First Ride: Santa Cruz's New 5010

Jul 3, 2018
by Mike Levy  


Santa Cruz's 5010 has been around for five years now, and while it did see an update in 2016, the march of time never stops and neither does what we want from our mid-travel bikes. This is especially true when it comes to trail rigs that many of us expect to ascend close to how a cross-country racer does but also descend like an enduro rocketship. That's asking a lot of a 130mm-travel, 27.5'' wheeled machine like the 5010, but Santa Cruz is chasing that all-around performance by updating the bike's geometry and frame design for the third iteration of their do-it-all platform.

The new 5010 can be had in two frame flavors: aluminum for $1,999 USD or their high-end CC carbon frame for $2,999 USD. Complete bikes start with an aluminum model at $2,699 USD and top out with the CC XTR Reserve bike at $9,499 USD, with ten different models altogether. If you don't want to spring for the lighter weight CC frame, the standard C carbon entry point is $3,999 USD.



5010 Details

• Intended use: trail / all-mountain
• Rear wheel travel: 130mm
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Frame material: aluminum or carbon
• Updated w/ longer, slacker geometry
• Adjustable geo: 66.2° or 66.5°
• Clearance for up to 2.8'' rear tire
• XS to XL frame sizes
• Color choices: purple and matte carbon (all models)
• Lifetime frame warranty
• MSRP: $2,699 - $9,499 USD
www.santacruzbicycles.com
If you're not into the Purple People Eater look, you can get the carbon or aluminum 5010 in black, too. The Furtado is the exact same frame in carbon and aluminum, but it's sporting Juliana-branded touch points and a burgundy finish.


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Santa Cruz 5010
Routing is all internal, but molded-in guides will keep the swearing to a minimum for those who do their own wrenching.


Similar Lines, New Frame

The third iteration of the 5010 looks a lot like the second version of the bike... and the first version, too. But while the lines sure are similar, it's a whole new frame from headtube to rear axle. The most obvious difference between the V3 5010 and its predecessors is the rear triangle's dual uprights - V1 and V2 had a single upright on the non-drive side; Santa Cruz says that the new rear-end is ''stiff, stout, [and] evenly distributes forces going through frame/suspension.''

I've spent a brief amount of time on the previous version of the 5010 and it never once came across as needing more rigidity, but hey, more stiffness is more better, especially if you weigh more than a twelve-year-old.


Santa Cruz 5010
One way to tell the V3 5010 apart from the V2 and V1 bikes is the dual uprights on the new rig's rear triangle. Santa Cruz says that they make for a stiffer rear end.


Both of the counter-rotating VPP links are new as well, with the upper sporting a geometry-adjusting flip chip (more on that below) and the lower link being captured by the massive, stout-looking bottom bracket area of the front triangle. Santa Cruz sorted out their collet-style pivots years ago and the new bike is rocking those as well, so it's also no surprise to see their lifetime bearing replacement extend to the V3 5010.

On to other details. Santa Cruz has always been on-point when it comes to having their bikes be home mechanic-friendly, and that's still the case this time around. There's the threaded bottom bracket that's easier to work on than a PressFit system, just so long as you have the correct tools, and the internal cable routing feeds through molded-in hose guides inside the frame, too.

There are two bottle cage mounts (one inside the frame, one under the downtube), which should always be required on any bike that's intended to be taken on some proper adventures, and room for 2.8'' wide rubber out back if you want to run the big meat.
Santa Cruz 5010
The VPP links are new, and the bottom one is captive (like on the V2 5010) inside the bike's massive bottom bracket area.



Longer, Slacker, and Adjustable Geometry

During my drive down from Squamish to Bellingham, Washington, to sample to the new 5010, I found myself wondering exactly what sort of treatment Santa Cruz gave the third version. One doesn't need to have the gift of clairvoyance to correctly assume that the list of updates will include a longer reach, a slacker head angle, and a steeper seat tube angle. That's partly what the 5010 saw changed during its first revision back in 2015, and it's also what's happening in 2018.


Just for some perspective, let's go back to the 5010's debut in 2013. Back then, the bike had a 68-degree head angle, 73-degree seat angle, and a 426mm reach on the large-sized frame. Jumping ahead two years and the second-gen 5010 is rocking a 67-degree head angle, 73.8-degree seat angle, and the large frame was bumped up to a 445mm reach. Y'all don't need a crystal ball to know what's coming next: version-three gets sprinkled with the strongest slacker, longer spice yet for a 66.2-degree head angle, 74.9-degree seat angle, and a 456mm reach on the large-size 5010 with it in the 'Lo' geometry setting.

Yup, there's a new geometry adjusting chip system in the top link that, much like the chips used on some of Santa Cruz's other bikes, lets you choose between 'Lo' and 'Hi' geometry settings.



Santa Cruz 5010
The adjustable geometry is intended to balance out tire choice (low versus high-volume rubber), but you can use it to tune the handling as well.


I'm definitely more of a 'Hi' kinda guy, too, so the slightly steeper 66.5 front end, 75.2-degree seat angle, and 4mm taller bottom bracket (at 334mm) are probably more my jam. Interestingly, Santa Cruz was thinking more about tire size than anything, with the idea being that a rider can use it ''for optimizing geo for bigger tires.''

