Evolution takes time and given how long the Chameleon has been in Santa Cruz’s lineup, it should be no surprise that the hardtail lizard has taken on a carbon chassis, as well as a few other updates. From backcountry multi-day adventures to evening outings, the Chameleon is made to take on whatever situation you put it in.
The Chameleon is Santa Cruz’s stalwart hardtail. Previously offered only in alloy, it will now be available in carbon as well, albeit with a few tweaks. While most of the geometry is preserved, the Chameleon C’s numbers are tweaked here and there, but not drastically. The front center and stack heights are bumped up a few millimeters, but the reach, chainstay, headtube and seat tube angles all remain the same. On a size large, the Chameleon C’s 457-millimeter reach, 67.3-degree headtube angle and 72.8-degree seat tube angle certainly are in line with contemporary trends for most hardtails, if not edging on the conservative.
New for the Chameleon C, Santa Cruz has partnered with Hope to offer some bling bits on the high-end, SE Reserve builds. Along with Santa Cruz’s Reserve carbon wheels, you’ll get a set of Hope Pro 4 hubs and a Hope headset, all color-matching nicely with the frame and fork highlights. At $5,700 these aren’t cheap builds, but you are getting some pretty sweet parts for your hard-earned cash.
In typical Santa Cruz fashion, the Chameleon C preserves a threaded bottom bracket, and adds internal cable routing for the brake and dropper hoses—the alloy Chameleon runs the brake under the toptube. There are two bottle mounts on the Chameleon C, one regular two-bolt in the front triangle, and a three-bolt cargo mount on the bottom of the downtube.
The Chameleon C also keeps its ability to shapeshift between wheel sizes and drivetrain options with its swappable dropouts. Four dropouts are available, one for 29-inch wheels, 27.5-inch wheels and two for running a single-speed drivetrain with either wheel size. Bolted directly onto the frame, the dropouts allow changes in wheel size without greatly changing geometry numbers. With the 29er dropouts, the Chameleon C fits 2.5-inch tires, and 3.0-inch tires with the 27.5-inch dropouts. The geared dropouts use 148 Boost spacing, while the single speed use 142-millimeter spacing, which is what many singlespeed hubs use.For more information and pricing of the Chameleon C, check it out on Santa Cruz’s website.