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With the absence of the VP-Free from Santa Cruz's 2008 line up the second generation Bullit was thrust into a more aggressive Freeride/Downhill category by the California company. Santa Cruz's V10 has a lot (probably too much) of travel for most Bike Park and Freeride riders. The Bullit's seven inch travel fits nicely between all the new Slopestyle frames (5 to 6 inches) and most Freeride frames (8 inches). The Bullit has a long history of being the Swiss Army Knife of frames. Now with two rear spacing options (135mm qr and 150mm through axel) along with the choice of coil or air shocks, the frame can easily be built into a great all-mountain or a freeride bike. The new version of the Bullit is no exception to the versatility of this frame.

The frame also has several major design upgrades from the previous version. The suspension is centered around larger external bearings and a 20mm axle. The headtube size has been increased to 1.5 inches to support seven-inch single crow forks like Rockshox's Totem and the dropouts were redesigned. The build quality of the frame is what you would expect from Santa Cruz with its clean welds and great powercoat and anodizing options this is a frame made to look good and last for a long time.

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My Bullit was built primarily for use in the Whistler Bike Park. Fast buffed trails like Dirt Merchant and A-Line to old schoolers such as In Deep and Schleyer. Santa Cruz suggests a large frame for riders 5'10" and tall. Although I am six feet I chose a Medium, primarily because I knew I wouldn't be doing a lot of climbing with this bike. The medium turned out to be very comfortable, the tight cockpit and lower standover proved to be quite nimble allowing me to keep my weight right where it needed to be in the dodgiest of terrain.

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The Bullit's handling was predictable from the very first run. The shorter Chain Stay and wheelbase give the bike a great lively feel, it's easy to navigate in even the tightest tree lined trails. The optional (150mm rear only) floating brake eliminated any brake jack in the midseason washboards and I found myself throwing around the bike confidently like I had been riding it for years in no time. The Bullit's suspension is active and very refined. I was very surprise how well the single pivot bike absorbed several short landings, even square ones, I had and never bottomed out.

The handling of the bike is crisp and twitchy, but not sketchy. The slackness of the 180mm Totem slowed the maneuverability in super tight stuff, but fear not there is still plenty of control. If you are only going to ride super tight trails or on a Trail or All Mountain setup go with a 160mm fork to gain the super quick turn maneuverability. Santa Cruz defiantly did their homework with this frame, it seems to make riding easy. I found myself balanced on corners and was easily railing them right off the get go. The bike went where I pointed it and never did I feel uncomfortable in my position. The only drawback I had (probably more from my decision to go with a Medium frame) was in super steeps I found myself way off the back, butt back over the tire. But the tight cockpit kept me in control but just feeling behind the bike a bit too far for my liking. Overall the Bullit is great, predictable and pleasurable ride.

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The second generation Santa Cruz Bullit is a great bike for the Whistler Bike Park. After a full season of riding I have no complaints. There countless options of build kits, forks, powder coating, anodizing options and even frame only choices from Santa Cruz. The Bullit can be built to suit just about any rider's needs. If you are looking for a bike to bomb down the old school stuff, rip the hits on A-Line and even lively enough for the slope style runs, the Bullit is for you.

Setup

Frame: Santa Cruz Bullit
Size: Medium (I am 6" 175lbs)
Shock: Fox DHX 5.0
150mm Dropout with Floating Brake Kit
Fork: Rock Shox Totem Coil
Wheelset: Mavic DeeMax
Sram x9 Medium cage
Truvativ Hussefelt Cranks
E13 SRS Chainguide & Bash guard
Plus: Excellent Handling, Price, Built to Last
Minus: Cable rub on top of the cross member of the swingarm (wow, the powder coating wore off fast! and not a lot you can do to prevent it). Maybe a few cable mounts to guide the wear?

MSRP: $4,200 ish.
www.santacruzmtb.com/bullit/

Rating: 4.5/5
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