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The quintessentail trail bike.
The do-it-all 27.5-inch trail bike is back and better than ever. Santa Cruz made some meaningful updates to its ever-popular 5010 recently, bringing it up to speed and defining the modern, mid-travel trail bike and making the 5010 Carbon CC 27.5+ X01 Eagle Reserve Complete Mountain Bike even more capable with its longer wheelbase and slacker angles which provide a boost in confidence as you mob technical trails at higher speeds. It also adds in plenty of clearance for running plus-sized tires for extra cushion and traction if your riding conditions are particularly rough and loose. What wasn't lost from the original 5010's, and indeed why this bike has received much acclaim by a legion of trail riders is its versatility. Nimble and agile enough to make quick work of tight singletrack, yet stable on high speed stretches in desert landscapes, add in the pedaling efficiency that's appreciated on all-day epics in the backcountry, and you end up with the new 5010, truly a rig you can show up with on any trail and have the right tool for the job.
The third generation 5010 is slacker than ever, at least in the headtube department, kicking back to a 66.5-degree angle in its high setting and a more gravity-friendly 66.2-degree angle in its lower setting. The addition of a flip-chip makes this possible, letting you tune the bike's geometry for different trails and riding styles. So if you're seeking out a bit more of a sports car feel with greater efficiency and climbing or you want a trophy truck that devours steep terrain littered with loose rocks and thick roots, the swap can be done on the trail in about 2 minutes.
The flip-chip not only allows you to alter the bike's personality to a degree, or more specifically 0.3 up front and 0.7 for the seattube, it also provides the frame the ability to run wider tires, up to 2.8 inches in width. Santa Cruz outfits this particular 5010 with its "new" plus-sized 2.6-inch tires, which deliver all the traction and bump-smoothing benefits of a traditional 2.8-inch tire, but without feeling overly vague or excessively heavy. This 2.6-inch tire really gives you a new level of confidence while mauling your way across the rockiest stretches of trail, but without the tradeoffs of a lower pressure, higher volume tire squirming under hard braking and cornering like the larger 2.8-inch tire. Of course, your mileage may vary, and if your conditions are consistently covered in fine silt or kitty litter, you may appreciate the 2.8-inch variety, which the bike will happily accommodate.
Other updates to the design of the third generation 5010, and one that we are quite fond of is its slightly longer reach that's grown by around 15 millimeters across sizes that allows for a bit roomier feel in the cockpit, and increased composure as the speed picks up. Additionally, the seat tube is a full degree steeper placing you in an optimal pedaling position when you're climbing thousands of vertical feet or simply muscling up short, punchy climbs with rocks and roots standing in your way.
As you'd expect with the 5010, it returns with its high degree of pedaling efficiency and bottom-out resistance of the previous versions. This VPP configuration neatly tucks the lower link above the bottom bracket to prevent rock strikes and damage from flinging trail debris. The upper portion remains attached to the top tube with a stiffer box-section upper link. While other more gravity-fueled frames in the Santa Cruz stable have moved to a lower-link mounted shock, the 5010 retains its upper link mount, affording better-pedaling efficiency over the Bronson or Nomad. It's spec'd with a FOX DPX2 Float Performance Elite shock with a piggyback for more consistent damping on extended descents as well as a higher level of adjustability and plushness.
Another returning feature we were happy to see is Santa Cruz's signature carbon lay-up. This particular frame enjoys the top-tier Carbon CC layup, which saves a good deal of weight while retaining the stiffness and strength you've come to experience from a Santa Cruz carbon frame. You can expect the Carbon CC layup to save around 250 to 280 grams from its Carbon C brethren, making it a great choice for the more discerning rider looking for the lightest possible build with zero compromises. It's backed by an impressive lifetime warranty, so you'll have extra peace of mind while tackling long stretches of trail and putting this bike to the test across technical terrain.
A frame this nice deserves the right parts to compliment it and with this particular build, it receives SRAM's X01 group, FOX Performance Elite suspension, and awesome Reserve 37 carbon rims, so it leaves little to be desired. There's not much more to say about X01 that we haven't said already. Bottom line, it's light, offers a range that's made us forget about front derailleurs, and is bombproof. The carbon rims simply make the great 5010 even better. Cornering is more precise, climbing is easier, and it provides the perfect tubeless foundation for tires in the 2.6-2.8-inch range.
