Santa Cruz 5010 CC X01 RSV review

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We’ve not seen any updates to the 5010 since 2018, but 2020 heralded a big change for the popular, playful trail bike. Like many of the other full suspension bikes in the Santa Cruz line-up (with the exception of the Blur), the 5010 has moved to the low-slung VPP layout, whereby the lower of the two co-rotating links now drive the rear shock.

Santa Cruz is offering six full-builds of the 5010 – the cheapest of which starts at £4,099 – plus a frame only option. We loved the old 5010, but how will these changes translate onto the trail?

Santa Cruz 5010 CC X01 RSV frame and suspension details

First and foremost, it’s important to point out that the new 5010 continues to roll on “fun-sized” 650b wheels, as Santa Cruz puts it, but the frame layout for 2021 is entirely different, with the 5010 moving to its latest, low-slung VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) design, where the lower of the two counter-rotating links are now in charge of compressing the rear shock.

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Rear Shock On The Santa Cruz 5010 Cc X01 Rsv Full Suspension Mountain Bike

The suspension design mimcs the rest of Santa Cruz’s full-sus VPP bikes.

Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media There’s 130mm of travel on tap, just as before, but this time around Santa Cruz has manipulated the 5010’s leverage curve and made it more progressive, claiming the bike will now work with both air sprung and coil sprung shocks.

It’s also done away with the initial regressive hump through the first 50mm of the travel (where the leverage ratio increases early in the travel in a bid to increase initial sensitivity) in a bid to boost support too.

Santa Cruz says these changes should make the bike not just easier to set up, but also feel more predictable on the trail. It’s also worth noting that the 130mm of rear wheel travel is now matched to a 140mm travel fork up front, potentially elevating the 5010’s downhill capabilities that bit more.

Santa Cruz 5010 Cc X01 Rsv Full Suspension Mountain Bike

RockShox’ Pike hints that it’s not a full-gas hard-charging rig, but more for playing around and having fun.

Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

Right now, there’s no alloy 5010 option. Instead, Santa Cruz is offering the bike in both its priciest ‘CC’ carbon and cheaper ‘C’ carbon, which is said to be just as strong and stiff, but marginally heavier.

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Thankfully those frames come with a lifetime warranty as standard, and Santa Cruz offers a lifetime bearing replacement policy too, which is great if you’re riding the bike a lot in terrible conditions.

Santa Cruz 5010 Cc X01 Rsv Full Suspension Mountain Bike

There are two types of frame, the more-affordable C and top-spec CC.

Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

There’s also plenty of integrated frame protection in key areas such as along the length of the driveside chainstay, under the down tube/bottom bracket junction as well as the shuttle guard, which is located part-way down the underside of the down tube to protect against tailgate damage, if you like to sling your bike in the back of a pickup truck.

This lot not only helps to protect the frame, but in the case of the chainstay protector, does an admirable job of almost totally silencing chainslap – making for an almost stealth-like ride.

With the shock now in the firing line from rear wheel spray, Santa Cruz has included a small fender-style guard to help keep it as clean as possible.

Other details include internal cable routing, a threaded bottom bracket and, interestingly, the use of SRAM’s Universal Derailleur Hanger – something we’re going to be seeing more and more of over the coming months, which is no bad thing.

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Santa Cruz 5010 CC X01 RSV geometry

Alongside the frame layout changing, the geometry of the 5010 has had a total makeover too, with Santa Cruz stretching and slackening the angles out.

The new size large, for example, has a reach of 475mm compared to the 460mm on the older version. The head angle is now a more relaxed 65.4 degrees (in the low setting), while the seat angle is significantly steeper at 76.8 degrees.

Chainstay lengths are now sized proportionally to frame sizes, meaning as the frame size increases, the rear centre/effective chainstay length grows too. This is in a bid to better balance the rider between the wheels of the bike.

When it comes to numbers, while the extra-small frame sports a chainstay of just 423mm, the extra-large frame offers a 9mm jump to 432mm. The size large seen here has an effective chainstay measurement of 429mm in the high setting.

That All-Important Geometry Flip Chip On The Santa Cruz 5010 Cc X01 Rsv Full Suspension Mountain Bike

That all-important geometry flip chip and integrated mudguard.

Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

You may have picked up on the mention of both high and low settings. That’s because Santa Cruz has included a flip chip at the base of the rear shock that lets you tweak the geometry between these two settings – changing the head angle by 0.3 degrees, the seat angle by 0.4 degrees and bottom bracket height by 4mm.

Not exactly loads, but if you’re sensitive to how your bike feels, you will notice the difference, especially in bottom bracket height.

