5010 27.5+ D Complete Mountain Bike
Santa Cruz released a darling of a trail bike with the 5010 many moons ago, which you might remember as being referred to as the Solo at its launch. The original 5010 was almost a refinement of the 26-inch Blur LT and it slotted in nicely between the 29-inch tallboy and heavier-hitting Bronson as a bike that was quick to accelerate, fast on twisty trails, capable on burly ones, and not allergic to climbing. That was a recipe for success and instead of wiping the slate clean, Santa Cruz builds on its strengths and made some thoughtful upgrades making this third generation 5010 the leader of the pack. New for 2019, Santa Cruz takes its 5010 27.5+ D Complete Mountain Bike and slackens and stretches it for more composure at higher speeds on rougher trails, yet it's still sprite and agile on choked down singletrack and possesses pedaling efficiency for multi-hour backwoods epics in the high mountains as well as post work hot laps on your local trail networks.
This third generation 5010 is the slackest yet, kicking the headtube angle back to 66.5-degrees in its high setting and a gravity-fueled 66.1-degrees in the lowest setting. The addition of a flip-chip makes this possible, meaning you'll have the ability to adapt the bike's geometry for different terrain and riding styles, whether you're seeking a bit more balanced feel with greater efficiency and climbing competency or you'd like it to flat out rip on steep descents with imposing rock gardens and drops that litter the trails, this bike is happy to accommodate.
Not only does the flip-chip allow you to ride in a more slacked-out position if you so choose, but it also gives you ample clearance to run wider tires up to 2.8-inches in width. Santa Cruz outfits this particular 5010 with its "new" plus-sized 2.6-inch tires, which deliver almost all of the traction and bump-smoothing benefits of a traditional 2.8-inch plus, without feeling overly vague or excessively heavy. This 2.6-inch tire really gives you the confidence to mob over the rockiest stretches of trail, without worrying about the tire squirming under hard braking and cornering like a larger, lower pressure 2.8-inch tire.
Another major update to the design of the third generation 5010 lies in a slightly longer reach that's grown by an average of 15 millimeters across all sizes for a bit roomier feel in the cockpit, as well as increased confidence at higher speeds. A geometric feature that's becoming increasingly popular with modern mountain frames is the steeper seattube, and in this case, to the tune of a full degree, which keeps you in a powerful pedaling position when you're climbing thousands of vertical feet or simply muscling up short, punchy climbs with rocks and roots standing in your way.
What wasn't lost on the new 5010 is its high degree of pedaling efficiency and bottom-out resistance of the previous version. This VPP configuration neatly tucks the lower link above the bottom bracket to prevent rock strikes and damage from flinging trail debris. The upper portion remains attached to the top tube with a stiffer box-section upper link. While others in the Santa Cruz line have moved to a lower-link mounted shock, the 5010 retains its upper link-mounted shock, seeing as it's not as gravity-oriented as the Bronson or Nomad. It comes spec'd with a FOX Float Performance DPS shock for a supple stroke over bumpy trail sections, as well as an easy setup.
Santa Cruz's hasn't forgotten that not everyone's budget can afford carbon, which is a good thing if you value stiffness, durability, and lightweight construction from aluminum tubing allowing you to spend that extra money on some fun adventures with the bike. Our experience is that alloy provides a similar ride while saving a chunk of cash and we aren't nearly as worried about resting it on a tailgate or cringe when we hear a kicked up rock on the downtube. In case you're wondering, its aluminum frames are backed by Santa Cruz's lifetime warranty for added peace of mind on those technical trails.
- Santa Cruz's quintessential trail bike is more versatile than ever
- Slacker, longer geometry increases confidence at speed
- Flip-chip switches between 66.5° and 66.1° headtube angles
- "New" plus 2.6-inch tires provide traction and cush
- Retains a low bottom bracket and short chainstays for a nimble feel
- 5in of VPP travel balances efficiency with bottom-out resistance
- Alloy frame provides value and a great ride
- SRAM NX drivetrain provides gear ranges and reliability