- Santa Cruz's definitive trail bike is more versatile than ever
- Slacker, longer geometry adds more stability at speed
- Flip-chip switches between 66.5° and 66.2° head tube angles
- "New" plus 2.6-inch tires offer more traction and a smoother ride
- Carbon Reserve 37 hoops drop weight and increase responsiveness
- VPP suspension pedals efficiently and adds bottom-out resistance
- Carbon CC frame saves weight without compromising stiffness
- X01 Eagle delivers crisp shifts across a wide gear range
- Item #SNZ00IJ
- Q & A
Do NOT OVERLOOK this BIKE
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
This bike is so fun. it pedals amazing and feels like it has have more travel than advertised. For the rides I took this bike on I was constantly surprised and pushed to find the limits of this bike. If you live in a zone that does not have the super gnar and are still drawn to bigger bikes - get this and go crazy. Just check out the 50to01 crew riding these bikes!
Side note - this bike can also be ridden as a very composed trail bike and rescue you when you don't make good choices.
Note on Santa Cruz's take on plus tires: I think they nailed the 2.6 on a 37mm rim. this combo is still fast enough feeling that they dont feel like little full plus (2.8) but still offer considerablely more traction.
5010.. THE Quiver Killer
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
"'Climbs like an XC bike, descends like a downhill bike!!" yadda yadda yadda.. How many times have you heard this age old adage and then rode said bike and realized how full of malarkey the reviewer was?? THE LIES STOP HERE.
This is the bike to end all other bikes when it comes to versatility. The true quiver killer.
Coming from a downhill background, I haven't spent much time on shorter travel bikes. Before riding this bike, I actually hadn't spent much time on anything below a 150mm travel bike and was more commonly on a 170-200mm bike. The 5010 really opened my eyes as to how capable (and fun) a shorter travel, steeper HTA bike can really be. With great climbing positioning and a solid peddling platform, I felt just as comfortable climbing on this bike than I have on any other bike out there. My only gripe with this particular build when it comes to climbing would be the wheel and tire set up. The 37mm rims paired with the 2.6 are a very interesting combo that really shine when you get into the rough stuff, but for climbing, it could tell that any amount of sluggishness that I was feeling was attributed to the heavy and sticky wheel and tire set up.
Even with the small downside of the wheel and tire combo for climbing, as soon as you start descending down some gnarlier, rockier terrain, this combo will make the bike ride more like a 150mm bike and provide some extra cushion to the rider while flying over whatever you put it its path (similar to how a 29er has better rollover, the 27.5+ increases the rollover ability of the bike while still maintaining the playfulness of smaller wheels). The bike really outperforms itself on the descents in my opinion, giving the rider extra confidence to point it down that wild chute that you might otherwise decide to go around. This bike just GOES.
Even when you're not in the rough stuff, this is one of the most playful bikes I've ever ridden which is why it remains at the top of my short list. With instant pop and seemingly unlimited maneuverability, this bike will keep you smiling from ear to ear, even on the mellower terrain. This build is running Fox Performance Elite suspension which will give you all the adjustability and performance that you would get from the factory level suspension from Fox without the added cost. One of the only changes that I would make on this whole build would be throwing a longer travel fork (140mm) to increase the performance on bigger hits. But even spec'd with the 130mm, the 5010 will be able to handle whatever you throw at it, from your local trails, to enduro racing and bike park riding and everything in between!
In closing, the 5010 has been one of my favorite bikes that I've ever ridden and will most likely remain at the top of my short list until another company brings a bike to market that's as versatile and playful as this bike is, and even then, it'll be hard to be convinced otherwise.
27.5 Ain't Dead!
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
To get a perspective for me as a rider. I am 6' 160lb. I usually ride a long travel 29er Kona Process and a Commencal Furious DH Bike. So I typically end up on a bike with 160mm+ of travel. So this bike was a little different for me, and it was awesome.
This was my first time riding a true plus bike with wide rims and wide tires. It took me a second to get my pressures dialed and ended up riding 24psi in the rear ad 22psi in the front. This worked well for the trail riding I was doing. I did notice hitting some jumps and hard corners that the tires started to give out a little bit being such a low pressure. But overall it provided great traction for climbing and in the tech.
