Santa Cruz 5010 Review for 2021

Santa Cruz 5010 Review 2021: Overhyped Or Really Worth the Money?

You are probably looking forward to gifting yourself a Santa Cruz 5010 and super excited about it. Hold your horses for a second and learn about the bike.

You may have ridden a Santa Cruz either in reality or your dreams, and it felt like heaven on earth. Santa Cruz is one of the best MTB brands out there, and the 5010 lives up to its glory.

However, it’s essential to have every bike feature at your fingertips and leave no room for surprises. Here’s the candid Santa Cruz 5020 review with all the details you would like to know.

Santa Cruz 5010 Review

The Specs

I like starting my articles with the specs and features of the bike to give you a picture of what you’ll get out of the box and the reality of the bike you intend to purchase.

I’ll be doing the same for the Santa Cruz 5010, a terrific modern trail bike, arguably, and one of the Santa Cruz bikes I’ve experienced.

We will discuss its primary features, including the frame, geometry, forks, suspension, the VPP feature, the drivetrain, and the brake sets.

Frame

The Santa Cruz 5010 is a striking beauty, and the frame compliments it all. However, if you are looking for aluminum models, you’ll never find any new models too bad for you.

All the new Santa Crus 5010s are only available in carbon, and it’s not like you have an option, as for now. You still got one choice, though, in regards to the frame.

You can opt for the slightly heavier but affordable carbon C or the lighter CC, which is slightly expensive.

All Santa Cruz’s bikes come with a lifetime warranty for the bearing, frame, and wheels, so there’s nothing to worry about when purchasing a Santa Cruz.

There are several features on the frame that can’t go unnoticed. For example, you probably didn’t know that the 5010 comes with an SRAM’s universal derailleur hanger.

Forgive my manners. The purpose of this review is to let you know everything about the bike. Moving on, the benefit of this hanger is that you can get the replacement quite first, even from other shops that aren’t Santa Cruz stores.

Another feature of the 5010’s high-quality frame is the internal cable routing, not just for looks, but you may have noticed that we are in an era when we don’t like to see the derailer cables and hydraulic hoses.

Most enduro and downhill bikes come with chainstay protectors to protect the chain from falling off the crank or making the chain slap noises when riding on the trails, and the 5010 comes with a well-damped protector.

Even though the bike comes with 2.4″ wide tires, you can comfortably run 2.6″ wide tires because the 5010 comes with enough clearance for you to try wider tires.

The frame also features a threaded bottom bracket, and the bearings are placed in the linkage for the safety of the frame. Santa Cruz did a remarkable job designing this frame.

Geometry

The frame of the 5010 got crucial updates in the latest model and geometry. The standover and the reach have significantly changed, and now you get a slack head angle.

The BB height, or the chainstay, has been elevated to 4mm due to the fork being increased to 140mm. The new large 5020 comes with a 475mm reach, while the older version had a 460mm. The seat angle is now steeper at 76.8 degrees as the head angle is comfortable at 65.4 degrees in a low setting.

Notably, the head tube length has shrunk on the XL bikes and increased on the medium and large frames.

Taking a close look at the main pivot points of the front triangle, you’ll notice that the distance has been altered to do away with the four different swingarms.

Like the Bronson, and the Megatower, the 5010 also has the crucial feature that lowers the BB by 4mm, and the rider can also tilt the head and the seat angles by 0.3 degrees.

As the frame size increases, the rear center increases too, and so does the chainstay stretch further. The XL frame offers a 432mm length of the chainstay, while the XL features a 423mm, which is a 9mm difference.

Assuming that the large frame is the average bike one most cyclists go for, the chainstay measures 429mm in a high setting.

Before we wrap on the geometry of the bike, I thought we should mention the flip-chip. This switch on the rear shock allows you to adjust from low to high settings and vice versa.

It’s the crucial feature we were talking about. You’ll notice the difference once you put your bum on the saddle and start pedaling.

Suspension

If you ever thought that bikes with high-end FOX fork sets and suspensions are the most expensive of the lot, the 5010 will surprise you. The cheapest of the 5010s is the only bike that features a FOX on the front and the rear.

