Surprise! The Froth Factory has been working a triple shift this week, which means that not only do you get assaulted by two posts in one week (virtually unheard of these days), but you also get coated in ridiculous Dirty stoke.
Naturally you’ll be thinking this is about getting an entry into the 2019, and final, Trans Provence race, which as far as surprises go is about as good as it can get… But no, while there will be more on that later, this is a gear rant for a change on something as superlative as it was unexpected.
Given I’m as short on time as I am attention span before the Pioneer, this is a whirlwind first look post as opposed to a Dirty balls deep expose on Santa Cruz’s latest creation, which has been so lovingly sculpted from carbon that it makes the pottery scene in Ghost look mundane. Introducing the Blur 3:
Before I dive into the WTF moshpit rolling around in your mind right now, I need to take a moment to acknowledge that this newest Dirty family member is thanks to a Tier One, all time and outstanding GC. I won’t over-gush here (Bitch, be cool), but while my Twitter feed works hard to tell me every day to lose all hope in humanity, it’s nice every now and again to be reminded how fucking excellent people can be.
Let’s answer your obvious thought/question/abuse first: It’s less than a week out from the biggest race of the year and you’re about to jump on a brand new and untested rig and set up?! Muthafucka, you crazy?
Well, allow me to retort…
First of all, to de-risk this scenario you go to rad GC’s who know a thing or two on how to build a bike. Luckily for me I’m a country road drive away from some of the best in the business, and all it took was for Tony Two Hoops and Deano at The Hub Cycle Centre to look at the excited panic in my eyes to spring into action to nail out a build that would put a lot of World Cup wrenching to absolute shame.
Unfortunately the build was so banger it created one of those moments where I lost control of the stoke and it erupted out of my malnourished chassis and spilled all over the shop floor, much to everyone’s concern as to the simplicity of what set me off…
But real talk for a moment – How can you not get more frothed than a Milan airport cappuccino when you lay eyes on a bike like this? If I can hit you with some Dirty authenticity for a moment, the colour of this thing is even better in person than it looks in the nasty virtual world. Put down the phone and touch it:
Enough touching yourself down an alleyway muthafucka, how does it RIDE?! Funnily enough, this wasn’t my first time throwing a leg over a Blur, no no… You may think I’m a Johnny cum lately Santa Cruz stalker, but how about this action from 2009?! This should act as a solid reminder how far things have come in 9 years and while Democracy may be going down the toilet, at least Mountain Bikes are fucking rad:
Granted, that was a Blur LT and the new weapon is a completely different beast, but I digress significantly. So it was love at first bike shop frothing sight, but would that initial flirting love be real the morning after? As I said in my gushy Instafuck post, ever since I set forth on my first SC Heckler in 2003 (I think?), every model I have ever jumped aboard has near instantly felt like “My bike”, that beautiful natural feeling of familiarity, whilst still giving you the swelling loins of new bike day at the same time.
This isn’t a pick up line, but it just feels right… And after the first climb it confirmed that it’s an absolute guided missile and vert eating monster:
Two rides is hardly a sample size to make any great determinations, but usually when you run into a cunt at work and decide this in the first meeting, 6 months later they’re still rocking that status and you’re still right, so here are some very initial impressions from shake down city.
- It feels fast… Right from the first section of trail the bike feels noticeably quick and not in a subtle way either. It feels effortlessly quick and sprightly in a way you don’t often experience. Sure, this is the lightest build I have had in a long time, but there is no mistaking that this bike wants to get the fuck up and party straight away. The word ‘scamper’ comes to mind as it careens through uphill singletrack
- And it IS fast – In the first real hammer test, bearing in mind this is a taper week of chilling, I hit a climb that I have ridden 49 times before, on the Nomad 3, 4, Hightower, Stigmata and Tallboy 3. At 2.4km’s long gaining 206m at 8.5% average, it’s the kind of climb which not only has a lot of variety, but also seems to mentally drain me 3/4 of the way in to the point where I usually crumble. As you may expect, the Tallboy owned the personal record up here at 13.24… And the Blur? It made the TB hold it’s beer while it went out and popped in an 11.26. Holy SHIT… Ok, so I am well rested, but it wasn’t really that, it was the way the Blur hustled and made me want to get out of the saddle to power out of switchback corners, I could feel how much faster it was, plus the clock agreed, which leads me to…
- Trail is Trail and XC is XC – Not to sound like a sleaze ball from marketing when I drop a line like that, but given my penchant for turning all my bikes into up-armoured HUMVEE’s, getting on a legit XC bike is quite an eye opening experience. As they say in Formula one: You can make a fast car reliable, but you can’t make a reliable car fast. Same notion applies here
- Ok smart cunt, but what about going down? Much like me it’s very willing and able. It also likes to go downhill faster than I expected and I think it’s best to say that it gains more on the TB3 going up than it gives up going down. I also don’t know how to describe this for now, but it whips through berms in a manner I wasn’t quite prepared for, I need to check the geo to work out what that’s about, but I was surprised when it started to carve through berms like JC through a box of Kombucha.
