deniz merdano santa cruz 5010 juliana furtado 40
FIRST LOOK

2023 Santa Cruz 5010 MX

Words Deniz Merdano
Photos Deniz Merdano - Unless noted
Date Sep 7, 2022
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Editor's note: Today, Santa Cruz and Juliana are concurrently releasing the 5010 MX and Furtado, respectively. As with past models, geo is the same (a size M Santa Cruz has the same numbers as a size M Juliana) but spec, shock tunes, colours, and contact points differ. We worked with Santa Cruz and Juliana to have coverage of both bikes for launch day, to be followed up in the future with more detailed reviews. Below are Deniz Merdano's first impressions of the Santa Cruz 5010 MX. For Karin's thoughts on the Juliana Furtado, you can head over here. For complete details on the new bikes, including geo, spec, pricing, and photos, you can go here.


2023 Santa Cruz 5010 MX

Back in Oakridge, Oregon during the recent Santa Cruz Hightower launch, I was pulled aside to a shady spot behind the demo trailer. The idea was to trick me into riding another "soon to be released bike" from Santa Cruz. The 5010 was being revamped and they already had production models ready to party on the wicked Oakridge terrain in June. I was already jelling really well with the Hightower at this point in the media camp. 'Why change a good thing?' I said to those that were trying to lure me on to a new bike. "Just freaking do it", they told me.

A medium, matte grey 2023 Santa Cruz 5010 emerged from the back of the trailer. I sat on it and everything felt immediately familiar. It was like I was still sitting on the Hightower that I had been spending time on for the previous couple of days. Set the shock to my body weight and the 140mm RockShox Pike to 75 psi and off we went to ride some trails.

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2023 Santa Cruz 5010 MX in Gloss Red.

This pretty looking bike is visually inline with all the current offerings of the Santa Cruz brand: stout down tube with Glovebox storage compartment, low slung top tube for exceptional standover height, new gen VPP suspension design that tucks the shock in the lowest possible spot on the frame. There may not be clear visual clues to what Santa Cruz model you are looking at but there is no mistake that you are indeed looking at a Santa Cruz. Generally known for their fun colour combinations, the Gloss Red delivers on this front while the matte grey has a classy finish that I personally preferred. If I was being honest, the Juliana Furtado that mimics the design of this 5010 has the upper hand when it comes to colours. That Aquamarine Furtado is a sight to be seen.

Screen Shot 2022-09-03 at 7.41.35 AM

Geometry Chart

Screen Shot 2022-09-03 at 7.40.58 AM

Reduced anti-squat (AS) values from the Gen 4 5010 - a 16% reduction to be exact.

Screen Shot 2022-09-03 at 7.41.08 AM

Progressive in a linear fashion, with reduced AS this should lead to a softer off the top feel.

The ingredients that make the 5010 and rest of the Santa Cruz bikes lovable are still there.

  • 2.5" tire clearance
  • Boost 148 Spacing
  • Post mount 200mm front/180mm rear rotors
  • Threaded BB
  • Universal Derailleur Hanger
  • Lifetime Bearing replacements
  • Lifetime Frame and Wheel Warranty (original owner)

There are 8 build kits in the line up, with two of them being aluminum. This is pretty exciting on all fronts. Big brands that offer alloy options seem to do well in this segment and Santa Cruz did not skip a beat with offering an entry level option.

What would have been killer is a higher end alloy option that comes in around 6000 CAD. At the time of writing, I was not presented with MSRPs for the 5010 models, but we'll update those as soon as we have them.

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It's a good looking bike from all angles.

Apart from the 29er front wheel, the geometry of the 5010 received a few tweaks too. This will be received with mixed reactions but the change was necessary to make the already fun bike a little more capable in a wider variety of terrain.

The head angle was slackened to 64.9° in low mode for the Gen 5 from the 65.4° of the out going 5010. The seat tube was steepened to 77.1° in the low setting. Reach for a medium in low mode is a spot on 456mm for me, and the size specific rear center is 434mm. The size-specific rear center is a Santa Cruz specialty that changes in 3mm increments between sizes. You won't be getting boundary pushing long rear centers here on a play bike, and that's perfect.

The 115mm head tube on a medium is an exciting choice. On a shorter travel bike like this, it allows for a wicked high front end for attacking the steeps. Perhaps not the bike's primary intentions but nice to have a tall front end in my neck of the woods. 20mm rise bars look right at home above a 15mm stack of spacers. This would not work as well for me if it wasn't for the 115mm head tube.

Suspension

Suspension kinematics can be very touch and go for a shorter travel platform like the 5010. You want a progressive leverage curve but you don't have a lot of sag to play with. 130mm travel can be eaten up rapidly if the initial part of the travel is too soft. The 50mm stroke eyeleted shock is nice to see. There are no space constraints, which means no trunnion mount shocks. 210x50 is a common size if you want to use something else. Coil, perhaps?

