On The Trail

Having spent the majority of the last couple of years riding twenty nine inch wheeled bikes, the 5010 certainly took some getting used to. This was as much due to the nature of Nelson’s trails as it was wheel size though. Being used to riding Sydney’s relatively flat trails where rocks replace roots, the difference in handling was immediately noticeable. However, once I got my eye in for the rapid changes in altitude and loose, off camber trails the 5010 really came into it’s own.


It’s funny that in 2019 a 66.5 degree headangle is not considered that slack on a trail bike. For the most part the front end of the 5010 felt balanced and forgiving with an enormous sense of control and predictability. This was no doubt enhanced by the very stiff front end. There were a few times, on extremely steep and long chutes littered with roots, that I definitely felt like the 5010 could have done with being a degree slacker although this would likely take away slightly from it’s overall versatility.


All 5010 iterations from Santa Cruz are fitted with a 130mm Fox 34 fork of some kind. The Factory version fitted to my test bike was a perfect complement to the overall ride of the frame. Handling was super sharp, front end weight was much lighter than I was used to having spent a lot of time on twenty niners recently and a good aesthetic match to the overall vibe of the 5010. I did find, in the above mentioned steep, rough conditions, that the 34 felt a little undergunned and perhaps didn’t allow me to really build confidence and stay off the brakes as much as I may have on a slightly burlier fork. I can definitely see a 5010 being an amazing ride with a something like a Fox 36 up front.


Santa Cruz have used the Virtual Pivot Point suspension system for almost twenty years since the release of the Blur and V10 models in 2002. VPP has always had a reputation for it’s descending prowess and this is certainly the case with the 5010. Small bump sensitivity across chatter (yep, like roots) is incredible with traction being maintained regardless of how choppy things got.


Getting deeper into travel, the 5010 proved to be much more capable than its 130mm stated travel would suggest. Riding trails blind as I was, I made a lot of mistakes (a LOT) and pushed the 5010 through some extremely poorly chosen lines resulting in having to deal with ugly, square edged obstacles that one should otherwise be avoiding. Avoidance though, if you had time, was probably the easiest of any bike I’ve ridden, the 5010 responding immediately to small weight shifts and immediately leaving the ground when asked thanks to the low weight and super short 425mm chainstays.


Traditionally VPP suspension has been quite reliant on good shock technology to bring out desirable climbing traits. Across the range however, all modern Santa Cruz feature a revised VPP system that sees the main pivot located above and forward of the bottom bracket and this has changed ascending behaviour considerably. These revised suspension kinematics combined with the steep seat angle and long reach of the 5010 made for a seriously capable climber allowing you to really get in a comfortable groove even on the longest and steepest of Nelson’s climbs.



Two-Seven-Five is certainly not dead. The Santa Cruz 5010 is agile, capable and efficient in ways many of us may have forgotten about through spending times on bigger wheels or deeper travel. With complete carbon bikes starting at $7249 it should certainly be on your radar if you’re looking at your first move into a boutique brand and the ride quality that, in this case, certainly comes with a small range and attention to ride quality detail.  


Frame: Santa Cruz 5010cc, 130mm
RRP: $5249 frame only
From: lustyindustries.com
Size Tested: Large
Shock:  Fox DPX2 Factory
Tester Bio: Adam Macbeth
Riding experience: From trials to backcountry adventures and the retail coal face Adam has a lifetime of experience on two wheels.
Generally Rides: Salsa Mukluk
Height: 178cm
Weight: 76kg
Bike Test Track: New Zealand’s finest homemade trails