The Chameleon's back, and Santa Cruz's transforming hardtail is craftier than ever. With adjustable chainstays, 27.5+ or 29-inch capability, a front derailleur hanger and the ability to run a single speed or a cassette full of them, it's a well-named bike. The Chameleon's short wheelbase and sharply angled top tube lends it a BMX feel. This multi-faceted shredder encourages fun and seeks out obstacles to bonk, launch or hop. It's a respectable climber and offers a colossal amount of traction, but it certainly isn't cut out for multi-hour ascents. The 27.5 x 2.8" tires allow for precise cornering and sharp handling, but overall, we were underwhelmed by the bike's descending skills. We tested the R1+ model, which runs $1,999 for a well-equipped build. The value to performance ratio is impressive on the Chameleon, but a dropper post would aid this bike's downhill skills.
The Chameleon is a shredder for those seeking a spritely ride with excellent cornering and sharp steering. You can manual through every dip and bounce over every bump, smiling ear to ear. While the Chameleon is a serviceable climber, the Specialized Fuse is more comfortable and well-rounded.The Santa Cruz Tallboy is more suitable for long days in the saddle without sacrificing efficiency.