But really, 4mm difference? I mean, that's basically nothing, I said to Josh Kissner, Santa Cruz Product Manager. ''Sure, yes it's minor, but we're shooting for perfect here! If we find a bottom bracket height we like (which we nitpick quite a bit), we want to make sure everyone can get there - regardless of tire size,'' was his reply to my skepticism. ''4mm is more than it sounds - like the difference between 170mm cranks and 175mm cranks as far as ground clearance goes. It's noticeable.''



But Can It Do 29'' Wheels?

No, no it can't. The press release pack refers to 27.5'' wheels as ''The fun-sized wheel size,'' but I sure do have fun on 29'' hoops, too. So, if you're going to make it tuneable to get the most out of the bike regardless of tire size, why not go all the way and build-in enough adjustment for riders to use 29'' wheels?

''That would have to be a really big change in geo (to fit 29er wheels), and even if we could fit that there, that much adjustment via a flip chip would definitely screw up the suspension in one of the settings,'' Kissner told me. ''Remember that to change bottom bracket height via the chip, you're only moving one of the wheels. To get that 4mm bottom bracket height change, you have to move the rear wheel up or down more like 8mm. That's a fair bit of movement from a little shock mount. The idea isn't to change the character of the bike, but just to make sure it can be set up with the geometry we want regardless of configuration.'' So there you go; ready for low- or high-volume rubber, but making the new 5010 29er-ready would have messed up other things.
Santa Cruz 5010
No tire clearance concerns here.


Santa Cruz 5010
The new 5010's 130mm of rear wheel travel is controlled by two counter-rotating VPP links, and it's seen some important changes compared to the previous model.


Revised Suspension

Rather than import V2 5010's suspension layout onto the new bike, Santa Cruz took the time to make some changes to the how the rear end performs. ''Instead of the slight falling rate that the V2 had, this one starts basically flat for the first 30% of travel and then is progressive for the last 70% of travel,'' Kissner explained to me. ''The flat rate instead of falling helps with traction and small-bump feel while making the midstroke more supportive.''

The rate is also a touch more progressive in the 'Lo' setting than it is in the 'Hi' as well, which is a byproduct of the adjustability that probably makes a lot of sense.


Santa Cruz 5010

Santa Cruz 5010
Santa Cruz 5010
Who doesn't like prototypes? Santa Cruz's Josh Kissner spent the day riding with us on his aluminum 5010 mule.






In an ideal world, I would have had the first, second, and third-gen 5010s all lined up to better understand the bike's evolution, but that'll have to come down the road as my introduction to the latest version was really just a solid day spent pedaling around in the woods of Bellingham. Our ride was about three hours long and while the climbing wasn't overly technical, there was definitely some singletrack ascending - and just as much descending, roots, rocks, some steep bits, and plenty of fast stuff, too. Also, I have to give a shout out to Santa Cruz for introducing the 5010 and Bronson this way - on terrain familiar to Kaz and myself - rather than organizing a press camp as is usually the case. Evaluating a new rig on blind trails that are often not worthy of whatever bike we're on, which is often the case, doesn't do it or us any favors. This, though, is how to do it.

My thoughts on the new 5010 after three hours could be summed up as such: It simply feels like a solid, do-all-the-things trailbike that's more well-rounded than just being focused on one task like, say, pretending to be a mini enduro rig or a long-legged cross-country greyhound. I pointed it down some steep lines and it felt right at home; I pointed it up some rooty climbs and it felt right at home; I spun it up some boring gravel roads and it also felt right at home.


Santa Cruz 5010
Trail rides mean different things to everyone, but the 5010 is ready for whatever.


The day was dry and dusty, yet not once did I find myself hoping for traction and not finding it. And the suspension, which I spent a grand total of three minutes setting up, asked nothing of me after I initially adjusted the spring rate pre-ride, which tells me that it's not a bike that's going to require a whack of volume spacers or have trouble using all its travel. To that point, I cased some jumps, smashed into some stuff, and landed so flat once that I was reminded of how fifteen-year-old Levy loved to launch off of loading docks with paved uphill ''landings.'' Ah, simpler times. Issues? Nada. I used all the travel, sure, but you're supposed to, and there was zero clanging.

The rear-end is decently supple for a 130mm-travel bike, too, and it's worth noting that I didn't feel any of the VPP 'funniness' through the pedals that I experienced years ago when on older VPP bikes.

You're not going to mistake this thing for a 150mm-travel rig, which is fine. It's likely going to be more fun, and easier to use, than a bigger all-mountain sled in 90-percent of the places it'll get ridden anyway. And that brings me to the 5010's handling that, truth be told, I thought would be a bit too lazy for my tastes given the travel on hand. But it wasn't. Instead, the 5010 felt pointy when I needed it to, but never too pointy while I was trying to keep up with Kazimer on the slacker, more forgiving, and all-new Bronson.
Santa Cruz 5010
It's efficient, but with 130mm of travel, it damn well better be.

