of this meant that I had been eagerly awaiting my opportunity to try a full-suspension bike for several years.
So when Swiss-French Fred informed me that the size-medium Superlight frame he had bought secondhand from our riding buddy (an English-Chinese chappy named Ping) was too small for him, I jumped at the chance and bought it after only the most cursory of inspections.
This was the bike that changed mountain biking for me. Its stripped-down, single-pivot suspension design was easy to wrap my head around. Compared to the aluminum hardtails I’d been ricocheting through Hong Kong’s extended rock gardens, the Superlight felt plush, allowing me to charge faster, with much less attention to line choice.
And it wasn’t just descents that came easier. Once I got used to the way the Superlight enabled me to pedal through technical climbs, I realized that this bike had exponentially expanded my riding horizons. On our go-to trails, my riding buddies could no longer keep up with me. Full-suspension bikes were suddenly in their immediate futures.
Of course, by contemporary standards, my old Superlight—which I sold to yet another riding buddy before I left Hong Kong in 2006—has been eclipsed by the generational advancements of suspension technology. In many ways, Santa Cruz’s old single-pivot staple has had its thunder stolen by the advent of the company’s more sophisticated VPP models.
Enter Santa Cruz’s updated version of the Superlight—a 29-inch-wheeled adaptation with the same single-pivot linkage and geometry that is almost identical to that of the company’s popular Tallboy 29er.
Last week, Santa Cruz unveiled the new Superlight29 to a crew of mountain-bike journalists at a ‘press camp’ in Sedona, Arizona, and the bike’s simple, single-pivot design didn’t prevent these journos from plowing through endless rock gardens, negotiating steep sections of slickrock and even sending it off some pretty sizeable drops. It seems that the new Superlight’s big wheels and updated geometry have allowed it to segue gracefully into the current era of mountain biking.
Despite the advancements, the Superlight felt remarkably familiar, and by the time I had ridden the bike up to the more exposed sections of Sedona’s renowned Highline trail, memories of my first Superlight ride in Hong Kong were flashing blithely through my head.
The parallels between my experience and that of anyone entering the mountain-bike world at this juncture should not go unnoticed. For probably the vast majority of riders entering the sport at this time, their first mountain-bike experience is very likely to be on a full-suspension 29er—or whatever wheel size the broader market ultimately accepts.
For those who settle on a full-suspension 29er, the Superlight29 could be an ideal entry-level bike, given its proven suspension performance, contemporary geometry and reasonable price tag. The complete bike will be available for a price ranging from $1,850 to $2,350.
Here’s a look at some of the bike’s noteworthy features:
Santa Cruz stuck with its classic single pivot design for the Superlight29.
The cable routing for a dropper post, low slung-toptube and modern geometry means that this bike is ready for burly trail duties.
Santa Cruz went with standard 135-millimeter dropouts to help keep the price reasonable, and the wheel options aplenty.
The tapered headtube keeps up with the trends and helps to boost front-end stiffness.
Já temos os preços e configurações definitivas do quadro SUPERLIGHT 29er em Aluminio:
- Versão standard, duas cores disponiveis, Preto com letras Verdes e Vermelho com letras Prata, nesta versão base o quadro vai custar 1.290 euros com um amortecedor FOX Float RL .
- Versão CCCP (Custom Colors) disponiveis 16 cores aproximadamente com varios formatos e cores de letras, nesta versão o quadro vai custar 1.590 euros com um amortecedor FOX Float RL.
Como a encomenda é feita de acordo com as indicações do cliente a entrega pode demorar pelo menos 3 semanas, nesta versão o cliente tem um quadro exclusivo e decorado a seu gosto. De salientar que as pinturas Custom são Powdercoated de alta resistencia à abrasão e as pancadas.
Muito bonita esta bike e sem dúvida uma bike de muito pouca manutenção só que não trabalha tão bem como as que possuem o sistema VPP. Será que existe a versão com cores anodizadas?
O anodizado acabou mesmo e não volta, também sou fã. Mas tens parecido no Custom Colors que é o mate, mas não tão resistente. O que mais me agrada sem ser o ano, é o Satin Clear, que ainda não há para todos os quadros, mas recebi uma noticia que haverá mais novidades e estejam atentos pois Domingo ou Segunda irei colocars as bombásticas novidades ... uma nova Santa Cruz!!!!!
"Simple, sorted design makes the SL 29 an entertaining lively, engaging and efficient cross-country/trail mate"
By Guy Kesteven in Sedona, Arizona
The Superlight has always been an unsung hero in the Santa Cruz line, offering way more trail toughness and playful interaction than its weight-focused name suggests. The new SL 29 keeps the simple format but upscales wheel size and technical terrain tenacity in a surprisingly effective way.
