When Santa Cruz sent over the geometry charts for the new Bronson and 5010 models, I was extremely happy with what I saw. These two bikes have been among our best sellers for a while now, and with the new geometry, they look even better. The changes are absolutely on point; with slacker head angles, shorter chain stays, lower bottom brackets, shorter seat tubes, and longer reach numbers. These two new models also sport boost spacing, and they went to a 31.6 seat tube, which accommodates a 150mm Reverb. Santa Cruz says that the boost spacing helped them get the chain stays shorter and improves the bracing angle of the spokes.
I was already looking forward to a trip to Downieville to ride bikes with the crew from Santa Cruz. The event was called the Gold Rush; attendees included a small group of dealers, Santa Cruz Syndicate riders, media, and Santa Cruz staff. When I found out that we would be riding the new Bronson and 5010 bikes, I felt like a kid at Christmas. The visit started with a presentation of the new bikes, where the Santa Cruz design group went over the changes with us. They mentioned that they tweaked the leverage rate on the rear suspension, and that the suspension improvements might be the most important change to the bikes. They claimed that the new bikes would be more responsive at the top of the travel while providing more support through the mid stroke, and a consistent ramp up. That sounded good to me, but I was skeptical that this would impress me as much as the new fit and geometry based handling characteristics.
The first day, I rode the Bronson (pictured above, in Kalimotxo & Yellow) on a trail called Butcher - we did two runs. Right when I got on the bike, I noticed that the suspension did feel more plush, and seemed to have a more natural feel to it. There are a lot of rocks on Butcher, and the suspension was truly impressive - maybe Santa Cruz was right. It soaked up big bumps and small bumps with control left over. The steady ramp up makes the suspension predictable and facilitates an intuitive rider connection to the bike. There was no wallowing in the mid stroke, or blowing through travel.
As for the new geometry, it is all that I had anticipated it to be. For me (and I think for most other riders as well), the new bikes are going to offer much better fit options. The reach is almost an inch longer, which allows for the use of a shorter stem, and the shorter seat tube allows the rider to choose a size based on reach without compromising stand over or dropper post travel. The slacker head angle, and lower bottom bracket improve high speed stability, and bring cornering characteristics that modern riders have come to cherish. The shorter chain stays keep the bike snappy in turns, and make it easy to pick up the front wheel while riding. The fit was everything I hoped it would be, and I did not feel cramped up while pedaling with the 50mm stem that was on the bike. I was immediately at home on the new Bronson. It reminded me of my Nomad, but with even better suspension, and a shade more snappy and efficient.
The next day, I got to ride the new 5010 (pictured, in Process Blue). I had a 5010 last year, and it was one of my favorite bikes. The new 5010 has all the same design upgrades as the Bronson, and it shows in the ride. The 5010 is a short travel ripper that will put a smile on the face of both DH shredders and XC speedsters alike.
The trip left me with a distinct impression that the changes to these two bikes are well beyond the typical incremental refinement. This is a significant leap forward. We hope to have the new models for demo within a month or so, and some of these bikes have already hit the sales floor.
If you have not been to Downieville, you need to get up there. The trail system is legendary, and fun on just about any bike. While you are there, connect with the good people at Yuba Expeditions. They can shuttle you to the trailhead, provide local knowledge, fix your bike, and they are the hub of local trail stewardship. You can also soak in the crisp clean river after your ride, and enjoy the lack of open container laws.
2016 Santa Cruz 5010 Geometry Chart
All measurements reflect installation of a fork with a 519mm axle-to-crown height.
|Top Tube Length||22.68"||23.54"||24.45"||25.75"|
|Seat Tube Length||15.55"||16.54"||17.72"||19.49"|
|Head Tube Angle||67°||67°||67°||67°|
|Seat Tube Angle||73.8°||73.8°||73.8°||73.8°|
|Head Tube Length||3.94"||4.33"||4.72"||5.12"|