So, my take on the new 5010 is that it's all-around-ness is going to be a great asset to a lot of different riders who ride different kinds of trails. Yes, I'd prefer if it had 29'' wheels, but I can't fault the bike after riding it - I wouldn't quite say that it's fun despite the 27.5'' wheels, but I also don't believe that it was more fun because of them. You could over-fork it a bit and turn it into a mini-shredder, or keep the front-end at 130mm and have a fun, capable trailbike. I'd be happy pointing it down some sketchy shit, but I'd also be happy to be on it while trying to survive a death march, which is probably the best compliment for a bike of this kind.







177 Comments

  • + 355
 Hands up who thinks the aluminium prototype looks way better than the homeopathic plastic frame?
  • + 46
 Me, I like welds...
  • + 5
 Agree!
  • + 38
 I just like the look of raw aluminum bikes period.
  • + 13
 You want me to stick my keyboard to the ceiling?
  • + 24
 ive always thought that every bike brands should have a raw aluminum option
  • + 46
 @mtbikeaddict: get a raw titanium frame and you can shout at all the people with carbon bikes: Bow, you peasants!
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: I want to make myself a bamboo BMX for the pumptrack as a regular BMX is obviously overbuilt for that. There is a bamboo frame building workshop in a town nearby, should be fun.

People can bow all they want, I'm just going to ride Smile .
  • - 17
flag fecalmaster (Jul 3, 2018 at 3:34) (Below Threshold)
 They should change it from 5010 to Double Douche.
  • + 1
 i do i do, my carbon rims that i only roped 2x already has an eyelet crack but its fine apparently
  • + 14
 The prototype looks sick........thinking about buying an aluminum frame and removing the paint. Raw
  • + 11
 Waki gets an automatic downvote from me 90% of the time. Just sayin'.
  • + 2
 Yep!
  • + 7
 Pretty much everyone I know who had a carbon trail/enduro mtb eventually went back to aluminium (including myself)
  • + 7
 @WAKIdesigns: Congrats on top comment on two pinkbike articles in a row!!

Also I built a custom, raw titanium frame this winter, and let me tell you its the most beautiful thing I've ever seen (except my wife, of course!!)

www.pinkbike.com/u/hamncheez/album/29er-custom-ti-
  • + 2
 ????
  • + 4
 @hamncheez: Nice clean build, looks awesome.
  • + 0
 @hamncheez: it's s such an achievement I don't what I will do. I expect a call from @sickbicycleco with offer for sponsorship or becoming the President of PR of their worldwide division.

BTW Sweet bike dat
  • + 3
 @mountain-life: Thanks! It was a lot of fun/stress to build. I designed the whole thing, from the geometry to the tubing. Its even more fun to ride!
  • + 3
 @Lurch-ECD: 110%… @rivercitycycles, Yep. Some bike paints look great, but some are mediocre and some are downright ugly. On the other hand, a 2009 Norco Team DH, the new GT's at the Whip-Off, some Knolly's, Banshees, and Guerrilla Gravity's, and any prototype, pretty much... can't go wrong Drool
  • + 4
 100% better looking.


Bronson was born Charles Dennis Buchinsky, the 11th of 15 children, in a Roman Catholic family of Lithuanian descent in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, in the coal region of the Allegheny Mountains north of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
  • + 4
 @mtbikeaddict: yeah! your forgot Canfield ! cheers.
  • + 1
 @Lagr1980: That too... I'm sure I haven't covered everything... just the idea... raw/polished whatever bare metal, bare carbon, something about the raw material just looks right
  • + 1
 Looks like an altitude
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: that is a gorgeous ti bike!
  • + 2
 Shut up and take my money!
  • + 4
 @hamncheez: Drool This peasant is bowing.
  • + 1
 @Lagr1980:
Yes! Raw aluminum Canfield Balance is siiick.
  • + 111
 Why are you complaining about it not being 29er compatible when Santa Cruz make the Hightower?
  • + 34
 And tallboy
  • + 12
 I was thinking the same thing
  • + 57
 It’s like reviewing a Corvette and saying that he wishes it were a 4x4 truck instead because that’s what he prefers. The Corvette isn’t made to apeel to truck enthusiasts and this wasn’t made to appeal to 29er enthusiasts.
  • + 25
 Seriously, no 26 and QR?
  • - 2
 @ninjatarian: Now that you say it I want to meet a 29er enthusiast. What are they like?
  • + 6
 Same deal with the Bronson review, they already make 29ers so why would they make their other bikes into 29ers? Most people get 29ers and end up missing the smaller sized wheels and going back. I'm 6' 3" and I haven't found a 29er that I like.
  • + 10
 @WAKIdesigns: Annoying.
  • - 7
flag Nick-Marotta (Jul 3, 2018 at 2:30) (Below Threshold)
 @casman86: I like 29ers but now you mention it I bought a 650b plus bike this year and its amazeballs. I partly bought it cos can take 29er wheels tho (pivot switchblade ).
small wheels get caught on too much chattery shit unless 170mm travel plus then theyre good or for flatish trails. big tyres either fat plus or 29 all the way
  • + 8
 Totally agree. The fact that it wasn’t a 29er is what drew me to the 5010 in the first place. SC already makes basically a full range of 29ers, so why bother messing with this one?

