The new Santa Cruz 5010 is an evolution, rather than a ground-up rebuild of the previous version of the 5010, but that’s no bad thing, as previous generations of the 130mm trail bike have always impressed.
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Santa Cruz 5010 highlights
- 130mm travel
- Longer and slacker than the previous version
- redesigned rear end
- Compatible with 27.5 and 27.5+ wheels and tyres
The 5010 shares a frame with the Juliana Furtado, and likewise the bulk of the kit on the respective models, save for the contact points – the Furtado getting more female friendly options.
The 5010 CC X01 Reserve bike I tested sits near the top of the tree, and as the name suggests is based around the higher-grade CC frameset, with a SRAM X01 Eagle groupset and Santa Cruz’s Reserve 27 carbon wheels. As with all the 5010s, there’s a 130mm fork on the front – a Fox 34 Performance Elite one this model. The rear has a Fox DPX2 Float Performance Elite shock controlling the Upper Link VPP suspension. SRAM’s Guide RSC brakes pulled everything to a halt, while the majority of the cockpit came from Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz offers all the 5010 (and Juliana all the Furtado) models with either regular tyres (on a 25 or 27mm internal width rim) or 2.6” Plus tyres on a 35 or 37mm internal width rim. I rode the regular offering, which came with Maxxis Minion II DHF/DRH rubber in 2.4/2.3” flavours.
The frame’s major updates include new uprights above the bottom bracket, there to boost stiffness and give clean internal cable routing, a geometry flip chip to tune the feel of the bike between tyre sizes, and some slight tweaks to the geometry.
The reach of the bikes has grown by 15mm (up to 457mm in a size Large, in Low setting), while there’s a 0.8 degree slackening of the head angle (in the Low setting). The seat angle is 75 degrees and there are 425mm chainstays.
The 5010 is Santa Cruz’s smaller-wheeled trail bike, and the badge very much fits the feel of the ride. The suspension, much like the frame itself, is relatively taught, so the bike reacts well to pedal inputs. This makes it a keen climber, aided by the traction afforded by the reasonably active back end – the bike doesn’t wallow under regular pedal loads, but the back when is left able to track the ground, keeping the rubber in close contact to rocks and roots.
As the trail twists and turns across the top of the hill it’s still possible to keep the power down, with the pedals feeling relatively unconcerned by what’s going on under the tyres. The driven nature of the bike means weaving between trees is punchy and fun.
It’s a cliché to say that the 130mm of suspension feels bottomless, but for regular trail riding Santa Cruz prove that it’s quality, not quantity when it comes to rear wheel travel. The suspension is nicely supportive, letting you maintain speed over rough matted roots, and generate it through corners. Slap it in to rock gardens though and it drops controlled deep into its travel where a significant but not harsh ramp up lets you continue without stuttering through bulkier terrain.
The suspension can easily be set up to run yet taught with higher pressures, creating a bike that’s happy to skip over the top of obstacles, where it’s easy to pick up and place where you want it. Yet at the same time it also seemed happy sitting deeper into its travel for a more planted ride.
There will be some who want a longer geometry from the 5010, and I understand that viewpoint. In its Low setting, the reach of 457mm (Large) isn’t very long, and a longer front end would give more stability and surefootedness on steeper, looser terrain. While I’ll hold off too much judgement for now, as my test ride was pretty short, the bike does feel fairly well balanced, and eager to manoeuvre around the trail.
Cornering, with the 66-degree head angle and 330mm BB height (24mm drop) was fairly impressive, and I didn’t have any sketchy moments during the ride – helped by the wheels being shod in some of my favourite rubber.
The kit on the X01 Reserve leaves little to be desired. The Reserve 27 rims are reasonably stiff, yet give a good foothold for the tyres to hold on to, and there's plenty of volume to soak up the trail chatter that might otherwise get transferred to your hands.
Fox’s Performance Elite 34s with 130mm of travel feel great this year – plenty of control, decent support, enough adjustability and a smooth ride. The fork really complemented the rear end during testing.