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  1. #1
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    Is a Santa Cruz Solo too much bike for XC?

    Hi,
    I am in the market for a 650b full sus bike for XC.
    I am wondering if the Santa Cruz Solo is too much bike for someone who wants it for XC and maybe the occasional race.
    My riding is a mix of fireroad climbs and descents, some singletrack but nothing extreme.
    I see the solo is light and has 120mm of travel. How well would it work with a light build for XC?

  2. #2
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    Hard to say with out knowing more about you but it is a very nice bike I just got mine today
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  3. #3
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    Why not? Has similar specs (travel/HA/weight) as the Yeti ASR5-C. I am planing on building out a SoloC as a light weight XC bike later this year.

  4. #4
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    That was my plan as well- XX1 build of my own with light wheels, light tires, light bar/stem and rigid seatpost.
    Can the Fork be shortened to 120mm?

  5. #5
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    The answer to this question will sound a lot like the story of three bears. For some 100mm of travel is plenty for cross country while for others 120 is just right. I had a 100mm travel xc bike and it was not enough bike for me, went up to a 140mm from there and that was just right for the most part. Now I am on a Bronson with 150mm and it feels just right. If I was to get an xc bike it would be a 29er with at least 120mm, Ripley, Trance 29er and SB-85 come to mind. Yet that orange on the Solo is sweeet!

    Test ride it on a trail if you can before you buy.

  6. #6
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    Looks like it's off the site now, but you can find yourself a Blur XC, run a 1x set up to avoid a F der (cable rub on tire under compression) and throw some 650s on it.

    Just built a stock Solo XX1 and it was a bit heavier than I thought it would be (27 even no pedals, with reverb and heavy tires set up tubeless, mind you). Wouldn't be crazy to get it down to 25, but that is where my stock 3x10 SPX Blur XC sat out the box anyway (tubes and 26" wheels, though tubeless 650 was about the same).

    Save some cash and get an 'out-dated' bike (i.e. they will probably be making one with 650 wheels soon enough, that will be almost exactly the same) that is built for the job rather than trying to force the Solo into that category.

    Search this forum for many Blur XC conversion threads.

  7. #7
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    It really is a personal choice, but for mainly fireroads with a little single track and racing, I'd say look at 29ers in 100mm. I'm on a Tallboy with 100mm rear and 120mm up front is it more than enough for XC riding. Everyone loves a ton of travel, I bet a lot of them aren't even using it.

    Here I am at Bryce Mountain's BrewThru on the Tallboy

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  8. #8
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    The Giant Anthem Advanced looks like the ticket for what you are looking for. Wish I could sell my Ventana El Bastardo 100mm travel bike so I could pick up the Giant. Just can't justify buying the Giant without selling my Ventana because they would be too similar. Just very interested in trying out a carbon FS bike.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by veteran_youth View Post
    Looks like it's off the site now, but you can find yourself a Blur XC, run a 1x set up to avoid a F der (cable rub on tire under compression) and throw some 650s on it.

    Just built a stock Solo XX1 and it was a bit heavier than I thought it would be (27 even no pedals, with reverb and heavy tires set up tubeless, mind you). Wouldn't be crazy to get it down to 25, but that is where my stock 3x10 SPX Blur XC sat out the box anyway (tubes and 26" wheels, though tubeless 650 was about the same).

    Save some cash and get an 'out-dated' bike (i.e. they will probably be making one with 650 wheels soon enough, that will be almost exactly the same) that is built for the job rather than trying to force the Solo into that category.

    Search this forum for many Blur XC conversion threads.
    This is what I'm riding in Pro XC. 22.7 lbs WITH pedals and bottle cage, 650b 1x10 setup, and real tires (2.25 RaRa/ 2.25 RoRo). Fantastic bike...

