Santa Cruz bikes are well-known bike manufacturers of premium full-suspension mountain and hardtail bikes in California.
If you are expecting something different and unique, you must see all the bikes from Santa Cruz.
Check out our list of awesome bike brands in the world here.
Table of Contents
Overview of Santa Cruz Bikes Brand
Now, they are making a wide range of well performance bikes with whistles and bells for real cycling aficionados that never be disappointed. Each model is calibrated and hand-assembled in California with a unique personality from carbon fiber to aluminum, hardtails to travel downhill bikes.
Tazmon was the first bike from Santa Cruz, manufactured in the garage in Santa Cruz since 1993. Its name was from its single pivot dual suspension technology. This company is one of the biggest advocates for green energy. Hence, it uses a friendly environment such as carbon fiber or aluminum for full suspension and hardtails bicycles.
Their bikes are sold online after assembly in California.
History of Santa Cruz Bikes Brand
In 1993, Santa Cruz bikes were founded in California by Rob Roskopp – a skateboarding legend, Mike Marquez, and Rich Novak. As a professional skateboarder, Rob Roskopp partnered with Novak to form this bike brand. Roskopp and Novak went into partnership with Mike Marquez, a bike engineer with long experience in bicycle suspension, and Tom Morris- A designer for building prototypes.
As mentioned, Tazmon is their first bike. It was released in 1994, and it was the complete suspension bike with an 80mm travel single pivot design, which is the first on the market. After one year, they released the 100mm travel Heckle model, which was discontinued for the 2016 model year and relaunched in 2020 as the e-bike.
They obtained full patented rights over VPP (Outland’s Virtual Pivot Point) in 1999. Later, Santa Cruz was bought by a family-owned company, Pon Holding, on July 3, 2015. They managed to create the best sales owing to their enormous introduction of premium bikes.
Santa Cruz Bikes Ranges
Santa Cruz manufactures a lot of bikes especially, made from aluminum and carbon fiber. They are imported ready to assemble frames from Taiwan and China. Their bikes’ values range from $1.500 to $10.000. Their main bikes categories include hardtail, full suspension, and Gravel.
Most Famous Santa Cruz Bikes Models
Full Suspension Bikes
Nomad – Travel all-mountain bikes
Nomad(Kit R: $5149)
- Weight: 33.54 lbs
- Material: Carbon C
- Fork: RockShox Zeb
- Wheel size: 27.5”
- Front/ Rear Travel: 170mm
Nomad is a long travel bike with 27.5” full suspension, pushing conventional bike handling limits. These dynamic and excellent bikes can handle the long descents, tight bends, and grueling climbs in a second.
This nomad is a slacker and longer than before, with 170mm of travel front and rear. Besides, it comes in 6 different builds and is available with aluminum, carbon C and Carbon CC frames. Depending on its built and frame materials, its prices will be ranging from $5149 to $10.500.
You can check the top list of beginner mountain bike here.
Heckler (Carbon CC-$7699)
- Weight: 47.44lbs
- Fork: RockShox Yari RC
- Wheel size: 27.5″
- Front travel: 140mm (MX) 160mm
- Rear travel: 140mm (MX) 160mm
Heckler is perfect for the “oomph” technology lovers without sacrificing the fun of good old MTB. Its full carbon frame and the interchangeable 504 W battery will keep the weight down. Its simple concept will push your riding to a better level, trail new paths, and keep maneuverability while also having fun with the new tech popping out in the field.
It features the mixed wheel choice and the chainstay length of 445mm, never compromising the cycle geometry. Besides, its new Shimano motor is lighter than the unit before 380g, has more power, and is smaller in size with less drag and more heat resistance.
This Ebike offers 160mm of front and rear travel, paired with the ultra-lightweight carbon CC frame in 2 colors. Its battery capacity ensures the long-range to support you getting up the trail as many times as possible. Its price is ranging from $7.400 to $10.600 depending on the frame materials.