Oh, and you know the Tallboy and Hightower redesigns are tight around the corner. There’s no way SC aren’t updating those as well.
  • - 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Jul 3, 2018 at 4:10) (Below Threshold)
 I personally couldn't care that much about the wheelsize, a good modern 29ers will feel light and flicky if you chose the right tyres and keep the suspension a bit springy. Since they have lots of inherent stability due to gyroscopic effect of a big wheel they don't need fk all long and slack geometries which makes them snappy at lower speeds remaining stable as Fuk at high speeds. The whole recipe is what matters to make a good bike, a bike that suits your trails/needs, wheel size is just one of the ingredients. Go to a demo day of any company ride a few rather different bikes back to back and you'll get it rather quickly. Otherwise if you do claim you want a "playful" bike, get an old Blur 4X. Sorry this 5010 is nowhere close as snappy as it's predecessor. If that's really your thing.
  • - 1
 Hightower is old news tho!
  • - 2
 Make the hightower with a steeper seat angle and we're talking. That thing is a lazyboy
  • + 3
 I think it has more to do with the fact that at 2.8 x 27.5, you are closing in on 29er wheel territory in regards to sizing. That's at least what I took it as but I may be wrong
  • + 1
 @ninjatarian: Enthusiast anything in the mountain bike world are always annoying.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: "I want to meet a 29er enthusiast. What are they like?" Well in this case they're 6'6". An XL 29er was the first bike I sat on that didn't feel like wobbling around on a BMX tallbike. Admittedly with things getting longer and lower those wee 27.5 wheels feel pretty good nowadays too.
  • + 4
 It wasn't too long ago that Pinkbike was all like why 29? 29ers suck. Why not 27.5? Now it's why not 29? Everything should be 29! And if we go "way back" in the way back machine it was 26 or die.
  • + 1
 So, you get 2bikes-for-1. Bikes are uber expensive now. Best to have options and a versatile bike. If you feel like rocking the 27.5 wheels on some trails that more suitable for 27.5 wheels or 29er wheels, you can. Where I ride, there are trails much better suited for 27.5 wheels and some trails much better suited for 29er wheels.
  • + 8
 I think this Kaz and Lev obsession with 29ers is comment baiting at it's best. Don't rise to it. (either that or they genuinely forgot that SC make 3 29ers or 4 including the v10 )
  • + 3
 @BaeckerX1: hahaha I remember those days well.. I had a 2012 Stumpy comp 29 back then and was always defending myself in the comments!
  • + 4
 @bohns1: You should have seen the downvotes and hilarious hate I used to get for suggesting Minnaar would be faster on a 29" 5 years ago.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: You're like a bike Nostradamus!
  • + 1
 @BaeckerX1: No shit!

Back when Gwin started riding for Specialized I was on the NSMB forum banging on about how the short rear centre was what he was struggling with and that I bet he gets a custom rear end with about 438mm rear centre (chainstays).

I shit you not that's exactly what he got a couple weeks later. Highlight of my Internet career. I should have got a medal or something.
  • + 2
 @jclnv: huh the only thing is that long stays may be great for racing but I wouldn’t want anything like that on my own bike regardless of the wheelsize unless I would be living in Whistler or Les Gets. Then most Joeys like me never reach speed where this could be necessary. Just like all those new geos are a fkng snake oil. People who sucked and cornering will now definitely suck at cornering. Please keep in mind that most people out there have never grasped the concept of shifting their weight through a turn. So when a big time bike journo who does not much more than riding and writing says there’s something to it I roll my eyes.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: stop talking this heresy! It will never happen ;-)
  • + 2
 @number44: lol true. I'm in the same predicament, only a couple inches shorter, but with long limbs. XXL 29er? Yes please. Everything else? Feet hit the front wheel, knees were uncomfortably close to the handle bar, and it felt like a BMX. I'd love to try one of the newer bikes though, seems like they're getting the problems worked out.
  • + 2
 @jclnv: haha I don't doubt it dude! The wheel size has always worked for me even when the geo wasn't as good, simply on the merit of me being 6'3 plus.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I had one of those semi truck 29s back then and it was still better for me than the available 26ers despite long ass stays! It allowed me to no longer be the bear on a circus bike! What a glorious revelation it was.. Never looked back since!
  • + 38
 Love it when the new bikes get launched. Its the only time the big bike companys and reviewers are honest and say what the hell was wrong with the last one!
  • + 6
 So true
  • + 9
 Except it's all made up nuances to justify a new model with 0.01 different this or that.
  • + 2
 @Rasterman: *whoooosh*
  • + 2
 That's exactly it. I used to see this in car reviews. All the flaws get aired then and makes you realise how much you just can't believe certain reviews.
  • + 22
 reviewing a 27.5 / 27.5+ bike and wishing it was a 29er

