2016 Santa Cruz 5010

2016 Santa Cruz 5010

Size Tested: Large

Geometry: (Here) 

Build Overview:

  • Frame: Carbon CC
  • Drivetrain: Sram X01
  • Brakes: Sram Guide RSC
  • Wheels: Enve M60
  • Fork: Rockshox Pike RCT3 Solo Air
  • Rear Shock: Fox Float Factory EVOL

Wheels: 27.5′′

Travel: 130mm Front / 130mm Rear

Blister’s Measured Weight: 27.4 lbs (12.42 kg) without pedals

Reviewer: 5’9”, 155 lbs.

Test Location: Boulder City, Nevada

MSRP: $8,599 as built

Noah Bodman reviews the Santa Cruz 5010 for Blister Gear Review
2016 Santa Cruz 5010


Interbike’s outdoor demo is located at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada. It’s a fantastic network of trails, and it’s a great escape from America’s neon bunghole (Las Vegas). The trails we spent most of our time on were relatively fast, with a fair amount of sand and some pretty rocky sections.

Having said that…

Riding bikes at a demo is always kind of tricky. For starters, we’re unable to get as much time on each bike as we like–our test durations are measured in minutes and hours, not our preferred time frame of weeks and months. One good ride can tell you a lot about how a bike handles, but it certainly doesn’t allow for the customary, in-depth, Blister analysis.

Demo days also don’t generally permit the time needed to get each bike dialed to our liking. A quick suspension setup and fiddling with the bike’s ergonomics gets it most of the way there, but it’s certainly not dialed. We also take the bike as we get it, so things like bar width and tire selection may not be optimal.

So while we believe it’s important to be upfront about the limitations of reviewing bikes in such settings, there is also merit in riding a slew of bikes, back to back, on the same trails. Subtle differences that might not become apparent if our test rides happen weeks or months apart are able to come to light, and each bike’s attributes may be more easily identified.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the Santa Cruz 5010.


Like the 2016 Santa Cruz Bronson, the 5010 saw some revisions this year. This second generation 5010 gets tweaks to the geometry and linkage, and it gets a slight boost in travel up from 125mm to 130mm, front and rear.

But those tweaks aren’t intended to change the overall character of the bike; it’s still squarely situated as a do-it-all trail bike that’s most at home on long trail rides, far away from civilization. It shoots the gap between the more XC-oriented Tallboy, and the slightly rowdier Bronson. But ultimately, the 5010 sets itself apart not just as a “scaled down Bronson” or a “scaled up Tallboy,” but as a uniquely excellent bike in its own right.

The Build

The Build on the 5010 that I rode was essentially identical to the Bronson I demo’d: Sram X01 drivetrain, Sram Guide RSC brakes, and Enve M60 wheels, all of which worked wonderfully.

Suspension duties are handled by a 130mm-travel Pike RCT3 fork up front, and Fox Float Factory EVOL rear shock that also controls 130mm of travel. Again, these are both excellent units, no complaints.

Noah Bodman reviews the Santa Cruz 5010 for Blister Gear Review
Noah Bodman on the Santa Cruz 5010.

Like the Bronson, the 5010 wins significant points for little details in the build—things like the under-the-bar mounted dropper post lever for the Reverb, and the WTB Silverado saddle. Those are favorites of mine, and if I were buying this bike, those are the parts I would put on there anyway.

Santa Cruz always does a great job of spec’ing good tires on their bikes, and the 5010 might be the best example of this yet. It comes with a Maxxis Minion DHR II on the front, and an Ardent on the rear. Yep, they spec a “rear” tire on the front. And yes, I’m excited about that. The DHR II works really well on the front; it trenches corners and provides better stopping power than most other tires on the market.

The only thing I’d look to change on this build would be the bars. I’m a fan of wider bars, and while the 760mm bars that come stock certainly aren’t narrow, I usually run something a bit wider. This is, of course, personal preference, but wide bars are easy to make narrower, while narrow bars can’t be made wider.

It should also be noted that, while the demo bike I rode was fairly blinged out and has the price tag to match, Santa Cruz also offer much more reasonable builds for the 5010. The least expensive option is going for $3,599, and while it’s certainly not as fancy, it still comes with a perfectly serviceable build kit (although you miss out on some key features, like the dropper post).

NEXT: Fit and Geometry, The Ride, Etc.

16 comments on “2016 Santa Cruz 5010”

  1. Good review. It is especially nice to see you clearly state that the Habit is flexy. So many review resources require strong “reading between the lines” to glean information like that, which is just bunk, so kudos!