Bronson – Travel Bikes
Bronson (Carbon CC- $3699)
- Weight: 32.89lbs
- Fork: Rockshoz lyrik select
- Wheel Size: MX
- Front travel: 160mm
- Rear Travel: 150mm
Bronson bikes are considered the best versatile complete suspension bikes. These all-mountain bikes excel in all the terrain and the degree of descent you put it against. It features 160mm front travel and 150 rear travel. This model is available in 3 types of frames, including Carbon C, carbon CC, and Aluminum. Hence, you can get it cheap, or you also can splurge.
Especially, Bronson has the lower-link mounted shocks of Santa Cruz, which provide the best possible balance between agility and stability. Besides, its width of wheels is 27.5” that is perfect for navigating technical trails and descent.
Tallboy (Aluminum- $3349)
- Weight: 34.62lbs
- Fork: Rockshox Recon RL
- Wheel Size: 29”
- Front travel: 130mm
- Rear Travel: 120mm
Generally speaking, the short travel bike model is not as great as the long travel ones. However, Tallboy already proved that ideas are not always correct.
This Tallboy features 130mm of fork and 120 on the rear travel with the lower link VPP suspension system, which is adjustable. Besides, its 29” wheels will also support you to accelerate whenever there is an opportunity.
This bike has a slack geometry with a 65.6-degree head tube angle and a short fork offset, rarely seen on short travel bicycles.
Megatower – Travel Bikes
Megatower (Carbon C- $5149)
- Weight: 33.52 lbs
- Fork: Rockshox Lyrik Select
- Wheel Size: 29er
- Front travel: 160mm
- Rear Travel: 160mm
Megatower gets you anywhere you want and does anything you expect. It features 29” wheels and an abundance of rear and front suspension travel, which allow it to tackle all the obstacles without any hesitation.
This bike is infused with the lower link suspension delivered from the V10 model. It comes in 7 builds, including four models with carbon C frame and three models with Carbon CC frame. Its component groups have Shimano XT, X01 eagle, XX1 eagle, and Scrap NX
Hightower (Carbon C- $3549)
- Weight: 35.1lbs
- Fork: Rockshox 35 gold RL
- Wheel Size: 29er
- Front travel: 150mm
- Rear Travel: 145mm
Hightower gives us some more technology and engineering. Do you wonder why this bike can be in the lineup for a long time, just because this bike can fill the spot in a different rider’s garage? This bike features a 150mm fork and 140mm rear shock travel paired with the lower link shock style and the adjustable geometry owing to the flip-chip. Its price is from $3000
Blur (Carbon C- $5199)
- Weight: 26.18 lbs
- Fork: Rockshox Sid SL Select
- Wheel Size: 29”
- Front travel: 100mm/ 120mm
- Rear Travel: 100mm/ 115mm
Blur means you can ride fast then appear to be a blur. Is it funny? Blur features the 100mm travel and dual remote lockout, stiffest and lightest carbon frame, which Santa Cruz has made for the severe XC bike.
This bike is available in 2 colors, including Aqua Blue and carbon black. Moreover, it comes with the different levels of SRAM eagle 1x groupsets, and it depends on how much money you intend to spend.
V10 – Gravity Bikes
V10 (Aluminum- $6699)
- Weight: 35.09 lbs
- Wheel Size: 27.5”, MX, 29”
- Front travel: 200mm
- Rear Travel: 215mm
V10 is a highly perfect bike for extreme rides and streams. Your reasons for riding a bike include winning races and taking photos on the podiums. V10 will be an ideal teammate.
These downhill carbon CC bikes feature a weight of 230mm of front and rear travel.
Its frame is versatile. Hence you might build it for fitting your reference by riding 27/5 / 29” wheels size, mixed variant.
Stigmata (Carbon CC- $4299)
- Weight: 19.6lbs
- Rear derailleur: Rival 1 long cage
- Wheel Size: 700c x 650c
- Tire clearance: 45mm or 2.1”
Stigmata is a top-class gravel bike from Santa Cruz. It has tire clearance to choose between 700c and 650b wheels; it routed internally hydraulic disc brakes and through axles.
This model is made with a high-quality Carbon CC frame with the mid-range and premium SRAM and Shimano. You can fit the three water bottles. However, there are no rack mounts. This model is all road carbon CX and gravel bikes which is super versatile.
