Compare-O First Look: Santa Cruz 5010 Carbon

27.5 Enduro Enduro Compare-O 2014

This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–

You may be asking yourself, what the hell is a 5010 C? Well, it’s not a tax form, a Major League Baseball rule, or even a road in rural Alabama. It’s the second name given to a steed you likely remember as the Santa Cruz Solo Carbon.

Turns out that sometime after the bike’s launch in early 2013, another bike maker, who shall remain nameless, got its panties in a bunch over use of said name. So Santa Cruz, not wanting to embroil itself in unnecessary copyright controversy, relented and changed the bike’s name to 5010.

Why 5010? Well beside the fact that the number bears a distinct resemblance to the word Solo, according to the Santa Cruz website, one of the bike maker’s product managers is a big fan of “NGC 5010, a lenticular galaxy located about 140 millions light years away.” And “why go solo when you can go intergalactic.”

That line of text is followed by a video embed of the classic Beastie Boys song, “Intergalactic,” whose lyrics include the line, “From the Hudson River out to the Nile; I run the marathon ’til the very last mile.” And this nod to great distances serves as an appropriate introduction for a bike that’s designed with the all-day adventurer in mind.

Spec Highlights

With its 5-pound VPP frame, 68-degree head angle, and top-shelf parts spec that includes a SRAM XX1 drivetrain, and lightweight ENVE AM carbon wheels, the 5010 C looks to be a seriously capable climber. Our size Large tester tipped the scales at 25.68 pounds.

Of course, with 125mm rear and 130mm front suspension, a comparatively lower bottom bracket, and shortened chainstays, this 27.5-inch bike is built to slay the downhills, too. At least that’s the line of thinking heading into our test session. Whether it delivers remains to be seen.

The 5010 is built around Santa Cruz’s well-regarded Virtual Pivot Point suspension design, which uses chain tension to minimize rear-end bobbing. Suspension is provided via a Fox Float CTD 125mm shock and Fox 32 Float CTD 130mm fork, which helps keep weight down but may get overwhelmed on rowdier trails.

Without even having thrown a leg over our test rig, thumbs up to SRAM’s utilitarian XX1 drivetrain, which has proven itself to be lightweight, reliable and just plain smart. Plus we love how it cleans up what are becoming increasingly cluttered cockpits. However, we’re not big fans of the 34t chainring choice on this bike. That will be too much gear for a lot of people. Give us a 30t or even a 28t, so we can spin up steep climbs and not be blown when it comes time for the fun part.

Wheel choice is the top-of-food-chain ENVE carbon AM model, which goes a long way to explaining this bike’s weight — and the wallet-stinging $9575 price tag. Maxxis High Roller II 2.3″ tubeless ready tires aren’t the fastest flat-terrain rollers, but those big lugs should offer plenty of grip when downhill testing begins.

No comprises when it comes to braking. Our test rig is spec’d with Shimano’s superb XTR stoppers and 180mm front/160mm rear Ice Tech rotors.

A RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post assures that we’ll be able to get the WTB Volt SLT Ti saddle out of the way when the time comes.

2014 Santa Cruz 5010 Carbon Key Specs
  • Weight: 25.68 lbs.(size large)
  • Wheel size: 27.5 inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Travel/Suspension: Rear: Fox Float CTD 125mm; Front: Fox 32 Float CTD 130mm
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 1×11; 34t chainring, 10-42 cassette
  • Brakes: Shimano XTR with 180mm front 160mm rear Ice Tech rotors
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
  • Wheelset/Tires: ENVE AM carbon; Maxxis High Roller II 2.3″ Tubeless-Ready EXO
  • Bars/Stem: Easton Carbon Havoc 750mm; Thomson 70mm
  • Bottom bracket type: 73mm threaded
  • Head tube angle: 68
  • Seat tube angle: 73 degrees
  • Chainstay length: 17.1 inches
  • Bottom bracket height: 13.2 inches
  • Bike MRSP: $9575
  • Frame MSRP: $2899 with Fox CTD Factory shock

For more information visit

Read our Bottom Line Evaluation of the Santa Cruz 5010 Carbon here.

