Review: Santa Cruz V10 29 - A Highly Refined & Rapid DH Race Bike

Oct 14, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  

The Santa Cruz V10 needs little introduction – it's been a mainstay on the World Cup downhill circuit for the better part of two decades, racking up an impressive list of podium appearances along the way. In 2017 a prototype 29” wheeled version of the venerable downhill machine made its racing debut, opening the floodgates for the next generation of race bikes.

It wasn't long before almost every manufacturer had a big-wheeled DH bike of their own, some more refined than others. 29ers haven't completely dominated the downhill race scene the way some predicted – it turns out rider height is an important part of the equation - but the results sheets show that they're here to stay.
Santa Cruz V10 29 Details

• Wheel size: 29"
• Travel: 215mm rear / 200mm front
• Carbon frame
• 63.3 or 63.7-degree head angle
• 445 or 455mm chainstay length
• Sizes: M, L, XL
• Price: $8,199 USD as tested; $3,699 USD frame only
• Weight: 35.25 lb (size large, actual)

The name may suggest otherwise, but the production version of the V10 29 has 215mm of rear travel that's paired with a 203mm Fox 49 fork to create one formidable rock- and root-eating machine. It's available in three sizes: M, L, and XL, and for shorter riders, or anyone who prefers smaller wheels, there's also a 27.5” version that was developed at the same time that's available in S, M, and L sizes.

Our test bike was built up with the X01 kit, which leaves little to be desired as far as parts spec goes. Highlights include Fox 49 Factory fork, DHX2 coil shock, SRAM Code RSC brakes and X01 7-speed drivetrain, Race Face SixC carbon cranks, and DT Swiss 350 hubs laced to Race Face ARC 30 HD rims. That all adds up to $8,199 USD, or the frame alone is available for $3,699.

bigquotesIt delivers an incredibly stable, locked in feeling – imagine the motorcycles that zoom around the Wall of Death at county fairs, or the way astronauts get pressed into their seats during blast-off, and you'll start to get the picture. Mike Kazimer

Santa Cruz V10 29 review Photo by clint trahan

Construction and Features

Santa Cruz's carbon frames have earned a well-deserved reputation for being highly refined, and the V10 29 is no exception. Santa Cruz typically offers two levels of carbon – the heavier but less expensive C models, and top tier CC construction for their trail bikes, but the V10, is only available with the CC-level frame; there's no less-expensive carbon or aluminum option to be found.

The frame is equipped with two sets of flip chips – one pair that alters the chainstay length by 10mm, and the other, located on the rear shock mount, that can be used to slacken the head angle by .4-degrees and drop the bottom bracket by 5 millimeters.

Tube-in-tube cable routing hides the derailleur housing from view, while the brake line is routed externally for easy brake swaps, which is always nice to see, since the last thing anyone wants to do is struggle with internal routing hours before an important race.

All of the little other details are taken care of too – there are integrated fork bump stops on each side of the head tube, down tube protection to prevent damage from shuttling or flying through a scree field, a tiny integrated fender to keep the shock semi-protected and a ribbed chainstay protector to keep the noise down.

Santa Cruz V10 29 review Photo by clint trahan
There's a tiny fender to help keep some of the mud off the shock.
Santa Cruz V10 29 review Photo by clint trahan
A flip chip allows for a slight head angle and bottom bracket height change.

Santa Cruz V10 29

Geometry & Sizing

Trail and enduro bike geometry still seems to be in a state of flux, but things are a little more settled in the downhill world, at least for now. The reach on the size large V10 29 is 461mm, which is within a few millimeters of the new Scott Gambler, Specialized Demo, and Norco's Aurum HSP, although out of those four bikes only the V10 and the Gambler are available in XL sizes.

Santa Cruz didn't go wildly slack with the V10 – in the low setting its head angle is 63.3-degrees, which is fairly typical, but we are starting to see more DH bikes released with sub-63 degree head angles. That being said, the V10 uses an internal zero stack upper headset cup and an external lower cup, which means that riders who want to try a different head angle can install a geometry adjusting headset.

The chainstay length can be set at either 445 or 455mm for the M and L sizes, and 455 or 460mm on the XL.

Santa Cruz V10 29

Suspension Design

The V10 uses Santa Cruz's lower-link driven VPP suspension layout, with the shock positioned low in the frame, and attached to a brace that joins the top and down tube. The bike's leverage curve was chosen with a coil shock in mind, but a larger volume air shock, something along the lines of a Fox Float X2, can work as well. The overall goal with the suspension design was to create a linearly progressive leverage curve (picture a diagonal line) in order to maintain a consistent feel with enough ramp up to avoid going through all 215mm of travel too quickly.

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Price $8199
Travel 215mm
Rear Shock FOX DHX2 Factory SLS Coil
Fork FOX 49 Factory, 203mm, 29"
Headset Cane Creek 40 Hellbender
Cassette SRAM X01 DH Cassette 7 Spd
Crankarms Race Face SIXC Crank 83/165mm, 34t
Chainguide E13 LG1+
Chain SRAM XX1
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 DH 7sp
Shifter Pods SRAM X01 DH 7sp
Handlebar Santa Cruz Bicycles AM Carbon Bar 35x800
Stem Santa Cruz Direct Mount 35x45/50
Grips Santa Cruz Palmdale
Brakes SRAM Code RSC
Hubs DT 350
Rim Race Face ARC HD 30
Tires Maxxis Assegai 29x2.5 MaxxGRIP 3C
Seat Ergon SMD2 Pro Ti
Seatpost Burgtec Xpress Carbon Post, 31.6

Santa Cruz V10 29 review Photo by clint trahan

Test Bike Setup

Other than a few local shuttle laps, the vast majority of my time aboard the V10 took place in the Whistler Bike Park. It's the perfect location for tallying some serious vertical, and the trail selection includes everything from proper downhill tracks to the berm- and jump-filled classics that Whistler is known for.