Okay, perhaps "surprising" is a little harsh, but when almost everyone else (besides Orange) has moved to a full linkage suspension system for short-travel 29ers we weren’t sure how well the simple swingarm setup would work. Chatting to Santa Cruz’s engineers it seems they shared the same worries, but after blasting it round Sedona’s twisting, drifting, rock-and-drop slickrock singletrack we can see why they pressed the 'go' button.
The asymmetric back end certainly isn’t as stiff in wheel-twist terms as the company's VPP Tallboy 29ers. But it smeared plenty of climbing and turning traction onto the red rock trails and flexed predictably under pressure, rather than loading up and suddenly unleashing like some over-whippy tails can do.
The ‘stiffens under power’ suspension character puts useful pep into pedalling to offset increased wheel mass and inertia. The big-wheel roll-over bonus is obvious as a speed sustaining, grip increasing helpful hand on the back over rough ground, too. The 200mm-long, 50mm-stroke rear shock means the back end also copes with square edges pretty well for a 100mm bike.
Unsurprisingly the bigger chunks of Sedona geology did stretch the Superlight to the limit. There’s definitely more sense of unsprung wheel and swingarm weight slowing down suspension response compared to a 26in-wheeled or linkage-driven bike. This translates into it slapping into rather than sucking up bigger hits when things get fast and choppy.
The steep head angle means you’ll be climbing off the back to keep right side up if you’re descending/braking hard enough to start bending the fork back towards you. Then again, if your ride profiles are more Etch A Sketch than sine curve you should probably be looking at the newly announced Tallboy LT and a 34mm-legged fork anyway.
Easy pop-and-drop handling makes the Superlight more engaging and naturally playful than locked-to-the-trail linkage bikes, though. We spent a lot more time with the front wheel lifted than we generally do on short-travel 29ers, and this turned the grin/gritted-teeth ratio in its favour on more technical terrain. Like the 26in version it’s perfectly happy with a 120mm fork plugged in for a more relaxed feel, too.
A 2.67kg/5.9lb frame and shock weight creates a 12.75kg/28.12lb complete bike for the RXC29 spec option we tested, despite heavyweight tubeless 2.25in Maxxis Ardent tyres. If you stick with the stock 2.1in Maxxis CrossMarks you’ll really unleash its ability to turn miles into kilometres in terms of the consequences for your legs.
The lack of linkages brings the back wheel in closer and shortens the wheelbase compared to Santa Cruz's VPP bikes. Add fast, cross-country based handling templated off the very popular Tallboy model and anchored firmly in the tapered-head front end, and it’s eager to hit the singletrack as fast as possible.
The same 15mm-axled, user serviceable collet bearings, decent tyre room and a conventional bottom bracket shell for easy spares sourcing means it should cope with epic mileage well too. Santa Cruz build kits (from £1,899/$1,850) are now exclusively Shimano than SRAM based too, trading increased weight for reduced maintenance time and smoother long-term performance.
Add a small frame size with better standover than most XS bikes and a shorter shock to give a broader rebound range, plus black and orange paint as standard or the full new custom colour palette, and you’re looking at a very appealing fast trail/cross-country bike.
A velhinha Superlight (roda 26) foi minha companheira durante 3 anos!! Muito bom.
Trocada apenas por........... a MINHA BLUR LT2. Se podiamos pedalar sem Santa Cruz?? Podiamos..... mas não seria a mesma coisa
A Santa Cruz não se reje por modelos anuais, eles fazem alterações de cor, quando lhes apetece, mudanças de geometria e outros sempre que acham necessário ... nunca em moldes anuais. A minha Nomad já é a mesma à venda à 2 anos ?!?!
Mas sim esse modelo já está à venda liga para Pernalonga 234 423 110 e fala com o César, ele dá-te preços e previsões de entrega, ou até se terá alguma em stock.
Olha, isso dá-te a volta e nunca mais vais pensar na Gary Fisher, a Santa Cruz foi quem mais desenvolveu o single pivot, de tal maneira que muita malta que hoje em dia anda com sistemas VPP, DW, Maestro ... experimentou a nova Bantam e ficou pasmado como o single pivot funciona maravilhosamente.
Sim, sei por experiência própria que o single pivot (com o amortecedor certo) funciona muito bem. Por esse motivo estar interessado na Superlight.
Tenho outra opção (um pouco semelhante e mais em conta) mas vamos ver.
Olhando para o quadro, para a sua forma e soldaduras, pode parece muito arcaico nos dias de hoje mas quando se pedala em cima disso, é gozo garantido...
E pronto...encomendei de um quadro Santa Cruz Superlight 29er para substituir a minha Procaliber.
Se não houver imprevistos, chega daqui a 3 semanas.
Sempre dá tempo para arranjar o material que me falta: espigão de selim e desviador da frente.