I know that last bullet point will naturally beg the question “How does it compare to the Tallboy?!” and while I can’t fully answer that now, I will be able to after riding 450km’s on the Blur in the next 6 days. Stay tuned…
Unleash the nerds
So now it’s time to let the fucking geeks run around naked a little – Let’s talk hardware specifics. To start with, my contractual arrangement with ‘Fun’ strictly prohibits me running a fork under 120mm of travel or an MTB without a dropper post, so this build is definitely trending towards the Blur TR spectrum. However, it’s also about as Bandito as I think I will ever get a bike, so indulge me as we tour through my weird hybrid half new build.
First question on your mildly wet and pulsing lips – What the FUCK is up with that Franken-drivetrain:
Yes, this is a little weird I will admit, but not by design. Like the rest of the world in 0.00001% of the population, we have all been waiting for the new XTR to drop and be lavishly spread all over our bikes. Some 6 months after the big reveal load shoot and it’s still a Unicorn who gives lap dances. Thanks to a fire in a Shimano production facility (that old chestnut), new XTR remains vapourware for now.
So challenge one was getting a boost crankset which didn’t suck, triggered by clearance issues for the non-boost crank that was on the Tallboy 3. In the end, XX1 Eagle with the new DUB BB was the answer, mainly due to the fact it was pretty much the only boost crankset in 170mm length available that didn’t impersonate a concrete life jacket weight wise.
Just to make shit super weird, it’s then hooked up with an XTR chain and mated to a Garbaruk 50-10 Cassette, all the way from the Ukraine, with an XTR Rear D, which has been retrofitted with a Garbaruk extended cage and powered by an XTR shifter. Before you can whisper “Cunt, are you for real?“, don’t even ask me how much of an expensive fuck up the Garbaruk cassette was… Pro Tip: Buy them from Mountain Bike Direct as opposed to directly from the Ukrainians, it’s no BS about the rampant corruption.
Admittedly it would have been less faff and fuck to just go full Eagle, but there are too many people out there waiting to rub my large nose in that shit, so have held out like this was the Alamo (Yes, not a great comparison given that ended badly).
Other highlights? A couple right here to get your nerd juice pumping:
On the left – Finally an MF Chris King drop set in the house! No offence Cane Creek, but it just hasn’t been the same since shit went integrated and CK has been on the sidelines, but they’re back in the game and steering is sexy once more.
On the right – I had Mike Hosking levels of cynicism and hostility about a Grip-shift actuated rear shock lock out and was determined to scoff at it until I could re-plumb the Fox EVOL shock to have the hand adjusted lever like I roll on the Tallboy. But, er, fuck, it’s actually good. Sorry cunt, I can’t hear you? What was that? Ok… I’m actually sold after 2 rides, which while that may make me appear to have rubber arms, is more a reflection on if you’re in Bandito mode and trying to smash shit, this feature not only actually works, but works quite well.
Other than that a rapid-fire run down on the rest of the fit out:
- DT Swiss XMC1200 wheels – In theory ENDURO wheels, but oddly light and probably a good call given my lack of grace… I would prefer to be running SC Reserve 25’s on this beast, but that will have to be a summer project
- Santa Cruz flat bar with Ritchey stem
- The superb Fox 34 Stepcast fork with 120mm of Travel – It’s bipolar in that it thinks it’s a 36 in a 32 Stepcasts body. Definitely a hidden hero product for Fox, get involved if you’re in this genre of build
- Fox Transfer post with Wolf Tooth remote and some saddle from an obscure American company
- XTR Brakes – Trail on the front and Race on the rear. 180/160mm rotors. The front one is a beast, but the rear appears to be more ornamental than functional
- XTR Pedals, because what else is there?
- Maxxis dominating the tire department as per usual at Dirty HQ – It was set to be the Ardent Race/Ikon power bandit couple, but the weather appears to be utterly cunted, so it’s a 2.35 Forekaster on the front and a 2.2 one on the back. I’ll be fucked if it fines up
- Final weight – Size Large with bottle cage, Garmin mount blah blah is somewhere around 11.5kg’s. Ditch the dropper and put a 32 fork on and I expect you’d hit mid 10kg range or less
Right, I’m off to get my face punched in by South Island Mountain Ranges and perhaps even T Bone as well, I will leave you to go and clean off the excessing froth and stoke generated by the induction of the latest Dirty family member.