For my 160 lb weight I ran a 450 in/lb spring, and settled on the following settings for the DHX2 (all clicks are from closed): LSC: 13 HSC: 11, LSR: 13, HSR: 0. The shock remained in the low setting for the duration of testing, due to the fact that I never encountered a situation where it seemed like a steeper head angle would have been a benefit.

Up front, I inflated the Fox 49's air chamber to 64 psi, with 4 volume spacers installed. My fork settings were as follows (again, clicks are from closed): HSC: 14, LSC: 10, HSR: 4, LSR: 5.

Mike Kazimer
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Age: 37
Height: 5'11" / 180cm
Inseam: 33" / 84cm
Weight: 160 lbs / 72.6 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mikekazimer

Santa Cruz V10 29 review Photo by clint trahan


The V10's voracious appetite for speed was apparent from the moment I pointed it downhill. It's a very well balanced bike, and it didn't take long at all to get accustomed to its geometry. At 5'11” I was right at home on the size large, and while I probably could have handled an extra-large, I'd rather have a little more maneuverability instead of prioritizing straightline stability over everything else.

The V10 delivers a highly engaging ride, and there was a snappiness to its handling that especially enjoyable, especially when it came to hitting larger jumps. That's when the V10 would absolutely soar, launching further than I expected on a number of occasions. The low slung top tube helps keep the bike from feeling too tall, and provides plenty of room for maneuvering when extra body English is required.

What about cornering? The grumbling about 29ers not being fun has started to die down, but I'd encourage any remaining naysayers to hit up a series of high speed bermed turns aboard the V10 29 without cracking a smile. It delivers an incredibly stable, locked in feeling – imagine the motorcycles that zoom around the Wall of Death at county fairs, or the way astronauts get pressed into their seats during blast-off, and you'll start to get the picture.

Yes, it does require higher speeds to make the most of its abilities, and if you're solely focused on squaring off corners and rolling tires off rims it may not be the right tool for the job, but otherwise it's an extremely entertaining (and confidence-boosting) ride. I kept the chainstay in the 445mm setting, but it is nice to have the option to go longer, whether that's to adapt the bike to a certain track, to suit rider preference, or just to try something different.

 Photo by clint trahan

Despite having all the travel, the V10 doesn't feel ridiculously plush, but in this case that's not a negative attribute. It manages to filter out just the right amount of trail chatter without muting it completely, a trait that made it easy to keep tabs on what the wheels were doing when I was making my way through a slippery rock garden, or searching for traction on an off-camber tangle of roots. Bigger impacts and g-outs were handled without any issues, and there wasn't any unnecessarily harsh ramp up at the end of the shock's stroke.

The V10's stability carries over into the high speed straightaways as well – I reached my mental speed limit well before the V10 ever did. While it's designed to be piloted at race pace as much as possible, the V10 29 remained relatively manageable when the miles per hour drop. It's a big bike, but it's not so sprawling that it can't handle slower speed, steep and technical maneuvers. There are obviously limits, but I was impressed with the V10's downhill versatility.

The only nitpick I have with the V10 is in regards to the seat tube angle. No, this isn't related to climbing performance – it's due to the potential to buzz the tire on the seat. I thought I was running my seat high enough, but ended up needing to raise it even further to avoid hearing that telltale 'bzzzt' of fabric on rubber. That wasn't too big of a deal for me, but riders with shorter legs could potentially find themselves wishing they could lower their seat further than what's possible.

Santa Cruz V10 29
Santa Cruz V10 29
2020 Specialized Demo
Specialized Demo

How does it compare? Santa Cruz V10 29 vs. Specialized Demo 29

The V10 29 and the new Specialized Demo were both designed with racing and carrying speed in mind, but they tackle that goal in different ways.

Let's start with the basics. The V10's frame is carbon, while the Demo's is aluminum, a difference that gives the V10 a two pound weight advantage, at least when comparing the V10 reviewed here to the Demo Race. The V10 will also leave your wallet significantly lighter – the frame only is $3,699, compared to the $2,500 Demo frame.

On the trail, the Demo has a slightly more planted, stuck to the ground feel, and it doesn't have quite the same level of responsiveness as the V10, although both bikes have excellent high-speed stability. I do like how the weight of the Demo is situated as low as possible – it encourages a heels down riding style, one where you can really push into the bike through corners and in rough section of trail. The V10's weight is nice and low as well, but it doesn't have quite the same ground-hugging feel as the Demo.

Sizing on the Demo is also limited to a 465mm reach number on the S4, which means taller riders will likely need to look elsewhere.

Santa Cruz V10 29
Maxxis Assegai tires
Santa Cruz V10 29
Fox 49 fork

Technical Report

Maxxis Assegai tires: The Assegai has become one of my favorite tires for challenging conditions where the maximum level of traction is required. They're not as fast rolling as a Minion DHF, but they can find grip in everything from loose, dusty soil to slimy roots and rocks. I did manage to slash a sidewall, but the rock that did that damage was shaped like a caveman's razor blade, and would have punctured anything other than a solid rubber tire.

Fox 49 fork: The Grip 2 damper equipped Fox 49 took on all of the braking bumps and square-edged hits I subjected it to without missing a beat. The 49 offers an outstanding level of performance with a wide range of possible adjustments.

Santa Cruz V10 29 review Photo by clint trahan


+ Excellent high-speed stability
+ Well balanced geometry
+ Adjustable chainstays allow for fine-tuning


- Seat tube angle may hinder shorter riders
- Price may be too high for privateers on a budget

Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe Santa Cruz V10 continues to evolve, and the 29" is the fastest version yet, a highly refined and well-rounded DH bike that's race-ready right out of the box.  Mike Kazimer

Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,743 articles

  • 100 1
 Climbs like a goat descends like a goat on a v10
  • 41 11
 The fastest downhill bikes this year were made from Aluminium.
  • 71 0
 Correction: The fastest racers this year were on aluminum bikes.

