Playful and precise.
Emphasizing playfulness and agility over the brute force of long-travel enduro sleds, the Santa Cruz 5010 2.1 Carbon XE Complete Mountain Bike is purposely suited for epic rides in the mountains and hot laps around the local forest loop. The 5010's nimble leanings originally drew inspiration from the slalom-inspired Blur, making it inherently more playful than anything in Santa Cruz's line. This particular version of the 5010 features Santa Cruz's Carbon C frame, which provides a heightened level of stiffness and strength over aluminum frame options. It's also a bit lighter than aluminum, meaning you'll reap benefits in efficiency when you're riding across long distances.
Now that bikes have grown slacker, longer, and lower, it only makes sense the second generation 5010 has adapted to reflect changes in modern trail geometry. This second-gen 5010 has a longer reach and wheelbase in conjunction with a slacker head tube angle of 67 degrees, as well as slammed chainstays of only 16.7 inches. By making the front end longer, you'll find the 5010 is much roomier in the cockpit, without needing a longer stem for riders on the upper end of the sizing chart.
These changes in geometry retain the original bike's agility on the trail, yet they instill a bit more confidence when you're dropping into steep descents and holding your line through rough terrain, such as rock gardens and gnarled sections of roots. By slamming the chainstays to sub 17-inch status, you'll find the 5010 is highly adept at cleaning tight switchbacks and roosting around berms with flickable precision—hinting to its roots as a slalom-inspired trail whip.
Looking to the 5010's VPP suspension, you'll be pleased to note it carries the 2017 redesign for improved suspension performance, increased durability, and better stand-over clearance. The lower linkage is neatly tucked above the bottom bracket, which protects it from damaging rock strikes and flinging debris kicked up when you're rallying over loose chunder. The upper linkage is now attached to the top tube for increased stiffness, as well as increased stand-over clearance for shorter riders on the size small frame.
Compared to the first generation 5010, the second generation gets the slightest increase in travel, bumping up from its previous 125 to 130 millimeters. However, the big story with the second generation 5010 is the improved suspension performance, which provides better sensitivity and traction over small bumps, such as tiny rocks and momentum-robbing roots. The mid-stroke is more supportive as well, with it being more linear for greater consistency without the tendency to settle in the middle of its stroke like previous generations of VPP. However, you'll find it's still quite progressive at the end-stroke, meaning it ramps up considerably to prevent you from bottoming out harshly on bigger hits.
Looking at the particulars of the "XE" kit, you'll find its 1x11 drivetrain has a mixture of Shimano XT rear derailleur, Race Face cranks, and E13 11-speed cassette. This combination delivers an excellent balance of power transfer, wide gear range with the 9 to 46-tooth cassette, and the crisp, reliable shifts of Shimano XT. Another impressive feature is the Fox 34 Float fork, which remains precise handling across rough terrain with its 34-millimeter stanchions and 130 millimeters of smooth, supportive travel.
- Santa Cruz's quintessential trail bike with nimble handling
- Carbon C frame is lighter, stronger, and stiffer than aluminum
- 130mm of VPP suspension for a responsive pedaling platform
- 67-degree head tube balances stability with steering response
- Longer reach keeps you comfortable and confident on descents
- Short chainstays and low bottom bracket for cornering prowess
- 1x11 drivetrain with wide range 9 to 46-tooth cassette
- Fox 34 Float fork with 130mm of smooth travel