Santa Cruz Solo 27.5 Trail Bike with 125mm Travel

27.5 All Mountain Trail

At noon of June first, Santa Cruz unleashed the second volley in their 27.5 bike assault. The first bike was the Santa Cruz Bronson Which featured 150 mm of travel front and rear. The bike was burly and was aimed squarly at the six-inch All Mountain travel bike crowd and the growing Enduro Racing scene.

But in a recent visit, Director of Engineering, Joe Graney asked me what I wanted to see next and I said the obvious choice is a a lighter bike with about 125mm or 5 inches of travel. Such a bike could would be fully capable, raceable and could come in under 25 lbs complete. The Bronson came in at 27+ lbs even with a carbon frame and wheels because the spec fork and tires were pretty burly. Joe just smiled and changed the subject as I suspected that he did not want to give away his next hand.

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About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • Skidad says:

    13.1 BB height…are you kidding me…really? Do these guys ever ride in rocks or what? Bring that bike to New England (or pick your personal gnarly region) and the pedals and crank ends will look like shrapnel in short order. Should have left it at 13.6″ and it would have been better. Don’t give me the spiel about proper technique and ratcheting cranks to avoid pedal strikes either as the nature of the terrain here it’s unavoidable….or there must be allot of crappy riders here…NOT! 13.1″ is to low for an all around trail bike. Rant over.

    • Bikethrasher says:

      Growing up in the North East I Know your Pain but the BB on my old hardtail was maybe 12″. The Santa Cruz Boys like to Build bikes that they want ride and own. Considering they are located in Santa Cruz aka lots of fast Flowey trails with random tech this type of bike is perfect. I live in Colorado and it is pretty much perfect for pretty much everything here as well. I own a TRc and rarely strike pedals. Putting a 140mm fork on this bike and a 2.35 Hans Damp will raise the BB just short of 13.5 and slacken the head angle to 67 degrees. The actual size of 650b tires range any where from 27″ all the way up to-27&7/8 for the Hans Damp. Get fat tires and wide rims and life is good. Contrary to what you may have read the longer fork barely affects the climbing prowes of my TRc. The trails here in Eagle are Straight up and Straight back down. 20%+ grades on the climbs are pretty normal here and hitting Mid thirtys and even forty on the DH is very common. My only complaints with my TRc is small Bump sensitivity and stability at high speed on loose trails. This bike should address both those issues and still climb like my Trail Rocket

      • ian loveless says:

        I agree, I ride a TRc with 150 mm fork up front in Rotorua New Zealand and hardly have a problem. We ride some techy stuff and the only place I have to watch the bottom bracket in on an uphill tree fall that requires a manual to get over. This bike looks awesome, like a faster rolling version of my TRc. Probably won’t get it past the wife though.

        • Bikethrasher says:

          I got the Wife’s go ahead this morning. So I have a 2 month old Mint Lg TRc and Fox Talas 140 Fork for sale and a set of Enve AM Wheels if anyone is looking.

        • David Carman says:

          No Ian you will definitely not get it past the wife!.

    • Shawnny says:

      I saw a lot of rocks in the vid. He didn’t hit a single one.

    • Teocalli says:

      Totally correct and it actually becomes a safety issue as well. I recently rode a Yeti SB-66 with the same issue and as a matter of fact my Scott Spark 29 Pro with adjustable BB height came in the “low” setting @13.1 I smashed my cranks repeatably and I consider myself a good technical rider

    • barb says:

      I think the idea behind the frame designed for 125mm of travel is, it is for XC racing, not technical terrain where you’re navigating over “gnarly” conditions. XC races are typically held in non-technical terrain, most competitors use 80-90mm travel forks for endurance racing, and the bikes don’t need a lot of fork travel or higher BB height because it’s just not necessary. If you’re riding in technical terrain, you’d use a different tool. So a bike designed for a fork with 125mm of travel is intended for semi-technical, or non-technical terrain. As for all the complaints about the video, they’re just introducing a product, they’re not charging $10 for a feature film to entertain viewers. LOL People complain about the weirdest things.

  • Bikethrasher says:

    This is the Bike I and most Trail Riders have been waiting for.