That 5010 C R is the cheapest model in the line, and on the rear, it features a FOX Float Performance DPS. The CS, C XT, and the C XT RSV all come with RockShox Super Deluxe Select+. The CC X01 and the CC X01 RSV features a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate.

One notable advantage of the 5010 over Bronson is having the option to run a coil rear shock instead of an air shock. You can also upgrade to any shock from any brand and any size you wish without feeling limited.

Whether you want a dope air or coil shock, Manitou, custom-made, FOX, or RockShox, nothing in the world should stop you. You can even go ahead to pop a 130mm fork to keep it more interesting.

Forks

There are six different Santa Cruz 5010 models, and all of them come with different types of forks. The 5010 C R features a FOX Rhythm 34 forks. The 5010 C Shas a FOX 34 Float Performance forks. The 5010 C XT has a RockShox Pike Select+.

The C XT RSV has a RockShox Pike Select+. The CC X01 and the CC Xo1 RSV are equipped with a RockShox Pike Ultimate. All these forks feature a 140mm long travel. The long travel increases the standover of the frames.

The older 5010s didn’t get as much travel with the forks. The company seemed to focus on improving the rear suspension only but now the Santa Cruz 5010comes a boost on the front. The forks come with a suspension guide to help the rider tweak the fork to their most convenient level.

The rider can also sync the fork with the 130mm rear suspension for their riding style and comfort. 

The more extended travel of the bike makes the 5010 look a bit longer than the Hightower and improves stability downhill. The whole feeling of the bike on your hands changes every time you adjust the forks.

VPP

All the Santa Cruz full suspensions, except the Blur, come with a VPP system. That includes the 5010, which is connected to the lower-link driven fold.

This system is easy for the rider to set up and tune. Its stability and support are excellent and flexible to allow you to run a coil.

The VPP link is Santa Cruz’s technology for their enduro and downhill bikes to provide smooth riding whenever the rider wants to beat the clock.

With this VPP linkage and 130mm of travel, the 5010 will not disappoint you, and you’ll be surprised at how it’s capable of taking that dirt road no matter even when the odds are against you.

However, the new 5010 got an update on its VPP layout. There’s a diagonal line with no dips and dives like those experienced in the older models.

The VPP rears suspension of this bike will provide you with the luxury you need while hitting those trails. Life hasn’t gone back to normal, and people are still being encouraged to stay at home or maintain social distance.

No directives have been made that you should stay away from your bike. The 5010 is going to keep you company as you conquer the trials and woods in your town.

Drivetrain

One thing about the Santa Cruz 5010 is that you have a variety of options, and it’s not just with the carbon material and the forks, but also the drivetrain.

You are in total control of how you want your bike to be, but the bike you’re going to buy matters. The entry-level bike, the 5010 CR, comes with an SRAM NX Eagle.

The CS on top of CR in terms of the cost comes with an SRAM GX Eagle. The 5020 C XT comes with a Shimano XT M8100, and so is the C XT RSV.

The 5010 CC X01 and CC XO! RSV both come with the terrific SRAM X01 Eagle.  All these drivetrains are 1×12.

You also get a bombproof SRAM hanger which is compatible with all drivetrains. Alongside the 5010, is also the Juliana Furtado which has the same features and specs as the 5010.

You will also note that the company has invested heavily in frame protection by installing a chainstay protector. The different drivetrains are built to give you the quality service you deserve.

They all come with flawless and crisp shifters and quality derailleurs that flex and move the chain with every shift.

Some riders claim that Shimano XT is a better performer under pressure on the climbs, while others throw their support behind the X01. I would say try both and see which one works for you.

Brakes

What would occur to you if your bike had poor brakes? You would end up in the bushes for the better part of the ride.

Santa Cruz is known for equipping its bikes with the best brakes in the market, and the 5010 doesn’t fall short.

The two 5010 models using the Shimano XT drivetrain are also using the Shimano XT brakes. The XT brakes feature 180mm rotors for effective braking.

The bikes with SRAM Eagle X01 groupsets come with SRAM G2 brakes. The G2s offer the power to stop a 5010 in its tracks and are suitable for the riding style the bike is built to perform.