To be fair, it was plainly obvious that the new Demo was the best suspended bike in this year's WC. Commencal and Scott were close. And this coming from a known SC fanboy.
  • 19 11
 Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test,Field test!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 89 0
 @ProvoMtb, easy there. We tested all sorts of fields this year. Wheat, potato, barley, corn - you'll see the results soon enough.
  • 2 0
 @ProvoMtb: check last year Paul Aston's test of many new dh bikes
  • 2 4
 @ProvoMtb: CHUG, CHUG, CHug, chug, chug, chug.......................chu.............................ooops wrong section
  • 7 2
 @mikekazimer: no hemp?
  • 5 0
 @DirtCrab: I do love how Scott has out-sessioned the session.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: I wanted to give you props but I'm leaving it at 69, the rest of you should follow by example
  • 2 0
 @PtDiddy: As much as well love good quality hemp, I think more of us are interested in the female variety of the plant
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Sounds rad!
  • 52 0
 Seriously, that STA? It's nearly 2020! It should be at least 90 degrees.

  • 16 17
 Erm, juxtapose it with the Bronson and your world may fall apart for a moment. Check out session vs remedy...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: cant tell but the remedy you used looks more like a slash?
  • 25 1
 Interesting how much it costs, and yet, not a single dentist joke. SC marketing department doing a stellar job of creating a giant fan(boy)base? Not saying I wouldn't pull the trigger on one, but, seems like if it had any other name on it, the pb haters would be crying "tooth extraction!"
  • 69 1
 Dentists ride enduro, bro...
  • 20 0
 I think sc doesn’t get that same “yeti” type flack because for most models they do offer more budget friendly builds on alloy frames. Cheapest sb130 is 5400 usd, compared to 2900 for the cheapest hightower.
  • 6 35
flag Dlakusta (Oct 14, 2019 at 12:33) (Below Threshold)
 @Austink: Yeti has way more value even at their prices compared to SC bikes.
  • 21 0
 @Dlakusta: value and bang for the buck is a non starter for people who can’t afford the cost of admission. If you only have 3500 for a new bike, the 5000 dollar bike has zero value to you.

Full disclosure: I spent a gross amount of money to build up my megatower. Value is subjective.
  • 16 0
 @Dlakusta: Value like free bearing replacement, lifetime warranty on frames...? What happens when you need to replace your switch infinity link at the end of each year?
  • 27 7
 "it turns out rider height is an important part of the equation"

WHAT?! But you (the mtb media) have been telling us for a couple years now that everyone needs 29" wheels... Everyone!

So, you mean not everyone wants to get their ass buzzed by a too big rear wheel on a lunch ride, when 0.3 seconds (the time gap Danny Hart was looking at when testing the 29er DH bike) is nothing? That not everyone is a racer, and most riders would be better off seeking comfort and fun instead making bike fit compromises in the name of all-out speed?

Thanks for the insight!
  • 28 5
 Any time. I do think 29" wheels can work well for riders of almost any height on trail bikes, but it's when you add 200+ millimeters of travel into the mix that it becomes more of an issue.
  • 10 3
 @mikekazimer: even on my hardtail my ass skrps the tire on steep rock rolls when it's set up as a 29er (27.5+ adds a little more clearance for my 30" inseam). I'd never buy a full sus 29er.
  • 3 4
 I just want a clear answer on why a 29er is the way to go. I ride the bike park...aka I ride DM and A-Line...what bike should I buy?
  • 8 8
 Could you reference me the articles where the mtb media, especially PB, has specifically stated that "everyone needs 29" wheels"?

  • 2 2
 @MikeyMT: 29er holds speed better and is much more fun on flatter flow trails because you're less likely to need to pedal hard to get enough speed to boost a jump.
  • 2 1
 @dthomp325: This review made me nervous...I want to schlarp berms, hit jumps.
  • 2 0
I hear people say this but have never seen any actual fact to back it up, I.e. data.
  • 3 0
 @MikeyMT: From my experience on a few different bikes in Whistler, 29er Dh bikes will jump fine but just dont bunny hop and whip the same as something with less wheelbase.
  • 1 1
 @J-Gordon: Yea I mean I hear that right...but is an inch one way or the other make THAT much difference? I really don't know...been riding a 275 forever in the park...I do remember the switch from 26 to 275 was insane...meaning that 275 was far superior.
  • 6 1
 @MikeyMT, you'll be fine with a 29er in the bike park. I put in plenty of Dirt Merchant, Freight Train, and A-Line laps on this thing and enjoyed every minute.
  • 1 1
 @mikekazimer: But I want to schlarp the Longhorn turns too!
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Okay, sensitive question here, is the 204mm Devinci Wilson in S with a 400mm ST ridable to it's full potential for the intended 160-170cm height group?
  • 2 0
 @dthomp325: Is a tiny bit of less pedalling worth the extra effort to maneuver it in the air? There is always a trade-off, and throwing in a couple pedal strokes in exchange for an easy whip is not exactly a bad swap.
  • 2 1
 @just6979: I don't find 29 any more difficult to whip or table, but that's the extent of my bag of tricks. Overall I'd say 29er is more fun at the park because they keep speed better on the flatter flow trails and blue trails that feel like "riding through wet cement" on a smaller wheel DH bike, yet they also blast through the chunk on the steep tech trails just as well.
  • 2 0
 @MikeyMT: Honestly there’s basically no difference. Slightly better in places worse in others. Throwing a 29er into a turn feels sluggish compared to 650b but not by much something you get used to straight away and 650b feel harsher on rough ground but again not super noticeable. I’d stick with 650b for stronger wheels and cheap dh tyres which are still hard to find in 29.
  • 1 0
 @dthomp325: I think you need some new trails if smaller wheels make that much of a difference. Are your "flow trails" flowing with mud?

