Summary of Reviews
We have read all expert and user reviews on the this bike. In summary, this is what cyclists think.
11 reasons to buy
- The Chameleon demonstrates agile, reptilian handling capabilities.
- For some lower-end models, experts saw value-for-money as ‘solid’.
- Generally, climbing ability impressed. One expert deemed it ‘stellar’.
- The bike can be run geared, singlespeed and with two chainstay lengths.
- It can also be shod with 27.5” tires (up to 2.6”) or 29” (up to 2.6”).
- Reportedly, this steed performs savagely on descents.
- Testers found the Chameleon to be at home at high speeds.
- SRAM Level T brakes offered adequate stopping power.
- Bikepackers were satisfied with cargo-carrier mounts under the down-tube.
- Weight on carbon versions was described as ‘fairly light’.
- On higher-end models, Race Face Aeffect dropper-posts were lauded.
10 reasons not to buy
- It was common to hear that higher-end models seemed massively overpriced.
- For some, steep geometry felt less confident in rapid descents.
- The short rear-end felt jarring on rocky terrain.
- An expert loathed the less-aggressive, XC-focused Maxxis Ardent rear tire.
- On lower-end models, the lack of a dropper-post was a detractor.
- The Fox 34 shock underwhelmed, as a difficult-to-tune base-model.
- SRAM Guide brakes lacked power and needed bleeding early on.
- Some riders would have liked clearance for a 29” x 2.6” tire, or larger.
- One tester found climbing difficult on an R1, due to a ‘wandering front end’.
- The Chameleon lacks a downtube bottle-mount.
Expert Reviews81/100 based on 6 expert reviews
Santa Cruz Chameleon R+ Review
As far as hardtails go I think this is, hands-down, my favorite I’ve ever ridden… Fun-factor: 11/10.
Santa Cruz Chameleon 7 R1 29 Review
…an addictively engaging, hyper-versatile all rounder that refuses to play by category and geometry fashion rules.
Santa Cruz Chameleon R Aluminum 29 Review
I enjoy the efficiency on climbing and the visceral way it connects you to the trail.
Santa Cruz Chameleon R1+ 2019 Review
Downhill capabilities are great, climbing is solid and the fun-factor is sky-high.
Santa Cruz Chameleon 29 R Review
…this bicycle is supremely fun and is a great choice for the rider who wants a hardtail to slap corners and play around.