The Chameleon that Santa Cruz turned into a legend back in the day is back and it packs quite a massive punch. It is a lot more versatile than it ever used to be. If you are looking for a mountain bike that is capable of doubling down as a do-it-all monster, this is the bike for you!
The Santa Cruz Chameleon was a sexy purchase for us. No other word seems to describe it better. It’s a hardtail that has a stiff feel to it, which imparts a sense of control that you wouldn’t typically get, especially going downhill at speed.
Even better, it is incredibly sensitive to the touch, so that whatever you want the bike to do, it does, and fast! Unlike a downhill-only bike, the 13.5kgs of weight on the Chameleon can be very noticeable when climbing a trail, though. We noticed this and attributed it in part to the High Roller tires as well as the longer top tube in the frame.
Also, while the rear mechanism of the bike does wonders for reducing the amount of noise it makes, it can still feel a little like it is below value, considering the slightly expensive price you pay.
That said, the front fork is one of the best we have seen, with so much clearance between the fork and the wheel that we had no problems at all with clogging while on wetter, muddier trails. From the slackened head angle to the tapered head tube, this is a bike that feels amazing, but could see some improvement too.
Slackened head angle
Powerful, versatile chainstays
No problems with mud clogging
Value for money feels low
Feels a little heavy
Hard to do steep climbs
A reliable, multipurpose bike that can do it all, and help you have one of the best rides ever!
We really loved the Santa Cruz Chameleon review process, even though it wasn’t all sunshine and marshmallows. This is a bike that you should check out if you don’t plan to do too much climbing in the future!