The New Santa Cruz 5010 - Business at the Front
The ethos of the Santa Cruz 5010 - and its Juliana Furtado sibling - has always changed according to its environment. The first generation from 2013 was supposed to be an all-day trail bike that was plenty quick. There’s even a video of Steve Peat in the backcountry riding. Its steadfast dedication to 27.5” wheels turned it into what the 5010 is today: a bike for those who prefer to take a hop, skip, and jump down a trail rather than the fastest way down.
This fifth generation of the Santa Cruz 5010 and Juliana Furtado ditches the full 27.5” wheel combo for a mixed wheel 29-inch and 27.5-inch combo. What changes are there to the 5010, and how does that change what is essentially the frontman of the shrinking 27.5” band?
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To start, the Santa Cruz 5010 and Juliana Furtado are the same frame under the skin. Furtado will receive a unique suspension tune for lighter-weight riders, female-bodied-specific grips and saddle, and a unique paint scheme. Unless noted otherwise, all changes to the 5010 apply to the Furtado.
The Santa Cruz 5010 is available in six build kits, from an R-spec with SRAM NX up to an X01 AXS RSV model with Reserve carbon wheels, a Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock, and Pike Ultimate Shock. And for alloy devotees: fret not; expect an aluminum 5010 down the line, though that likely won’t be for a year or so.
Every Santa Cruz 5010 receives mullet wheels, all the way from size XS up to the new XXL size. In total there are six size options, meaning riders 4’8” to 6’7” should find a comfortable fit aboard the 5010.
Despite the larger front wheel, the travel remains the same: 140mm suspension up front paired with 130mm rear wheel travel. There’s clearance for a 2.5” tire, lots of frame protection around the chainstays, bottom bracket, and downtube, and a SRAM Universal Derailleur hanger makes it extra easy to find a replacement. To note, Santa Cruz also offers a threaded bottom bracket, ISCG 05 tabs for a chain guide, and plenty of room for a water bottle.
The latest generation of the 5010 doesn’t change all that much in appearance compared to the prior version, save for the big wheel detail. The downtube is slightly steeper, but despite that standover heights stay about the same as in the previous version.
Mixed wheels might be relatively new to folks, but they’ve slowly proliferated through Santa Cruz’s non-29er lineup over the years. Often called a mullet wheel setup, it consists of a 29-inch wheel up front and a 27.5-inch wheel out back. The idea here is that a mullet wheel combination provides the surefootedness and control riders want through rockier terrain; the radius of a bigger front wheel means it rolls over uneven terrain more easily than a smaller wheel. But a 27.5” wheel is easier to move around on the trail, as riders generally find smaller wheels easier to get through tight corners or hairpins. A mullet wheel combination provides the best of both worlds, at least according to Santa Cruz: front wheel for traction, rear wheel for agility.
Also proliferated through the Santa Cruz line is the addition of their Glovebox downtube storage system. Found just under the downtube water bottle cage, a secret hatch includes a small bag to carry tools, a tube, and anything else relatively lightweight you’d want to carry on your ride. We’re big fans of storage systems like this, as they allow riders to ditch packs on lunch rides and even more while keeping the center of gravity lower.
While the 5010 maintains the 130mm rear suspension travel and 140mm fork, it sees some slight changes in suspension kinematics. Similar to the recent update to the Hightower, the 5010 sees a lowered leverage ratio. As suspension valving and design have improved over the years, Santa Cruz has adapted to additional capability. As a result, its curve is more of a straight line, which Santa Cruz says should prevent harsh bottom outs while taking advantage of the greater mid-stroke support of the latest shocks. The leverage curve here is optimized for air suspension, and not designed with coil usage in mind.
The new 5010 also sees a 16 percent cut in anti-squat value. This is a bigger reduction than any of the latest Santa Cruz bikes yet. In doing so, riders sit a bit higher in the stroke of the bike as a result, and per Santa Cruz the 5010 should be a far-improved pedaling bike, both in pure pedaling efficiency and overall through techy and loose climbs.
The last big changes are found under the skin. For this iteration of the 5010, the California company changes frame stiffness based on size. Santa Cruz used to build their frames to be as stiff as necessary for the largest XXL size. While they doesn’t quote specific weights for the C and CC-grade carbon frames expect sizes XS to M frames to be a touch lighter than previous 5010 bikes while still maintaining the strength and durability Santa Cruz is known for. Also to note is that the 5010 receives tube-in-tube routing to the rear triangle as well as the main triangle. Nice job, Santa Cruz.
One would expect geometry to change when a bike becomes an MX wheel. That biggest change comes from stack height, though the differences are close enough that if the difference amounts to removing a 10mm spacer or swapping to a lower-rise handlebar. Reach and stack measurements don’t go wild. Santa Cruz wanted to retain the quick handling the 5010 is known for, so changes in this regard are more a refinement rather than a revolution.
Santa Cruz now offers outstanding six different frame size options, with all options receiving the mullet wheel setup. Each size receives a size-specific chainstay length for proper weight distribution, and while bottom bracket numbers have changed slightly, it is to keep the numbers roughly the same as the previous 5010.
There is only one adjustment, located on the lower link, to alter the head tube and seat tube angles from 65.2 degrees to 64.9 degrees and 77.4 degrees to 77.1 degrees, respectively. It also changes those kinematics numbers ever so slightly, making the bike ever so slightly more willing to go through its travel in it's 'Lo' setting. Bikes from the factory come in a low setting, and we would expect most riders to keep them there.
The fifth-generation Santa Cruz 5010 launches with six different build kits over a C carbon level or a slightly-lighter CC carbon frame. The Furtado receives five build kits in three sizes (XS to M). While we expect the R-Kit and S-Kit to be the biggest sellers, riders can opt for the full-boat option featuring SRAM X01 AXS, a Reserve 30 HD wheelset with Industry Nine 1/1 hubs, and a top spec Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock and Pike Ultimate fork.
Santa Cruz 5010 bikes receive two different colors across all build kits: a gloss red and a particularly dashing matte grey. The Juliana Furtado receives a matte blue color that might be our pick of the litter.
Santa Cruz has evolved the 5010 quite a bit over the years, most recently settling on a fun, maneuverable bike for enjoying the ride rather than out and out pace. The 5010 and its Juliana Furtado sibling may have added a bit of high-speed composure to the 27.5” recipe, but Santa Cruz has done a lot of work to maintain its ability to get through the tightest corners, stay in the air, and have fun on the way down. If you’re looking for one mountain bike for the trails here in Utah and abroad, few bikes will do it better.