Yep, it sure has been a little while since the review team here at [R]evolution have had the chance to throw their legs over a new Santa Cruz and so when we started to hear whispers around the office that there was a cherry red 5010 heading our way the boys were beside themselves with stoke!
Now to say the least, when we first dragged this bad boy from the box, we all had a grin from ear to ear. Just one look at this thing and we knew it was going to be fast. So legends, strap yourselves in as we get set to give you all the juicy bells and whistles with what’s new with the next generation 5010 and how this spicy red dragon rips through the trails.
Reviewer // Scotty Prendergast Photos // Matt Staggs
What a stunning looking machine! Can you start by giving us a run-down of the new bike and tell us where it slots into Santa Cruz’s stella line-up?
Sure thing, so the 5010 has really become a famous platform for those riders who love jumps, flow trails, jibs, and all out good times. The style of this bike is for your pure MTB rider who loves a bike they can pedal but something which you can really whip around, tear through turns and smack a few booters. The previous 5010 was an all-out 27.5” inch wheel trail /aggressive XC style bike with twist. What Santa Cruz bikes have done with this new edition is maintain that party vibe, but they have significantly tweaked the geometry, suspension linkage, along with this thing being a ‘279’ yep, you guessed it, this new shredder is a standalone mullet with a 29-inch business wheel up front and a 27.5 party wheel out back.
Far out they have made some dramatic changes to this latest generation of the bike. Hit us with some of the key geometry numbers and why is it that you reckon the brand has gone with a Mullet wheelset given that the bike doesn’t pack a heap of rear travel?
I guess we should kick off with the fact this test bike is a mullet. The 5010 has a mixed wheel size with exception to the x-small and small sizes. Overall, the new 5010 Santa Cruz showcases tweaked the geometry with the head angle being half-degree, the reach is comparable to the previous model but they have provided size specific geometry with specific sized chain stays for each size so that no matter how tall you are you’re getting a custom fit whip, with suspension linkage kinematics which will suit your riding style and provide you the same ride performance across the board. The wheelbase has been stretched a little for that added stability at high speed and they have gone with their tried and tested VPP linkage designed as you see with all their models right up to their World Cup winning V10 downhill bike.
As far as suspension travel goes the 5010 remains the same as their generation 4 model with 130mm of rear wheel travel and 140mm of fork travel. The suspension linkages have been designed in a fashion that is more akin to control and small bump sensitivity rather than concentrating on anti-squat properties for more efficient riding. In laymen’s terms, the rear end is still designed in such a fashion that you have a nice progressive leverage curve as the shock ramps up, which still provides the rider with awesome pedalling efficiency without compromising trail performance and traction to the rubber below. Oh, and there is also a flip chip meaning you can alter those angles slightly at home easily if your preference is for a slightly more playful nimble bike in the taller setting or a more planted stable beast in the slacker setting, the 5010 has you covered.
Sounds pretty bloody good so far – are there any other bonus extras that you’re getting with the new 5010 in comparison to yesteryear?
You bet, this whip boasts all of the mod cons we’ve come to love with a Santa Cruz bike, their attention to detail and design is nothing short from outstanding, we will see this bike being offered in full carbon frames with a ton of build options depending on what flavour you like in components, we will also see this bike in some aluminium models for those shredders who prefer an all-alloy build. This bike comes with all internal cable routing, so the bike is super quiet, and we have seen the addition of neat little glovebox under your bottle mount to store all your tool, spares, and nutrition products.
They also have a couple of storage bags within that compartment to put those items in, so they don’t flap around within your frame.
You’ll also notice a ton of frame protection along with some built in neat little mud guards to keep all the grit and grime out of your bearing linkages. Overall, this bike looks amazing, what’s not to like about it really!? This test bike came decked out with a full Rockshox suspension platform with a super deluxe air shock in back and a 2023 Pike up front. This whip also comes stock an AXS drive chain, Rockshox Reverb Dropper, Burtec Bars and stem, Santacruz carbon wheels, Maxxis Tyres and Sram G2 brakes for a ton of stopping power, just on looks alone you can tell this bike was built to shred!
What type of rider is the 5010 aimed at and who’s going to love this rig the most?