  10. #10
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    I'd race a Solo C at 120mm if its under 25#, jus sayin'.
    I'm excited about the anthem 27.5 with 100mm, I would love to take one for a test spin.
    Hardrock 29er, Niner EMD9, Cannondale F29, Camber Expert, 650b Nickel all gone.
    2014 Giant Anthem 27.5 here.

  11. #11
    JCL
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    What a bizarre question. It's a trail bike designed for general trail riding. How would it be too much?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCL View Post
    What a bizarre question. It's a trail bike designed for general trail riding. How would it be too much?
    Because you don't need and most likely won't come close to using 120mm riding fireroads and what most people consider XC trails. So why have the disadvantages. The WB on the Solo is an inch longer than my Tallboy, nothing is a free ride everything has trade off. Hell by your reasoning, why not get the Bronson?

    Since they are both VPP, it's fair to say that a longer travel bike won't pedal as efficiently either.
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  13. #13
    JCL
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Because you don't need and most likely won't come close to using 120mm riding fireroads and what most people consider XC trails. So why have the disadvantages. The WB on the Solo is an inch longer than my Tallboy, nothing is a free ride everything has trade off. Hell by your reasoning, why not get the Bronson?

    Since they are both VPP, it's fair to say that a longer travel bike won't pedal as efficiently either.
    Yes I would probably go with the Bronson as the weights are similar and I wouldn't be limited to fireroads. As you say, they're both VPP and have very similar anti-squat so there would be little difference apart from weight.

    I don't get your wheelbase point.

  14. #14
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    I just did an XC race on my Yeti SB66 weighing in at over 32 lbs and posted the 3rd best lap time. I think the Solo will do fine unless you're looking for an absolute racing rig.

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    As people said, it's really personal preference. For fire roads and a bit of singletrack I think a 29er hardtail would be ideal, unless the fire roads are really rough.

    I had a 650b-converted TRc, which is essentially the SOLO, and also a TBc. The TRc was a really fun trail bike, but the TBc has always been my choice for racing (my terrain is rocky, rooty, and technical singletrack). If you want a FS bike, I think a short-travel 29er would be ideal. I feel like the TB is faster than the TR overall and climbs better. The TR was better downhill, more "tossable", and absolutely railed high-speed twisty stuff. The TB also makes a great trail bike -- I ride it in all sorts of terrain.

    That said, I wouldn't hesitate to race on a SOLO if that's all I had, especially if it were built up fairly light. I used to race a Stumpjumper FSR 29er, which had more travel and was heavier (about 30 lbs), and I don't think it slowed me down much. It's really more about the rider than the bike.

    Another consideration is geometry preference. Do you like quick handling or something more stable feeling? If you like a quick-handling bike, then a 650b-converted Blur XC would be great. For high speed stability and bombing downhill, the SOLO would be better.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCL View Post
    Yes I would probably go with the Bronson as the weights are similar and I wouldn't be limited to fireroads. As you say, they're both VPP and have very similar anti-squat so there would be little difference apart from weight.

    I don't get your wheelbase point.
    You don't get it period.
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  17. #17
    JCL
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    You don't get it period.
    Yep I do XC races on a 29lb, 130mm, 29" with 2.3" tires and while it isn't perfect, it's adequate. I don't know why anyone wouldn't think a 120mm trail bike isn't suitable for general mountain biking and occasional XC racing? I have a hard time thinking of a better bike. Maybe a 110mm 29"?

    Still confused by your wheelbase point...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bootsie_cat View Post
    Can the Fork be shortened to 120mm?
    Why would you want a shorter fork, just going to steepen the HA and give you less travel and make it more sketchy on steep technical stuff.

    My plans are to go with a Fox Float 140. Looking at Fox's site there is no weight difference between the 120 and 140. The extra travel is not really going to effect the XC pedaling of the bike and going to help on the downhills.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bootsie_cat View Post
    Hi,
    I am in the market for a 650b full sus bike for XC.
    I am wondering if the Santa Cruz Solo is too much bike for someone who wants it for XC and maybe the occasional race.
    My riding is a mix of fireroad climbs and descents, some singletrack but nothing extreme.
    I see the solo is light and has 120mm of travel. How well would it work with a light build for XC?
    The Solo isn't an XC race bike. Geometry is most similar to the TRc, one of the best trail bikes around (26").