Most "flow trails" are smooth enough that most of us could ride them on frigging gravel bikes, and probably be faster and need less pedaling! 29 to 26 wheels isn't going to make any real difference except the big ones will carry more momentum, which means they'll slow down more slowly, but that also means it's going to take more work to move around. It's just physics.
  • 20 1
 Did anyone else scroll down and go straight to the "climbing" link?
  • 6 1
 I'm pretty sure given the intended purpose, it will "climb" just as fast as another guy's Trek Supercaliber.
  • 24 3
 Sorry to disappoint, but I couldn’t find a dropper post that would work with that stubby seat tube...
  • 8 0
 @mikekazimer: come on, 100mm Rever AXS..... Make it happen Mike!
  • 10 1
 @mikekazimer: You joke, but one of the bike patrol riders at the local bike park has a new V10 with an X01 Eagle drivetrain and an externally routed Fox Transfer dropper. There's a couple trails that you have to climb a bit to get to, and there's a decent fire road stint back from a couple other trails and I guess he wanted to be able to sit and pedal lol.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: you may have to drill a hole in the seat tube to make it work. I'm sure SC wouldn't mind you modifying the frame right? In the name of science
  • 19 4
 As much as would like a V10, BUT a good trail bike is all I need!
  • 102 0
 how dare you only buy what you need?
  • 2 0
 yes lorde
  • 21 3
 You don't need anything bike related. We don't live in a world of needs. We live in a world of wants.
  • 4 1
 The Pole Stamina, which can be ridden on the trails, is ironically longer and just as slack as this thing.
  • 4 0
 @z-man: I technically don't even need to be alive so perhaps the word need should not even exist in that case.

Or alternatively, I need a mountain bike to mountain bike. I need a bike that won't kill me because I need to be alive to mountain bike. Most people will survive riding a trail bike, so a trail bike will fit most people's needs.

I do think I speak for most people here though that a life without bikes is one a lot less worth living.
  • 13 0
 didnt even try the long chainstay option c'mon @mikekazimer
  • 5 1
 Those long stays are for F1 level ripping..he needed the bike park option for a more crowd pleasing review. Scared...scared to feel the future. I say put the XL chainstay on a medium and set it to long--see what fast bois think. Bet theyll weep its so beautiful..stupid planted.
  • 5 2
 @EvoRidge: It might work or it might not. At higher speeds it's the rear that ends up holding the bike in the corners, and a shorter chainstay lets you concentrate more weight at the rear. A longer wheelbase certainly feels better at higher speeds, the drawbacks of a longer chainstay might not be felt as much at higher speeds, but that doesn't mean that they don't exist and that a shorter chainstay won't ultimately offer more grip in those conditions.
  • 1 8
flag getsomesy (Oct 14, 2019 at 13:09) (Below Threshold)
 @DavidGuerra: your narrow minded and just repeating the hype.
@EvoRidge: that is exactly what i would do. I have done testing with absolutely minimized variables and found the benifit to be quite distinct.

it's quite sad and ironic that basically everyone knocking long chainstays has never even tried them. They also tend to be inexperienced voices.
  • 9 2
 @getsomesy: Some assumptions you make there buddy. My considerations are merely the explanations I have found for the perceptions I got from practical experience. Not to say they couldn't be wrong, but they are what they are. It's rather silly to be standing out to defend long or short chainstays anyway. From "long" to "short" we are talking of just a couple of centimeters, and the rigidity of the rear end plays a very significant role, no less than that of those mm that you anchor your explanations of reality into. I found it important to oppose the very definitive view that you were trying to impose, not to defend the opposite point but to reiterate that matters are not black and white in the way you are putting them. If anything, you are the one that's coming across as narrow minded.
  • 2 11
flag getsomesy (Oct 14, 2019 at 16:09) (Below Threshold)
 I'm gonna elaborate on and defend my position while trying to help pinkbike become less dumb.

@DavidGuerra: "At higher speeds it's the rear that ends up holding the bike in the corners"
That statement is factually incorrect; and the reason i said you are narrow minded, it's not an assumption, you clearly are. The bike is actually held up by both wheels in corners. The amount of weight born by each wheel at any given moment depends on the front rear bias of the bike, rider position, grade and other dynamic qualities such as suspension, inertia, braking and accelerating.

It really is is ironic (irony is defined as: a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character) when people speak about subject matter which they have no actual experience in

to speak more exactly:
It is a fact that no cyclist that i have communicated with or read the opinion of, who has ridden a bike with long chainstays while tenured with offroad-gravity-speed-type proficiency, has spoken negatively about long chainstays.
On the other hand many cyclist who are proficient with offroad gravity speed, who have ridden bikes with long chainstays while tenured communicate positively about or win on them. Paul Aston being one, Greg Minnar being another, and Sam hill as a average height guy who just cleaned up on long chainstays.

To put it another way most pro dh'ers who were successful on a bike with longer chainstays like @AaronGwin1 on a Trek Session were notably less successful when they went to bikes like past generation Specialized Demo's. Now Loic Bruni is on top riding a Demo with kinda long 450mm chainstays, and that's not because they couldn't make them longer.
  • 3 2
 @getsomesy: "At higher speeds it's the rear that ends up holding the bike in the corners"
That statement is factually incorrect"
That's basic mass transfer dynamics. Initially it's the front that does the work, and past the 90 degrees of turn it is the rear that drifts, and that must be continuously controlled. If you don't know that it's because you only ride low speed kiddy stuff, so please don't drag me into a discussion that is about nothing else than your own ignorance.
"It is a fact that no cyclist that i have communicated with or read the opinion of, who has ridden a bike with long chainstays while tenured with offroad-gravity-speed-type proficiency, has spoken negatively about long chainstays.
"On the other hand many cyclist who are proficient with offroad gravity speed, who have ridden bikes with long chainstays while tenured communicate positively about or win on them. Paul Aston being one, Greg Minnar being another, and Sam hill as a average height guy who just cleaned up on long chainstays."
LOL! What do these younger kids now about speed! There is no speed in downhill tracks nowadays! Or maybe they do know, maybe I could have a valuable conversation with them. Unlike with you...
  • 2 1
 @getsomesy: Your ignorance is understandable though since tracks are manufactured now and bermed all over the place like a kiddie playground, so how can you know about the variables and the progression in the limits of traction?
  • 2 0
 @DavidGuerra: Definitely felt this in the xl 29er Norco aurum compared to my sb66. Back end wanted to slide out on roots.
  • 7 0
 @DavidGuerra: NO NO NO That's not how it works at all---whatsoever---not in a million years!!!!

