BMX Reference / Frames / 1997 Santa Cruz Jackal 20" Pro

1997 Santa Cruz Jackal 20" Pro

Santa Cruz

United States


1997 Santa Cruz Jackal 20" Pro

  • Overview...
  • Intended for BMX racing
  • Available for 20" wheels (this page) and 24" wheels (click here)
  • Development...
  • Designed by Neal Saiki
  • The goal was to "make the rear end stiffer than anything on the market"
  • First advertised in the September 1996 SNAP BMX Magazine
  • Available for purchase sometime in October or November of 1996 (approx.)
  • Features...
  • Ultra-stiff rear end
  • Super beefy 1" square chainstays
  • Butted tubing
  • Gussets at the top tube and down tube
  • Compatible with cantilever and V-brakes
  • Compatible with clamp-on stems, Ahead style headsets, and 1-1/8" threadless forks
  • Innovative dropouts with built-in gusset
  • Beautifully handcrafted in the U.S.A.
  • Details...
  • Brand: Santa Cruz Bicycles
  • Category: frame
  • Frame size: Pro
  • Wheel size: 20”
  • Product: Jackal 20" Pro
  • Material: 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Forming: TIG welded (?)
  • Finish: powdercoated (colors) or polished
  • Color: yellow, black, white, polished, SID blue, lime green, metallic green, orange, red
  • Head tube style: 1-1/8" threadless
  • Seat clamp size:  1-1/4" (31.8mm)
  • Seat post size: 26.8mm
  • Bottom bracket style: American
  • Brake style: cantilever
  • Axle size: 3/8"
  • Chain tensioners: N/A
  • Specs...
  • Weight: 4 lb. 3 oz. (frame only)
  • Steerer tube size: 1-1/8"
  • Head tube length: 4-3/8"
  • Top tube: 1-1/4" OD
  • Down tube: 1-3/4" OD
  • Seat tube: 1-1/4" OD
  • Seat clamp size: 1-1/4" (31.8mm)
  • Seat post size: 26.8mm
  • Wishbone: 1-1/4" OD
  • Dropout slot height:
  • Dropout thickness:
  • Geometry...
  • Top tube length (TT): 20.2"
  • Chain stay length (CS): 15"
  • Head tube angle (HA): 74°
  • Bottom bracket height (BB):
  • Stand over height (SO): 11.5"
  • Seat tube angle (SA): 72°
  • Wheel base (WB): 37.65" w/ SE Landing Gear fork
  • Other...
  • MSRP: $379.00 USD (powder coated), $449.00 USD (polished)
  • Serial number located at the upper interior side of the left dropout
  • Offered as a frame only (?)
  • Sold at Dan's Comp from Sept. '97 to June '98 for $349.99 USD, then reduced to $299.99 in July '98 and available through at least Jan. '99 (possibly later)
  • Made in U.S.A.

Comments from Actual Users:

  • Positive: The rear end is really stiff (because of the square chainstays), the bike handles really well (the head tube angle is steep enough), the rear end is pretty long (not too loopy), the bottom bracket height isn't too low (pedals won't hit when pedaling around turns), double reinforced head tube (stronger than most race bikes), good welds, good looking decals.
  • Neutral: The seat tube angle is a little too laid back, compatible with cantilever and V-brakes, average weight, covered under a limited "no fault replacement" warranty, available in several colors, made in U.S.A.
  • Negative: The top tube is a little short (ideal for someone 5'-8" and under), does not have built-in chain tensioners, not easily available.

