I’ve had the opportunity to try the 5010 in the Utah desert, where it’s been pitted against extremely dry dirt, sharp rocks, twisty descents, and punchy climbs – essentially the ideal terrain for a bike in this category.
• Wheel size: Mixed 25.7″ / 29″
• Travel: 130 mm, 140 mm fork
• C & CC carbon, aluminium
• 64.9º or 65.2º head angle
• 76.8º seat tube angle (size L, low)
• 437mm chainstays (size L, low)
• Sizes: XS, S, M, L (tested), XL, XXL
• Weight: TBD (size L, GX AXS build)
• Price: 31.0 lbs / 14.1 kg
Alongside the Santa Cruz 5010, the women’s Juliana Furtado was also released today with nearly all the same details: the build kits are comparable, the main differences being that the Juliana Furtado comes in the ‘Matte Aquamarine’ colorway, comes stock with 760 mm rather than 800 mm bars, and is only available in XS, S, and M sizes. Like the rest of the Juliana lineup, it’ll also come with a shock tune aimed at lighter riders, compared to its Santa Cruz counterpart. (The sizing is why I’m on a Santa Cruz rather than a Juliana, as I ride a L frame.)
Between the 5010 and the Furtado, there are three colorways in total: Matte Nickel, Gloss Red, and Matte Aquamarine.
The 5010 looks much the same as the previous edition, with the lower link driven VPP system that marks nearly all of the Santa Cruz lineup. We also see the same in-frame storage box that appeared this year so far on the new Megatower, Hightower, and Nomad models, and has now made its way to the 5010. There’s plenty of room for tools inside the generous storage compartment, and Santa Cruz includes two padded sleeves – a tool wallet and a tube purse – to keep the box contents quiet and secure. The box has a spring-loaded latch, which can be a bit tricky to operate with gloves on, but it stays shut and has a water bottle mount on the lid.
The bike has the same internal cable routing, frame protection, and UDH compatibility as the last version, although it comes with Santa Cruz’s own version of the derailleur hanger. Chainstay length and seat tube angle vary throughout the size range, as does the frame stiffness to keep the bike feeling consistent across the range.
The Boost-spaced rear end fits a maximum tire size of 27.5″ x 2.5″. The bike also fits 180mm post-mount rotors and has ISCG-05 tabs for a chain guide.
New on this edition, there’s a small cutout on the frame to look into the shock tunnel and check case. On the previous version, the shock essentially disappears into a mystery hole, and it’s tough to see the o-ring, so it’s nice that Santa Cruz incorporated a bit more user-friendliness into the suspension setup this time around.
There’s also an aluminum version of the frame incoming, although I haven’t seen it yet, so it’s unclear whether it shares all the same frame details as the carbon one.
The important details: clean routing and frame protection.
The Glovebox has been a nice addition to Santa Cruz frames this year, and the shock tunnel cutout makes the suspension setup a bit less mysterious. Also – there’s a flip chip, but it requires an allen key and an appreciation for subtlety.
As mentioned earlier, the biggest change here is the move to a 29″ front wheel – a smart move on Santa Cruz’s part, I think, based on mixed-wheel sizing becoming the norm for many play bikes and all-arounders these days.
Like every bike ever, this one has slackened out up front and has gained a few millimeters of reach. The wheelbase, too, has grown by about 15 mm – of course in tandem with the larger front wheel.
For those who appreciate minute adjustments, Santa Cruz incorporates a flip chip that allows for 3-4 mm (depending on size) of bottom bracket height adjustment and 0.3 degrees of head angle adjustment, although the high position also has a marginally higher leverage ratio.
In an effort to improve the bike’s sensitivity through the top portion of its travel, Santa Cruz has lowered the anti-squat by 16% at its peak, keeping it significantly lower than that of the earlier version through the first 100 mm of travel.
Otherwise, the suspension platform remains the same as on the previous 5010, with a straight line for a leverage ratio curve, meaning that the bike will ramp up consistently as the suspension compresses.
The Juliana Furtado shares all the same frame details, but is aimed at smaller and lighter riders.
I don’t have pricing for the models yet, so you’ll have to bear with me as I can’t comment with much certainty on the value of each part’s spec. However, the bike I’m testing comes with a GX AXS drivetrain, a RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ shock, a RockShox Pike Select+ fork, and Santa Cruz’s Reserve 30 HD rims.
The build kit is solid for a mid-level build, although it would be great to see top-tier suspension for what I expect this bike to cost. That said, there’s nothing handicapping this bike. The Maxxis DHR II Exo combo is a very reasonable tire spec for this bike, and the SRAM G2 brakes are totally sufficient for a bike in this category – though considering the bike’s descending ability and that there’s only a 40 gram difference between the G2s and Codes , it would be nice to see a spec with more powerful brakes.
Hopping on the 5010, I was immediately struck by just how energetic the bike feels while pedalling. While the geometry feels spot-on for a comfortable all-day adventure rig and capable descender, the bike feels efficient and zippy, making me want to pedal harder to go places, but it seems to balance out some of its quickness with a very dampened feel.
While climbing, the 5010 has a bit more stability than some of its light trail bike peers, with a slack head angle paired with a steep seat tube angle. The pedaling position is right above the bottom bracket – nice and sporty. On both technical and smooth climbs, the bike is easy to put exactly where it needs to be.
Once it’s pointed downhill, the 5010 likes to have fun. It’s much snappier than most bikes that prioritize descending, but it feels plenty stable at speed. The primary trade-off I noticed was that traction was a bit harder to come by while descending than on bikes with more sensitivity – even with the adjustments to the anti-squat that Santa Cruz made compared to the last version and the generally pretty dampened feel of the suspension.
In some ways, the comfortable and aggressive geometry suggests that it would be easy to over-commit to the gnar and get in over the bike’s head. While I haven’t experienced that in terms of travel, I did – as mentioned earlier – sometimes feel over-committed when it came to traction. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing; in fact, it’s pretty rad that a short-travel bike can make me feel comfortable enough to get sketchy. In short, it’s a short travel bike with geometry that makes it ride just a tiny bit bigger than the numbers suggest – another point in favor of more powerful brakes to go along with the bike’s knobby tires and all-around capability.
Keeping in mind that we’re still talking about a 130 mm bike, the 5010 feels excellent in the gnar-lite, the playful trails that aren’t overly technical but do require a bit of forgiveness, and the low center of gravity and short rear end make it easy to rip around corners. The handling is very, very easy, and all in all the bike does a great job of smoothing out the rough stuff without sacrificing its lively, efficient personality.