;0(
  • + 6
 They're getting too worn out to maneuver bikes so they just want a lifeless steamroller to sit on and plow everything.
  • + 5
 @casman86: have u been on a new geo 29? Far from lifeless!
  • + 2
 @bohns1: I've demoed a RM Instinct right after an Altitude and the Instinct felt terrible in comparison. I'm 6' 3" but the 27.5 felt better in every situation. Still open to it because it would seem to make sense for my height but 27.5 seems to be the way to go so far. Will demo some more but it seems to take the fun out of mtb.
  • + 1
 @casman86: Well to each there own.. I'm 6'3 as well with emphasis on longer legs.. I always feel like a bear on a circus bike on everything I've tried other than 29..Ive been on wagon wheels so long now tho that they just feel like 26 to me at this point.. Whatever works for ya I say!
  • + 1
 @casman86: Ripmo with a 170 fork
  • + 18
 I had a hard time choosing between the previous 5010 and the Scout. In the end I went for the Transition, but in my eyes, both of them are winners. Slightly overforker short travel rippers like this are some of the most fun bikes about; not specifically that amazing at any one thing, but just all around smiles for miles.
  • + 5
 I think there’ll be a lot of people who weighed up the same options (myself included). The previous gen bikes were almost identical. For me though this one takes it over the new Scout. And I now need to go rob a bank.
  • + 18
 Could do with a chamfer or rubber bung on the cable holes looks bit rough for a 3k frame unless that's a prototype too.
  • + 1
 It should have rubber grommets that fit over the cables into the routing holes. My 5010 V2 has them, I’m guessing they’re just missing from this test bike.
  • + 2
 @BlackVR: I hope so! Those raw cut holes look ripe for wearing out in very short order. I would assume a production unit would have larger holes (Those are just big enough for the housings).
  • + 3
 From a mechanic's viewpoint getting those rubber grommets in place were one of the most annoying parts of building Santa Cruzs. I just built up one of the new 5010s and Bronsons today and the cable ports are significantly smaller than the previous generation frames, making grommets unnecessary and assembly way less of a hassle. Still wish they had kept the external rear brake routing though.
  • + 1
 @Poulsbojohnny: Bizarrely it's your cables/hoses that wear out way before the entry holes.
  • + 14
 What are bike companies going to update on new models when the whole longer, lower, slacker thing comes to its natural conclusion? Although I was reading a dirt bike mag today and they still seem the fiddling with fork offset and trail numbers, and interestingly they are reducing the stiffness of frames to help with traction etc. I'm not sure if the bike industry's obsession with stiffness is necessarily a good thing.
  • + 13
 They'll start building them shorter, steeper, taller. With 26" wheels.
  • + 7
 I keep asking myself that, too. Current trend is make your XC bike a trail bike, trail bike an enduro bike, and enduro bike a single-crown DH bike. For me anything slacker than a 66 degree head angle / 340mm BB is a pain in the ass, and that hasn't changed in like 5 years.
  • + 3
 Also, when are wheels going to stop growing? I'm waiting for 30.5"
  • + 5
 I have noticed, frustratingly, that my buddies who ride super slack trail bikes are making the turns on our local trails wider....
  • + 1
 You already see the stiffness issue being chewed over with carbon wheels and spoke tension
  • + 0
 @bforwil: Why stop there? 36" is the way to go... Shaq bikes for everyone! "This level ain't the level, the next level's the level!"
  • + 3
 @skelldify: Agreed, I see it here too. Most of the trails in this area were built for old school 26” wheels. Not intentionally sculpted for one wheel size over another just that’s what everyone was riding back then. Now that the big wheel, slack HA, long wheelbase thing has come into vogue folks are definitely widening corners, or braking so hard into them that they just become riddled with braking bumps. The trail “improvements” that I see being made involve destroying the old school tight twisty single track in favor of 4’ wide machine cut trails with really wide corners etc. I see a need for the big wheeled rigs as not everyone is built like me with a long torso and short limbs. I understand roll over advantages, and lengthening wheelbase for high speed stability. I get all that. Horses for courses, and humans come in all different sizes. What I don’t get is how come the industry completely abandoned a wheel size standard that literally millions of people owned. Offer up choices is all I’m saying. You need to be Cam McCaul, or Semenuk to get a really killer bike with modern geo and 26” wheels that they’ll never sell to you. How does one of those bikes feel? Maneuverable as all get out is my thought.
  • + 10
 For a website that is so 100% pro bottle cages, I think they should mount one to every compatible frame and see how it works out. With this one I'd be interested to see how a side-entry bottle cage works with the cable and hose down there. And how a conventional slide-out-the-top cage is not going to interfere with the piggyback shock. Or is the Fabric type bottle the way to go for these modern full suspension bikes?
  • + 7
 I wanted to love the Fabric system because it looks so clean, but it does a horrible job holding the bottle on.
  • + 1
 Yeah fabric bottles look great maybe for a road bike. I have lost two of them so far, and have had to stop and turn back countless times to go pick them up. I have no clue how anyone racing ews gets them to stay on
  • + 1
 It works fine, I have one on my Bronson.
  • + 2
 I was thinking the same thing. The cable routing blocks the water bottle mounts so I would assume a side load is out of the question. The Fabric water bottle mounts work well but you have to tighten them down quite a bit so they bulge out on the part that the water bottle catches on. I figured this out after a couple rides when the bottle kept coming out.
  • + 4
 Yep, this is a negative of the 5010. The cable routing isn't as clean and rubs on the bottle cage and you are limited to top load cages which is awkward with big bottles and big shocks. If two big loops of cable are going to drag over everything they should just use external cable routing technology.
  • + 1
 @creativefletch: yep this is what I did too. Touch wood haven't lost it yet!
  • + 1
 @creativefletch: this is what I did too. Touchwood haven't lost it yet!
  • + 1
 @acali: and for a brand that is "home mechanic friendly", no external rear brake hose?
  • + 1
 @acali: You just need to run the housing a bit long and zip tie it to the bottom of the bottle cage, still plenty of room to flex under travel and no rubbing. Santa Cruz still deserve a gold medal in my book for putting bottle cages and threaded BBs on most bikes.
  • + 1
 Get Wolf Tooth 1/2 bottle mount adapter that offsets the cage 1/2 a bottle width from the centre of the bottle mounts. Works awesome, and you can combine it with the BRAD bases as well. I'm a believer.
  • + 10
 I want to love 29” wheels, but with a 29” inseam, as soon as I point a 29er down steep terrain the rear wheel is in my way. Same with bunny hopping, always hit my butt on the rear wheel with 29ers. There are plenty of 29ers available, leave the 650b bikes as they are!
  • + 1
 @kelownakona: Yeah that's true. But for us short folks we don't have much margin of error and get a tire in the butt when we're sloppy on 29ers.
  • + 5
 @kelownakona: Your weight should be centered over the bottom bracket, inline with gravity. On a 45 degree slope, that means your butt is over the tire. Give that a bit more thought.
  • + 1
 @sb666: Your weight shifts and center of gravity is constantly changing. Take notice that most sprint runners lean forward and "chase" their center of gravity, we have similar things happening on the bike and it varies depending on a bunch of factors.
Leaning your weight back entering a steep section is perfectly fine, but if you just stay hanging off the back of the bike and don't return to center once on the slope, you're going to find your control of the bike compromised. Sometimes you just gotta trust the bike, and go chasing your center of gravity instead of fighting to keep it underfoot.
  • + 1
 @kelownakona: Haha I guess Brett Tippie has been doing it wrong all this time then in the steeps! Countless pictures show how wrong he is according to your analytics.
  • + 1
 @sb666: easier to set up for turns and uneven terrain or rock deflections...can't always be back...watch Danny Hart yo, perfect form ready for quick reactions. Although this more applies to racing.
  • + 11
 Still rocking my 26er santacruz VP-free here.
  • + 2
 Love those old VP-Frees, a bike way ahead of its time...
  • + 1
 rawed out 6point...oh yeah
  • + 7
 To sum up this review, "it's a nice bike but it would be better if they brought a Hightower." I was expecting a better review about this bike and it's intended audience. Can we get a redo?