  • nekrider says:

    Waste of time and money both the bike and video. This bike climbs so well that Peaty was carrying IT in scenes plus i bet he would have liked the extra travel for the descent. I think santa cruz is starting to slip

  • David says:

    I want one of these, and I think the price for the SRAM build is in the ballpark.

  • madsedan says:

    Waiting to see pricing on the frame only before deciding to swap in place of the Nickel frame I’m running 650b at 130mm travel, weight savings may not be worth it to me.

  • Dale burton says:

    The video is a rip off from the Specialized Enduro 2012 where the rider camps out over night in the wilds. At least in his video you see some bears. It was also more professionally done and the rider rode the bike in every scene. Not too sure why he was carrying the bike…?

    SC are expensive, I personally believe there are much better bikes out there for a lot less. Even the cheapest version is going to set you back a ton of hard earned cash, with a low end spec. I rode the carbon Tallboy and it was akin to riding your mom’s bike…!!!

    Must be great to be a pro and get all the new kit and bikes for free and get paid to do mediocre videos.

    • Stiingya says:

      The Specialized rider carried the enduro a few times in their video also. That’s what happens deep in the back woods where there is no trail maintenance! Some times you have to portage… 🙂

    • m0ngy says:

      Man, gen y + mtb are such a pack of wingers. In the 90’s we made do on hardtails with bad geo weighing twice your boutique duallies. All the components flexed like crazy, and the crappy, creaky suspension forks used to break, hospitalising their rider.

      1. Half the mtb videos to date involve camping out, are you suggesting they’re all the same, or all copying each other?
      2. He was carrying the bike over obstacles that were clearly unrideable.
      3. Yeah, Santa Cruz are expensive. However, you pay for what you get; the top of the range are ultra high-end machines, no expense spared. SC are the industry leaders, and charge a premium for that. If you think it’s a rip-off, don’t buy it, these things are racing out the door, they don’t need your business. That’s capitalism, if you don’t it emigrate to China and see how they live… lawl.

    • Mendip5000 says:

      Genuine interest – which better bikes do you believe there are

  • Jonni says:

    Will they dump the blur TRc now?

  • roger says:

    Cool, now wait for the Blur TRC on the cheap!

  • Mike says:

    looks like a great bike for the bay area and will likely pick one up – love that this can be built light. it’s amazing to me to see all the negativity in this thread but to each his own. i’ve been a loyal santa cruz rider and don’t see that changing.

  • Gearwhine says:

    I just don’t quite understand why people are making such a big deal about this. It’s a slightly updated TRc with 27.5″ wheels.

    I don’t imagine the TRc will be on the cheap for a while, as it’s still a 100% legitimate, awesome, bike (yes, I own one). Not many stores carried it in stock either, as everyone was clamoring for the next big thing (same bikes always made, but with 27.5″). So, blowouts might be a while…I could totally be wrong though.

  • olfossill says:

    Isn’t it a trip how we all dis for the sake of being da man, my 2 cents, sc builds a solid bike, true it’s a ton of scrilla, but what did u expect? these bikes got a good rep either u like it or u don’t, I,d luv 2 upgrade from my nomad but I’d sure have to sell a lot of cookies. ride on sc, you backed up your warranty for me and I,m faithful as a result

  • OldSchool says:

    Looks like a great bike. Hard to take anything Joe Graney says seriously though given his disdain for 650 and consumers opinions. With the attitude he showed in the bikemag video, I’m surprised they ever built the TB (which I really like).

  • RideHARDer says:

    I agree, Joe Graney is a blow hard……with respect to his slagging 650B, I put him in the same category as Chris Sugai’s obsession with 29ers……

    It will be interesting to see how the rest of this year plays out and next for 650B. I’m all in for 650B. 🙂

  • Carlos says:

    For about 100g more and 25mm of extra travel I’d go with the Bronson!

  • Retro-Eir says:

    Just ordered mine! I’ve been riding a blur LT for the past several years in NC, and I’ve got more travel than I can shake a stick at. While I love the blur it’s too cushy. Perhaps I’m old school as I’ve been riding no suspension for 20+ years. Larger tires, and happy middle ground of suspension travel…golden!

  • Fernando says:

    How knows at what e-shop i can find the santa cruz 27.5

  • bruce says:

    First I never write reviews but was compelled to share my demo results!