While Santa Cruz no longer offers a complete build with 2.6in tyres, the 5010 will still accept them. As a result, the bottom bracket has crept up a little in height to 334mm (low setting).


Seat angle (degrees)77.977.677.477.277
Head angle (degrees)65.765.765.765.765.7
Chainstay (cm)42.342.342.642.943.2
Seat tube (cm)373840.54346
Top tube (cm)52.455.558.561.664.6
Head tube (cm)101213.51516.5
Bottom bracket drop (cm)
Bottom bracket height (cm)33.833.833.833.833.8
Wheelbase (mm)1,1281,1621,1931,2241,255
Standover (cm)6970.770.670.470.4
Stack (cm)57.25960.461.863.1
Reach (cm)4042.54547.550


Seat angle (degrees)77.577.27776.876.6
Head angle (degrees)65.465.465.465.465.4
Chainstay (cm)42.442.442.74343.3
Seat tube (cm)373840.54346
Top tube (cm)52.455.658.761.764.7
Head tube (cm)101213.51516.5
Bottom bracket drop (cm)22222
Bottom bracket height (cm)33.433.433.433.433.4
Wheelbase (mm)1,1231,1561,1911,2251,259
Standover (cm)68.670.27069.969.9
Stack (cm)57.459.360.66263.4
Reach (cm)39.742.244.747.249.7

High / Low

Seat angle (degrees)77.9 / 77.577.6 / 77.277.4 / 7777.2 / 76.877 / 76.6
Head angle (degrees)65.7 / 65.465.7 / 65.465.7 / 65.465.7 / 65.465.7 / 65.4
Chainstay (cm)42.3 / 42.442.3 / 42.442.6 / 42.742.9 / 4343.2 / 43.3
Seat tube (cm)37 / 3738 / 3840.5 / 40.543 / 4346 / 46
Top tube (cm)52.4 / 52.455.5 / 55.658.5 / 58.761.6 / 61.764.6 / 64.7
Head tube (cm)10 / 1012 / 1213.5 / 13.515 / 1516.5 / 16.5
Bottom bracket drop (cm)1.6 / 21.6 / 21.6 / 21.6 / 21.6 / 2
Bottom bracket height (cm)33.8 / 33.433.8 / 33.433.8 / 33.433.8 / 33.433.8 / 33.4
Wheelbase (mm)1128 / 11231162 / 11561193 / 11911224 / 12251255 / 1259
Standover (cm)69 / 68.670.7 / 70.270.6 / 7070.4 / 69.970.4 / 69.9
Stack (cm)57.2 / 57.459 / 59.360.4 / 60.661.8 / 6263.1 / 63.4
Reach (cm)40 / 39.742.5 / 42.245 / 44.747.5 / 47.250 / 49.7

Santa Cruz 5010 CC X01 RSV specifications

The 5010 CC X01 RSV is the top-tier offering with a price tag to reflect this. That means both the fork and shock (Pike and Super Deluxe, respectively) are the fanciest ‘Ultimate’ offerings from RockShox.

The Pike fork gets the ever-impressive Charger 2.1 RC2 damper, which has plenty of external (high- and low-speed compression plus rebound damping) and useful adjustment. Fork travel has been upped to 140mm, too.

The Santa Cruz 5010 Cc X01 Rsv Full Suspension Mountain Bike Has Sram X01 Kit

This model’s kitted out with SRAM’s X01 kit

Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

SRAM (owners of RockShox) also supplies its G2 brakes, which offer enough punch and power for the type of riding that the 5010 is designed for, though they’ll not feel quite as capable as the marginally heavier Code brakes on steeper descents, especially in the wet.

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The X01 Eagle transmission uses the widest range 10-52t SRAM cassette, which should allow you to ride up pretty much any climb without needing to get off and push.

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Maxxis Minion Dhrii Tyres On The Santa Cruz 5010 Cc X01 Rsv Full Suspension Mountain Bike

The Maxxis Minion DHRII tyres are a safe bet.

Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media Included on this particular build are Santa Cruz’s Reserve 30 wheels which, you guessed it, have an internal width of 30mm. If you’re keen on the build but not the price, Santa Cruz offers the same setup minus the Reserve wheels, which will save you £1,100.

These fancy wheels are wrapped in Maxxis Minion DHR II tyres, with the sticky 3C MaxxGrip compound up front and the slightly faster rolling 3C MaxxTerra rubber on the rear. Both use the lightweight EXO casing and are 2.4in wide.

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Santa Cruz'S Own-Brand Grips On The Santa Cruz 5010 Cc X01 Rsv Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Santa Cruz’s own-brand grips look comfy.

Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

A 800mm carbon Santa Cruz bar is paired with a nicely finished Enduro Mk3 stem from Brugtec, while the ever impressive own-brand Palmdale grips finish the cockpit off nicely.

Santa Cruz 5010 CC X01 RSV ride impressions

I rode the 5010 on a wide variety of trails while testing it. These included fun, flowing jump trails, steep, technical natural terrain and faster, bike park style tracks with long rocky sections and high-load turns as well as decent sized jumps.

One thing I do need to point out is that due to bike availability at the time of the launch, I was sent a size large. At 5ft 8in, I generally ride medium Santa Cruz bikes. Thankfully due to the lower seat tubes found on modern trail bikes, and switching to a 150mm travel (rather than a 170mm travel post found on the size large as standard), I had zero issues riding the size large 5010.

Santa Cruz 5010 CC X01 RSV climbing performance

Santa Cruz supplied my 5010 with a handy setup guide, detailing fork and shock pressures, as well suspension settings. While the spring pressures seemed to work well for me, I did need to add a little more in the way of rebound damping. Aside from that, getting the 140mm travel fork in sync with the 130mm back-end was incredibly easy.

A taller head tube (and it is tall at 150mm on the large) and an increase in fork travel bumps the front end of the 5010 up a little compared to the previous version.

Thankfully, Santa Cruz leaves plenty of the fork’s steerer tube available to shift the stem up or down (down in my case) to perfect bar height.

Cyclist Riding Santa Cruz 5010 Cc X01 Rsv Full Suspension Mountain Bike

First impressions of the 5010 are positive.

Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

On the climbs, the 5010 feels incredibly energetic and when applying power through the pedals, the back end of the bike behaves impeccably, with next to no unnecessary movement through the suspension as you make your way up the hill.

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That relatively steep seat angle and roomy 616mm effective top-tube help to create an efficient and roomy position on the bike too, and I never struggled to get comfy, even on lengthy uphill drags. Plus, thanks to that massive 52t on the new X01 Eagle transmission, it feels as if almost any climb is manageable.

Because the back end remains nice and calm while you’re spinning upwards, I never felt the need to use the low-speed compression lever on the shock to firm things up.

That meant that when I did encounter rough sections on climbs, the 5010’s back end was able to move enough to help eke out traction wherever possible and keep the rear wheel gripping.

Santa Cruz 5010 CC X01 RSV descending performance

As you begin to descend, it soon becomes clear just how the 5010 has changed. The stretched-out geometry is certainly a contributing factor to just how capable the new bike is compared to its predecessor, especially as speeds pick up.

There’s an increase in stability and composure that spurs you on to simply ride as fast as you can. But while the suspension can handle its fair share of abuse in the really rough stuff, plough into a series of successive hits and you’ll soon be reminded that there’s just 130mm of travel available.

Of course, this isn’t designed to be a full blown enduro-rig and that’s no bad thing.

Cyclist In Blue Top Riding The Santa Cruz 5010 Cc X01 Rsv Full Suspension Mountain Bike

The taut, responsive feel through the frame makes for ridiculously sharp handling.

Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

The new 5010 might not be quite as restless or fidgety as the old bike, but it’s still an easy bike to throw around and remains a serious amount of fun on the trail.

The taut, responsive feel through the frame makes for ridiculously sharp handling and it feels quick and easy to zip from turn to turn, or loft the front wheel up and over anything that gets in the way.

There’s a confidence to the bike as you lean it into loose corners, with the predictable tyres gripping then finally breaking traction in a very controlled manner.

Cyclist Riding Santa Cruz 5010 Cc X01 Rsv Full Suspension Mountain Bike

The 5010 is best ridden with a playful attitude.

Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media

Support through the rear suspension makes for a bike that likes to be pumped through every undulation in the trail, where it quickly picks up speed and manages to maintain momentum well.

It doesn’t have quite the same level of sensitivity or comfort as something like the Transition Scout when slamming through root spreads or rock gardens, but the more supportive ride does add to the 5010’s urgency when being loaded from one turn to the next, or when being popped and hopped through a line of jumps.

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Yes, this particular model costs a lot of cash, but thankfully there’s a number of cheaper options available and I’ve no doubt that’ll they’ll be just as grin inducing as this one.

Santa Cruz 5010 CC X01 RSV bottom line

There’s simply no getting away from the fact that the 5010 remains a seriously fun bike to ride.

It’s arguably not quite as playful as the older version, but its capabilities when it comes to harder, faster riding have without a doubt been increased, which is no bad thing when you’re looking for a great all-rounder.


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