That said, what happened with the colo(u)r designer? Did the light go out in the mood room? I've always loved Santa Cruz's bright colors and there hasn't been a bright option on the 5010 for 2 years now. I'm also disappointed they dropped the XE build from the lineup, which seemed to be that cusp between beyond-stupid-expensive and I shouldn't have spent that much money on a bike.

At least the frame looks super clean and sexy now, even if the skinned Grimace to coat it.
  • + 6
 I just don't get this 29inch wheel hype..Sure, 29' is a good size and has lots of benefits but 650b bikes are also capable, fun and fast. Everyone writes/says that 29ers are the way to go in cross country which is true for the most boring frame design category in mtb cycling. What if we had just one common wheel size for both road and mtb bikes? At the end of the day, does it really matter if it's 29, 650b or whatever? Your legs matter the most..So just ride whatever you have and stop worrying too much about wheel size!
  • + 28
 Nonono, this is not how it works -> pick a wheelsize and be a dick about it!
  • + 3
 Options are good.
  • + 7
 And I'm over here still wondering why I would ditch my v1 carbon for this. I'm fatigued, there is literally a "new, better" bike everyday at an even higher price point.
  • + 3
 Off course, because new=better in our modern consumer driven economies. At the point where a marketing spiel says we haven't changed anything because it works, or merely cosmetic changes are made is the point I get interested.
  • + 3
 Agreed. I'm here lusting after new short travel, aggressive 29ers, but at the end of the day they offer no real advantages over my 2016 Process 111 unless I spend 2-3x what I have into this bike.
  • + 2
 @jpcars10s: The 2016 Process 111 is such a unique bike too--where (some) other 29ers plow, the 111 is so snappy and fun to ride. Not the fastest, not the lightest, but the fun factor is through the roof on that bike! Former boss sold his and he kicks himself every day for doing so... and that's even having owned a Transition Smuggler and a Pivot Switchblade since then. The 111 is a unicorn, hang on to it.
  • + 3
 I sort of impulse bought it too... it was brand new, unsold sitting in my local shop for 40% off MSRP last fall. Honestly the best bike related decision I ever made. IMO, in the real world, fun is whats fast. Every 29er hater should spend an hour on a 111.
  • + 2
 @jpcars10s: I demoed a 111 for about an hour once. Came back with blood seeping through my t-shirt pretending like I was okay. The long reach/short rear imbalance didn't work out well for me on an xl. Chainstay should have been longer.
  • + 2
 @jpcars10s: Same here. I'd take a bath selling it now, and realistically the new one would offer no incredible advances that would make buying the new one worth it. I have demo'd and hate the "long, low, slack" geometry movement. I guess I am just not Enduro enough.
  • + 8
 No SuperBoost rear axle?
Please explain
  • + 6
 I love my 5010 v2. I have to say that I prefer v2 looks to v3. And that alu mule looks good too tbh. Only love for SC bikes tho.
  • + 4
 I don't care what the reason is, but thank God they made the rear swing arm symmetrical!
  • + 3
 @Poulsbojohnny: It's all about symmetry. The "hills have eyes" people can buy awful Orbeas and Stumpjumpers.
  • + 4
 Reading between the lines of this article and the Bronson: don’t buy a 27.5. 29 is taking over.

