£3,899 Hench and punchy, and now well-priced too
Even Santa Cruz’s ‘affordable’ bikes have always carried a premium, but higher prices from other brands and an improved spec mean this tautly-muscular mid-travel machine now punches hard on price as well as on the trail.
Santa Cruz introduced the ‘Carbon’ (aka ‘C’) range of complete bikes a few years ago. They use the same colours, shape, geometry and DIY-adjustable collet bearings as the premium Carbon C (aka ‘CC’) frames, but are made from cheaper, lower-modulus carbon. You can’t tell that from the stiffness levels though, and 320g more mass isn’t bad considering that the CC chassis costs £2,999 on its own. The C frame is still 410g lighter than the alloy version (all weights based on size large), and while 3,150g is chunky for a full-carbon, 130mm-travel frame, you get a lifetime warranty (including bearings), a screw-in BB, grease injected bearings on the lower linkage and moulded protective sections.
Although the 5010 is the priciest bike on test, well-chosen kit keeps it competitive on the trail. The Fox Rhythm fork is a smooth yet accurate cost-effective champion at this travel (130mm). While the Performance shock feels over-tight on the Cannondale and Saracen, that’s well hidden here by the smooth action of the ‘VPP’ pivots, and the standard (rather than extra-volume) air can suits the kinematics well.
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