2016 Santa Cruz 5010
Size Tested: Large
- Frame: Carbon CC
- Drivetrain: Sram X01
- Brakes: Sram Guide RSC
- Wheels: Enve M60
- Fork: Rockshox Pike RCT3 Solo Air
- Rear Shock: Fox Float Factory EVOL
Travel: 130mm Front / 130mm Rear
Blister’s Measured Weight: 27.4 lbs (12.42 kg) without pedals
Reviewer: 5’9”, 155 lbs.
Test Location: Boulder City, Nevada
MSRP: $8,599 as built
Interbike’s outdoor demo is located at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada. It’s a fantastic network of trails, and it’s a great escape from America’s neon bunghole (Las Vegas). The trails we spent most of our time on were relatively fast, with a fair amount of sand and some pretty rocky sections.
Having said that…
Riding bikes at a demo is always kind of tricky. For starters, we’re unable to get as much time on each bike as we like–our test durations are measured in minutes and hours, not our preferred time frame of weeks and months. One good ride can tell you a lot about how a bike handles, but it certainly doesn’t allow for the customary, in-depth, Blister analysis.
Demo days also don’t generally permit the time needed to get each bike dialed to our liking. A quick suspension setup and fiddling with the bike’s ergonomics gets it most of the way there, but it’s certainly not dialed. We also take the bike as we get it, so things like bar width and tire selection may not be optimal.
So while we believe it’s important to be upfront about the limitations of reviewing bikes in such settings, there is also merit in riding a slew of bikes, back to back, on the same trails. Subtle differences that might not become apparent if our test rides happen weeks or months apart are able to come to light, and each bike’s attributes may be more easily identified.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the Santa Cruz 5010.
Like the 2016 Santa Cruz Bronson, the 5010 saw some revisions this year. This second generation 5010 gets tweaks to the geometry and linkage, and it gets a slight boost in travel up from 125mm to 130mm, front and rear.
But those tweaks aren’t intended to change the overall character of the bike; it’s still squarely situated as a do-it-all trail bike that’s most at home on long trail rides, far away from civilization. It shoots the gap between the more XC-oriented Tallboy, and the slightly rowdier Bronson. But ultimately, the 5010 sets itself apart not just as a “scaled down Bronson” or a “scaled up Tallboy,” but as a uniquely excellent bike in its own right.
The Build on the 5010 that I rode was essentially identical to the Bronson I demo’d: Sram X01 drivetrain, Sram Guide RSC brakes, and Enve M60 wheels, all of which worked wonderfully.
Suspension duties are handled by a 130mm-travel Pike RCT3 fork up front, and Fox Float Factory EVOL rear shock that also controls 130mm of travel. Again, these are both excellent units, no complaints.
Like the Bronson, the 5010 wins significant points for little details in the build—things like the under-the-bar mounted dropper post lever for the Reverb, and the WTB Silverado saddle. Those are favorites of mine, and if I were buying this bike, those are the parts I would put on there anyway.
Santa Cruz always does a great job of spec’ing good tires on their bikes, and the 5010 might be the best example of this yet. It comes with a Maxxis Minion DHR II on the front, and an Ardent on the rear. Yep, they spec a “rear” tire on the front. And yes, I’m excited about that. The DHR II works really well on the front; it trenches corners and provides better stopping power than most other tires on the market.
The only thing I’d look to change on this build would be the bars. I’m a fan of wider bars, and while the 760mm bars that come stock certainly aren’t narrow, I usually run something a bit wider. This is, of course, personal preference, but wide bars are easy to make narrower, while narrow bars can’t be made wider.
It should also be noted that, while the demo bike I rode was fairly blinged out and has the price tag to match, Santa Cruz also offer much more reasonable builds for the 5010. The least expensive option is going for $3,599, and while it’s certainly not as fancy, it still comes with a perfectly serviceable build kit (although you miss out on some key features, like the dropper post).
NEXT: Fit and Geometry, The Ride, Etc.