Hardly any other manufacturer has such a finely graded trail bike line up as Santa Cruz. For years now, riders who were looking for a super nimble trail bike for uncompromising trail fun would inevitably end up getting a 5010. The Californian trail classic has been entirely revised and we were able to test one even before its official launch. Read on to find out how much fun we had!

Santa Cruz 5010 4 | 140/130 mm (f/r) | 27.5” | 13.3 kg (manufacturer’s specifications) | Size XS – XL | Price: from € 4,399 to € 8,399 | Manufacturer’s website

If you’re used to measuring the amount of fun you’re having on your bike based on the size of your grin rather than the speed you’re smashing down the hill, the Santa Cruz 5010 might be the bike you’re looking for. With its 27.5 ” wheels and 130 mm of rear-travel paired with 140 mm upfront, the 5010 converts every trail into a giant playground. The smallest of ledges become a kicker, a true call for airtime and undulating trails turn into natural pump tracks. Now, Santa Cruz have entirely redesigned their classic trail whip and gifted it with their distinctive lower link mount. At the same time, they revised the rear-end kinematics which should work well with both air and coil shocks.

The new 5010 uses Santa Cruz’s distinctive lower link mounted shock configuration.
The rear end generates 130 mm of travel, the front 140 mm.
Compared to other Santa Cruz frames, the 5010 has a strikingly squared shape and distinctive character.
Like all Santa Cruz models, the frame of the 5010 is available in two different carbon versions with different weights. There’s currently no aluminium option available.
Tons of fun, everywhere! That’s exactly what the 5010 was designed for!

High-quality, sophisticated and easy to service – the 5010 frame

Unlike its predecessor, the new Santa Cruz 5010 is only available in carbon – at least for now. However, in typical Santa Cruz fashion, the frame comes in two versions which are built with different carbon fibres; the more affordable and slightly heavier C version and the lighter CC model. Like all bikes of the Cali brand, the 5010 comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame, bearings and, if applicable, on Santa Cruz’s in-house Reserve carbon wheels. As usual, all frame details are well thought out and exude quality at the highest level. Amongst the clever features, a chunky, ribbed and well-damped chainstay protector, a clever internal cable routing system that relies on separate tunnels to prevent the cables from rattling inside the frame and a very useful downtube pad for those who like throwing their bike on the back of a pickup for long, fun shuttle sessions. Santa Cruz redesigned the 5010 with an eye towards easy servicing and placed the bearings inside the linkage rather than the frame. This way, you won’t risk damaging the carbon frame when replacing the bearings. The new version also features a universal SRAM mech hanger and a threaded bottom bracket, which is extremely easy to install.

While the shuttle pad might not be as useful in Europe, pick-up owners will love it!
The threaded bottom bracket is easy to replace, even at home by a hobby mechanic.
Santa Cruz placed the bearings in the linkage, not the frame. Should something go wrong while you’re replacing them, the frame won’t get damaged.
The sound of silence! The chunky, ribbed chainstay protector makes for a pleasantly quiet ride.
The cables run through the frame in separate laminated tunnels…
… Pushing the cables from one end to another is easy and straightforward and once they’re in, they don’t make a noise.
The small mudguard protects the shock from dirt and mud.
We set up the rear shock with 30% of SAG. Reading the SAG is a bit tricky because the shock is well hidden inside the frame.

Adapted chainstays and a flip-chip – the geometry of the Santa Cruz 5010 4

For the 4th generation of the 5010, Santa Cruz relied on an adapted chainstay length for each frame size. According to the manufacturer, this should provide an optimal balance for every rider. Overall, the rear-end is very short and varies from 423 to 432 mm. The length can be adjusted by changing the position of the rear pivot points. The 5010 also has a flip chip in the shock mount, which allows you to adjust the seat and head angle as well as the bottom bracket height. At 472 mm, the reach of a size L bike in the slack setting is both modern and coherent. Amongst the positive traits that immediately catch the eye, the short 430 mm seat tube, which allows for long-travel droppers and the deep-drawn top tube that provides maximum freedom of movement.

The geometry can be changed via a flip-chip in the shock mount.
More standout features: alongside the long steerer tube and short seat tube, the 5010 also has a very low standover height.
Each frame size uses a different rear-end length, which is realized by different bearing positions

The geometry of the 5010 at a glance:

Size (flip-chip ‘Lo’) XS S M L XL
Seat tube 370 mm 380 mm 405 mm 430 mm 460 mm
Top tube 524 mm 556 mm 587 mm 617 mm 647 mm
Head tube 100 mm 120 mm 135 mm 150 mm 165 mm
Head angle 65.4° 65.4° 65.4° 65.4° 65.4°
Seat angle 77.5° 77.2° 77° 76.8° 76.6°
Chainstay 424 mm 424 mm 427 mm 430 mm 433 mm
BB Height 334 mm 334 mm 334 mm 334 mm 334 mm
Wheelbase 1123 mm 1156 mm 1191 mm 1225 mm 1259 mm
Reach 397 mm 422 mm 447 mm 472 mm 497 mm
Stack 574 mm 593 mm 606 mm 620 mm 634 mm

Four models, all focussed on trail performance

Contrary to what the key data might suggest, the Santa Cruz 5010 wasn’t developed to ensure a lightweight construction and top efficiency, but designed (and specced) to provide utmost trail fun. The spec includes 2.4 ” MAXXIS MINION DHR II tires paired with 30 mm rims and a piggy-back Super Deluxe shock on three of the four available models. For an extra € 1,200, the 5010 C XT and 5010 CC X01 versions can be upgraded with a Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheelset. All bikes are available in RASPBERRY SORBET and LOOSELY BLUE finish.