Rockshox's Super Deluxe Ultimate does a great job staying active and offering platform to push off of. The bike stays playful and lively, eager to move in and out of travel. The 5010 is a bike that begs to be ridden with a wide open rebound. We'll see how it does on the chunky, awkward North Shore terrain I will be piloting it through for the next while.

Is it a mini Bronson? a Micro Nomad? I am not sure. It's definitely towards the play side of of the spectrum than the "race" side, but that didn't stop me from setting a couple of climbing PRs on the first few rides. The suspension feels active on roads, but provides decent traction on the loose dusty switchbacks. The shorter rear center and small rear wheel should make easy work of uphill switchbacks. I won't be reaching down for the lockout lever all that often. First of all it is impossibly far away and secondly, I don't climb on the road much. I don't mind a slight bob on singletrack climbing if it means I will be maintaining ground contact with the rear tire.

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Reserve HD 30 Wheels front and back.

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Industry 9 1/1 hubs.

What I like

I like the Reserve HD 30 Wheels. I have tested them - thoughts here - and like them quite a bit. They are responsive and light. Backed with a lifetime warranty. Laced to Industry 9 1/1 hubs they are quick in engagement and easy to work on.

It's great to see a Maxxis DHR II front and rear combo with a MaxxGrip front. The EXO casing is fine for this category of bike and helps keep the overall weight down - which is 32 lbs including pedals (Time Speciale 8). The 2022 RockShox Pike and Super Deluxe are excellent performers. At 140mm front, and 130mm rear the suspension needs to do its job right to keep pointing you in the right direction. They work well with just the right amount of adjustability. The XO1 AXS derailleur is a sweet piece of engineering that shifts great no matter the conditions. The 10-50t cassette is good to see as I dislike the jump on the 52-tooth version. A 32T chainring is on the toothier side for around here but this lightweight bike gets away with it just fine.

What I don't love

The 150mm Rockshox Reverb and the 1x lever feels archaic on this bike. Hydraulic actuation is fast and instant but I know the fate awaiting that seatpost. An AXS version or any other cable-actuated cartridge post would have been better than fine.

The tube purse is useless for anything but a tubolito or an aerothan tube. Keep other things in it... get creative.

Organic Guide Pads on the front. I get it, front rotors don't heat up as much as the rears. Even less so when they are 200mm up front, so to keep noise to a minimum, the organic pad was chosen. They seem to be doing OK for the first few rides. I will probably change to metallic pads on the next service interval.

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I definitely won't be stealthy through the woods on the red Santa Cruz 5010.

deniz merdano santa cruz 5010

Oakridge had some tricky terrain to navigate. The 5010 was not bothered. Photo: Ian Stowe

After a few pad-glazing laps on the 5010 in Oakridge, I made a firm request to have one of these delivered for testing right away. Ask nicely and you shall receive. I am very much into this platform for a long term tester. Quick lap rocket ship or a skatepark/DJ jibber. I can't wait to put a ton of miles and smiles on the 5010. I think we'll get along well. I will ride it back to back with the Hightower I have in the stable as well to pick them apart and find similarities and differences.

Stay tuned and let me know what you are curious about with the new Santa Cruz 5010 MX.

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Comments

sweaman2
Sweaman2
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+3 Andrew Major Tjaard Breeuwer Andy Eunson

Any photos of the XS with 29er wheel?  I'm kind of surprised and kind of not surprised that they haven't done a pure 27.5 for at least the smallest bike. 

Pleased to see some significant increases in stack to go along with the increases in reach....

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

No photos of individual sizes were available in the media package. If i get a hold of one, I'll make sure to post it!

An XS with dual 27s do make sense though. I agree

Reply

Brigham_Rupp
Brigham_Rupp
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+2 Niels van Kampenhout Deniz Merdano

Best thing about this is noting that you got to ride Oakridge. Such a fun area to visit and ride.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

Can't wait to go back!

Reply

rockford
rockford
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 BeesIntheTrap

The question I get more often than any other these days: "what is the benefit of going mullet?"  Like 3 people last week.  More than "what do you think about e-bikes" these days!

My answer is generally a solid shoulder shrug, combined with "cause it's different...?".

Based on your initial ride, if someone was looking for a new bike, why would you steer them to a mullet?  

I have answers for 27.5" vs 29" having ridden lots of both.  But I still have yet to get a leg over a mullet bike, and I can't infer what the main pros vs the main cons would be.  The rollover argument doesn't hold water with me having ridden some 27.5" bikes of late that roll pretty well.  29" rolls better, but not enough for that to be high on my pros and cons lists.

Reply

Kelownakona
Kelownakona
3 weeks, 4 days ago
0

Yep looks good value for a 'skatepark/DJ jibber'.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

We all like the think a Santa Cruz is good value when the price hasn't been listed.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

Price list was finalized sometime around midnight last night. I'll update as soon as we have it in hand.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

2 schools of thought;

- This is your only bike, which it's capable of being, and saves you $1500 on a decent DJ setup you don't have to buy anymore. Thats good value

- This is not your only trail bike as you have a long travel enduro setup, and you buy the alloy version to hang out with your kid/buddies/partner at the pump track and trails and not risk it all on a twitchy single purpose dirt jumper. 

