Easter 2007 I bought a Santa Cruz Blur LT frame. The first thing I noticed when lifting the frame out of the box was that all the tubes were large diameter and very chunky in the hand, the frame itself was almost the same weight as that of my Nomad; this was a surprise. The Blur was built with a mix of SRAM X9 and Shimano XT drive-train, Mavic 717 rims, layback seat post, Formula ORO K24 brakes, my usual high-n-wide bars, slime tubes and Michelin all mountain extreme tyres. Initially it was fitted with a Fox 32 Vanilla 130 mm travel fork although this was soon changed to a Pace 40 fighter with 150mm travel.
The first ride was a local loop with a combination of South Downs hills and descents together with a very rooty singletrack. Compared to my Nomad the Blur had a much more stretched and low front feel, it felt uncomfortable but I persevered for a couple more rides and then came to a decision, I needed the front lifting by an inch or so. I bought the Pace fork not for the increased travel but primarily because the crown to axel height is 1.5 inches longer than the Fox and it would therefore lift the front of the bike. The Pace fork transformed the Blur and it was now extremely comfortable although the front was very lightweight on steep hills. In this guise the Blur weighed in at just less than 30lbs although standard tubes and summer tyres shaved this to under 28lbs but 30Lbs is a comfortable weight for me to pedal all day without worrying.
As an experiment I also tried the heavy duty wheels and Fox 36 Van from my Nomad onto the Blur LT, this build weighed in at 34 lbs, a noticeable difference. The 36 fork turned the bike into a full on beast of a trail bike, Nomad like trail eating ability but less weight to winch uphill. The most practical build is with the 717 rims and Pace fork which it has had for 99% of the time. The rear suspension bearings required changing after 12 months and were replaced with a full Pro-Pack service, other than that it has been faultless for countless miles.
My Blur LT was always a blast to ride, easy and relaxed on the South Downs but more than capable in the rough stuff that I will attempt. It was effortless to ride during a 106 miles of a South Downs Way in a day excursion during the summer of 2007 yet it would also fly down everything in Wales as fast as my confidence would allow. In my opinion the Pace fork was a good match for the rear suspension and the bike had a great balance of quick turning for singletrack, levelling rough stuff and stability on steeps. There are probably better bikes for each of these things but my Blur was just superb for me at all of them. The way I built it may not have suited everyone due to it being too high or too heavy etc but for me it was almost perfect.
From 2005 until early 2007 I rode a Santa Cruz Nomad bike fitted with Fox 36 Van’s. A truly great bike but one which encouraged hooligan behaviour resulting in an increasingly heavy build that topped out at 36 lbs, good for playing and rough stuff but a little heavy for all day trundles. I used the Nomad less than a dozen times after getting the Blur LT, in fact I recently sold the Nomad frame as it was gathering dust.