NS Soda Air

I originally posted a topic on the forum posing the question to everyone of what I should get. I wanted a minimum 140mm 26" full suspension bike. Something I could get to the top of most any hill, and particularly have a great time going down. I'm not a stickler for weight, necessarily, because I've always valued strength over and above.

Like I said in the forum, I had pretty much decided on an NS Soda Air, but there was something holding me back. I needed to look at all of my options. The route I had decided on this build was to use my existing parts from my Nukeproof Snap and just replace the frame and fork. So before I could rush off and get my new shiny stuff, I had to sell my old, not too shiny stuff.


2010 Giant Reign X

In this period of waiting a few frames came to mind as possibilities. There was a second-hand Giant Reign X offered by one of the Hubbers, there was the suggestion of a Nukeproof Mega AM too. But none of these ringed true. I couldn't get the feeling like I wanted these bikes.

Then came along the idea of a Morewood Sukuma. This I liked. I didn't need more than 150mm travel in the back - it's plenty for basically anything in South Africa and for what I was expecting to go down. I had heard great reviews on it, too, nothing bad in fact. And I'm always keen on buying local.

That was it, I had decided. The frame was available with the option of a Rock Shox Revelation RCT3 up front and a Reverb dropper post. I was sold on the fork, but wasn't too sure about the dropper because of budget constraints.


Morewood Sukuma

At this point I came across a problem, though: compatibility issues. My rear wheel needed new ends to fit the 142 dropouts and my front needed a conversion for the 15mm Revelation axle. Then I spotted the press-fit bottom bracket. My Truvativ Hussefelt wouldn't fit there, this meant a new crankset and BB. Ok, reconfigure my budget.

Here was a chance to change my drivetrain completely. I could go for a narrow/wide chainring and ditch my chainguide. I already needed a new cassette, because my Nukeproof had a 11-28T, not ideal for anything outside 4X racing. I could get a new clutch derailleur and N/W chainring, that could be cool.

All the while my frame and fork were sitting unsold. I had all but ordered my Sukuma and was thinking about all the possible new colour schemes I could have on it. It all happened fairly quickly after that. My frame and fork sold within a week of each other, after sitting for many weeks. And a new option came along, something that I couldn't turn down.


The first glimpse I had of my new ride before I bough it

I had a Santa Cruz Heckler for many years and absolutely adored the bike. So when I heard of another Santa Cruz at a killer price, I had to take a look. It turned out to be a pristine condition SC Blur TRc. All I could think of was that Pinkbike video of Santa Cruz frame testing, how the carbon fibre frames were so ridiculously strong and yet light.

The seller was Ian Williams from Cape Cycle Systems, and the frame was originally Gary Perkin's. It was clean and gorgeous and available with a Revelation fork and a Reverb dropper post. On seeing the frame, I actually couldn't refuse the purchase. It was so clean, and with my soft spot for Santa Cruz, it was a no brainer. I had a new bike to build!


My new Santa Cruz Blur TRc waiting to be built

Sure, the travel didn't meet my minimum, but what I had read about the bike was all around the fact that it could take the craziest amount of abuse and keep moving you along at speed. Not to mention you'd be having a great time aboard. Compared to the Sukuma I would be saving about half a kilogram and losing about 15mm. It seemed a fair price. And the fact that the VPP suspension design would help significantly while climbing.

The biggest problem I faced at this point was that I didn't have all the components I needed. I had sold my crankset by now and needed a new drivetrain. Because the frame and fork came under budget I could look at getting some new components to suit the bike better and make a truly wonderful trail bike.

Check out the next instalment: Bits and pieces