First, please explain this concept of "mass transfer" to me--to my knowledge there's no significant change bike mass distribution (dm/dt) as you go down the hill...

Second, please read a vehicle dynamics textbook or maybe even just a high school physics textbook--it could make pinkbike have one less person blabbing about what they don't understand.


Front and rear wheel loads are based on the CG location, rider input, banking (berms), grade/crest/dips, and lateral/longitudinal load transfer (and a few more that are negligible for this application). The only forces "holding up the bike" are the vertical forces resolved at the front and rear contact patches--not dependent at all on speed. Sadly, your bike riding experience doesn't make all of classical mechanics wrong-- take it up with Newton and Euler if you disagree.

Cornering forces generated by the tires are a function of slip angle, vertical load, camber angle, specific tire properties, and track conditions (which can be rather variable for off-road vehicles). Slip angles arise from steering input, vehicle slip angle, and yaw velocity/corner radius.The distribution of these cornering forces create a net yaw moment about the CG which rotates the bike around the corner--these have no bearing on being "past the 90deg. of the turn" (90deg with respect to WHAT exactly???). Control of these cornering forces (yaw moment) is what determines cornering stability.

Fourth, before you say that I don't know what riding fast is like, I own the reviewed bike and have a season pass at my local bike park. My strava times are in the top ~10% on the DH track where the average speed of top riders is ~25mph (if that's an acceptable metric).
  • 2 3
 @thelibrarybiker: You're making me laugh now. What you are telling me is that you have no riding experience, period. So you bought an expensive bike, you ride at a playground park and you feel like you're king of the hill. Great! Your need to deny my perceptions though, hints at nothing but your ignorance of your limitations, and your unwillingness to learn. It's funny to be having interactions like these right now. Having just become national enduro champion, it warns me not to let my ego get on top of my head!
  • 1 2
 @thelibrarybiker: It's also interesting that you mention DH tracks and those laughable 25 mph. DH tracks are actually no place for real speed. Sure, speeds can go above 40 mph, and I have done that on terrain that is nothing but loose rock, but if more pronounced, technical features are involved, doing them at that speed kills any DH bike, and I know that from experience.
  • 2 1
 @DavidGuerra: Masters 40+ national champion in a tiny country isn't much of an achievement.
  • 1 2
 @CullenHerring: It's a tiny achievement. Really really tiny. In fact it's absolutely worthless, because we portuguese can hardly hold ourselves on top of a bike. We excel in donkey riding though!
  • 1 0
 @DavidGuerra: I love how both you guys just solved the mechanics and problems of the universe on how to corner better but I just tell people lean into It more and it nearly allways works lmao
  • 13 1
 Not the first 29er on the World Cup though, Alex Morgan built a BCD 29er and raced it at MSA at least ten years ago.
  • 5 3
 Pinkbike & the bike industry in general have a very short memory ....
  • 9 0
 @swassskier, good catch - I updated the article. I remembered that Alex raced Angel Fire, but hadn't realized he raced it at MSA too. Definitely ahead of his time.
  • 3 0

can you tell me / us something about that HSR 0? I heard about that on Raaw Madonna Bikes based on Vorsprung Suspension´s recommendation.
  • 2 0
 The HSR = 0 above is clicks from fully closed, and consistent with the Vorsprung set-up guide as a first point of call, until you can't get the rebound fast enough if you've then opened the LSR right up. At which point you start to open up the HSR then re-check and adjust the LSR to suit to get some more range.
  • 1 3
 @FuTAnT: I can’t understand how anyone could run so much hsc. I’m about halfway, any more and it feels like a jackhammer on the roots, less will make it go through its travel it bit quickly on big landings.
  • 4 1
 @garfunkel187, @FuTAnT hit the nail on the head. I've found it to be an easy place to start when setting up the DHX2. That setup worked well on the V10, so I stuck with it.

And @bonkywonky, we're talking about rebound, not compression.
  • 1 0
 Maybe RockShox will notice and again (nothing since Vivid) do a shock with HSR instead of stupid Rapid Recovery, aka pretty much nothing for HSR. With RR and it's lack of HSR
you end up running more LSR than you'd prefer, in order to (maybe) help avoid getting bucked, and lose some poppiness because of it.

At least Fox seems to put some decent amount of HSR even in shocks and forks that dont have external adjustment of it, so that it gives LSR a better usable range.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer I'm really interested in your thoughts on different spring weights across different bikes. I'm sizing up springs for my Meta AM29 and noticed you mostly ran a 350lb spring in your review. But then on the V10 you run a 450lb spring for your weight. Did you get the same 33% sag?
  • 5 0
 Spring rates are going to vary between bikes depending on the amount of travel and the shock stroke - just because you use a 450 pound spring on one model of bike doesn't mean that will carry over to a different one.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Thanks Mike. Seems so obvious now, should have thought before typing! Playing the coil game now with my bike, so learning a lot on the way.

Interesting though that you went so light on the Meta AM. You're 22lbs lighter than me but a 350lbs coil seems like a lot less when i'm weighing up a 450-500. Maybe I should be testing the 400 out also. I think there'll be a compromise somewhere between that nice sensitivity and bottoming out on the bigger hits.
  • 3 0
 Leverage ratios. V10 has longer travel with not enormously larger shock stroke, thus higher leverage from the frame, thus needs more spring.
  • 4 2
 I am 6'1", I ride a large, I absolutely love this bike. 16 days in the whistler park on it, never wanted more, the perfect bike, I felt the fastest I've felt in years-im sure I was not, this bike....I got the Reserve wheels too, totally worth it. #sramTLDracing #notAdentist
  • 3 0
 "I felt the fastest I've felt in years-im sure I was not, this bike"

That is what's it's all about. We're not professionals, being the fastest doesn't effect the food on our table or our bank accounts. Fun is the key.

