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Experience 27.5 without the sticker shock.
If you've recently perused Santa Cruz's Enve/XTR spec'd offerings, the experience most likely involved a bout of sticker shock. Thankfully, though, Santa Cruz isn't an exclusive manufacture for the world's elite. Instead, you'll find that the 5010 Carbon's R AM build kit creates an accessible entry to the 27.5-inch arena.
And, if the fear of a diminished experience due to inferior parts is going to haunt you, keep in mind that this 125mm trail bike features respected Shimano SLX components. Additionally,it retains front and rear FOX Racing Shox suspension. But, components aside, the big news with this bike are its mid-size wheels and dedicated geometry. Together, they take full advantage of the rolling stock.
A quick look at the geometry makes this perfectly clear. The 5010's chainstay length is only a quarter-of-an-inch longer than the Blur TRc, yet it's three-quarters-of-an-inch shorter than the Tallboy LT. Another key number is its bottom bracket height — the 5010 is .04-inches higher than the TRc and a quarter-inch lower than the Tallboy LT. This means that aboard the 5010, you'll enjoy that 'seated within' feeling of two-niners, while retaining the nimbleness that would otherwise be lost to long wheelbases, high-center of gravity, and flex'y wheels.
In fact, the 5010's wheelbase is a full-inch shorter than the Tallboy, and it has a trail-worthy 68 degree head tube angle. That should be enough numbers to expose the playful, yet composed nature of the 5010. But, just as essential to that balance is Santa Cruz's carbon mastery. The 5010Carbon uses a one-piece layup and curing process for the triangles, as opposed to assembling joints, which would require bonding, wrapping, or rivets. And, because this process allows continuous interlocking fibers to wrap between tubes, the resulting structure efficiently distributes loads and absorbs impact energy. All the while, this process eliminates any excess material. As you might imagine, each size's dedicated tooling makes this is a costly process. However, this allows Santa Cruz to control the outside shape, the inside shape, and to compact the fibers during the layup for the to each frame size.
From the Small to the X-large frame, structure is optimized for intended rider weight and forces. Additionally, placing material where it's needed most results in a strong and nimble chassis for the VPP suspension to work its magic. And speaking of the VPP suspension on the 5010, it's the second generation and features upper- and lower-links that flatten shock rate in order to provide active motion early in the axle path. This allows the rear wheel to easily move up and back as you ride over a bump. The link design also balances downward pedaling force with the pulling force of the chain. This effectively neutralizes them, while also preventing pedal-bob or squatting during acceleration. This keeps speed up, however, VPP also assists in keeping that speed in check. The VPP design also prevents brake-induced lock-out, effectively keeping the suspension supple over braking bumps.
And whether you're rolling over rock gardens, clawing up rooted and rocky climbs, or negotiating steep descents, VPP suspension remains active and responsive. Key to this are its linkages and hardware. A carbon fiber upper-link not only shaves weight, but it also enhances lateral stiffness. At the bottom end of things, an alloy lower-link features easily-serviceable grease ports that are positioned in order to avoid damage and to ensure a long bearing life.
The pivots are oversized, with 15mm locking axle-pins. Additionally, they run on intricately-sealed bearings with one-way purging seals that are intended to last the life of the frame. Even better, this design won't either creak or loosen. And for the people who want every lightweight feature addressed, Santa Cruz topped it off with anodized aluminum hardware where it's applicable. Managing the 5010's 125mm of travel is the lightweight and reliable FOX FLOAT CTD.
The easy-to-adjust three position lever provides platform options to maximize efficiency while either climbing, traversing, or descending. At the front of the 5010, a 130mm travel FOX FLOAT 32 Evolution has CTD dampening, as well, to keep tuning intuitive. For drivetrain duty, you'll find a Shimano M552 triple crankset, a 10-speed HG81 cassette, and an SLX rear derailleur and shifters.
Stopping a wheelset that consists of Shimano M678 hubs laced to WTB ST i23 TCS rims are a set of Shimano's Deore disc brakes. Santa Cruz mated them up to a 180mm front rotor and 160mm rear for an excellent balance of modulation and power. Mounted to the wheels are Maxxis High Roller 2 EXO tubeless tires. Finishing the 5010 R AM's build is a Race Face Ride seatpost, WTB Volt Race saddle, TruVativ AKA stem, and Race Face Ride handlebar.
The Santa Cruz 5010 Carbon R AM Complete Mountain Bike is available in four sizes from Small to X-Large and in the colors Gloss Orange/white and Matte Black/green.