I'm thinking about building up a HT this winter. I've never built a bike before, but it looks like it could be fun. I was thinking about a Santa Cruz Chameleon 4 frame. Does anyone have any experience or reviews of this frame? I'm not sure what year the Chameleon 4 was made, but I'm thinking between 2010-2012?
I'm looking to add a HT to my collection which include: 2012 Trek EX8, 2012 Trek Slash 9 and a 2005 Specialized Roubaix. I'd like the HT to able to handle some aggressive riding but mostly single track / technical rides. I'm also hoping keep it at 26 inch wheels, not sure I want a 29er just yet.
Any advise would be appreciated!
Are you totally set on the Chameleon? Why? The ability to go single speed or geared?
Personally, I have never been a fan of aluminum hard tails There are so many great steel and titanium frames to choose from I just dont see a reason to go with an aluminum frame..but thats just me...
Agreed, Go steel. Aluminum is great if you are trying to save weight and plan on using it as a XC bike. Steel will be much more forgiving when the trail gets rough. I have Transition TransAM and love it. Also, look at Evil Sovereign, Cotic BFe, On One 456 evo. All are great frames with aggressive geos. The on one can be had for very cheap!
Originally Posted by 410sprint
I would agree, stay away from alu for a hardtail.
I would say look into a El Mar or MCR.
Steel is perfect for a HT.
That said I went with alu (SC Highball 29'er) for mine... the price was right for what I could get - and I wanted it to serve multiple uses. So now it's seeing action as, off course, the adventure rig but also high school racing for my son and group rides with my faster that hell buddies.
I've had many steel bikes in the last 30 years and I will always have an appreciation for them, but currently my 4 active bikes are carbon and aluminum. They all perform great and leaves me nothing else to desire.
A rigid or HT, no matter the set-up, is still not a full suspension mountain bike. I've done endurance races with a friend who rides a steel frame outfitted with big tires and a Thudbuster - and he still acknowledges being beat to pieces at the end.
The Chameleon is an awesome bike and there are a bunch of other bikes that are awesome too. Just because it's Al doesn't mean it's bad.
I like the Chameleon 4 because: 1) it's a Ht, 2) it's on sale for $350, and 3) because I could set it up geared or SS.
I have been looking at the On One 456 also. I also posted this question in the 'Santa Cruz' section prior to getting responses here.
I'm going to gather a list/prices of parts needed to see what it would cost to build. I planned my budget to be about $2000. It appears I could purchase a new Chameleon with a mostly shimano build for about $2000. So I might go that route.
However, part of the reason for the build was to actually build a bike and learn/understand how to work/repair a bike. I think there's a lot of value in that.
Thank you all for your advice. I'm still going to look hard at the On One a bit more.
My advice would be to embrace the bigger wheels. You already have two nice 26" bikes in your stable. Why not try to mix it up a little more than just a HT? Besides, 26" hardtails are going the way of the dodo.