Feels fast? Feels good!
Actually fastest but requires 3 extra days at the gym to be able to muscle it around and it still beats you up? Who the f*ck cares...
  • 3 0
 CaneCreek 40, not 110, with an $8,000 price tag? Maybe ditch the expense of the XX1 chain (which wears out and gets replaced anyway) and spec X01 chain with the better headset that has a lifetime warranty.
  • 2 0
 Seat buzz... did you not bet a wee bum tickle with that old school dirt jump seat angle? At least 1" extra room available if you sorted the seat angle out. Wink

Still love my nimblerV10 I mean 26er (too tight, and dont ride enough these days to spend hard cash for the big wheels)
  • 1 0
 Maybe RockShox will notice and again (nothing since Vivid) do a shock with HSR instead of stupid Rapid Recovery, aka pretty much nothing for HSR. With RR and it's lack of HSR
you end up running more LSR than you'd prefer, in order to (maybe) help avoid getting bucked, and lose some poppiness because of it.

At least Fox seems to put some decent amount of HSR even in shocks and forks that dont have external adjustment of it, so that it gives LSR a better usable range.
  • 34 32
 "The overall goal with the suspension design was to create a linear, progressive leverage curve"

Something seems off about this, but maybe i'm just being an (oxy)moron
  • 23 9
 Think of a diagonal line, which is a straight line at an angle. In other words, a progressive (or rising rate - the terms refer to the same thing) leverage curve without any strange lumps.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: fair enough then
  • 19 10
 @mikekazimer: Diagonal, straight line is linear, nothing progressive about that.
  • 2 1
 Linear (at the start of the stroke , moving to a ) progressive leverage curve (at the end of the stroke)?
  • 6 0
 @mikekazimer: would love if these reviews also included the kinematic details as graphs!
  • 12 0
 @bikefuturist, we try to whenever possible, but Santa Cruz doesn’t release their kinematic charts. We have a project in the works to help with this, and we’ll also be continuing the “Behind the Numbers” suspension design analysis series that began earlier this year.
  • 25 2
 Kazimer is using the terminology correctly:

"Linear" means the line doesn't bend (i.e. its slope is always the same).

"Progressive" means the leverage ratio decreases through its travel.

It's marketing departments that have jumbled the terms over the years.

Go read Wikipedia if you don't believe me (him):
  • 1 4
 @JCO: Yep, linear function that increases (or decreases) linearly. If the leverage ratio decreases linearly, what's "progressive" about it?
  • 4 0
 @sergeyeremin: Because the corrected spring rate increases as the leverage ratio decreases. That's where the "progressive" part comes from. This is standard terminology in the suspension world afaik.
  • 2 1
 @JCO: I know f-all about math/physics or anything involving numbers but I always thought linear referred to a straight line going up and progressive being one that curves upwards.

Anyway my Nomad is said to have the same characteristics and I really like the way it eats anything in its path without feeling like a waterbed so whatever it’s called, it must be good..
  • 2 1
 @bonkywonky: Think of it as the straight line being the first derivative. So if the graph of f'(x) is a straight sloped line, then the graph of f(x) is curved.
  • 8 0
 @sergeyeremin: Nope, a diagonal straight line is progressive. An horizontal line is linear. A linear progression is not the same as a linear suspension resistance across the travel.
  • 1 0
 @JCO: Exactly. Linear is a straight line and logarithmic is a curved line.
  • 1 0
 @JCO: The progressive you described is digressive in reality, one could be exponential the other logarithmic
  • 1 0
 A progressive suspension path that progresses in a linear fashion?
  • 1 0
 @JCO: Pinkbike needs to the change the vote buttons-- I accidentally down-voted you and now can't correct it. Sorry man. But I totally agree with you...
  • 2 0
 @westeast: Lets put this way:

Progressive- exponential, quadratic,..., upwards curve.
Linear- straight line that can have different slopes/steepness.
Digressive-logarithmic, square root,..., curve that slopes toward an horizontal line or even a downward curve.
Constant- horizontal line, hard tail bike.
  • 3 10
flag j-t-g FL (Oct 14, 2019 at 9:30) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: That makes no sense. get your shit together.
  • 6 0
 @j-t-g, which part? I'm happy to clarify.
  • 1 0
 @JCO: Suspension world (motorcycles at least) have either progressive or linear spring rates and suspension. Didn't see anyone mention anything "progressive linear". Have you?
  • 1 0
 @DavidGuerra: Starting with a "Nope" is not a very confidence-inspiring move.

Let's review what is a linear function: "Linear functions are those whose graph is a straight line. A linear function has the following form. y = f(x) = a + bx."

Your diagonal straight line is a linear function, same way as a horizontal straight line.
  • 1 0
 @sergeyeremin: it's progressive because the ending ratio is less than the starting ratio. It's "linearly progressive" because the rate of decrease is constant throughout the stroke.
  • 1 0
 @sergeyeremin: We are considering a chart in which the horizontal axis (x) is the travel at the wheel and the vertical axis (y) is the force required to move the wheel further into its travel. If the line is rising along the horizontal axis, that means the suspension is progressive, regardless of whether the line is straight or curved, because in any case it requires more and more force to move it throughout its travel. However, since every shock is naturally progressive and so is the resulting suspension system, a diagonal straight line is deemed linear and one that starts to curve upwards as the travel advances is deemed progressive. However they are all progressive because in each case progressively more force is required to move the wheel further. Only with an horizontal straight line would that not be the case, which is rather theoretical given the progressive nature of shocks, but which could actually be achieved with a regressive rate suspension linkage.
  • 1 1
 @dthomp325: Just a quick Google for your "linearly progressive" concoction finds more examples of "linear vs progressive". Nobody uses "linearly progressive" anywhere...
  • 1 0
 @DavidGuerra: A lot more linguistic dances and some strange assumptions, and still nobody uses this "linear progressive" term you're trying to defend...
  • 1 0
 @sergeyeremin: Mike explained it if you don't like the term, the leverage ratio is a straight line with a negative slope.
  • 1 0
 @sergeyeremin: It's because we're trying to jam two different things into one phrase/graph. The value of the leverage ratio proportional to wheel position (travel) is linear, the straight line with negative slope. That's straight (hah!) forward.

