The All New Carbon Santa Cruz Chameleon Hardtail

The Santa Cruz Chameleon AL was a bike that really stood out from last year’s reviews. It’s capable, versatile, and affordable, especially when stacked against Santa Cruz’s other offerings. What about riders who love the Chameleon but want the frame to be made from carbon? Well, today Santa Cruz announced just that.

The Carbon Chameleon maintains the geometry of the aluminum model but adds in a few nifty details. The internal routing is sleek, with hidden bosses for a direct mount bashguard, dropouts allowing you to switch from 27.5+ wheels to 29’r wheels, and best of all, the SCB “C” carbon layup. Even when paired with the stout SRAM GX cassette, you can really feel a difference in the weight of the bike.

To up the ante a bit, Santa Cruz pinged their UK friends at Hope to deliver a colorful parts kit, complete with turquoise Hope hubs and a matching headset, which as you can see in these photos, compliments the brown and turquoise paint scheme perfectly.

Brown bikes don’t get a lot of love but this bike will sell like hotcakes. The Carbon Chameleon starts at $3799 with either 29’r or 27.5+ wheels and goes up to $5699 as shown here with Hope parts. Or, as a frame for $1599. Head over to your local dealer to check one out in person as Santa Cruz has them in stock now and ready to ship. Head to Santa Cruz Bicycles for all other information and check out their launch video below.

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  • dc

    Dare I say we’re in the golden age of bike launch videos?

    • I was not expecting this. At all. I kept thinking “when’s someone going to ride it out of the shop and into the woods?”

  • benreed

    Let’s hope they made a bunch of these…

    • They’re in stock now. That’s all I know.

  • Stumpjumper 29R

    Hilarious video. Never was a boy George fan but grew up in the eighties so suffered thru that vid on MTV many a time.

  • SW

    Beautiful bike. Too bad it’s way outside of my budget. Quite pricey for a hard tail.

  • R. M.

    Same dropouts as the aluminum Chameleon? IE can this be single-speedified? Edit- nevermind, says so right on the website thingy.

      • Adin Maynard

        Yes, but SS is non-Boost only

        • Rob Borek

          The boost dropouts still allow for adjustment in chain tension, so you can run it single speed 148 if you want to!

          • Adin Maynard

            From Santa Cruz website: “Wheel size-specific swappable dropouts maintain the same geometry while allowing the use of 27.5+ or 29er wheels in geared or singlespeed configurations. Geared options use 148mm ‘Boost’ spacing while the single speed options use 142 spacing to accommodate dedicated singlespeed hubs.”

          • Rob Borek

            Exactly. Most single speed specific hubs are 142, but there’s nothing to stop you putting a single speed sprocket on a 148mm wheel and using it single speed. The dropouts are adjustable to change effective chainstay length regardless of 142 or 148

        • Spence Peterson

          Is this true? Can you run 142×12 rear wheel on a new (2017-2018) AL chameleon?

  • Dear Santa Cruz. Please make a Lost Boys themed launch video. Thanks.

    • hahaha yesssssss

    • Roshongo

      Off topic (sort of) but have you heard Marilyn Manson’s cover of Cry Little Sister from Lost Boys? Killer.

  • Mashira

    Haha, definitely cool and super tongue in cheek! In related opinions, I miss Santa Cruz’s more vibrant color schemes on their frames.

  • rocketman

    I’m sure it rides nice an all … but man give that kind of mone to a US builder and ride some custom steel. ( see Tom Ritchey for more info)

    • We post plenty of steel bikes here. Don’t fret! ;-)

  • purty schweet!

  • Raymond Walker

    Anyone have ‘deets on the FRAME weight?

  • AdamBike99

    That’s not brown! It’s “Beach-Bronze and Blue.” hahaha

    I was going with, “Moka Java and Azul Beaches…”

    Great vid tho.

    • Shreddy Krueger

      That’s definitely colon-blow brown.

  • Chris Andrews

    I don’t wanna be that guy, but US$3799 is affordable?

    I must be in the wrong job

    • That was a reference to the aluminum Chameleon which reviewed last year and is $1799 for a complete mountain bike.

      “It’s capable, versatile, and affordable, especially when stacked against Santa Cruz’s other offerings.”

      • In that case, “It is” should really be changed to “It was”… There’s still a case to be made for “The Chameleon AL is affordable, and the Chameleon C ups the game”…

        • “The Santa Cruz Chameleon was a bike that really stood out from last year’s reviews. It’s capable, versatile, and affordable, especially when stacked against Santa Cruz’s other offerings. ” doesn’t ‘it was’ imply it no longer is?

  • Simon Farr

    a question that I hope will be answered at some point is what are we looking at in terms of chain clearance when running SS? what chainring/cog combos will us knee-cappers have to use to get past that intimidating chainstay?

  • Scott Sattler

    Any info on 29er tire clearance for this frame ?

    • BurnDawg

      Lots of info on the Santa Cruz website under FAQ

      “What size tire can I fit?
      The Chameleon C will accommodate up to 29×2.5 or 27.5×3.0. If you adjust the dropouts back a bit (lengthen chainstays) you can fit some 29×2.6 tires as well.”

    • Logan Groves

      If you troll through the extensive mtbr forum for the chameleon, you will find photos of 29x3s fitting with the dropouts slammed forward… albeit not officially sanctioned due to minimal mud clearance. If you can’t find it, I’ll dig it up.