Sources for this Reference Page:

  • Santa Cruz advertisements (featured magazine, ad release date, and page number):
  • - SNAP Mag., Sept. '96, p. 51
    - SNAP Mag., Nov. '96, p. 66
    - SNAP Mag., Mar. '97, p. 35
  • Exclusive prototype ride test by SNAP
  • - SNAP Mag., Nov. '96, pp. 78-80
  • BMX Buyers Guide
  • - 1998 (SNAP Mag., Nov. '97, p. 89)
    - 1999 (SNAP Mag., Oct. '98, p. 114)

SNAP Mag., Nov. '96 wrote:

Santa Cruz Jackal
Photos and Text: Keith Mulligan

"Santa Cruz Bicycles to Introduce BMX Frames," was the heading on the press release that I received.  Add another company to the growing list of mountain bike manufacturer's entering the world of BMX.  Things like this are good because it brings in new designs and ideas to BMX frame building.  We can already thank the mountain bike world for helping make cantilever brakes, oversized head tubes and Aheadsets (amongst other things) possible for BMX.  It would be interesting to see what Santa Cruz would have to offer.  Besides it being a mountain bike company, it's headed by a former pro skater, Rob Roskopp.  This could be an interesting combination.  The press release went on to say that both 20" and 24" frames would be available, made from butted and gusseted 6061-T6 aluminum.  The  release went on to give some more technical information about the frames and said that they would be available as a complete kit in October.  October?  This is June.  We can't wait that long to see them, we want to test one now.  A simple phone call would fix things up.  A conversation with Rob Roskopp himself would lead to an exclusive test.  We were psyched.

When the bike arrived I first noticed the bottom bracket area.  It had a big square box behind the bottom bracket and it looked solid.  Not solid as in thickness, but in construction and strength.  The chain stays were 1" square and the bike looked stiff.  There were also gussets on both the top tube and down tube.  Looking back to the press release I had gotten, it said, "According to designer, Neal Saiki, 'The main idea was to make the rear end stiffer than anything on the market.  I am confident that we have achieved that'."  The rear end did look stiff, but it was up to the test to see if it really was the stiffest rear end on the market and to see how well the bike rode.  I picked up SNAP Test Lab rider Scott Yoquelet and we brought the bike to Whittier BMX.  Frosty (Whittier's track operator) was stocked that we were doing the test at his track.  Scott was stoked on the bike.  It was built up with good components like S&M bars, GT three-piece cranks, and Shimano V-brakes.  This was good because he wouldn't have to worry about everything falling apart--he could concentrate on the frame when riding.  And ride it he did.  Scott took more laps around the track then could have been counted--forwards and backwards.  It was sweltering hot and yet he rode it for hours.  I shot photos and watched carefully every time he went through the rhythm sections.  This seemed to be one of the areas where the bike's stiffness and size made a big difference.  A 20-1/5" top tube along with a 15" chainstays and a frame weigh of 4 lbs, 3 oz allowed the bike to be easily maneuvered through tight sections.  When I had gotten the shots I needed and Scott finally called it quits, I flowed the questions.

Tell me what you thought about the bike.
The bike handled really well.  Going around turns the head tube angle seemed to be steep enough to where it's fast around the corners.  The rear end is really stiff because of the square tubing in the rear triangle (the chianstays).  The frame length itself is a little short for my size, but the bike is probably made for somebody about 5'8" and under.  It's got canti mounts which makes it nice--you can get some good brakes on there.  The rear end is pretty long--not too loopy.  And thanks to the Ahead you don't have to worry about having stem problems.

How was it doing gates and in turns?
It was good.  Easy to get out of the gate fast.  The bottom bracket height's not too low, so the cranks aren't too close to the ground.  When you're going around turns trying to crank, they're not even close to hitting.

What do you think about the frames' construction?
I think it's rad.  The stickers look rad. I like the square box behind the bottom bracket.  All of this tubing makes it really stiff.  You can push down on a crank arm on one side and it's not going to flex on you.  The polished finish is good.

What would you like to see different on this frame?
Mainly the length in the front end to be longer for me.  The seat tube angle is a little bit laid back, maybe put that a degree up.  Built-in chain tensioners could be a good improvement.

Where do you think weaknesses are in the frame?
Maybe behind the gussets.  Aluminum frames are always weak there.  Overall the bike looks like it has good welds and reinforcements where it needs it.

