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Deep Loam #5 - The 5010 v4

Welcome to catching your greatest ever dirt wave all over again. The berm shralping, turn melting, lip popping, endorphin releasing dawn-to-dusk thrashing pocket rocket has been updated, so join us as we take a tour through the latest version of the bike that has always grasped onto our heart strings the hardest, now on version 4, this is the new Santa Cruz 5010!

Ever since its release in 2013 there has always been something about the 5010 that winched us in, it is the bike for the rider. It has bred a new form of creativity which has been showcased by the 50/01 crew and taken a host of riders from all backgrounds and riding styles to all corners of the globe. The changes to Version 4 not only expand the canvas of creativity further but also enhance the bikes ability to tackle any form of grin igniting technical trail riding.

So, what’s new?

Most obviously for version 4, the 5010 has followed suit with the rest of the Santa Cruz range (bar the Blur) and embraced the lower link driven suspension platform originally derived from the world cup winning V10 downhill bike. Over the last few years, beginning with the Nomad, the entire range has made the switch. Driving the shock from the lower link allows for the suspension to be tuned easier. This allows the bike to follow a true progressive curve, whilst also keeping the weight low and centered to further increase stability and overall performance.

Retaining its signature 130mm travel the 5010 is wearing this new guise well too! The progression rate has been increased – on the trail this makes for more ramp up, allowing for harder charging, longer pops and bigger drops, the extra progression adds support amplifying the corner exploding attitude – everything you put into the 5010 is translated into a new level of trail charging speed generation.

To simplify, this new suspension platform is an efficient fun-time creator and energetic day-long mile muncher!

All 5010s are now shipped with 140mm travel forks too. This provides just enough ‘get me out of the sh*t’ reassurance without losing the fun promoting ride a hardcore short travel bike provides.

With a dose of the longer, lower, and slacker treatment the overall confidence levels have been boosted. The 5010 now feels more stable at all speeds and fully cemented in the corners, regardless of the gradient.

Another big and exciting change for this new generation is the switch to frame-size specific chainstay lengths. As the reach grows so does the rear centre. This means regardless of the frame size, every rider is getting the same handling experience, the bike retains consistent balance as it grows and results in higher confidence levels. This varying in lengths is not done by a different swing arm either, as a matter of fact all rear ends are the same. The chainstay length is changed by moving the pivot points and shock mounts in the front triangle, to tailor a different rear centre size for each bike. The chainstay lengths are still short across the board though, and this means the trademark snappy and flicky traits are still calling as loud as ever.

Santa Cruz 5010 Flip Chip

Flip the chip

Minor geometry tweaks can make all the difference on the trail. By rotating the flip chip in the lower link, the version 4 platform can be tweaked for different riding locations and tyre widths. Running 2.6 rubber? Place it in the low position to keep the BB acceptably low. Riding some technical lines? Run in the Hi setting for that all-important ground clearance. Hitting the local bike park? Use the lower position to gain the slackest head angle and a berm destroying low BB. Heading out on a multi-day bike packing epic? The High position will provide a marginally steeper, high efficiency seatangle and added crank arm clearance for technical ascents.


The 5010 is built for the world. The confident terrain conquering nature will let you explore either Hampshire, any trail or lunch time ghetto pallet launch ramp session. To prevent you missing out on the good times Santa Cruz has introduced the switch to Sram’s universal and industry wide accepted derailleur hanger. Whilst the unique design of the Sram UDH should prevent the worst from happening, if it does, regardless of where you are, sourcing a new hanger from the closest LBS should be easy.

Santa cruz 5010v4
Santa Cruz 5010 Shock tunnel

Shock adaptation

Whilst we always recommend the Santa Cruz selected stock shock to access the best performance, there are exceptions. The new 5010 chassis will accept any shock on the market. From light weight inline air shocks to highly adjustable gravity focused coil sprung units the new girthy shock tunnel will not flinch, regardless of what you throw its way. Whilst all coil shocks are accepted due to the short travel nature, we find air variant to perform best. The new design is progressive though so if you are a diehard coil fanatic the options are endless – we might just recommend you bump up a spring rate to prevent any overly harsh bottom outs. But like I say, we are huge fans of the performance provided by RockShox’s premium Super Deluxe shocks featured as standard – they are picked by Santa Cruz for a reason!

Jim’s ride thoughts

Coming into this I was a little nervous. It’s always the way when a new version of a bike that you have such strong feelings for is released. It makes you think, can it get any better? Can it make you smile as much or fuel the big ol’ fire that makes you want to throw your kit on and go riding at every opportunity? But every single time, somehow, the latest version always blows your expectations out of the water and the newest 5010 does this to the extreme!

My first ride on the 5010 was a local ride from my door, it features a section of road riding before heading into some woods with tons of features to session, perfect for a post work evening rip. It was immediately apparent that the V4 5010 has a firm grip on its ancestor’s legendary ethos – right from the off the bike encouraged me to manual between bumps in the tarmac road and hit every side hit optional extra going, literally laughing to myself as I rode to the trails – It’s Straight up fun, 100% of the time!

