Photo by Tyler Frasca.
Large Doesn’t Always Mean Large
Besides its sometimes over-matched fork, some testers felt the 5010 was a tad on the compact side. That’s not necessarily a knock, so much as a warning that just because you ride a certain size something else won’t mean you’ll automatically want that same size 5010.
“The cockpit felt tiny,” commented one of our 6-foot-plus testers. “I’d need to ride a larger frame size before giving a totally fair evaluation. As it was, once the trail pointed up hill and I got out of the seat, there was very little room left. The bars and stem were in the way, and I had a tough time keeping the front wheel light. Just felt totally cramped up.”
This could in part be a product of the 5010’s wheelbase (44.9 inches size large compared to 45.8 inches for the same sized Bronson). Whatever the case, the reach is undeniably shorter than similar bikes with the same amount of travel and wheel size. “I felt like I was too far over top a few times,” affirmed another tester. “It rode small compared to the other size large bikes in the test.”
Photo by Tyler Frasca.
You’d think by now most bike manufactures would have sorted out issues such as crappy cable routing. But as we found out during our test session, some still haven’t grasped the notion of clean and uncluttered. The Santa Cruz 5010 is not such a bike. Brake and derailleur cables travel in nice straight lines, which helps keep actuation smooth and easy.
Santa Cruz also deserves props for its choice to not play follow the leader, and instead stick with a 73mm threaded bottom bracket shell. No annoying creak here. We also liked the down tube protector, which will help keep this test rig’s beautiful bright gloss orange frame from being beaten up by flying debris. And it has ISCG tabs if you want to run a chain guide, plus mounts for two water bottle cages if you plan on being gone all day.
Of course we were collectively also big fans of the chi-chi parts spec, which included ride-enhancing ENVE carbon wheels, supremely powerful Shimano XTR brakes, and SRAM’s XX1 drivetrain that’s made dropped chains all but extinct.
With the 5010, Santa Cruz sought to stand out in every way. Mission accomplished. Photo by Tyler Frasca.
Spend nearly $10,000 on a bike and you have every right to expect perfection — or at least something pretty damn close. But if forced to look for fault, you can always come up with a niggle or two.
If you’re a fan of 29er trail bikes, it’s likely the 5010 will leave you missing the rolling-thunder feel of plowing over anything that gets in your way. Instead this tweener-sized bike (especially with its 32mm fork) requires a more deft touch when negotiating chunky trail features. Pedal strike was also an issue for some testers. But that’s the price you pay for lowering the bottom bracket.
And then there is the cost. Unless you run a hedge fund, play pro sports, or sell drugs for a living, dropping 10 large on a bike with no motor is likely not part of your long-term financial plan. The good news is that Santa Cruz knows this, and offers the 5010 in a variety of builds, both carbon and aluminum frames. (The low end alloy build is around $3,300 and comes with less than a five-pound weight penalty.)
It’s The Journey, Not The Destination
So who then is this bike for? If you’re ambitions are to be the next Jerome Clementz or Remy Absalon, and take on the Enduro World Series, look elsewhere. Even with a burlier fork up front, the 5010 would be out of its comfort zone in super gnarly terrain where speed was of essence.
What this bike does do well, though, is a little bit of everything. And that’s what we loved about it. In this age of specialization (XC, trail, enduro, all-mountain, DH, blah, blah, blah), the 5010 is simply a fun bike to ride in a lot of different places and in a lot of different ways.
Light duty enduro racing? Heck yeah. Sport class cross-country shootout? Giddy up. Ride an all-day epic, clean all the uphills, and feel confident going down? Precisely.
“In a one-bike quiver shoot-out,” concluded one tester, “the 5010 would definitely be a top contender.”
Price and Trickle Down Versions
5010 Carbon as tested: $9575
5010 Carbon frame set: $2899 with Fox CTD Factory shock
5010 Carbon R AM: $4199
5010 Alloy R AM: $3299
2014 Santa Cruz 5010 Carbon Key Specs
- MSRP: $9575
- Weight: 25.68 lbs. (size large)
- Wheel size: 27.5 inches
- Sizes: S, M, L, XL
- Color: Gloss Orange/White, Matte Black/Green
- Frame Material: Carbon
- Fork: Fox 32 Float CTD 130mm
- Rear Travel: 125mm
- Rear Shock: Fox Float CTD
- Headset: Cane Creek 110
- Handlebar: Easton Carbon Havoc 750mm
- Stem: Thomson 70mm
- Grips: Lizard Skins Peaty lock-on
- Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
- Saddle: WTB Volt SLT Ti
- Brakes: Shimano XTR with 180mm front 160mm rear Ice Tech rotors
- Brake Levers: Shimano XTR
- Shifters: SRAM XX1, Trigger Shift
- Front Derailleur: N/A
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM XX1, Type-2
- Cassette: SRAM XX1 10×42, 11-speed
- Crankset: SRAM XX1, 34T
- Rims: ENVE AM carbon
- Hubs: DT Swiss 240 15mm 142
- Spokes: DT Swiss
- Tires: Maxxis High Roller II 2.3″ Tubeless Ready EXO
- Bottom bracket type: 73mm threaded
- ISCG Tabs: Yes
- Chain guide: No
- Head tube angle: 68 degrees
- Seat tube angle: 73 degrees
- Chainstay length: 17.1 inches
- Bottom bracket height: 13.2 inches
For more information visit www.santacruzbicycles.com.
This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.