Both authors want to say it but they don’t. They also want to say that the Hightower needs an update and the Hightower LT is a stopgap franken bike that isn’t on the standard of the competition.

They so want to put the nails in the coffin of 27.5 though.
  • + 6
 Fiuuu, thank goodness, I thought that Santa Cruz had the intention to do only 29ers.
#29ersSucks
  • - 3
 They suck time for sure
  • + 3
 I like how they are addressing their small bump/early travel issues. I rodd a Hightower and while it was amazing in general (seat tube angle made for a nightmare of a front wheel going up and reach was laughable), the small bump compliance totally sucked. For a 5k $ I only got a 3/4 of a suspension. At speed and on big hucks it was wonderful but trail chatter and lighter brake bumps it sucked. Clearly they focused on this hence all the marketing on more linear early travel in both redesigns. Cheers to SC, I felt like they haven't done much to VPP other than fix issues... hopefully this moves the needle.
  • + 3
 This looks like a fun bike. The CCXTR build will be the choice of guy with a ton of money who only has the best. If they are a serious rider they will ride that for a few years before becoming a full time fat bike rider. Other wise it just sits Internet the garage next to their Ranger Rover (real one, not the Sport)
  • + 2
 Whatever, as long as I can buy it used in 2 years for 4k.
  • + 4
 @Adamrideshisbike: you pay 4K for a two year old bike? Where are people like you when I’m selling bikes.
  • + 0
 @wibblywobbly: They're buying my bikes.
  • + 5
 I like how some people on here think that their little circle of like, 5 riding buddies, must represent "most people".
  • + 2
 It doesn't? Confused.
  • + 4
 Is it possible to get an indication of weight when testing/first ride review a bike. I know weight is not the most important thing but I for one would like to know.
  • + 4
 What is going on with the dodgy photoshop of the Chainring/Chainstay in the first photo? Someone was messing with the transparency and didn't check their work properly.
  • + 3
 Predator camouflage
  • + 6
 Oh man! Well, that's embarrassing. It was super sunny that day, so even in the shade there were a few random bright spots that I tried to tone down a bit. I probably applied settings from one photo to the next and obviously didn't notice that spot as I tried to plow through the shots from the day. It's the new "missing link" chain technology.
  • + 3
 @ericmickelson: Lol that's just a KMC chain with their Missing Link, no worries...
  • + 1
 I like the vintage 90's and early 2000's Santa Cruz frames. You had an option of about 10 colors....some flat....some had metalic...even polished aluminum. The 2 color option....looks cheap! You spend 3-10k for a bike. It should come with more color options! Make bikes pretty again.....and the home of the braveeeee!
  • + 2
 Sounds like you would even pay a surplus to get the color of your choice? Would you also be willing to wait for it a few weeks longer?
  • + 1
 These changes are so small (half degree on the head angle at 334mm BB, rider position shifts an inch forward) that it was puzzling why Santa Cruz would make new 5010 frame molds. The back story is that running 29 or 27.5+ on the same frame compromises the geometry, which Ibis and Pivot also found, so they've dropped the 27.5+ option on the Hightower and Tallboy, moved that to the 5010 and Bronson, and since they needed a new mold for plus tire clearance, cleaned up a couple other things on the 5010 while they were at it. That makes more sense. Awesome what they did with the Bronson, now more like a Mojo HD4, great.
  • + 1
 So Santa Cruz is calling 2.6 tires plus now, despite the fact that last year emphasis was made that they were different than plus? Maxxis and Schwalbe, for two, still classify plus as 2.8 and above. Thanks bike industry. Maybe you should make a "standard". That usually fixes everything.
  • + 4
 "Playful" like when Kirt Voreis hucked that creek on his nomad v1:

youtu.be/znusNns8u5M?t=2m18s
  • + 3
 Looks like a pretty solid update.There's nothing really ground breaking here but having a conservative all rounder isn't necessarily a bad thing either.
  • + 3
 This year's conservative all-round was last year's enduro smasher...
  • + 2
 330mm BB height? Am I missing something? Can't imagine riding anything lower than my current 339mm (Patrol) and the Bronson & Nomad are around 340mm too.
  • + 4
 It is what you get when bike manufacturers give the geometry of the unsprung bike. Personally I don't think these numbers make much sense as little of your riding will be in the unsprung position (unless maybe for those slopestyle bikes with rear suspension). I expect when the suspension is sagged, the numbers should be closer together. Still, the much discussed chainstay length really depends on the linkage design and I usually have no clue how it works out with the suspension sagged. The only company I can think of who actually do give geometry data based on a sagged frame is Cotic. Then again I still can't compare these as Cotic gives you the bb drop (which makes sense as it is unrelated to the tires used) and I don't know the diameter of the wheels on the SC with the reference tires (and whether this diameter includes the knobs). Either way, bb height in mm accurate seems odd with all these uncertainties.
  • + 4
 Aha, I get it now @vinay. Simplified, 340mm static BB on a 160mm travel frame = 292mm at 30% sag, 180mm at full travel. 330mm static BB on a 130mm frame = 291mm at 30% sag, 200mm at full travel.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Amen! Maybe @RichardCunningham could do a nice Tech write-up for us comparing the common linkage designs and how sag effects chainstay and the rest of the go angles? Does anyone know of such an article on the web? Commenting before i've searched...
  • + 0
 Why are all the chainstays so short!!?

I would probably actually ride another santa cruz if they made a frame that actually had decent length chainstays. Really woulld not be that hard expensive or heavy to do. Just a lil flip chip 430-445-460
  • + 1
 Seems they left fork travel @ 130mm though? Won't that slack out the bike "too" much with the new geo if you want to upfork to 140-150?

Either way, there goes the resale value on my v2. Darn.
  • + 2
 Was thinking the same. Could possibly steepen it with angleset or offset bushings. My 150 upforked v2 is amazing.
  • + 1
 @trailluminati: Agreed. Pretty quick @ 66.2 or whatever it is, but still enough front travel to take care of bad decisions.
  • + 2
 Mike Levy if you do read this comment would it be possible to do an epic ride once in a while like epic isreal or similar 100k marathon ride
  • + 2
 Also, could you do a Hell Ride with Mark Weir and let me know if this bike was a good choice?
  • + 0
 Maybe do a prognar ride as well. Shred it to the gills.
  • + 1
 Stoked about the plus compatibility. This will be the perfect bike for my aging parents who really like plus tires, but need a full suspension to smooth out the trail on their bodies.
  • + 4
 This Vs thunderbolt? Opinions pinkbikers?
  • + 1
 I built the 2015 msl frame BC style because it felt snappier and more playful than V2 5010. Rocky's linkage climbs like it has nitrous in the linkage somewhere... it feels to me like it actually digs the rear wheel down into the trail to push you forward, where the 2012 Blur XC and Mach 5.7 I've owned are efficient but don't give me that extra driving propulsion
  • + 3
 Trying to sell my V2, guess the price just got cheaper
  • + 3
 Love the (Made in china) sticker!!
  • + 1
 Waiting for the v2 build that I ordered last week just makes my heart ache.
  • + 1
 Have the V1 and love it! But feeling the need to upgrade now we’re up to the V3...☹️
  • + 1
 Finally a sub 13 inch bottom bracket 330mm (12.9921 inches)!! Now riders can enjoy pedal strikes on fire roads.
  • + 2
 The raw alloy looks sick. Love the welds.
  • + 1
 Just wait a little while there will 29” versions very soon, marketing doesn’t miss out on sales opportunities!
  • + 0
 What fork offset are they using on this bike? Several of their new bikes have gone to shorter offset forks, did they do that here too?
  • + 2
 Made in China?
  • + 1
 Yeap thats what it looks like....., i would think it that makes them a heap cheaper to buy!!
  • + 1
 "oh baby, i like it raw. yeah baby, i like it rawwww!"
  • + 0
 Are all the Santa Cruz frames made in china now?? or just the 5010! makes me think twice : /
  • + 1
 This would be the perfect bike for my local trails
  • + 2
 I love it
  • + 2
 5010 for life
  • + 1
 330 B.B. low rider.
  • + 0
 No mention of the reservoir shock on 130mm trail bike?
  • + 0
 Enough of this 27.5 stuff - bring on the Nomad 29er!
  • - 2
 KHS 7500 Enduro bike (US National Champ title 2017) complete bike same price as Santa Cruz Frame only?
khsbicycles.com/bikes/2018-khs-models/sixfifty-7500-18
  • + 4
 The 7500 costs $3900. Alloy 5010 frame costs $2000. These are not the same. An alloy 5010 with comparable build to the 7500 comes in at close to $4000. Just over the cost of the KHS. Santa Cruz gets billed as a bike for only dentists, but their builds stack up well against everyone else. Especially the alloy models.
  • + 1
 @loganbinggeli - That's bad form and low class to post that. Santa Cruz make some of the best bikes out there, get that KHS shiz outta here.
  • + 0
 Wasnt* amazing
  • - 3
 Procore
  • - 1
 Is it 29+ compatible?

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