Arriving at the trail head the bike naturally made me want to front wheel pivot 180 degrees ready to drop in for the run (it is the little things!). Due to the new shorter seat tube length the saddle is now properly out of the way when dropped only adding to the playful feel whilst reminding you of your distant BMX background. The latest modernised geometry situates you in a position that instils the credence to turn the dial past 11!

Hit the first turn, push your feet into the corners hotspot and eject out of the other side with more speed and a bigger smile – this feeling is addictive! Linking turns becomes one smooth movement and the bikes contagious playful feel allows for you to spot trail lumps, bumps and pops you have never noticed before - It’s BMX like flick ability and powder skiing fluidity with bucket loads of modern trail bike confidence.

From the first ride its apparent that the 5010’s capabilities and terrain attack ability has grown but the fun smile-forming traits are still firmly welded into this little bikes mentality.

Back up and repeat!

You pick it, we build it.

Exclusively Carbon, the 5010 has builds available in both Santa Cruz’s renowned carbon C and CC variants. The CC frame is available as frame only too making for the perfect base to begin your dream custom build.

The build kit.

While the amount of model lines has been reduced, the new trimmed selection of build kits for the V4 5010 takes the ‘everything you want and nothing you do not’ approach. Beginning with the more basic but trusty C R kit build, some middle ground (S and XT) choices down the centre then topping out at the uber refined, light and energetic X01 Reserve bike. Whatever the damands and must haves we have a 5010 to suit you.


Santa Cruz 5010 Carbon C XT Kit

Calling all Shimano fans! Fresh kid on the block and breaking the Sram line-up mould is the new Shimano XT M8100 equipped bike.

Wearing the perfect Maxxis DHR tyre profile combination (now with the hyper grippy MaxxGrip compound up front!) are sturdy 30mm wide rims built around Dtswiss 350 hubs for good engagement and top-notch rolling speed.

This is also the first bike in the range that see’s the use of a RockShox Pike fork, paired with the Super Deluxe shock it makes for suspension that works in perfect harmony. It is also possible to add the Reserve carbon wheel upgrade to the C XT kit bike – the ride quality improvement and legendary lifetime warranty makes for a solid investment.


Santa Cruz 5010 Carbon CC X01 Reserve Kit

The X01 Reserve carbon wheel equipped 5010 is the top-spec offering for the new 5010. It’s the lightest and most refined build available – it’s the icing on the cake to 5010’s already special formula.

Featuring the new 520% range 10-52 Sram eagle cassette the 5010 has both vertical extremities covered. Paired with the latest carbon cranks and X01 groupset from Sram it not only looks divine but works better than ever too.

Sram’s excellent new G2 RSC brakes slow things down with unrivalled consistency and control.

Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon wheels are also an optional extra here. The wheelsets uses the highest quality carbon rims on the market. With their damped, buzz muting ride, incredible strength and no quibbles lifetime warranty makes for uncompromised performance on the trail.

Custom Build?

For model year 2021 ‘Off the shelf’ bikes are as good as they’ve ever been, but if the components you want aren’t available on a stock build or you’re just looking for that special aroma a custom built bike has the options are limitless.

As we previously mentioned the 5010 is available frame only, this leaves the doors truly wide open. Due to the versatility and light weight design there are several paths we could go down when building a 5010 from the ground up. We can work together to build a bike that perfectly fits your demands. Looking for a more trail orientated build? Then fast rolling tyres, lightweight componentry and premium trail riding focused parts are the way to go.

Looking to build a 5010 as a tough as nails bike park roasting jib machine then we can venture into hardcore parts avenues. In the spirit of 50to01 we can use Double Down tyres, riser bars, a Fox 36 fork and even Sram’s DH specific drivetrain to create the perfect do anything you want to it shredder.

Ultimately, we are geared up for any custom build and our experienced sales team contains the knowledge to steer you in the right direction. Whatever the demands or wants for your new dream build, give us a shout, we’re here to help and the sky is the limit.


How does it compare?

The Tallboy

The Tallboy is the razor-sharp 29’’ wheeled sibling, 120mm rear travel paired with a 130mm fork and a very similar build kit– if you like the sound of the 5010 and you’re looking for a shred-ready playful bike that rolls on 29’’ wheels the Tallboy could be for you.

The Bronson

The Bronson shares the same 27.5’’ wheel size but with a jump up in travel to 150mm it’s leaning more towards hard trail/enduro riding. If you think you may require the extra travel the Bronson could be the bike for you. Hit the link below to read the Bronson deep loam series. here.

Lifetime Warranty.

Any option you choose is covered by Santa Cruz' Lifetime Warranty on both the frame and bearings. This also covers the Carbon Reserve wheels if specced on your new Hightower.

For more information or to take a look through all the build options for the Santa Cruz Hightower, you can also contact us by phone, email, live chat or pop in store for a coffee and take a look at the bikes we have built in both of our showrooms.

We live and breathe bikes and are lucky enough to ride & test everything we sell in our stores. 

We pride ourselves on the knowledge we have and being able to advise people on the best possible stuff is why we create the Deep Loam Articles, to pass on the collective information that we have here at Stif on our favourite bikes & products.

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