Santa Cruz Chameleon Hardtail MTB Morphs Into Carbon Skin

Santa Cruz drops a carbon version of the adaptable Chameleon hardtail mountain bike that's lighter and stiffer than previous offerings.

From the 2019 Santa Cruz Chameleon shoot in Sheffield, Yorkshire, with Craig Evans. Photo by Gary Perkin

The do-it-all Santa Cruz Chameleon hardtail is now available in carbon. The folks at Santa Cruz just dropped a new version along with an eye-catching special edition model.

The Chameleon has been a favorite for riders who want a hardtail that can be happy everywhere from the dirt jumps to a bikepacking mission. Santa Cruz doesn’t intend to change that with this update, but they do want to add a stiffer and lighter option.

photo: Gary Perkin

The new Chameleon can be a ordered as a single-speed or 1×12, and it still includes swappable dropouts to allow the change.

The geometry and lines are nearly the same as the aluminum model, with only one-millimeter of notable change in areas.

The head tube is 67.2-degrees and the seat angle is 72.7-degrees. The chainstays start at a snappy 415mm and can extend to 430mm, depending on the dropout configuration. These numbers apply to the bike with 27.5+ wheels and tires, and the geometry changes a by a few millimeters here and a tenth of a degree there with 29-inch wheels.

Photo: Santa Cruz

The 29er is specced with a 120mm fork and the 27.5-inch model comes with a 130mm fork.

Pricing on the carbon Chameleon starts at $1,600 for a frame. For the S model, equipped with a Fox Float 34 Performance fork, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, RaceFace rims and cockpit, and SRAM Guide T brakes, the MSRP is $3,800.

For the SE Chameleon with Santa Cruz Reserve wheels and Hope hubs, SRAM Guide R brakes, and Fox 34 Float Performance fork the price bumps up to $5,700.

See the Santa Cruz website for more information.