However in the MTB world we also refer to a decreasing leverage ratio as progressive, because the shock pushes back progressively harder, or: it becomes harder to move the wheel as the system progresses though the travel range.

So progressive here isn't really used as the strictly mathematic/calculus term for describing how a set of functions diverge.
  • 2 0
 @FCX250: Constant is not a hardtail. Talking about a graph of leverage ratio vs wheel position. A hardtail is a point at the origin or a line straight up the y-axis: wheel travel is always zero, leverage ratio is either always zero or approaching infinity, depending on your frame of reference.

BTW, close to constant leverage curves pair great with modern air shocks. Large volume (post and neg) air springs have much more linear rate curve than before, but still have the natural increase in spring force as they go through the travel, so don't _need_ the leverage rate to decrease as much as a coil spring does. Plus positive volume can be reduced for a progressive end stroke (bottomless feeling) even with a constant leverage rate, but it's much harder to make an air spring more linear to deal (to get it to use all the travel) with a progressive leverage rate.
  • 1 0
 @dthomp325: It's not that _I_ don't like the term, it's that it does not exist. Just a sloppily written phrase, that's what was pointed out.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: I understand both mathematical and suspension geometry usage of these two terms, my point was that nobody uses them together, apart from musicians:

It was just a sloppily written phrase, that's what was pointed out.
  • 1 1
 @just6979: well it's just a question of perspective, the leverage ratio on a hardtail simply doesn't exist, it was a simplification, but wheel travel does exist on a hardtail it's your knees that "absorbs" that movement and the front suspension if you have one, so theoretically you just have travel axis that happens to be a horizontal line.
  • 1 0
 @FCX250: No one is measuring wheel travel relative to the rider, they're measuring relative to the rest of the bike, which means a hardtail has no travel. Even if you wanted to measure relative to yourself, there still is a leverage ratio: the 3rd class lever with fulcrum at front axle, load at BB (assuming standing rider), and force at rear axle.
  • 3 3
 Real talk, the VPP system on the V10 still climbs well. Being that midweight riders running a rear air shock and a 48mm offset Fox 49 (Outsider bikes), DD midweight casing up front. jack the seat--bikes spinnin 29 baby. Air in the rear, a proper offset 40 for enhanced low speed turns (as well as more stability at higher speeds)..!!?


ps its awesome that the V-10 'rides high' because it has always given me the opportunity to have a more playful bike and having added space to mount a water bottle on the downtube>>f*cking stocks my guy *arms cross*
  • 2 0
 Rented this at Evolution in Whistler. The years before we had the 27.5 version. We really enjoyed the 29 version more. Great bike.....FAST
  • 3 2
 Looks like a bad ass bike but I have 2 questions. I'm paying 8 grand and I get a junky Cane Creek 40 headset (small nitpick but come on)?

Also, I don't get flagship Santa Cruz Reserve wheels on a flagship Santa Cruz bike??
  • 2 1
 I have never heard someone call a cane creek 40 junky before... may not be top of the line but at least they didn’t spec a loose ball fsa junkshow.
  • 4 0
 The seat tube on these bikes reminds me of Grandpa's neck in Hey Arnold.
  • 4 0
 Arc rims on a DH bike.... that’s a brave move
  • 1 0
 they are the heavy duty version`
  • 2 0
 Gee these prices are getting out of control. I'm wondering what the margins are on those frames. $3.9k sounds excessive to me...
  • 5 2
  • 2 0
 ..I like where this is heading
  • 4 4
 How is the low spec wheels not a con? Those are horrible. Also seat-buzz thing sucks and the spring they include is great if you weigh as much as a fly. The small bump is unreal on this bike tho
  • 5 0
 350s are pretty damn nice hubs, you're only giving up a bit of weight over 240s. Not familiar with the ARC rims I'll admit, do they suck?
  • 7 3
 It’s a 9 grand bike. It better come with 240s and carbon rims. This is the worsted spec dh bike for the most money @mnorris122:
  • 7 0
 @freeridejerk888: only animals want carbon rims on DH bikes.
  • 2 1
 I don’t want carbon rims on a dh bike but for 9 grand I can’t see where in the f*ck my money is going. The m29 is way better spiced for a lot less (2019 one) @mnorris122:
  • 3 0
 Like tu see how it compares to the tues..
  • 2 0
 Why is the reach on modern enduro and trail bikes do much longer than in downhill bikes?
  • 4 0
 Blind following of experiments that every one keeps calling "trends"... Reaches on trail bikes are going to come back when everyone realizes that most of us don't have the skills or strength to truly manage keeping weight on the front wheel of such monsters on normal (read: most of us don't ride EWS tracks all of the time) trails. Enduro rave bikes will probably stay long, but they'll be those bikes we all dream about but never get. Kind of like how we all dream of having a V10 XO1, but end up with a $2500 last year's demo bike so we don't care about beating the shit out of it in the park.

Also, with the head angle and axle to crown on a DH bike, the front center is usually still longer, so you get a good position behind the front wheel for going down steeps, but with a reasonable reach you can still manage front to back weight transfer to optimize traction through flatter corners and wherever else needed. The current crop of "enduro" bikes have huge capabilities thanks to long, low, and slack, but require utter beasts of riders to maximize that. This bike (and other DH bikes) is a more accesible design that still is hugely capable thanks to long travel and long wheelbase.
  • 1 0
 Good review but...the noise V10's still make coming down the hill amazes me in this day and age, when compared to others out there! Must mostly be chain slap.........
  • 1 0
 How many clicks on HSC and LSC. ? 14 clicks on HSC ? Sounds harsh on the hands. How is the rear shock set up? Same very high numbers on compression damping?
  • 3 0
  • 5 7
 The seat buzz thing is very real. It’s like Santa Cruz totally overlooked seat angle when designing it.