    That said, for mostly XC-ish riding it would be fine. Certainly raceable (any bike is, really), especially if built up light enough.

    It would be much cheaper and easier to build up a 4" travel bike (like the Blur XCc), and it would still be a great XC/light trail bike. My Blur XCc has NOT been babied on lame fireroads and easy singletrack, and I haven't come close to finding its limits yet.

    If most folks are honest about it, a bike like the Solo could handle everything up to light freeride and then some. Most folks have too much bike (travel, weight) for their application, and aren't really honest with themselves about how "aggro" their riding really is.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    The Solo isn't an XC race bike. Geometry is most similar to the TRc, one of the best trail bikes around (26").

    That said, for mostly XC-ish riding it would be fine. Certainly raceable (any bike is, really), especially if built up light enough.

    It would be much cheaper and easier to build up a 4" travel bike (like the Blur XCc), and it would still be a great XC/light trail bike. My Blur XCc has NOT been babied on lame fireroads and easy singletrack, and I haven't come close to finding its limits yet.

    If most folks are honest about it, a bike like the Solo could handle everything up to light freeride and then some. Most folks have too much bike (travel, weight) for their application, and aren't really honest with themselves about how "aggro" their riding really is.
    This is the point I was trying to make and hopefully showing with a video. My TBc is 100mm and more than enough XC.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCL View Post
    Yep I do XC races on a 29lb, 130mm, 29" with 2.3" tires and while it isn't perfect, it's adequate. I don't know why anyone wouldn't think a 120mm trail bike isn't suitable for general mountain biking and occasional XC racing? I have a hard time thinking of a better bike. Maybe a 110mm 29"?

    Still confused by your wheelbase point...
    You consider fireroads general mountain biking?

    You're answering for you, not the OPs question. OP said mostly fireroads, WTF would you recommend a 120mm bike with trail geometry.

    Sorry there are better bikes for the OPs purpose, can it be done- yes but is it the best use of the bike- no.

    Wheelbase plays a role in maneuverability like other geo numbers, since the OP doesn't sound like they spend a ton of time in the air, 'flickability' is most likely low on the list, which is the point of a 650B bike. The solo is going to have the same wheelbase, almost the same chainstay, yet geo designed more for trail/all mountain, why not get something better suited to what you're looking to do like the TB?
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    why not get something better suited to what you're looking to do like the TB?
    If the Solo can be built out to the same weight as TB and preform just as well on fire roads and XC/single track. Why not go with a Solo? Give him more versatility later on if he decides to starts riding rougher more technical trails.

  23. #23
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    I think some of us are thrown by the question about being "too much bike". When you then read the description, the better question might have been "Is it the best bike for me?"

  24. #24
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    I think a Solo would be a fine choice (the other choices folks mentioned are also fine choices).

    Is a Solo "too much" for your type of riding? Possibly. But if you want an all around fun bike that will be just fine in the occasional XC race, I don't think you'd go wrong with the Solo**. This is exactly how I use my Solo and I love it. I fall smack dab in the category of having more bike than I need (or will ever need), but I don't care because the Solo is a total blast to ride on the XC-type trails I ride.

    If the Solo tickles your fancy, I personally wouldn't rule it out because of the travel or because it may be a bit beefier than what you really "need". My advice is try out a a few bikes and get the bike that gives you the most smiles - amount of travel be damned.

    ** I'm admittedly biased.
    2013 Santa Cruz Solo C
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    2012 Giant Defy (Roadie)

  25. #25
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    get the solo. 120mm is not too much for XC racing. you can build it up light.

    don't get stuck with a 100mm fork.

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