5010 Carbon CC 27.5+ XTR Reserve Complete Mountain Bike
We're a fan of versatility on the mountain, and while there are plenty of beefy enduro rigs that like to claim all-mountain capabilities, we find it unusual for them to actually tick all of the boxes. Trail bikes, on the other hand, tend to offer a bit more of a lively feel, with quick pedaling power, though some folks are left wanting in the travel department when you point them down rowdy descents. Santa Cruz's do-it-all 27.5in trail bike challenges that last sentiment, and the newest iteration of the 5010 Carbon CC 27.5+ XTR Reserve Complete Mountain Bike rides like it has something to prove. The new 5010 sees some meaningful updates to its geometry, making it more capable with its longer wheelbase and slacker angles which provide a boost in confidence as you mob technical trails at higher speeds. It also adds in plenty of clearance for running plus-sized tires for extra cushion and traction if your riding conditions are particularly rough and loose. What wasn't lost from the original 5010's, and indeed why this bike has received much acclaim by a legion of trail riders is its versatility. Nimble and agile enough to make quick work of tight singletrack, yet stable on high speed stretches in desert landscapes, add in the pedaling efficiency that's appreciated on all-day epics in the backcountry, and you end up with the new 5010, truly a rig you can show up with on any trail and have the right tool for the job.
The third generation 5010 is slacker than ever, at least in the headtube department, kicking back to a 66.5-degree angle in its high setting and a more gravity-friendly 66.2-degree angle in its lower setting. The addition of a flip-chip makes this possible, letting you tune the bike's geometry for different trails and riding styles. So if you're seeking out a bit more of a sports car feel with greater efficiency and climbing or you want a trophy truck that devours steep terrain littered with loose rocks and thick roots, the swap can be done on the trail in about 2 minutes.
The flip-chip not only allows you to alter the bike's personality to a degree, or more specifically 0.3 up front and 0.7 for the seat tube, it also provides the frame the ability 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 all the traction and bump-smoothing benefits of a traditional 2.8-inch tire, but without feeling overly vague or excessively heavy. This 2.6-inch tire really gives you a new level of confidence while mauling your way across the rockiest stretches of trail, but without the tradeoffs of a lower pressure, higher volume tire squirming under hard braking and cornering like the larger 2.8-inch tire. Of course, your mileage may vary, and if your conditions are consistently covered in fine silt or kitty litter, you may appreciate the 2.8-inch variety, which the bike will happily accommodate.
Other updates to the design of the third generation 5010, and one that we are quite fond of is its slightly longer reach that's grown by around 15 millimeters across sizes that allows for a bit roomier feel in the cockpit, and increased composure as the speed picks up. Additionally, the seat tube is a full degree steeper placing you in an optimal 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.
As you'd expect with the 5010, it returns with its high degree of pedaling efficiency and bottom-out resistance of the previous versions. 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 other more gravity-fueled frames in the Santa Cruz stable have moved to a lower-link mounted shock, the 5010 retains its upper link mount, affording better-pedaling efficiency over the Bronson or Nomad. It's spec'd with a FOX DPX2 Float Performance Elite shock with a piggyback for more consistent damping on extended descents as well as a higher level of adjustability and plushness.
Another returning feature we were happy to see is Santa Cruz's signature carbon lay-up. This particular frame enjoys the top-tier Carbon CC layup, which saves a good deal of weight while retaining the stiffness and strength you've come to experience from a Santa Cruz carbon frame. You can expect the Carbon CC layup to save around 250 to 280 grams from its Carbon C brethren, making it a great choice for the more discerning rider looking for the lightest possible build with zero compromises. It's backed by an impressive lifetime warranty, so you'll have extra peace of mind while tackling long stretches of trail and putting this bike to the test across technical terrain.
Santa Cruz equips this top-tier frame with a build to match, with Shimano's newest 12-speed XTR drivetrain. This sleek drivetrain may have been in the making for some time, but we appreciate the level of commitment that went into it, as it's snappy shifting sets the bar high for lofty drivetrains, and we think it was well worth the wait. Complimenting the pristine carbon layup, and snazzy drivetrain is FOX's Performance Elite suspension, and Santa Cruz's own Reserve 37 carbon rims, leaving little more to be desired. The Reserve hoops feature the same carbon fiber technology you'll find in the frame, with stiff power, cornering control, and reliability, and it provides the perfect tubeless foundation for tires in the 2.6-2.8-inch range — all backed with the same lifetime warranty as the rest of Santa Cruz's carbon.
- A cream-of-the-crop trail bike built to tackle it all
- Slacker, longer geometry adds more stability at speed
- Carbon CC frame saves weight without compromising stiffness
- Flip-chip switches between 66.5° and 66.2° head tube angles
- New plus 2.6-inch tires offer more traction and a smoother ride
- Carbon Reserve 37 hoops drop weight and increase responsiveness
- VPP suspension pedals efficiently and adds bottom-out resistance
- New Shimano XTR 12-speed is snappy, sleek, and offers more gears than you know what to do with