All 5010 models come with a 140 mm fork.
Except for the entry-level version, all versions feature a Super Deluxe shock with piggy-back.
All models come with a short 40 mm stem, which is provided by Burgtec on the flagship model.

Prices for the new Santa Cruz 5010 start at € 4,399 for the entry-level 5010 R model with FOX 34 Rhythm fork, Float DPS shock and an SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain. The S version with FOX FLOAT performance suspension and an SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain sets you back € 5,199. If you prefer a Shimano drivetrain, you’ll have to spend at least € 6,199 for a 5010 C XT build, which includes a RockShox Pike Select + fork. If you also want the Reserve wheelset upgrade, that’ll make it € 7,399. The top-end 5010 CC X01 (with a lighter CC frame) starts at € 7,199. This comes with a RockShox Pike Ultimate fork and Super Deluxe Ultimate shock and is also available with the Reserve upgrade, which bumps up the price to € 8,399. Santa Cruz also sells the 5010 as a frame kit, which retails at € 3,099. Alongside the new 5010 range, the Americans have also released an updated version of the Juliana Furtado, which shares the same features, spec options and retail prices of their revamped trail classic.

The Juliana Furtado has also been completely redesigned. It is based on the 5010 and has the same specs and prices as the Santa Cruz model.
For an extra € 1,200, the 5010 C XT and 5010 CC X01 can be upgraded with a Reserve carbon wheelset.

Efficient, direct and fun – the new Santa Cruz 5010 2021 on the trail

We had the opportunity to test the brand new Santa Cruz 5010 4 on our home trails. As you can see from the pictures, we had to deal with extremely wet, muddy and slippery conditions – and still had tons of fun! Despite the adverse circumstances, we managed to get a good first impression of the new 5010 CC X01 Reserve, riding the bike on several different trails that day. While setting up the RockShox suspension was, as usual, quick and easy, the position of the rear shock hiding inside the frame made it is hard to read the SAG. We set up the Super Deluxe Ultimate with 30% SAG, the compression setting in fully-open mode and the geometry setting in the ‘Lo’ mode.

Wet, muddy and very slippery – perhaps not the ideal conditions, but we had tons of fun anyway!

The playful character of the 5010 becomes evident already in the car park. The riding position is nicely central and integrates the rider between the wheels – the bike literally begs you to pull manuals and play with it. Uphill, the position is still comfortable and well centred, and the rear end is neutral even with the shock in the open mode. While the small wheels accelerate willingly, the knobbly stock tires curb the liveliness of the bike a little – on the way down, in return, they’re true godsent. On climbs, the 5010 feels nimble and good-natured. Even on steep sections, the shock doesn’t sink into its travel and the bike feels composed and bob-free even when pedalling out of the saddle. Since we didn’t do any technical climbs during the test, we can’t really comment there yet.

The 5010 is an efficient and nimble climber.

The 5010 turns even the most boring of fire roads into a fun playground!

What you had already suspected in the carpark, comes true on the trail – the 5010 constantly invites you to play with the terrain features. The rear-end is very defined and, with its 130 mm of travel, rather firm. It doesn’t sink into its travel and translates the rider’s input either into propulsion or airtime. At the same time, the bike never isolates you from the trail and rather encourages you to play with its features. While you can definitely feel the hits, the bike takes away the harshness. Since the 5010 was not designed to smoothen out nasty trails, fast hard impacts, like for example root carpets and nasty rock gardens, must be negotiated with good body balance or, even better, gapped.

Smiles for miles! The 5010 is a tribute to what mountain biking really is about: pure riding fun!

Despite the short rear-end and relatively long reach, the bike feels incredibly well balanced in corners and always provides plenty of traction on the front wheel. On flat trails, it’s easy to build up speed and even when the trail gets steeper, you always feel nicely integrated and safe between the wheels. The small wheels contribute significantly to the agile and playful character of the Santa Cruz, which allows you to throw the bike from one corner into the next and pull manuals effortlessly.

Our first conclusions on the new Santa Cruz 5010 X01 Reserve 2021

The latest incarnation of the Santa Cruz 5010 was designed for people who prefer direct and agile handling over a maximally composed ride. The 5010 is a very efficient climber and literally begs you to play with the terrain on the descents. If you’re a compulsive KOM hunter, the 5010 is definitely not for you. And yes, there are also more versatile bikes out there. However, if you’re looking for uncompromising trail fun, you should take a closer look at the new Santa Cruz 5010!


  • incredibly fun and agile handling
  • efficient climber
  • very well thought out, high-quality frame
  • coherent spec


  • hefty price
  • not for KOM hunters
Helmet Specialized Ambush | Glasses Oakley Flight Jacket | Hoodie SCOTT Trail MTN Stretch 50 | Pants ION Scrub

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Words: Photos: Christoph Bayer, Max Schumann