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The Ideal Galbraith Mt. Bike?
Santa Cruz Superlight

Santa Cruz SuperlightMark Belles on Galbraith Mt.'s Bob's Trail on the Santa Cruz Superlight

This Mark Adriance's personal Santa Cruz Superlight. He started with an anodized frame (not painting it saves 30 grams) and tricked it out with a Rockshox Silo Race fork, Hayes hydraulic disc brakes, Fox Float RL shock, Easton Monkey Light carbon fiber riser bar and seatpost, Continental Vertical front and Specialized Dirt Master rear tire, and Specialized Body Geometry saddle.

Model: Santa Cruz Superlight
Category: Light Weight Trail Bike
Suspension: 4 inches front; 4 inches rear
Ideal for: The Superlight is at home on all of Galbraith's trails -- in fact, even where there aren't any trails yet. The guys who built Chutes & Ladders, Dan's Trail, and Wonderland all rode Superlights. 
Over all performance: Arguably the most successful full suspension design in bicycle history, the basic Santa Cruz Heckler/Superlight design has been a force for nearly a decade, and shows no sign of slowing -- Kirk Molday won the NORBA XC Pro National Championship on the Santa Cruz in 2001. On Galbraith, influential core riders like Dan Waters (Chutes and Ladders and Dan's Trail) and Mark Belles (Wonderland and Family Fun Center) ride (or used to ride) Santa Cruz Superlights. The reason? The Superlight is a really marvelous technical tail bike with sweet, steady manners and a racer's heart. It's true that it's older single pivot rear end, but the fact remains that this is one of the best climbing bikes on the planet, and STILL one of the lightest four inch travel full suspension bikes your hot little wad of bills will buy you.
Front end: Instead of the Rockshox SID that was supposed to come with his Superlight, Mark chose a gold Rockshox Psylo Race, which is heavier and more appropriate for a lot of Galbraith where you're likely to get dropped on your nose (everything off the Towers, for instance, or 911, or El Pollo Elastico). And the beauty of the Superlight is that because the frame is so insanely light, you can afford (in grams) to get a beefier fork and still be lighter than every one else in your group.
Rear end: Yea, the Santa Cruz uses an older single-pivot rear suspension design that stiffens a little under power and braking (something that many newer designs have managed to eliminate), but many people like its "psuedo hardtail" feel. And Santa Cruz has continuously refined its clever high chain stay design to stay ahead of the (NORBA) pack.  
Brakes:  The Hayes dual piston hydraulic disc brakes on Mark's Superlight are excellent stoppers.
(The devil is in the) Details: This is a highly polished design. Very few devilish little details haven't been ironed out over the years, but Santa Cruz continues to refine it. This year, for instance, Santa Cruz found away to eliminate the Superlight's characteristic curved top tube while maintaining stand-over height.
Durability: Like any Light Weight Trail Bike, the Superlight will break if you subject it to relentless big hit pounding. A number of core Galbraith riders have broken Superlights, both in the front and rear ends (click here for a photo the exact same Santa Cruz Superlight pictured above two years later, after it was broken), but basically this is a sturdy bike for its type. If you need something heavier, Santa Cruz suggests the redoubtable Heckler.
Geometry and sizing: The Superlight's geometry is the sweet, predictable stuff of cross country standards -- 71 degree head tube, 73 degree seat tube, 30.5 inch stand over. And the 13 inch high bottom bracket is particularly useful on Galbraith. The sizing is full and honest.
Weight: 27 pounds as pictured.
Reviewed: May 2002; updated November 2004

Mark Belles on Galbraith Mt.'s Bob's Trail on the Santa Cruz Superlight

Mark Belles sets up to ace the last killer corner -- AKA the Big Heave -- on Lower Bob's on his personal Santa Cruz Superlight.

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