Riding Mountains on the New Santa Cruz Bicycles Bronson and 5010 in Los Angeles

Tyler wanted to get a limited slip differential installed in his Volvo 142. The problem is, Tyler lives in Santa Cruz where he works for Santa Cruz Bicycles in the design department, and the Volvo experts were down in Long Beach. No one wants to drive from Santa Cruz to Los Angeles on the weekend, and the shop was closed then anyway, so what’s a dude with a slick Volvo to do? The genius of this whole ordeal was that Tyler, and David – two design department dudes at Santa Cruz Bicycles – were able to convince their bosses to let them ride the newest bike models down in Los Angeles, allowing Tyler’s car to get worked on while we shredded some of the area’s best trails. I’m sure it didn’t hurt to have me offer to show them around, ride the new bikes and obviously tell a story about the whole shindig. Sure, this is about the bikes, as much as it is about showing Tyler and David Los Angeles’ best trails in a condensed, two-day experience.

Playing host in Los Angeles is as much fun as it is hard work. Hard in the sense that these are my local trails that I ride quite frequently, so seeing the “new” in the familiar can be photographically challenging. Add to that, technically I’m injured. I found out right before the guys rolled into town that my pinky was indeed broken from a collision with a Prius’ side view mirror one day while I was riding home. That incident happened almost a month prior. Bummer for me, my bike control, and the potential to have a full-on shred fest, but I was so excited to ride the new 5010, so I sucked it up, taped my finger, and clipped in…

After a shakedown ride on El Prieto – the quickest, easiest to access trail from my neck of the woods – we were ready to take on that 4,000′ descent from Eaton Saddle down.

Day 01: Eaton Saddle Shuttle – Mount Lowe to Merrill to Sunset Ridge

Now, these boys are forest dwellers, used to riding in the thicket of the Santa Cruz mountains, amidst redwoods, atop loamy soil. These trails are sandy, rutted, and on loose terrain, aligned precariously on ridiculous shelf trails, that always makes for anxious moments. The guys kept joking about “really riding these bikes on mountains, not just hillsides” and I guess I never thought of it that way. Yep, we’re on big-ass mountains with lots of consequence here. It’s a challenge to ride these trails, much less shoot on them. Really your options are to either wait for vistas to the lower sections of singletrack, or to scramble above a corner with a wide lens. I made due, avoiding a tumble back down to the trail a few times.

Most photographers will agree, their home turf can oftentimes be the most difficult to shoot on or in, namely due to the familiarity of it all. While I’d ridden this trail a number of times over the years, I’ve done very little shooting up there, but this day would be different. It had to be. We took our time, ran sections together and stopped to soak in an abundance of sunlight. In hindsight, we probably should have brought more water, but so it goes. We made it down mostly unscathed, and discussed our options for returning to my truck, parked up around 5,500′.

The thing about a shuttle is, you’re relying on someone to do a drop for you. In our case, we decided I’d drive the Cruiser up to the saddle for the drop and leave Tyler’s Volvo at the bottom, where David would wait for our return in both vehicles while he guarded the secret, embargoed bikes. Tyler and I shot some photos of his car and took our time going up. Old cars don’t like these long, 15-mile grades, so we didn’t want anything to burst or break. We shot some photos hastily, knowing David was down at the base of the mountain waiting. Honestly, I was nervous about leaving him there with three new whips, knowing the number of Santa Cruz bikes I see at the trailhead, but David said people just cruised on past, without remark.

Day 02: Chilao – Hillyer to Horse Flats and down Silver Moccasin

You can’t come to Los Angeles with mountain bikes and not ride the Chilao region. It’s my favorite trail network in the area, mostly because of the terrain. It doesn’t feel like the typical Southern California trails. They’re sandy, mixed with giant granite boulders, manzanita, and looming pine trees. Ok, that’s very SoCal, but it’s just different than the ledge trails we had been riding up to this point. Unlike the previous day’s outing, there was no risk of riding off-trail, down a mountain side. Surely it would be a day for all of us to relish these new bikes and as a veritable tour guide, my job is to deliver great trails, plenty of stoke, and exceptional light.

