Note: price is for this proven NORBA national championship-winning dual suspension XC frame. Not the whole bike.
Sizes: S (21.5” top tube, 16.5” seat tube) M (22.5” top tube, 18” seat tube) L (23.25” top tube, 20” seat tube) XL (24” top tube, 21.5” seat tube).
Colour: Anodised Grey.
If light weight, snappy acceleration, nimble handling, and proven durability appeal to you, look no further.
'Santa Cruz's 6061 aluminum frame, with its simple, triangulated mono-shock swingarm that drives a top-tube-mounted Fox Float RL shock, is available both as a frame kit and a complete bike. One last look before we hit the trail revealed what Santa Cruz has always been famous for - attention to detail. Cables are tucked out of sight. A hole is machined through the swingarm's right side so the rear derailleur cable can take a straighter route. Very clean. Sealed ball bearing pivots and rounded corners on all its machined parts give the Superlight a rich look.
LIGHTHEARTED Hitting the trail: The Superlight has a semi-active rear suspension. The high-pivot swingarm (note the pivot point just above the middle chainring) causes chain torque (your pedaling) to cancel out pedal-induced bobbing in the small and middle chainrings. Pedal-induced rear suspension action (even when in the big chainring) is minimal with the Fox Float RL inflated to the rider's weight plus ten to fifteen pounds. The shock offers an effective lock-out if you prefer no suspension action at all. The Superlight feels like the bike that won the 2001 NORBA Cross-Country Championship when you are hammering down the trail - because it did win the championship (under Kirk Molday). In the tight stuff: The Superlight is awesome while slicing along a tight singletrack. It blends the sharp handling of a hardtail with just the right mix of rear suspension. This is a proven racer that doesn't punish the trail rider. The Superlight is perfectly balanced turning and banking through our favorite singletrack, and if you have the horsepower, it will blast out of corners. The wrecking crew unanimously preferred riding the Superlight aggressively with the suspension set on the firm side of the dial. Softening the suspension takes the edge off the bike's sharp sprinting ability. In the rough: Santa Cruz has built a bicycle that will keep the conservative cross-country hardtail racer delighted with a firm out-of-the-saddle sprint and yet offer the trail rider a compliant dual-suspension bike for negotiating gnarly terrain.
Blazing: The Superlight's well-balanced chassis pays off in the fast stuff. This is a predictable bike that will bump your current descending skills up a notch. Pushing to the limits, you'll find that Superlight's wheels begin to slide simultaneously and in a neutral manner. We did experience some rear-wheel chatter under hard braking, but weighting the rear end reduces the noise.
Climbing: On smooth climbs we flipped the lockout switch on the shock, and on rough climbs we left it active. The semi-active rear suspension allows you to mash the pedals with disregard for proper technique. The Superlight will still respond with clean, bobless acceleration. The draw-back to the semi-active rear end is that you won't experience the rear-wheel traction of a fully active system.
Flying: The Superlight's balanced and light feel makes it a great bike for hopping or jumping trial obstacles. This isn't a freeride bike (they make the Bullit for that), yet it feels far more like a jumper than any hardtail race bike (and most dual-suspension race bikes).
LIGHTNING BUGS Was there anything about the Superlight that bugged us? The die-hard fully-active suspension fanatics on the wrecking crew were vocal about the shortcomings of the semi-active rear suspension. They were willing to work on their riding technique to reduce pedal bob for the sake of having suspension action while climbing and under hard braking.
SANTA CRUZ LIGHT SHOW Santa Cruz may feel that their other models deserve the spotlight, but the Superlight is a total standout. This is a bike for the serious cross-country rider who wants the attributes of a dual-suspension bike without the steep learning curve. The Superlight is a time-proven design (Santa Cruz has been building dual-suspension bikes for a decade) that is perfect for the rider who wants to trade up from a mass-produced cross-country bike to the feel and performance of a custom-built race bike that doesn't have to be raced to be appreciated.'
Mountain Bike Action: April '02