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.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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  • Shawn says:

    Isn’t the Bronson Santa Cruz’s enduro bike model? I’m curious whh this bike was picked for the comparison instead, unless both are being included.

  • Roger says:

    34T is pretty standard for Enduro Racers. If you are not capable to run 34T gear, how are you qualified to review these Ferraris of Mt. Bikes? I, myself run 34T w/ 1×10 on my NomadC that weights 36lbs.

  • BobbyD says:

    I am pretty sure that chain tension is not used on VPP to minimize rear end bobbing. Is that a typo?

    • Dan Roveto says:

      Nope – The chain does work to keep the rear end in place. If you notice the rear axle’s first movement in the travel is away from the BB thus changing the chain length from BB to rear axle. If you’re pedaling, the tension pulls the rear axle back into place. That is one of the benefits of VPP. The negative of that is that it doesn’t pedal the smoothest because of that changing chain length but I’ve never noticed that on mine.

  • luis says:

    Great looking rig but internal routing is a must here. Specially with the ludicrous price tag!!

  • Richard W says:

    “ENVE carbon AM model, which goes a long way to explaining this bike’s weight .” According to the “bikebuilder” section of the Santa Cruz web site deleting the ENVE upgrade reduces the weight .38 pounds (6 ounces), and the price by $1,745. Does ENVE offer more than a weight savings advantage? I know, its the whole rotating mass thing. Unless I was a sponsored professional racer(not even close), I would delete the ENVE option and get a SUPERLIGHT for the Mrs.

  • Kevin Woodward says:

    If I was a XC rider — and not 6-foot-5 and already madly in love with my Tallboy LT — this would be a ride I would seriously consider. IMHO would give it the nod over the Bronson if I was racing Enduro, too. Anyone who has ever enjoyed the unbridled pleasure of flying down a singletrack on a SC carbon equipped with Enve wheels wouldn’t question the admittedly high price (it’s about the ride, not the weight). The difference is stunning, to say the least. Personally I think you can go with XT rather than XTR and shave the total cost down to a second (as opposed to third) mortgage level. I realize that this is still well out of the range of most riders, for sure, but you have to realize this is a dream bike. If you can afford it, test ride it on your favorite trail and decide for yourself.

  • dmx1 says:

    Enve weels are not much lighter but a lot stiffer than the competition. And that makes a big difference

  • Dan Roveto says:

    I really wouldn’t put any 68 degree head tube angle/125mm suspension bike in the enduro category. The 5010 is a 650B Blur trc which is an awesome trail bike.

  • Sawyer says:

    I hope Santa Cruz never uses internal cable routing, I would pay more not to have it. I have a bike that has internal roughing now and I hate it. Swapping parts is a pain in the rump.

  • Marbroz says:

    Is this bike a good climber? I look for a stumpjumper 2007 replacement, i love the bike but how does it climb vs. E.g. Stumpjumper 29 or Giant Trance? Can anyone answer?

  • Mountaingoatepics says:

    Dan Roveto, sometimes you just have to ride a bike to see what it does. I demo’d a Bronson and a 5010 back in April. I went in thinking the Bronson would be the bike for me with the longer travel but came away disappointed with experience. It felt sluggish and front heavy.
    I had actually dismissed the 5010, getting ready to demo a Rip 9 when a buddy said, “just try it”. It absolutely slayed the trails of Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina. Riding like a bike with 30mm more travel. It felt bottomless and snappy responsive.
    Marbroz..This bike can climb as well. It digs in and wants to climb technical climbs and the VPP works so well that if you have to climb a fireroad, I could happily hang with my singlespeed buddies, standing up and punching the pedals to maintain pace.
    I was soo happy with that demo (one that lasted 5 days, 120 miles and close to 20,000 ft of climbing and descending) that I just bought a frame and am slowly building it up as I can.

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