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NEW Santa Cruz 5010 Review - Goodbye Dual 27.5

For bikes that like to go up and downhill in the Santa Cruz lineup, it's official, dual 27.5 is dead. But does that mean the playful nature of Santa Cruz's 130mm-travel 5010 went with it? We'll walk you through what makes this new 5010 different from the previous generation, so you can decide if this is a bike for you.

 

Highlights

  • Mixed wheel size (MX) only
  • 130mm VPP rear travel, 140mm front
  • Six sizes: XS - XXL
  • Two alloy and six carbon build options
  • Glovebox internal frame storage with Tool Wallet and Tube Purse
  • Size-specific chainstay lengths
  • Hi / Lo geometry settings
  • 2.5-inch max rear tire width
  • UDH
  • Threaded BB
  • ISCG05 mounts
  • Lifetime frame warranty, lifetime free pivot bearing replacement
  • Weight: Size medium GX AXS RSV model, with pedals, 30 pounds, 4 oz / 13.72kg
  • Price: TBD

Strengths

  • Climbing prowess when it gets steep
  • Hasn't lost that 5010 playfulness
  • Modernized geometry
  • Wide range of sizes
  • Glovebox is handy
  • Impeccable finish work
  • Alloy options on the way
  • Warranty
  • Large dealer network for support

Weaknesses

  • Dual 27.5 fans are bumming
  • Brakes need more power to match bike's ability
  • While still TBD, if prices reflect past Santa Cruz numbers, they'll be a stinger

The Santa Cruz 5010 V5 is Mixed Wheel (MX) Only

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While travel hasn't changed on the new 5010 with 130mm of VPP travel out back and 140mm up front, the major differences are obvious. The new 5010 uses a mixed wheel setup (which Santa Cruz calls MX) meaning a 29-inch front wheel and a 27.5-inch wheel out back.

Over the years we've messed with mulleting our old 5010s, and while they were fun, they just felt weird and not-quite-right since they weren't purpose-built. The BB went too high or fork travel had to be lowered to 120mm. They were the epitome of frankenbikes, but that's finally changed.

Our 5010 V3 in mullet mode
Our 5010 V4 in mullet mode

Differences between the 5010 V4 and V5

No surprise based on other Santa Cruz model updates that have dropped this year, internal frame storage, dubbed the Glovebox, is present on the 5010 and includes the Tool Wallet and Tube Purse to keep things quiet and tidy. There's a sag window (hallelujah) and additionally,  the geometry and suspension platform have been updated. The most interesting news to our ears, however, are the two alloy models listed in the builds chart! After digging in a bit deeper, we were told the alloy models are still a ways off (early 2024-ish), but they're in the pipeline and a frame-only option will be available.

5010 sag window (YES!)
5010 Glovebox internal frame storage

Santa Cruz 5010 V4 and V5 side by side.

5010 Geometry differences between V4 vs V5 - size medium, flip chip in Lo

Reach

Stack

Head Angle

Chainstay

BB Height

Eff. Seat Tube Angle

447mm

606mm

65.4 deg

427mm

334mm

77 deg

456mm

624mm

64.9 deg

434mm

334mm

77.1 deg

There are six sizes of 5010 offered, XS through XXL. Seat angles vary based on size, and our medium with a 77.1-degree STA was the steepest of the sizes. We took our angle finder to see if the actual seat tube angle had changed, and there was about a 2-degree steeper difference from 68 to 70 degrees on V5 when compared to the V4. While not drastic, it's an improvement for riders who have a high seat height. Additionally, each size has its own tailored carbon layup and size-specific chainstays. The rear triangle, which can accommodate up to a 2.5-inch rear tire, is the same throughout each size, but chainstay length is different thanks to unique pivot locations on the front triangles.

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Our personal 5010 V4 with a fairly similar build to our V5 test bike was just 2 ounces lighter, both just over the 30-pound mark with pedals.