I don’t think these are selling well. Santa Cruz dumped a whole bunch of these as rentals at Highland and gave Thunder Mountain a super deal on them as rentals mid summer. Almost like the realized they had a bunch in the warehouse and were not selling as projected SL they dumped them early.

As a result, there will be a ton of these for sale end of season and the abysmal resale value of your used DH bike will be even lower.

Also not cool to have your 8500$ super bike be the equivalent of a Ford Fusion at Hertz
  • 1 0
 Unless you want to buy that xl at thunder that’s set up with higher rise than the other one is...
  • 2 0
 They're certainly selling well up here.
  • 1 0
 On the suspension compression video shown here the wheel stays quite far from the seat. In any case that can be fixed easily by moving the seat forward and/or sloping it forward and/or buying a different seat whose rails stay straight further back, allowing the seat to be moved even more to the front.
  • 3 0
 Yet another easy solution: buy a seatpost with a bend and turn it around so that it bends to the front. I have actually done this with one of my bikes to create a more vertical seat angle.
  • 1 0
 And you know all this... How, exactly?
  • 1 0
 @just6979: it’s how specialized dumped their low spec demo’s last season
  • 1 0
 @yzedf: And you know this how?
  • 1 0
 @just6979: owner of my local specialized shop was rather vocal about it. He did sell two of the pink ones though...
  • 2 0
 How does it compare against the 275 version...?
  • 7 3
 It's faster. Smile
  • 1 3
 If you're on the XL, it might be slightly slower 'cause rollover, and if not on XL then you'll buzz your ass less and thus probably be faster. And more fun in all sizes.
  • 2 2
 @mikekazimer: big claim there.
Faster where? Uphill? On a flat road? Parking lot? Over some rocks? Free fall from a helicopter over Chicago?
  • 3 0
 what a bike
  • 1 0
 I'm with my v10 29 for six months, before riding on a Spesh Demo 2015. It's amazing the stability of this bike.
  • 1 0
 Jesus. Maxxis sidewalls looking janky with that much exposed nylon on a new tire.....
  • 1 0
 I just bought a 27.5 V10 cc, sucks they don't sell built Reserve wheel sets, only in the 29er
  • 3 2
 Can't wait till the new V10 looks like the new Specialized....
  • 1 1
 so remains the same?
  • 1 0
 @mihauek: Maybe ????
  • 8 10
 This thing is the Uber bike. Hard pressed to think of a bike more desirable than this. (In reality, it’s probably having the terrain to do it justice that is more desirable)
  • 10 5
 Unno: "Most desirable? Hold my beer..."
  • 13 4
 Even though Santa Cruz bikes are made in China out of plastic, they are very, very special bikes. The finish quality and attention to detail is out of this world.... But then I've never seen an unno or antidote in the flesh
  • 2 5
 Tiwian in there own factory @jaame:
  • 1 0
 @jaame: I always think the same thing when I see a SC and Intense M29. But I reserve a special place of held back opinions until I see an Unno or Antidote. Those bikes seem like Unicorns.
  • 2 0
 @P3N54: the unno, while nice, just seems a bit over the top to me. this is mountain biking and it would feel like driving a lamborghini aventador round a 4x4 track.
  • 2 1
 @P3N54: I feel like Unno is more of a "Hold my scotch" kind of guy
  • 3 0
 @wpplayer18: 100 year old scotch.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: antidotes look really really nice in the flesh.
  • 3 0
 @dirtyburger: I imagine it's like when you compare a limited edition Ducati to an R1. On a computer screen they look comparable but close up the differences are staggering
  • 1 0
 @chillrider199: I have seen an antidote in person.
  • 1 0
 The m29 is a very very high quality machine @chillrider199:
  • 1 0
 @tobiusmaximum: More like a loaded G-Wagen or Land Rover than a Lambo. They're actually capable, but they look the tits _and_ cost a left nut.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: That G Wagon with the six wheels. Wowzers!
  • 1 0
 Real weigh of Santa V10 29 size M is 17kg.
  • 1 0
 Thats a fine looking machine...but out off my range of finance...pitty.
  • 2 2
 The frame alone will cost you more than the mid build on a YT.............. I suggest you let that one marinate!
  • 1 0
 Yeah OK but how does it climb?
  • 4 4
 its best DH bike without a doubt, tell me something what we dont know Smile
  • 2 0
 Would be unusual for a bike to get worse that the previous generation but I guess it happens...
  • 2 3
 I'm loving these Pinkbike review headlines -- "A highly refined and rapid DH race bike..." What a new and exciting insight!
  • 9 11
 "the V10 29 has 215mm of rear travel that's paired with a 203mm Fox 49 fork"

Wow. That's one stout pair of stanchions.
  • 18 1
 They still measure 40mm - the ‘9’ in a Fox 49 refers to the 29” wheel.
  • 3 0
 they nicked it from a KTM 1190 Adventure
  • 4 1
 @mikekazimer: Aah, great now I don't feel stupid at all. My only hope is that someone else might make the same mistake and not let me be the only one Smile
  • 6 0
It's not your fault. They didn't name the 26” version '46' or the 27.5" version '47(.5)' Wink
  • 2 1
 @ErnoNykanen: yeah it is an anomaly in nomenclature. I thought it was a marketing thing just to draw attention when they were first released but it looks to be here to stay. A bit odd, it's true. More importantly, how cool would a 49mm stanchion fork look!?
  • 2 0
 @jaame: Drainpipe cool
  • 2 0
 @jaame: like a mx bike. I think stock forks are sround 48 mm. Factory WP fork are 52 i believe.
  • 2 0
 @ORTOGONAL555: that's a serious shaft!
  • 2 2
 No water bottle mount?
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