To be honest that’s a bit of a hard question to answer because there is a heap of riders that this bike would appeal too. I guess this bike is designed for the type of rider who tends to prefer the more aggressive aspects of MTB, yet they want a short travel bike to take out on some longer laps, but still want their whip to handle the beefier terrain. Remember suspension travel is one thing, but angles make such a difference to how your bike handles on the descents or more technical terrain. I guess this bike is really targeted towards your more hardcore MTB rider who likes to stretch the legs a bit but wants to explore the extremes, tear through corners, hits some booters and flow trails and yet still wants a whip that encourages aggressive riding without compromising comfort and control.
In short, this is the type of bike you can take anywhere, do anything on, and have a hell of a lot of a good time doing it.
Ultimately, I’d say this bike has been tailored right out of the box for all of those riders those who love longer distance missions but also want their whip to be playful. At the same time though, the 5010 also caters to those slightly aggressive punk rocker riders who like jumps, berms and booters. So, we’ll break it down into those categories for you.
We’ll start with its trail riding qualities; to get straight to the point this isn’t a cross country bike, nor is it your traditional trail bike. We have seen the release of some ‘Down Country’ style bikes of late which are basically a short travel bike with aggressive angles more akin to your enduro bike. I would call the 5010 a more aggressive version of a down country style bike but with a little more flare about it.
This bike is super good to pedal over a variety of terrain, we put a heap of Km’s on this bike from XC tracks and enduro loops and its fair to say this whip is an efficient climber, it provides plenty of mid stroke support which generates a ton of traction to the wheels over a variety of undulating and technical terrain. Of course, the weight of this bike and the excellent wheel set plays a huge roll in the overall performance of this bike. The steeper seat tube angle allows you to put plenty of weight on the front wheel, so it doesn’t wander as it counteracts the reach, the pedalling position we also found to be super comfortable especially when we spent some long days in the saddle.
This bike maintains momentum extremely well over a variety of terrain, it climbs amazing, and was brilliant on those longer rides. Even with the little wheel in the rear we didn’t find it an issue in relation to getting hung up on square edges, as a matter of fact the little wheel was fantastic for acceleration, on the climbs and descents. Sure, this thing is no XC bike, but it was never designed to be.
Time to dive into the nitty gritty and tell us about how the 5010 performs when you rode this sucker in anger out there on your local Aussie trails?
Fun! Yep, Fun! That pretty much sums up the experience. We took this bike to some of our more well know heavier lines just to see how this bike stacked up against some of the more aggressive longer travel bikes we have tested of late, but we also hit up a ton of trails which this bike was really designed for, flow trails, jump trails, berms, drops, booters and bike parks. Let us start by saying every time we threw a leg over this steed our smiles grew a lot wider after a session aboard this bike. One of the most stand out features with this bike is it didn’t really feel like a 130mm bike, we hit some pretty wild sections and the VPP linkage designed worked amazing, the rear end had that nice bottomless feel even for a little bike yet maintained excellent small bump sensitivity. The suspension platform worked amazing and generated a ton of traction to the rubber below creating a nimble bike, yet something still planted enough to inspire confidence at high speed.
Suffice to say this whip was super playful, fantastic in the air to throw around and absolutely loved the turns, we tried to tear the tyres from the rims as we ripped through some turns and the 5010 just came back for more, how well this bike railed corners was nothing short of brilliant. I guess the biggest stand out for us though on those gnarly lines is just how capable this bike was, sure you knew you were stretching this thing on those fast rough sections, but for what this bike is, it still inspired super confident riding on the descent, it was still really stable at high speed and that is no doubt attributed to the 29’ inch wheel up front. We can kind of see why Santa Cruz have gone with the mullet option for this bike, after riding the 5010 it makes perfect sense.
If you want an absolute premium level, no compromise ripper of a bike that is nice and light, perfectly balanced and definitely very playful, then I reckon the 5010 is going to be right up your alley! It’s proven itself to be more punk rock than an XC whip but something you can ride all day long a lot easier than your mid travel trail bike but want something that is a little extra spicey on the way down the hill, rest assured you will not be disappointed with an investing your hard-earned dollars into new Santa Cruz 5010.
Frame // Carbon throughout in 2 layup options; ‘C’ & ‘CC’