Santa Cruz Bicycles 5010 2.0 Carbon R1 Complete Mountain Bike - 2017

Abuse the trail.

Though it's got a made-for-abuse NX and Aeffect drivetrain, Santa Cruz's 5010 2.0 Carbon R Complete Mountain Bike's real story is the completely overhauled geometry and extra 5mm of travel. The changes distinguishing the 5010 2.0 from the previous 5010 model translate to a longer, lower, and slacker geometry combined with a more aggressive pedaling posture. The bike exhibits better handling and more speed over everything from root-latticed descents to rocky cruxes and any amount of XC hardpack in between. If the drivetrain is spec'd to absorb trail racing abuse, then the new frame is built to dish it out.

The big geometry changes accounting for the 2.0 series are in the head and seat tubes. They're slacker and steeper, respectively, with the head tube losing a whole degree, from 68 to 67, bringing it in line with the previous Bronson model. As you can imagine, the change is a drastic one, completely blowing up our own expectations for how much crunch a "trail" bike is equipped to handle. The steepened seat tube is equally drastic, though in a different way, since it puts the rider's hips closer to the bottom bracket and makes it easier to stay on top of the pedal stroke while climbing or burning worms across fast flats. The 5010 2.0 also has a longer reach, lower bottom bracket, 5mm more travel, increased dropper range, stubbier chainstays, and a wider rear axle. That pile of alterations mean that it pedals harder, takes bigger bites out of terrain, and provides a wider range of saddle up/saddle down dropper goodness for aggressively tackling grades in both directions.

The VPP suspension also got hit by the redesign hammer. In addition to an extra 5mm of travel, the new VPP's two, counter-rotating links both sit higher in the chassis. The tuning has also been revised. Where the old suspension curve described a deep "U," the new curve resembles a flattened check mark, with less dramatic ramping on either side of the sag point. The results are that, during the initial stroke, VPP now boasts increased small bump compliance to keep the tires glued to the trail for more traction across lumpy trails and root lattices. It also maintains its predecessor's firm feel during accelerations while jockeying for position in a mass start or a finishing sprint. The ramp-up arc doesn't dramatically alter as the shock compresses, so the pedaling platform stays consistent across travel, with less wallowing, bob, and bottom-outs—even while the axle's path turns rearward as travel increases to absorb big hits.

Santa Cruz's Carbon C frame construction remains unchanged, so the 5010 2.0 enjoys the same durability and stiffness of previous generations. Santa Cruz uses a single layup for both triangles instead of a jigsaw puzzle of individually-cured carbon tubes, allowing the engineers to wrap the fibers continuously around structurally important junctures like the head tube and bottom bracket. This continuous wrapping strengthens the frame, dissipates the force from impacts, and more efficiently channels pedal input. Efficiency, durability, and even a touch of weight loss compared to building with individual tubes—the advantages of Santa Cruz's construction methods go some way toward eliding the differences between Carbon C and Carbon CC while also setting the Nomad even further apart from its peers.

  • A do-it-all trail bike for recreation and racing
  • 5in of the latest VPP suspension design
  • Slacker, longer geometry than the previous 5010
  • Extended travel and relocated links inspired by enduro rigs
  • Boost thru-axles increases stiffness and improve tracking
  • Santa Cruz carbon is the industry benchmark
  • SRAM's NX drivetrain absorbs trail abuse
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