    • Unfortunately I don’t have any time on the HD3, but I’ve got a bunch of time on the Following (there’s a full review, if you haven’t already seen it). Compared to the Following, I’d say the 5010 pedals a bit better, and does a better job of smoothing out small to medium sized bumps in the trail. The Following is probably a bit more stable, and it pops better. The Following really feels like the kind of bike that wants to go as fast as possible, all the time. The 5010 is fine when the pace picks up, but it doesn’t feel as high strung.

      The biggest difference is, of course, the wheel size. The 29ers on the Following carry speed through rough stuff better, and the help out in the stability department. But the 27.5’s on the 5010 are (all other things being equal) stiffer, and they’re less of a handful in tight spots. More than anything else, it’s the inherent differences in the wheel size that separate these two bikes.

      Bottom line: I’d venture a guess that I’d be faster in most situations on the Following, but I might pick the 5010 for longer rides in the backcountry where better small bump compliance and pedaling efficiency would be appreciated.

  2. I love the fact that you draw comparisons to other bikes. So many reviews these days are ‘vanilla’, and just show that the reviewer is stoked to ride. I get it though, bikes have come a long way and it’s hard to find a shitty one. And when manufacturers are send you free ones to review, there’s a hidden bias. The real decision factor is navigating between awesome choices, so I applaud you for helping light up this crevasse.

    Evil makes a 27.5 bike now, correct? A bit more travel and slacker head angle. Maybe a different category, but would love to hear your perspective.

  3. Great review, first of all. It’s very refreshing, I’ll be sure to check out some of your other MTB reviews.

    I’ve decided the 5010 is best for me based on my riding style/terrain/fit/$5K ceiling/ etc.. But I have not decided which kit to pick up/what year. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on going after one more than the other:
    A) 2015 SC 5010 CC X01 (new found for $5K, used found for ~$4K)
    B) 2016 SC 5010 C S (new $4700)

    Question: Is the added travel on the 2016 (albeit 5mm) and geometry changes worth the cash while getting a lower quality component package compared to 2015 XO1 for a similar price point ($5K)? Finally, should I be wary about buying a used 2015 carbon frame without being able to see it in person (pinkbike) and checking for any scratches beyond asking for a lot of pictures? Your advice/suggestions are greatly appreciated Noah!

    • Hey Adrian,

      That’s a tough one! I don’t think you’ll go wrong with either bike, but I’d say it probably boils down to where you’re looking to prioritize performance. If you want a bike that’s a bit better on the climbs, get the 2015 with the nicer build; it’ll be lighter, and the geometry is probably a little more uphill friendly (longer chainstays, steeper head angle, etc.).

      If you’re a bit more concerned with descending performance, go with the 2016. The shorter rear end, slacker head angle, and longer front end will all make for a bike that’s probably going to be more fun through fast rough stuff. Also, even though the components aren’t quite as nice, it’s still a great build (and components can always be upgraded).

      On other thing to keep in mind that the bike got a lot longer for 2016, so a medium 2016 model is closer to a large 2015 model.

      Either way, you’ll end up with a solid bike that’s a ton of fun! Hope that helps.


  4. Hello Noah Great review…Positive vibesss from Peru.

    Just one question if i change the Rockshox Sektor Gold RL 130 fork for the Fox Float 34 of 140mm produce a negative impact at the geometry or the performance of the bike.

    Thank very much for your time and good windsss.

    • Bumping the fork up 10mm will do a couple of things. 1) (obviously) it’ll raise your bars a bit, 2) it’ll slack out your head tube angle probably around 1/2 a degree, and 3) it’ll raise your bottom bracket height a bit – probably around 3-4mm.

      None of these will have a massively negative effect on handling, but it really depends on the situation. The taller front end will almost certainly make the front end more inclined to wheelie on steep climbs, and you’ll likely lose a bit of slow speed maneuverability. The higher bottom bracket may also make the bike feel a bit less planted in corners. But the slacker head angle will probably aid with stability, and the taller front end will likely feel better when descending steep stuff. And, of course, you’ll have a bit more travel, so that helps for smashing into things.

      Long story short: it won’t be terrible. Whether or not the geometry changes are better or worse will really depend on your personal preferences. But the biggest change will be the fork itself – the Fox 34 is a far more capable fork that then Sektor, and will undoubtedly perform far better in pretty much every situation.

  5. Hi,

    Enjoyed to read.

    Question – how would you compare the 5010 C to stampjamper 2012 (26″ of course)?

    appreciate your answer.


  6. This bike is the biggest piece of shit I ever rode in my life. I borrowed this bike from a bike shop and it throws you around and is the harshest bike I ever rode. My YT Capra is way better then this Piece of shit. I even had a Santa Cruz Heckler that was better then this bike. Thanks for nothing Steve Peat!!

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