CLIMBING: It has been a little while since I was on a mid travel 27.5 specific trail bike and this reminded me how awesome it is. It has great power transfer as most VPP Santa Cruz bikes do and I felt that the riding positing between the seat tube and angle and 66.5 degree angle this gave me perfect control in climbing. I took this for a 35 mile ride with all sorts of climbing and this felt great the whole time.
DESCENDING: Fun fun funn! This is where i was taken back to how fun 27.5" tires are on a trail bike. On the mellow flowy stuff it just wants to go fast and jib around the trail. It is ultra-responsive and is very confidence inspiring. The carbon rims add to this bike being extra snappy and controllable. When the going gets rough it still feels very controlled. I had a third gen SC Nomad and it reminded me of that. I did notice that is has a little less travel and therefor felt a little rough, but not out of control. Even when it got steep I still felt that this bike performed really well.
THE SPECS: This is an awesome build, I usually don't like carbon rims because I am really hard on them, but that being said it really makes an awesome addition to this bike. The X01 drive train is perfect, great smooth shifting and not necessarily over the top. The carbon SC bars are great. I think that the suspension on this bike is perfect and does not need anything nicer, the lock out on the DPX2 is great for climbing, even though this bike already climbs like a beatury. Things I may change, I would probably get the bars cut to 780mm, I have found that to be the sweet spot for bar width. I may opt for either a bigger rotor or more powerful break, that was just because I did some long descents and like a little extra bite. I would also probably put a Maxxiss Aggressor on the back after I wore through this for a little better cornering tracking.
OVERALL: This bike is awesome, if you want a fun fast extremely capable trail bike that is 27.5" you are going to be stoked on this. I thought I was done with 27.5, but now I want to own this bike. The build is good and not excessive, it is everything anyone will really ever need. I also have to say the purple cool looks really good and is a nice change of pace from regular colors. I even got a compliment about it on the trail. Overall, great bike and I had no complaints.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
The Megatower and the Bronson may have gotten all of the attention this model year, but I would submit that the 5010 deserves a little bit more love than it has received thus far. This bike is a blast!
I had abandoned the "27.5+" platform a few years ago due to the increase in weight and rolling resistance. You can find all of the confidence and traction in a modern 29er, but it would seem that I had overlooked 27.5x2.6. Paired to the Reserve 37 rims, I felt the 5010 was almost as fast as a comparable big wheel bike while retaining the nimble handling 27.5 wheels are known for. The rest of the build kit on this bike is spot on. Fox suspension is simple and easy to dial in, Guide RSC brakes offer great modulation and X01 shifting is as crisp as ever.
Let's face it, most of us don't need long travel bikes. What we need are efficient trail machines that can do just about everything. The 5010 is a middleweight that punches well above its class and is absolutely worth your consideration.
One Sharp Tool!
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I was peeling potatoes the other day in order to make a pot of porridge in the crock-pot and found it oddly satisfying. This could have been due to having replaced our worn out old potato peeler with a nice sharp new one. The ease and efficiency at which the skin came off the potatoes was outstanding. The satisfaction that came with such ease and efficiency in tackling a task at hand seemed familiar.
My mind wondered back in search for the source of that familiarity and I recollected a time when I demo'd the new 2019 5010 draped with xo1 Eagle drivetrain, Reserve carbon wheels and 2.6 tires for a couple of days.
The ease at which the bike did what I asked of it set a new bar in what I see as the perfectly balanced trail bike. It sliced and diced berms, jumps. and drops with ease and felt every bit as spry when it came to turning over the pedals whether it be for punchy climbs and out of the saddle efforts alike.
It can be easy to become smitten with longer travel bikes that climb pretty darn well or this new crop of died in the wool xc bikes that are sure footed, poppy and playful coming back down the mountain when there are probably better tools for the task at hand for your trail riding conditions.
For the perfect balance of climbing, descending, and handling capabilities in most situations I find myself in on the trail....I keep on finding myself reminiscing of my time spent on the 5010 for that just right pot of porridge-Mama Bear of bikes!