We made it down from our lap, just in time to watch the sunset over the San Gabriel mountains, but not before encountering one of my favorite trail friends, the Western Rattlesnake…

The All New 5010 CC and Bronson CC

Now, about the bikes. If you’re like me, I understand and appreciate the idea of a full suspension, but get lost in the minutiae of suspension design. My riding can exist without a rear shock just fine, but it is an enjoyable experience to be able to jib even bigger and pump through corners, all on a light-ish carbon bike. For those of you who pine over the elements of VPP, these bikes will really strike your interest for they feature a suspension design, previously only used by the Nomad, which, let’s be honest, is a lotta bike. While the 5010 and the Bronson are two bikes for what is arguably two different markets of the MTB industry, tying them together with a suspension redesign on a release is worthy of a post like this. So without further ado, let’s check out some bike photos and specs, blatantly copied from the Santa Cruz press release. Don’t worry, I’ll be reviewing a 5010 CC in the coming months, where I’ll dive in deeper into its new design and the ride experience it delivers. What I will say is the 5010 provided an excellent ride quality and seeing as how the last time I rode a full suspension was last summer at Saddle Drive in Tahoe, I was stoked to get back on one in my local trails.

The Santa Cruz Bronson / Juliana Roubion

150mm VPP® rear travel
– Lower-link mounted shock
– Linearly-progressive leverage ratio
– It’s still VPP® – two short, counter-rotating links that connect the front and rear triangle to make a stout frame. Easily serviceable, reliable, lifetime bearing replacement
– VPP® is a versatile design that allows us to fine tune suspension to suit the character of a any model of bicycle, from XC to downhill, and everything in-between. The upper- and lower-link VPP gives us even more options when design the suspension to suit the intended purpose of a bicycle. Like all Santa Cruz VPP bikes, the mantra is squish good, pedal good, no breaky.

27.5 and 27.5 Plus wheel bikes
– The fun-sized wheel size
– Frame clearance up to 2.8-inch tires
– 2.6-inch tire options available on 35-37mm rim width
– 2.6-inch tires provides extra volume compared to traditional tires (2.1-2.5-inch) to get the benefits of fatter (Plus) tires but with precision of smaller volume tires.
– Santa Cruz Reserve 30 and Reserve 37 carbon wheel option on S-kit and above
– Lifetime guarantee Reserve wheels
– All wheels (both aluminum and carbon Reserve built in-house)
– Available in CC, C carbon and aluminum – 5sizes:XStoXL
– Lifetime warranty on all frames

Spec general:
– Fox 160mm fork travel
– 200mm front, 180mm rear rotors
– Piggyback RockShox shock, bearing eyelets on all price points (RockShox Super Deluxe spec- fits Fox DPX2) – Dropper with internal routing
– Reserve wheel offered on S thru XX1
– Two colour choices: Industry Blue and Primer Grey

Details:
– Dual uprights on rear triangle (stiff, stout, evenly distributes forces going through frame/suspension) – Internal cables (fully channeled on front triangle, guided on rear)
– threaded BB
– bolt-on shuttle guard
– rear shock cover
– ‘Chunnel’ for shock, still useable seat post insertion and internal routing for droppers
– Bottle cage inside the front triangle

Geometry
– Reach grows by 15mm per size
– 10 mm lower standover
– 1-degree steeper and 1-inch shorter seat tube (longer droppers help) – 65.1-degree head angle in ‘Low’ setting, 65.4-degree in ‘High’
– 75-degree seat angle

The New Santa Cruz 5010 / Juliana Furtado

130mm VPP® rear travel:
– Upper-link mounted shock
– It’s still VPP® – two short, counter-rotating links that connect the front and rear triangle to make a stout frame. Easy serviceable, reliable, lifetime bearing replacement
– VPP® is a versatile design that allows us to finetune suspension to suit the character of a any model of bicycle, from XC to downhill, and everything in-between. The upper- and lower-link VPP gives us even more options when design the suspension to suit the intended purpose of a bicycle.