I can see the value for some people and there are probably more of those people in the world riding bikes than us north shore OGs.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+5 dave_f grambo Andrew Major cxfahrer Timer

I foresee $1500 worth of damage incurred on this bike for every dirt jump session.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

Heading up to Loutet this weekend. Guaranteed my body will have more damage than this bike

Reply

Brigham_Rupp
Brigham_Rupp
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

In my experience no full suspension functions anything like a legit DJ bike, at least in any situation where a DJ bike is actually warranted (pump tracks and proper dirt jumps). Am I mistaken?

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

You are not wrong. But for jump trails and some dirt jumps a short travel bike like this can act like a slopestyle bike. Sometimes. I am planning to find out.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

Hehehe. I like the cut of your jib, kelownakona

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

My mind is boggled by the relatively long CS for a 275er, Boost hub spacing and small tire clearance at 2.5". If I was going to ride a Moo-Leet I'd want a higher volume rear tire to make up for some of the downsides to running a smaller rear wheel.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

I think this moolet wants to go fast on hardpack trails. Hence the non priority of massive tire clearance in the rear.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+2 Velocipedestrian Tjaard Breeuwer

You can always run narrower tires if you want to. No point denying customers reasonable options.

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
Tjaard Breeuwer
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+1 Andrew Major

I see what you mean Vic. With 27.5 wheels, boost hub, 1x drivetrain and not super short chainstays, it surprises me that they couldn’t get more clearance out back.

I think 2.3 or 2.4 suits the general idea of the bike, but it also seems like a very versatile platform, so it would be nice to have those options.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

Here is the rear tire clearance, im positive even a 2.6 will fit

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

I see the 29er up front as the downside on this "play" bike (at least the previous generation was known as such). But it is silly not to give more clearance, either way.

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

I'm not sure because I've never ridden a mullet bike but, thinking out loud, the downsides you have in mind may be seen as upsides from the perspective of "business in front, party in the back"?

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

Longer reach with shorter top tube in my size equals cramped position. I don’t care for the new Santa Cruz geometry at all.

Reply

flattire2
Brian Tuulos
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

Slide your saddle back, bingo more TT length  :O

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

It’s 2 cm more reach that I like and 1.5 cm less tt than I like and I already have my seat pretty far back but not all the way.

Reply

dubxion
Christian Strachan
3 weeks, 4 days ago
-2 Grif Kelownakona Timer Joseph Crabtree

Interested to hear about long-shocking possibilities, if you’re allowed that in these reviews!

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+2 Timer Tjaard Breeuwer

I don't know why I'd want to long shock this bike as the bronson is right there ...

Reply

dubxion
Christian Strachan
3 weeks, 3 days ago
0

From previous long-shock experience with the 5010, you get a nice light, responsive ride with a bit smoother rear travel without the bruiser ride characteristics of the Bronson. This might be more along the lines of what a Transition Scout is, so I do need to throw a leg over that sometime, especially since the next version will probably be MX as well.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

I am actually confused as to why Bronson even exists. Not enough travel to get super gnarly on an d not peppy like this little bike. 

It would be between this and a Nomad for me.

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
Tjaard Breeuwer
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+3 Andrew Major Niels van Kampenhout Timer

I am not familiar with the Bronson, but still that category of bike seems to make sense.

My daughter and I both ride Stumpy Evo, which is the same travel as the Bronson at 150/160mm. Hers is set up mullet. 

Enough travel to hit some chunkier trails at speed and have some more of a safety net, while still being that much livelier and more fun on smother and slower trails (than somehting like an Enduro/Nomad/Megatower).

Reply

DogVet
Hugo Williamson
3 weeks, 2 days ago
0

Agreed, trails in the UK have been getting a lot of traffic in the dry summer we have had, big holes appearing in the trails. So whilst a 140/130 trail bike will be superb fun, if one has the skill, fitness and energy to hop, skip and jump down the trail.

My 160/145 mullet, is no heavier, almost as flickable, and saves my old bones when I get it all wrong!!

Kenny
Kenny
3 weeks, 2 days ago
+1 BeesIntheTrap

It would make more sense if the 5010 was still 275.

Reply

jhill1
Jesse Hill
3 weeks, 1 day ago
0

I actually have been thinking about this lately too.  At first the Bronson was a 150/150 bike while the nomad was 160/160 then they bumped the nomad to 170/170 and I feel they did this because they had to differentiate it against the Bronson.  I got one N4 to replace my N2 and was ok with it because it still out climbed the N2 but really didn’t need 170/170.  Then they bump the Bronson to 160/150 to make it more capable.  Now I’m on the N6 but every time I get a new one I think do I really need a nomad and maybe I should just get the Bronson but the funny part is I use more rear travel (almost all of it) and yet never really bottom the 170 fork.  Which really makes me think could they drop both and bring back a true AM 160/160 MX (like a Patrol) and would that be more playful than Nomad and more capable than Bronson?  Just makes me curious if they could condense them back into one bike.

Reply

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