What about the wishbone area?  It looks a little small...
That's a pretty shady tube. (laughter)  The wishbone is a little small and that could be a problem.  That could snap or crack eventually after some wear and tear and abuse. (Editor's note: Santa Cruz has already changed this tube for production bikes.  It will increase from 1" to 1-1/4".)

They look pretty good.  You've got room to move around and place your wheel were you want.  They're fairly thick solid aluminum--if anything they might pinch.

How about the weight?
It's fairly light.  With the beefy components that it's built up with it's still pretty light.  That's good.

Final comments?
I think it would be a really good race bike for anybody, especially a starting off race bike.  Really light and really stiff.

Our exclusive test proved the first prototype Jackal to be stiff like Santa Cruz claimed it to be.  We didn't come across any problems with the frame, but Santa Cruz has already come up with some changes in production models compared to the one we rode, mainly tube O.D. size.  The down tube will be increased from 1-1/2" to 1-3/4".  The wishbone tube will increase from 1" to a 1-1/4" O.D. and there will be increased crank clearance on the chainstays.  These changes will make the already good design better--especially the wishbone change.  The Jackal should be available sometime in October or November and will be available as a complete bike or frameset.  At this time there are no designs for Jackal forks, but they could be a possibility in the future.  Retail for the frame will be around $379.  Painted frames come in black, yellow and white and a polished finish will also be available (for a $70 up charge).

Santa Cruz Jackal

Price, Specs & Info:

  • Frame Price: (Suggested Retail) $379.00
  • Fork Price: (Suggested Retail) N/A
  • Finish Available: Black, Yellow, White Powdercoat or Polished ($70 upcharge)
  • Frame Weight: 4 lbs, 3 oz
  • Fork Weight: N/A
  • Head Tube Length: 4-3/8"
  • Head Tube Angle: 74°
  • Seat Tube Angle: 72°
  • Steerer Tube Size: 1-1/8"
  • Top Tube Length: 20-1/5"
  • Top Tube O.D.: 1-1/4"
  • Down Tube O.D.: 1-3/4"
  • Fork Leg O.D.: N/A
  • Seat Tube O.D.: 1-1/4"
  • B.B. Height: 11-1/2"
  • Chain Stay: 15"
  • Frame: Santa Cruz Jackal 20" Pro
  • Fork: N/A
  • Warranty: No fault replacement program
  • Misc.: N/A
  • Company:
  • Santa Cruz Bicycles
    104 Bronson St. #22
    Santa Cruz, CA 95062
    Phone: (408) 459-7560
    Fax: (408) 459-7561

Photo Captions

  • Page 78
  • Main: Introducing the Jackal from Santa Cruz.  A bike built for racing and speed.  Aluminum, light and fast.
  • Top: Scott put the bike to the variation test with a few no-handers.  Since the bike was a little small for him, he found it easy to lay the bars in his lap.  Light weight made it easy to handle.
  • Page 79
  • Right: Crossed-up and smiling.  Scott liked the Jackal, this photo should prove it.
  • Page 80
  • Top Right: The test bike.  A good frame for anyone starting out or looking to get a new race bike.  Components shown here were for the test only.
  • Top Left: Turning on the Jackal was good.  Plain and simple.
  • Above: The double gussets top and bottom.  The down tube on production models will be thicker--1-3/4" increased from 1-1/2".  The oversized head tube is stock.
  • Bottom Right: The rear chain stays are burly.  1" square tubing connected to the bottom bracket square is the key to the bikes' stiffness.

Source: SNAP Magazine
Date: November 1996
Page: 78-80
Text by: Keith Mulligan

Page Created: 7/15/2021  ----->  Info Updated: N/A
** **

Submitted by pharv85 (View all 576 posts)

  • Posted 2021-07-15 9:57am
  • Updated 2021-07-15 5:34pm
  • Comments

    Hey that's my bike! Thanks for posting up the article.