    Rode the carbon solo over the weekend on my favorite trails in Auburn – Culvert trail, Clementine loop and Confluence trail.

    I own a Tallboy and love it but this bike really makes me THINK TWICE – it climbed well (no noticeable difference from Tallboy), was super fast and just seemed to handle the zippy banked turns of the Culvert better than my Tallboy. I also felt like I was in more control on the fast, rocky and tight technical sections of the Confluence trail.
    If I had to do it all over (just put 1,000 miles on my TB since buying it in Jan) I would definitely consider going with the Solo. Now thinking that I need to setup my TB as more of a trail vs. XC bike – wider bars and more aggressive tires …


  • gunners01 says:

    Well, I just rode my Solo for the first time today. 12 miles on some decent single track. Okay, so mine doesn’t have the ENVE wheels or the XTR groupo, but it does have XT and the WTB wheels are darn nice. The bike weighs a whole 1 lb more than the XTR kit.

    I need to reduce the width of the handlebars, but the Solo handled great. I was on some pretty technical trails with lots of rocks to navigate and my only reservations were largely as a result of my first ride on something larger than a 26″ wheel. I think once I cut the bars down a bit the Solo will be perfect.

    Well, I have to say that I did clip my pedal at least twice, so the concerns about the bottom bracket height not unwarranted. However, these were some pretty large rocks and I was trying to thread the needle a bit and I’m still getting used to the ride.

    I’m riding a XL and I’m 6’4″. The wheel size is just perfect for me.

    I can’t wait to get this out to Pisgah National forest and continue to put it to test.

  • Steve says:

    Glad to read all the comments, had my solo on order for a month now, should be two weeks yet. Can’t wait as I’m a sc rider for a while now. Love my blur Xc but looking forward to running the new wheel size.

    Went the xo1 kit out without the enves so I can’t wait to hit the trails, the bike looks great and from the sounds of it rides well. It will be interesting to feel the ride difference between the two steeds.

    Glad to hear about the tall boy as I was in two minds about the 29er or the 27.5 as I do love the feel of a well tuned 26 on the trails but will hopefully get a bit more rollover on the bumps. Can’t wait 🙂

  • Dowksie says:

    Very interested in the cross-mix of comments, massive like, massive dislike and so much negative comment from people who have quite obviously not ridden the bike yet. WTF?

    Rode a number of bikes at a demo day last Sunday and so much of it was like stuff I had ridden before, Bronson for instance, so much like my Cube Stereo 650b.

    Come my turn for 30 minutes on the Solo and wow, some bike. Yeah had two pedal strikes for sure and you need to adjust coming off a 150 travel 26er but with this bike SC have hit the nail on the head. Ride it, feel it, its better than 26 (but not in a sledge hammer way) and then and only then knock it……………… If you can.

  • Bone says:

    i ride the east coast exclusively and i have a solo on order after i demo’d one. a complaint about a half inch in BB height? pedal thickness varies more then that on platform pedals, combine that with pedal width, shoe width, angle of lean, and a host of other things and there are a slew of reasons that your pedals/ feet will hit the ground. when it really comes down to it, yes, a 13.1″ BB is a little low but the fact remains that after 3 rides my money is on just about everyone (if they’re being honest with themselves) being used to it and not caring. some people just like to find shit to complain about.

    i can’t wait for mine to come.

  • Dowksie says:

    Spot on “Bone”, heard someone over here in Ukay refer to it as the ultimate “Point & Shoot” tool. Gottat agree with that comment also. Mine is now on order, back order in the Ukay, current shipment sold out 🙂

  • Tobez says:

    Just Ordered Mine , alloy frame with upgraded forks and shock, Looking forward to it…

    • Tobez says:

      Bit of an update I did get 140mm forks which lifts up the BBC to around 13.4/5 but it’s never been an issue in the 9 weeks I’ve had it, I’ve done trail centres and only just recently some very hard downhill with an instructor in Hebden Bridge in the UK, very nearly, and rocks, some of which I did have to get off and walk, because I just didn’t have the balls to do them. Th other bike with me was an Orange blood! anything it did I more or less did. Nice bike, I’ve just gone to 2 cogs and bash guard and lock on grips, next upgrade will be hope brakes….

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