5010 27.5+ R Complete Mountain Bike
Capable. It's a word we hear a lot of in the mountain bike world. We argue about just how capable of a climber you bike is. And how readily it attacks the descents. Longer, slacker geometry has played favors to capability when pointed downhill, and the newest version of the Santa Cruz 5010 27.5+ R Complete Mountain Bike most certainly brings slacked out geometry to the table. But powering up hill is a must, too, and thankfully Santa Cruz's own engineers take that seriously as well, with steep seat tube angles and snappy short chainstays for putting the power down and hammering up the steeps. This fine balance walks the line between enduro-ready sled that's ready for berm-blasting good times, and lively, playful pedal machine that's poppy and responsive, making the 5010's third generation our favorite yet, packed with capabilities that will have you questioning the bottomless feel of the 130mm of VPP suspension.
The third generation 5010 is slacker than ever, dropping to a 66.5-degree head tube angle in its high setting and a more gravity-friendly 66.1-degree head tube angle in the lowest setting. The addition of a flip-chip makes this all 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 those steep descents with imposing rocks and roots threatening to derail your balance.
Another major update to the design of the third generation 5010 lies in a slightly longer reach that's grown by 15 millimeters for a bit roomier feel in the cockpit, as well as increased composure at those higher speeds you'll be pushing this bike to. The seat tube is a full degree steeper to keep you in an optimal pedaling position when you're climbing for thousands of vertical feet or simply muscling up a short, punchy climbs with rocks and roots standing in your way.
Santa Cruz now offers the 5010 in their "new" plus-sized 2.6-inch tires, which deliver all the traction and bump-smoothing benefits of traditional 2.8-inch plus tires, but without being overly vague in handling, prone to burping while cornering hard, and way too heavy for pedaling long distances on the trail. This higher volume 2.6-inch tire size really gives you the confidence to monster truck your way across the rockiest stretches of trail without worrying about the tire squirming while cornering and braking hard, which is something that's posed a problem for larger 2.8 and 3.0-inch tires in the past.
As you'd expect with the 5010, it retains the 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 it's not as gravity-oriented as say the Bronson or Nomad. However, it's spec'd with a FOX Float Performance shock for a more supple feel with heightened traction while pedaling over bumpy trail sections, as well as greater resistance to heating up excessively on those long descents.
We'd be dropping the ball if we forgot to mention the exceptional quality of the 5010's alloy frame on this particular model. Although it's not as stiff as carbon, Santa Cruz does an excellent job in maintaining structural stiffness and strength with their alloy frames, especially seeing all their bikes use alloy for the test mules in the research and design process, before they're sent to the carbon factory for the more expensive Carbon C and CC versions. The biggest benefit to riding an alloy frame is the significant cost savings compared to carbon, which translates to more people riding on bikes they absolutely love, which is something we can all get behind here at Competitive Cyclist.
- A lively trail bike that's more capable than ever before
- Slacker, longer geometry for increased composure at speed
- Flip-chip switches between 66.5° and 66.1° head tube angles
- "New" plus-sized 2.6-inch tires for plow-anything confidence
- Retains low bottom bracket, short chainstays for quick cornering
- VPP suspension balances efficiency with bottom-out resistance
- Aluminum frame optimizes strength-to-weight at economical price
- NX Eagle drivetrain offers a massive range of usable gears