Note. £399 buys the frame alone. The picture shows you its potential.
The Chameleon changes with the terrain.
- Single speeders love it because it has horizontal dropouts and big beefy chainstays and can handle a lifetime of stomping uphill in too big a gear.
- Dirt jumpers, outgrown BMXers and the freeride hardtail crowd love the Chameleon for the same reasons.
- It's got big beefy chainstays and can handle being thrown at logs.
- Sizes: S (21.5” top tube, 14.5” seat tube) M (22.5” top tube, 16” seat tube) L (23.5” top tube, 18” seat tube) XL (24” top tube, 20” seat tube).
- Now upgraded with rear disc brake mounts.
'Santa Cruz designed their Chameleon to perform like its reptilian namesake. Their goal was to produce a versatile bike adaptable to multiple environments-cross country, dual slalom and single speeding. With a quick handling geometry and a sloping top that provides plenty of room to maneuver, the Chameleon is set up to carve nimbly through tight singletrack or slalom gates.
The sturdy rear triangle efficiently transmits pedaling power to the rear wheel for powering through slalom or XC courses.
Horizontal dropouts and a unique removable derailleur hanger are designed to facilitate single speed conversion. Versatility, indeed.
Made in America from 6061 aluminum alloy, the 19" Chameleon frame weighs in at about 3.9lbs.
Frame construction includes several notable features; large square chainstays, a stout chainstay bridge behind the bottom bracket, a wishbone seatstay, gusseted top/down tubes and built in gussets on horizontal dropouts. The word "strong” comes to mind.
The Chameleon's geometry is quite interesting: 71º head angle, 73º seat angle, 23.25" toptube, 16.5" chainstays, 11.75" high bottom bracket and 41.8 wheelbase.
Relatively speaking, the frame has short chainstays and a long toptube. The long toptube allows a shorter stem, which puts more of the rider's weight over the bike and less over the front wheel. I felt like my centre of gravity was directly over the bike's balance point - a very comfortable feeling. Precise handling that was just-quick-enough made the Chameleon a joy to ride. Like a steady dance partner, the bike moved with me as if it were my shadow.
When the situation called for lightning fast cornering, the short rear end was easy to flick around. One might expect a nimble bike like the Chameleon to be a real handful on the downhills. I did, but soon learned that this bike is plenty stable on the steep stuff. I haven't had this much fun on a bike in a long time. Those big beefy stays and oversized aluminum tubes make the Chameleon ride harsh, right? Wrong. Coupled with the Rock Shox SID fork, this is one of the smoothest rigid frames I've ridden.
The radically sloping toptube leads to a radically long seatpost which flexes enough to soften the blows quite nicely. In my case, about 10" of Dean titanium post was all the suspension I needed. And here's the nice part - when you stomp on the pedals, you feel no flex. I didn't race dual slalom on the Chameleon. But, it railed through twisty singletrack, and I can't imagine a bike better suited for slalom racing.'
Dirt Rag magazine