Santa Cruz 5010 V3 first look

130mm of very capable travel delivers agile package

All Mountain Trail News
Fox DPX2 rear shock complements this bike well

Fox DPX2 rear shock complements this bike well

What is it

The 5010 used to be called the Solo for a few days and we still remember that bike from 2013. It was an agile trail bike with small wheels and many folks swore by it. In 2015, they updated that bike and we took it to the Mills Peak trail of Downieville described here. It was fun but the trail was a bit too rowdy for that bike. And it excelled more climbing than descending in that region.

Now in its latest iteration, still with 130mm of rear travel and 27.5 wheels, it’s ready to re-enter the Trail Bike category once again as riders increasingly want to do more fun and aggressive descents. We got to ride it side by side with the new Bronson on our local trails and came away impressed.

Two uprights are now present in the rear triangle

Two uprights are now present in the rear triangle

What changed

The biggest change is the new rear triangle’s dual uprights instead of one on the previous versions. With the departure from 2x drivetrains, this symmetrical design delivers stiffer and more evenly distributed suspension performance.

Other changes are a better suspension curve with a flatter suspension curve (instead of falling) in the first 30% before ramping up for the latter part of the travel.

Support for up to 2.8 tires, new suspension, geometry and cleaner details finish up this package.

New rear shock with a more supported sag point

New rear shock with a more supported sag point

The suspension

The suspension is still 130mm but it feels like more because it’s more supportive initially now with a flat curve before becoming more progressive. And it is complemented by what we think is the best trail rear shock in the business, the Fox DPX2. Although a tad noisy for lighter riders, this shock is active, adjustable and perfectly usable in all modes. Leave this shock in medium mode and the bike climbs and descends with enthusiasm.

Geometry is not overly aggressive but is decidedly modern

Geometry is not overly aggressive but is decidedly modern


The sore point Seat Angle of the past is now 75.2 or 74.9 degrees depending on suspension setting. Not ultra-aggressive but perfect for most riders and long travel dropper posts.

Head angle is 66.2 and 66.5 degrees so plenty aggressive for this style of bike. And reach is 437/440mm to accommodate that active riding style and short stems, without extending the wheelbase too much.

Holy 5010!

Holy 5010!

How does it ride

The ride really surprised us. Equipped with 2.3 Minions, we hit a couple aggressive trails and came away very impressed. The bike handled the tight, techy Santa Cruz trails with ease with the ability to corner and change direction quickly. We love the Bronson and longer travel 29ers but this seemed like the right tool for the job since it was quicker and more playful. And when it came time to pedal, the bike accelerated with ease.

What was interesting is that we preferred this bike over the Bronson on this day because there was a lot of changing speeds and direction. Weaving in and out of trees, hitting short punchy climbs and dropping down short steep pitches are its forte. And what we thought were techy bits were not a big deal since they were short and without very high speeds.

Danny and friends sure love the agility of this bike

Danny and friends sure love the agility of this bike

We can see folks putting on a 140mm fork on this and I think they will be rewarded in spades if their trails are not too tight and techy. Put some gnarly 2.6 tires or even 2.8s and this could be a road trip weapon.

We weren’t huge fans of the 5010 V2 for personal use but we quickly understood the magic of agile trail bikes with this V3. 130mm travel is the natural realm of the 29er so we tend to gravitate towards that usually. But give the 5010 a larger sweet spot and we can see its fun appeal.

Danny Macaskill loves this bike

Danny Macaskill loves this bike

Available in CC, C carbon, and aluminum – from XS to XL
– Lifetime warranty on all frames

Spec general:

– 180mm rotors
– Piggyback shock (metric) on S-kit and above
– 2.3-inch rear tire (Maxxis DHR) instead of semi-slick
– FOX suspension.
– Dropper with internal routing
– Reserve wheel option offered on S-kit now
– Two color choices on all levels/materials: Purple and Matte Carbon


– Dual uprights on rear triangle (stiff, stout, evenly distributes forces going through frame/suspension)
– Internal cables (fully channeled on front triangle, guided on rear)
– Threaded BB
– Two bottle cage mounts
– Flip chip for optimizing geo for bigger tires (2.6-inch>) for the most part but can be used to tune to rider’s needs

It's a capable bike for local trails and ready for some road trips and exploration

It’s a capable bike for local trails and ready for some road trips and exploration


– Reach grows by 15mm
– Slacker by 0.5 degrees (in hi) or 0.8 degrees (in lo) than previous 5010 – 66.2-degree head angle in ‘Low’ setting, 66.5-degree in ‘High’
– Flip chip in link changes bottom bracket height 4mm
– 75-degree seat angle


5010 and Furtado Frame Only
• AL $1999
• CC $2999

AL Bikes
• D $2699
• R $3399
• S $4099

C Bikes
• R $3999
• S $4899
• S Reserve $6099

CC Bikes
• X01 $6799
• X01 Reserve $7999
• XX1 Reserve $9199
• XTR Reserve $9499

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • Loll says:

    Never trust an image of a pro riding an otherwise under-gunned bike. A pro like Nino can ride a XC bike downhill in style faster than most of us normal people.

    For those in Norcal, I still recall a thanksgiving turkey day Kennedy climb where a local young pro rider Menso motor pass us on a Santa Cruz Bullet.

    • DrDave says:

      Ahem, yeah, those PROS are like running on nitro (or something).
      But we underbikers know that an older or heavier bike might only limit speed by a little bit, as long as the suspension is fresh.

  • jim says:

    Francis, Why weren’t you a fan of 5010 V2 ?
    I didn’t get that impression at all from your review …

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      Good point. I certainly appreciated that bike and knew many would love it.

      But for me, I was progressing my riding and I wanted, more, more, more… even from a trail bike.

      Steep seat angle, more slack, better suspension, more dropper and roomier cockpit to move around in and very quick still. It’s got me thinking of the new one for some adventures and long rides.

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