The new Santa Cruz 5010 is on it's way to us!
Yep, this is later than I had intended, but I had a few injury issues earlier in the year which caused me to stare at this fully built bike sat in my kitchen, just in view from my TV seat where I was resting the torn ligaments in my right foot. It was deeply frustrating as it was just a stupid injury that I didn't even do on my bike. If you've ever torn a ligament(s) you'll know what the pain is like. There's just no way you can ride a bike in the direct aftermath.
Great intentions oft' go astray... As this short video will attest!
Anyway... I'm back on my feet (foot) again. I built this bike in January and didn't get to really ride it until late in February, so I'll just do a basic run-down of the spec and why it was built this way and in part 2 I'll get heavier into the way it rides.
So I should clarify that my preceding bike was a Bronson CC. The very same bike that Danny Macaskill rode on his film "The Ridge" Same forks, same wheels, even the same colour scheme. In fact, 90% the same bike. An absolutely rock-solid bike that would take just about anything you could throw at it. But I had a problem with it. The more eagle eyed of you will notice that this bike is also (almost) a complete replica of Danny's "Wee day out" bike too. Not a fanboy move, just a preference of the colour red over the other matte black version that was available at the time.
My Bronson was just too much bike in the context of how I use an MTB. I could straight-line anything on that bike and once I'd got used to this, it DID make me faster and more fearless, but I found it a bit of a chore to ride outside of the short bike ride kind of day. I spend a lot of time on my bike in one go. 7 hours, 8,9,10... Bothy rides, overnights, big loops, point to point riding and the like, so I started my research on the 5010, the bike that Santa Cruz launched (originally as the SOLO) with this type of riding in mind.
Everyone remembers the Advert with Steve Peat shredding Torridon's Corrie Lair path?
Outside of a few car park laps on Dirtschool's Andy Barlow's 5010 and a couple of short rides on demo bikes, all I had was my research and the general idea that this would be a bike that would fulfil the following needs.
A: Easier to pedal with a harder actuation of the shock (shorter back-end) meaning less pedal bob and super tuneable with the DPS shock.
B: Less "forgiving" on the big stuff and would make me learn how to ride lines and obstacles all over again.
C: Just be a better, more comfortable riding position (longer top-tube) with a weight that I could deal with on very long, unassisted rides.
I also have been spending a lot of time stopping and starting and attending to less experienced riders both in my private riding life and my role as an instructor for Ridelines Mountain Bike Tuition. So the burliness and travel range of the (MK1) Bronson was becoming a bit of an issue. I felt like I needed something a bit sharper, a bit less docile and something that would challenge my riding a bit more. I'd had a shot of the new 27+ Tallboy CC and loved it, but it was very XC. Totally manageable, light, flick-able and a really enjoyable bike for covering distance efficiently and chalking up loads of fun miles. But I felt that it got out of its depth very quickly indeed and usually without much warning.
So the 5010 is where I ended up. It really is the simplest of bikes at it's core offering 130mm of VPP travel through 27.5 wheels, boost axle spacing front and rear, a 67 degree head angle (just 1 degree less than a Bronson) and 334mm BB, again just 7mm lower than a Bronson. So, a pretty aggresive shorter travel machin. Stick on a 140mm Pike RCT3 and you have a bike you can really get your teeth into on the fast stuff, but will be super hospitable on the everyday ride front.
It's as comfortable is it is unforgiving, as fast and flickable as it is predictable and as light as it is strong and stiff and efficient. It really is quite an engineering miracle that bikes can now be made this light, this stiff and this strong without cutting any corners.
In a quick spec run-down, all I really pushed the boat out on were the wheels. After having the super stiff ENVE 60 Forty on the Bronson, there was just no going back to alloy for me, not at least while I had access to a alternative. The DT-Swiss XCM1200 wheelset is both strong and super light with amazing hubs and race proven pedigree, so there was really no other option for me. The reat of the bike is Shimano M-8000 XT with the exception of an XTR rear shifter, just because it feels so nige on the thumb.
I guess you could say that a Chris King headset is a luxury? But in this day & age, this product is indispensable as a staple part on any high-end bike that is going to be used as the designer intended. It will outlast a half dozen other headsets and most probably still be on the bike when it eventually moves on from my ownership. Other bits from companies like Race Face, Gamut and KS again are just hard wearing parts with good pedigree that will likely stand the test of time.
The one other finishing touch I added was from Invisiframe. £70 for this product is a no-brainer when you tot-up the money invested in making all these parts look like your dream bike.
So as a brief introduction to the bike (this particular bike) and why I decided on it, I guess that will do. I've ridden it fairly regularly for the last 3 months and even done an endurance racing event on it. So once I've got some riding photos back, I'll do a follow-up on my component choice and some feedback on how she rides. Probably in a short video.