- Wheel size: 26”
- Frame material: Aluminum
- Travel: 100-160mm
For the experienced mountain bikers, Jackal is precisely what they want to be their best trail bike, including the tiny details and last bolt. In Particular, its price is a winner in the market for the hardtail industry.
Its traditional 26” wheels are paired with anywhere between 100 and 160mm front travel. Thus, you can turn it into the extreme dirt jump bicycle or the tame companion. Moreover, it is possible to ride as a single-speed and geared bike because of its sliding rear dropouts.
Highball (Carbon C- $3299)
- Weight: 24.68 lbs
- Fork: RockShox Sid SL base
- Wheel Size: 29er
- Front travel: 100mm
Some People think that hardtail bikes are not attractive because they have not seen Highball yet. This hardtail rolls on the massive 29” wheels. Besides, it is built around the lightweight carbon CC and C frame.
Moreover, this Highball features the 27.2mm diameter seat post, which makes your long ride more accessible, and mounts for up to 3 bottles of water cages, the threaded BB and the SRAM, X01 eagle components.
If you are in love with race cross country or bike pack or explore the wild, Highball can make it come true.
Chameleon (Aluminum- $2149)
- Weight: 30 lbs
- Fork: Rockshox Recon RL
- Wheel Size: 27.5+&29”
- Front travel: 120mm/ 130mm
Chameleon, a unique name, shows that incredible ability to adapt to the surroundings. This Chameleon is the most versatile bike from Santa Cruz. This bike has been performed and reworked, scraped down to its bone, and then constructed from scratch until it becomes an evolutionary peak.
This bike is more lightweight, faster, and durable than other bikes. Flexible nature is a remarkable thing. Moreover, you can convert it from a speed racer to a bike packing horse with minor adjustments. Chameleon is designed for a wide range of terrains from speed, maneuverability, and traction.
Santa Cruz Price Range
Santa Cruz produces high-end and expensive bikes, and their price will range from $2.899 to $10.400. You can find only one model of Jackal at a price of less than $1000. They do not produce a massive number of bike models like Giant or Trek. However, they always offer various frame types on each model. Hence, you can pay less for the aluminum material selection or the Carbon C / Carbon CC splurge.
Are Santa Cruz Bikes Any Good?
Perfect! They are super gorgeous bikes. Besides, they have a comprehensive lineup of bikes from $2800 for entry-level bikes and up to $10000 for complete carbon setups. Moreover, their bikes are well built, perfectly designed, reliable, robust, and easy to maintain. The manufacturer especially offers excellent support and a nice warranty with a fantastic look. That‘s the reason why they are popular all over the world.
Santa Cruz Vs. Specialized Mountain Bikes
It is always hard to make comparisons between 2 bike brands. No one is better than the other, just the differences between 2 and which will be the decisive factor for different bikers. So here I am going to show several differences between Santa Cruz and Specialized.
Santa Cruz’s bikes range is somehow narrower than Specialized, an active road biking and much bigger bike company in the US. However, both offer the high-end mountain bike with the utilization of different suspension and geometries technology, making them different.
Santa Cruz offers mountain bikes and gravel bikes, while Specialized covers the whole biking spectrum, kids, road, mountain, BMX, and E-Bikes. Santa Cruz releases a lot more 27.5 and 27.5 + mountain bikes compared to the Specialized.
Geometry & Suspension
Santa Cruz features aggressive geometry with a unique Virtual Pivot Point suspension design that can handle the minor bump better. Besides, they bring both upper and lower link suspension, which supports dealing with challenging terrains.
Specialized offer their traits such as the Brain tech and FSR tech, an inertia valve that knows when you pedal hard or when the trail is a hammer. It will react well to the rocks, roots, and some objects causing the bike bumps.
Santa Cruz bike’s price started at $999, which is the cheapest mountain bike, Jackal. At the same time, the cheapest model from Specialized is only $500 (Women’s pitch). The most expensive mountain bikes from Santa are V10 carbon at $8.199, while the highest price bikes from Specialized reach up to $12.050 (Men’s S-Works Turbo Levo).
Now, it’s time to select one best fit for you based on your personal preference. Of course, both brands are excellent in their own way.