2016 Santa Cruz 5010 Review : First Impressions

The 2016 Santa Cruz 5010 came neatly packaged in what I believe to be the perfect “bike box.” They’ve ditched the traditional bike box and went with something that is shorter and wider. The result is a stout box that just easier to move around. As a person who doesn’t have a car let alone a drivers license I get really stoked on well packed goods.

The contents of the box were separated like this :

  • Pre assembled frame, rear shock, headset cups (Thank god) and crankset  
  • Front shock, dropper post, saddle ⁃ Handlebars, rear brake lever + caliper and shifter, stem, front brake lever and caliper, derailleur and all the other bits and pieces to build the beauty up.

Ok enough about the god damn box.

I am by no means a professional mechanic but I love building and working on my bikes. I’ve been working on bikes my entire life but I am fairly new to work on high end mountain bikes; so this build took a little longer that I expected. I ended up spending my Friday night and a good chunk of my Saturday dialing it in. My hopes are that this article might help someone in the future who is building or working on a new Santa Cruz.

Brakes : The 2016 Santa Cruz 5010 features externally routed brakes making set up really easy. However the new Sram Guide RCS brakes took a fair bit of tweaking to get dialed in. The problem I was having is that the space between the pad and the rotor is so small. Theres not even a fraction of a millimeter that doesn’t have to be aligned right. With a good deal of trial and error I did manage to get the calipers dialed in and the brakes feel awesome!

Internal routing : The rear derailleur and Reverb feature internal cable routing. Generally internal routing is a huge pain in the ass but Santa Cruz obviously spent some time on engineering some incredible cable guides. The derailleur cable and housing just slides through the internal port and right out! I was blown away. The one tricky part I ran into was fitting the rubber stoppers into the frame. The squeeze is tight and I was told the trick is to use grease. The grease definitely helped but I really had a hard time getting those things in. Same thing with the Reverb. Super easy! More on the Reverb in the next paragraph.

Rock Shox Reverb Stealth : So the Reverb was super easy to install thanks to Santa Cruz’s genius internal routing. The only problem I ran into was that the cable was far too long and had to be trimmed down. I have very limited experience cutting hydraulic lines and bleeding things in general. Long story short. I trimmed the cable. I had a really difficult time threading the cable back into the barb on the Reverb remote. I must have engaged the remote when the barb wasn’t in all the way and I lost a lot of oil. I lost enough oil that it required a bleed. At this point I just walked away and went to bed. The next day I went to the bike shop and picked up a bleed kit and corrected my mistake. Bleeding the Reverb was super easy and this is coming from someone that is really intimidated with that sort of stuff.

So enough about the build! How does it ride!

Coming from a Bronson 1.0 the 2016 Santa Cruz 5010 is like night and day. I’ve always read reviews where they use words like lively and responsive. You always assume that stuff is just all marketing bullshit. But honestly thats how the 2016 5010 feels. Super lively and responsive. Maybe even a little zippy? I think a good way to put it is that when it comes to climbing it feels more like a cross bike then a Nomad? Does that make sense? I love how the lower bottom bracket felt on descents. I feel like I was using my legs to push through the trail vs my arms. I am really looking forward to getting on this bike more and I’’ll definitely follow up with a longer term review on the 2016 Santa Cruz 5010.


"5010 is built to serve the most technical backcountry missions. 130mm of VPP® (Virtual Pivot Point) travel produces a shorter chainstay length and lower BB height compared to the 5010’s bigger-travel brethren. This creates a uniquely playful character and an insatiable appetite for negotiating steep, rocky climbs. And when it’s time to head home, playtime becomes a riot. The new 5010 has a 67-degree head tube angle, more aggressive than before, and the longer top tube welcomes the use of shorter stems for more precise handling and greater confidence on rapid descents. The 5010 also shares all the latest VPP® hardware with the new Bronson. The top-tube-mounted, box-section upper link is a leap forward in durability and stiffness, and the lower link rests cleanly out of the way, dramatically improving clearance and minimizing rock strikes. Bike choice can be a numbers game, but if your game is conquering epic trails then 5010 is the only number you need know. This CC-level carbon frame is every bit as stiff and strong as our C-level frame, but weighs about 280 grams less, due to the use of some lighter, stronger, and more expensive carbon fiber. Using this material in key places allowed us to use less material overall, which is what shaves off more than half a pound from the frame." - Santa Cruz Bicycles