With the Fort William World Cup only a week away, teams are starting to arrive back in Europe and are dialling in the bikes for the track. Instagram is addictive, but it's also a good place for companies to build hype and leak photos. As I was giving a good scroll through, sitting on a plane this afternoon, I noticed Luca Shaw's latest post of him riding at Fort William and the frame of his bike he was on blatantly scribbled out. I did a little more quick looking and Loris Vergier, along with the Santa Cruz Syndicate account both had more photos in their posts and stories showing blacked out bike frames.
Sydnicate riders, blacked out bikes... Something's about to drop.
I reached out to Santa Cruz Brand Manager Seb Kemp, asking what the deal with the posts and the bike was and received the following reply, "Hi Daniel, Our engineers are constantly working on new bikes and the Syndicate are a key part of that development process. The needs of the Syndicate drove the introduction of the prototype 29er V10 that they’ve been racing on since the Lourdes World Cup in 2017. That’s all there is to say for now." It's a pretty boilerplate answer. I'd bet more than a few margaritas that if I sent a message to any one of a number of other people at Santa Cruz, I'd get the same response, word for word.
These screengrabs from Loris Vergier's Instagram story show a little more detail of the bike.
Is this the new V10 that's near production ready? The link looks unfinished and it's too far away to tell if it's an alloy mule. If it's carbon, then it's likely that they've tooled up and are nearing production, but they do have some new carbon mule prototyping capabilities now. Judging from the fork, it's a 29" wheeled bike with a dramatically new front triangle and link, even from the prototype that we've already seen riders on since last season. With the obvious hype being built around this bike, I would suspect that we'll have more details to share in the following few days, especially once practice at Ft. Bill begins and our photographers are on the ground.