We preferred the bikes to come with the heavier yet more powerful SRAM Code brakes, but the G2’s performance is not bad.

The XT brakes have four pistons to offer plenty of power and have better modulation than the old XT brakes. If you have a bat taste for the old ones, you should try the new ones and see how you fare with them.

I noticed the difference when trying out the different 5010s, and they are as effective as the SRAM brakes are.

Wheels and Tires

As you are already aware, the Santa Cruz 5010 comes with 650b wheels, also known as the 27.5″ wheels. Some people prefer a bike with 29er wheels, and you can find other Santa Cruz bikes with these wheel sizes, the most popular one being the Hightower.

While a 29er runs over obstacles more effectively than a 27.5, but when it comes to taking corners and twists, the 27.5 is more flexible and easier to ride in a twisty terrain than the 29er.

The wheels also make it easier to manually up your 5010, pump, and jump. All the wheels are carbon made and come in different models depending on the type of 5010 you’ll take.

There are the DT Swiss version and the Reserve carbon wheels, and all the wheels are of the best quality. The wheels work fine, offering easy maneuverability. They allow the bike to dive out of corners without the rider feeling like they are about to crush on the trail.

For the tires, all the bikes come with the Maxxis MINION 2.4 DHR IIs, which you don’t even have to swap for any other tire.

The MaxxGrip and MaxxTerra front and back, respectively, will make your days on the outdoor riding worth the Instagram love.

The knobs not only offer an excellent grip and traction as you descend, but they will also offer an excellent stopping power when you pull that brake lever.

And if you need more details about the bike, check out this video review and test ride.

Why You Should Get a Santa Cruz 5010

Climbing

One thing about the Santa Cruz 5010 is that it climbs incredibly well. In our Bronson review, we talked about how it can struggle when it comes to climbs.

The Cali company leveraged that with a 5010, and many riders state that it’s such a great bike. The fork and shock pressures are easy to set up.

You only need to sync the 140mm travel fork with the 130mm rear travel and push the bike up like a boss.

The 5010 incredibly rolls up the hill as you push the pedals; all thanks to the raised head tube and taller forks, you can easily adjust the stem.

The steep seat angle creates room for the rider to get enough room to pilot the bike up the hill.

The SRAM Eagle and Shimano XT massive transmission contribute a lot to your climbing efficiency, and you feel like the hill is not that tough.

When Santa Cruz changed to the lower link suspension, their bikes changed for the better uphill. Their traction and climbing efficiency changed.

You would still climb the hill enjoyably while sitting instead of having to sprint up. If the road is bumpy and challenging, you’ll have the enjoyment of your life climbing with the 5010.

Your power and technique, paired with the bike’s design, is the sure recipe for chasing those KOMs and QOMs.

Descending

After a sweaty fete uphill, it’s now 5010’s opportunity to take you back without putting so much effort into it.

That’s when you begin to understand how good the 5010 has become with the recent updates. The stability is like nothing you have experienced before, and you find yourself want to pedal faster.

Be careful not to ride too fast, though, unless you have upgraded to a 140mm travel suspension.

The small bumps cannot be felt under the 5010; you can ride at night and feel like you are riding on a flat.

It’s just the bike that loves to play, so what’s the game all about? Bump, jump, bend on corners? That’s what the 5010 is made for.

The fork and suspension of the 5010 are soft, absorbing every bit of ramp and drop such that you don’t feel any shock.

You can confidently take the corners with grippy tires and terrific traction. You can bunny hop like a pro, run over roots, and enjoy all the fun with these suspensions.

Rather than following the trail, you can decide the break the rules, run through the woods, jump on rocks, and do anything you like to enjoy every moment of it.

The 5010 is indeed a beautiful bike, and the prices are worth it—no chance for second thoughts. If you decide the 5010 is the way to go, that will be a wise choice for a rider.

My Last Remarks

Santa Cruz bikes are the real deal, including the 5010. The good thing is that you have various 5010s to choose from depending on your budget and the components you want on your bike. In case you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us.