Making quick directional changes and bringing poppy-playful fun to every ride, the Santa Cruz 5010 2.1 S Complete Mountain Bike emphasizes nimble handling and responsiveness for long days in the mountains and hot laps around your local forest loop. The 5010's nimble leanings originally drew inspiration from the legendary Blur TR, making it inherently more playful than anything in Santa Cruz's line. This particular version of the 5010 features Santa Cruz's aluminum construction for reliable strength without having to drop all your precious loot on a pricier carbon model. Budget-conscious riders will be happy to know that geometry stays consistent with all frames in the 5010 line-up, allowing those without stacked bank accounts to reap the same benefits of playfulness and nimble trail handling.
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. The second generation 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 the need for a longer stem for riders between sizes.
These changes in geometry retain the original bike's agile handling 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 roots. By slamming the chainstays to sub 17-inch status, you'll find the 5010 to be highly adept at navigating tight switchbacks and roosting around berms, as well as providing the agility to change direction at a moment's notice—hinting to its Blur 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 a bit more stand-over, which is especially helpful if you're a shorter rider on the smaller model.
Compared to the first generation of 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 to 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 of its stroke, ramping up aggressively to prevent you from harshly bottoming out. This progressive end stroke is really nice when you're pushing the 5010 to the edge of its capabilities, as you'll have a hard time bottoming it out, even on terrain that's better suited for a bike with six inches of travel.
Delving into the "S" kit, you'll be pleased to find the addition of SRAM's GX Eagle drivetrain, which offers a massive gear range of 500 percent, all without messing with a pesky front derailleur. If you're coming from a 2x set-up, you'll find the gigantic 50-tooth cog provides plenty of low-end for powering up the steepest climbs. Other notable features of this build include a Fox 34 Float Performance fork with 34-millimeter stanchions for a reliably stiff chassis over rough terrain and mid-sized drops.
Please note, because the alloy version of the 5010 uses an integrated headset, the headtube measurement is 10 millimeters longer than what's indicated on the geometry chart, as to match the same headtube measurement as the carbon frame with its external lower cup and internal upper cup installed. Other than this headtube measurement, everything indicated on the geometry chart is accurate.
- Santa Cruz's quintessential trail bike with nimble handling
- Aluminum frame for reliable strength without lofty price tag
- 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
- SRAM GX Eagle 1x12 drivetrain with massive 500% gear range
- Fox 34 Float Performance fork with 130mm of smooth travel