27.5-inch wheels:
– The fun-sized wheel size
– Frame clearance up to 2.8-inch tires
– 2.6-inch tire option available as kit (Reserve 37 wheel)
– 2.6-inch tires provides extra volume compared to traditional tires (2.1-2.5-inch) to get the benefits of fatter (Plus) tires but with precision of smaller volume tires – less squirm.
– Santa Cruz Reserve 27 and Reserve 37 carbon wheel option on S-kit and above
– Lifetime guarantee on Reserve wheels
– All wheels (both aluminum and carbon Reserve built by us, in Santa Cruz, CA)
– Available in CC, C carbon and aluminum – from XS to XL
– Lifetime warranty on all frames

Spec general:
– 180mm rotors
– Piggyback shock (metric) on S-kit and above
– 2.3-inch rear tire (Maxxis DHR) instead of semi-slick
– FOX suspension.
– Dropper with internal routing
– Reserve wheel option offered on S-kit now
– Two colour choices on all levels/materials: Purple and Matte Carbon

Details:
– Dual uprights on rear triangle (stiff, stout, evenly distributes forces going through frame/suspension)
– Internal cables (fully channeled on front triangle, guided on rear)
– Threaded BB
– Two bottle cage mounts
– Flip chip for optimizing geo for bigger tires (2.6-inch>) for the most part but can be used to tune to rider’s needs

Geometry
– Reach grows by 15mm
– Slacker by 0.5 degree (in hi) or 0.8 degree (in lo) than previous 5010 – 66.2-degree head angle in ‘Low’ setting, 66.5-degree in ‘High’
– Flip chip in link changes bottom bracket height 4mm
– 75-degree seat angle

HUGE thanks to Santa Cruz Bicycles for bringing the presscamp to Los Angeles and sending these two rad humans!

Check out more info at Santa Cruz Bicycles / Juliana Bicycles.

____

Follow Tyler on Instagram, David on Instagram, and Santa Cruz on Instagram.

  • Harry

    5010 looks fantastic in that colour!

    • Jon B.

      so much agree.

  • Henry Turner-Julier

    Gorgeous bikes. I noticed on the SC website that the Tallboy and Hightower are now only offered in 29″ only builds. Makes sense.

    • Good eye! Although SCB say the 5010 will clear a 2.6″ I’m going to run my demo with a 2.8″ Terrene or Onza. It fits, but I wouldn’t ride through mud in it.

  • jtbadge

    Sweet new colors for the Chameleon, too!

  • dylanvw

    And in a Tacos Morenos T? True Santa Cruz move there. Mad respect.

    • Daniel Powell

      More of a Taqueria Michoacan man, myself. But I do like a Morenos taco from time to time.

  • Dain Z

    Great to see these forest dwellers getting out of Santa Cruz county. Spectacular imagery too. The only thing that would have been better would have been the Juliana gals driving down to shred (wearing Los Pericos t-shirts).

    • Yeah, I would have loved to have some ladies along for the ride but it wasn’t my call. :-)

      • Dain Z

        And it’s probably even harder to get those girls off of the loam tracks here in the shadowy forest

  • Brian Boucher

    How tall is the guy on the 5010?

    • Not sure his exact height but he’s arguably between a M and a L – the medium was a lil too small on him…

      • Brian Boucher

        Yeah I am the same. I’m 5’9″ and between a medium and a large. Been waiting for the new 5010 to come out so I can pick one up.

        • When it comes to a full sus, I’d err on going up in size if you’re on the cusp and running a 35mm long stem. Just my 2 cents…

  • Should be “without further ado”, not “adieu”.

  • floody

    I wish they’d bring back the International Rescue Orange on the 5010, I know it’s a petty ask of course.

    • You could get the aluminum model and get it painted yourself!