Suspension

So, is this the first time Santa Cruz included an anti-squat chart in their launch materials? Well, they did, and the peak anti-squat numbers are 16% lower than the V4. They claim this makes the bike more sensitive and better-tracking with less pedal kickback. The leverage curve is straight and quite progressive. On a short-travel play bike like this, one that will definitely see some abusive park days as riders try to get their Loosedog on, that bottom-out resistance is intentional and welcomed.

5010 Build Kits

Alloy 5010s are on the list, but they probably won't be available until early 2024.

Yep, alloy is an option on two low-spec 5010 builds (SX drivetrain with a RockShox 35 Gold? Seems like new turf for Santa Cruz), and there are six carbon options available in C or CC construction. The kits and spec are pretty familiar for Santa Cruz with only SRAM/RockShox builds on the list aside from a FOX Float DPS Performance rear shock on lower-priced trims. Prices are TBD at this point. If history tells us anything, it's that they won't be the least expensive bikes out there, but Santa Cruz frames do have a lifetime warranty, free pivot bearing replacement for life, and they're making it clear that parts will be easy to find through their dealers and service network. You'll have to decide if that peace of mind is worth the Santa Cruz price tag.

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On the trail

The geometry updates are noticeable, as the bike feels a bit more modern with the extended reach. We very much appreciated the new 5010's prowess on steeper, technical climbs. The extra reach and longer chainstays kept the front end on the ground with less rider weight shift. The V4 was prone to get light when the incline increased, requiring a forward riding position, so the v5 is nicely improved here.

Vital tester, Logan Brown
at The Basin Gravity Park

At speed, the 5010's stability is impressive, thanks to that extra length, and the big wheel up front. The V4 had a 140m fork and 27.5 inch wheel, and the V5 didn't fork-down with the addition of the 29er. The pairing of a 140mm fork and 29-inch wheel means bigger holes and hits can be attacked with more confidence.

The Juliana Furtado gets the same treatement as the 5010, too.

We're not gonna lie, but we didn't notice an improvement in pedal kick due to the lower anti-squat number because we never noticed drastic kick on the V4, either. This is a progressive, short-travel bike and when things get rough, everything is a little more, shall we say, exciting? All rides were on flat pedals and the 5010 handled rough trails just fine, with our feet remaining securely on the pedals. If we threw a clock on it, the 5010 may have been just as fast as a longer-travel bike in a lot of scenarios. We understand what this bike is meant to do and are aware of any punishment that awaits in extended bigger mountain terrain. Regardless, for its travel, the 5010 is composed and far from unpredictable.

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The SRAM G2 brakes were the only real letdown of our time on the bike. Our V4 5010 has the same G2 brakes, and while they're not herculean in might, they've been given a tight bleed and have updated HS2 rotors, so significant lever throw before pad contact doesn't exist and stopping power is increased a bit. The stock bleed on our V5 test bike's G2 brakes left a lot to be desired with a mucho lever throw, despite the pad contact dialed maxed out. The power of the G2 brakes didn't match the ability or amount of speed that this new 5010 can find.

...it still very much feels like a 5010.

Depending on your riding style and terrain, you may be sad to see the demise of the 27.5 up front. For diehards little-wheelers, we suppose you could slap a 160mm 27.5 fork and front wheel on and have a field day, but keep in mind the bike was designed around a 29-inch front wheel. Even with that big wheel and modernized geometry, playfulness and agility are ever-present - it still very much feels like a 5010.

Buzzin' at the Boise Bike Park.

Santa Cruz's most recent take on their long-established trail bike feels like a win. They didn't get carried away with geometry changes, the MX format should appeal to most riders in this category, and the frame refinements bring this snappy bike to the front of the line for anyone wanting to put in the miles or slash some local berms. You'll have to decide if the price of admission is worth it, but the riding experience on the new 5010 is hard to beat.


View key specs, compare bikes, and rate the new Santa Cruz 5010 and Juliana Furtado in the Vital MTB Product Guide.

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