The big Sea Otter Classic new-bike news so far is the just-announced Santa Cruz Butcher and Nickel trail bikes. With single-pivot suspension and a look and feel very akin to the Heckler, the bikes might be called an old-school brush-up — if not for Santa Cruz’s new APP suspension technology.
Not an iPhone, or even an iPad, APP, the TLA stands for Actual Pivot Point, a play off Santa Cruz’s longstanding Virtual Pivot Point tech acquired long ago, when many BikeIntelligencer readers were still in knickers (actually, many BI readers still ARE in knickers, the cycling kind), from Outland Bicycles in (if memory serves) tiny Lynden WA. Incidentally, if they gave a Pulitzer Prize for best bike press releases — and I’m not suggesting they should — Santa Cruz’s Mike Ferrentino, a longtime writer for BIKE magazine as well, would be a shoo-in. Great copy!
In any case, APP’s primary contribution, from what we can tell, is that it no longer requires the “royalty tax” of VPP.
Which leads us to the real news of the Santa Cruz release: the bikes’ price point of just $1,350. Normally newly developed full suspension goes for top whack, especially from leading-edge bike makers. The modest price point, or MPP, of the APP is a significant statement from Santa Cruz that the bike business is feeling the pain of our Great Recession, and a leading company is willing to make an adjustment in response.
We imagine other bike builders will be watching Santa Cruz’s move pretty closely. Downhill and boutique manufacturers in particular, whose flagship steeds are nudging the $3,000 range, may be taking note. Admittedly the markets are entirely different, but at some point an ebbing tide lowers all boats.
In any case, we’re hot to try the Butcher and have already set up a test ride once they become available next month.