One of the winningest bikes in history.

Check out how the iconic Santa Cruz V10 has changed since its first incarnation back in 2002 up to its recent carbon 29er form.

>>> Nine reasons why 29ers shouldn’t be allowed in Downhill

So how has the Santa Cruz V10 changed over the years? From an aluminium to carbon. From 10″ travel to 8.5″. From 26″ to 27.5″ to 29″ wheels. From 67° head angles to 63.5°. From 15.7″ BB height to 13.9″. Loads of hub standards. And who remembers floating brake rods?

One thing hasn’t changed during its lifespan: this bike wins World Cups.

santa cruz v10

Santa Cruz V10 Mk1. Pic: Santa Cruz Bicycles

Santa Cruz V10 Mk1, 2002-2004

  • 6000 series aluminium
  • 255mm rear travel (wow!)
  • 150-200mm fork recommended
  • VPP
  • 1-1/8th head tube
  • 140 x 15mm rear dropouts (custom size from Hadley hubs)
  • 3.6:1 leverage ratio
  • 35-40% sag recommended
  • Floating brake rod (that’s the funny black pole at the back end)
  • 67° head angle
  • 15.7″ BB height
  • 47.2″ wheelbase (Large)
  • 17.5″ chain stays
  • 24.7″ effective top tube
  • 31.7″ standover
  • S, M, L sizes
  • 2.7″ max. tyres
  • 26″ wheels
santa cruz v10

Santa Cruz V10 Mk2. Pic: Santa Cruz Bicycles

Santa Cruz V10 Mk2, 2005-2007

  • 6000 series aluminium monocoque front triangle
  • Three piece aluminium upper linkage
  • 255mm rear travel
  • 160-200mm fork recommended
  • VPP
  • 1-1/8th head tube
  • 150 x 12mm rear dropouts
  • 3.6:1 leverage ratio
  • 35% sag recommended
  • 67° head angle
  • 14.8″ BB height
  • 46.3″ wheelbase (Large)
  • 17.4″ chain stays
  • 24.8″ effective top tube
  • 31.7″ standover
  • S, M, L sizes
  • 2.7″ max. tyres
  • 26″ wheels
santa cruz v10

Santa Cruz V10 Mk3. Pic: Santa Cruz Bicycles

Santa Cruz V10 Mk3, 2007-2010

  • 6000 series aluminium monocoque front triangle
  • One piece carbon upper linkage
  • 254mm rear travel
  • 180-200mm fork recommended
  • VPP
  • 1-1/8th head tube
  • 150 x 12mm rear dropouts
  • 3.6:1 leverage ratio
  • 25-30% sag recommended
  • 66.5° head angle
  • 14.9″ BB height
  • 46.6″ wheelbase (Large)
  • 17.4″ chain stays
  • 24.9″ effective top tube
  • 30.6″ standover
  • S, M, L sizes
  • 2.7″ max. tyres
  • 26″ wheels
santa cruz v10

Santa Cruz V10 Carbon (Mk4)

Santa Cruz V10 Carbon (Mk4), 2011-2012

  • Carbon fibre front triangle, aluminium swingarm
  • One piece carbon upper linkage
  • 216-254mm rear travel
  • 200mm fork recommended
  • VPP
  • 1.5″ head tube
  • 150 x 12mm rear Maxle
  • 63°-67° head angle
  • 14.0″-14.7″ BB height
  • 46.6″-47.9″ wheelbase (Large)
  • 17.4″ chain stays
  • 24.8″-25.2″ effective top tube
  • S, M, L, XL sizes
  • 26″ wheels
santa cruz v10

Santa Cruz V10 Carbon (Mk5)

Santa Cruz V10 Carbon (Mk5), 2013-2014

  • Carbon fibre front triangle and swingarm
  • One piece carbon upper linkage
  • 216-254mm rear travel
  • 200mm fork recommended
  • VPP
  • 1.5″ head tube
  • 157 x 12mm rear dropouts
  • 64°-65° head angle
  • 14.2″-14.8″ BB height
  • 47.1″-48.1″ wheelbase (Large)
  • 17.3″-17.5″ chain stays
  • 24.3″-24.5″ effective top tube
  • 28.7″-29.3″ standover
  • S, M, L, XL sizes
  • 26″ wheels
santa cruz v10

Santa Cruz V10 Carbon (Mk4). Pic: Santa Cruz Bicycles

Santa Cruz V10 C and CC (Mk6), 2015-current

  • Carbon C or Carbon CC
  • One piece carbon upper linkage
  • 216mm rear travel
  • 200mm fork recommended
  • VPP
  • 1.5″ head tube
  • 157 x 12mm rear dropouts
  • 25-30% sag recommended
  • 63.5°-64° head angle
  • 13.9″-14.2″ BB height
  • 48.01″ wheelbase (Large)
  • 17.39″ chain stays
  • 24.67″ effective top tube
  • 28.44″ standover
  • S, M, L, XL, XXL sizes
  • 27.5″ wheels
  • 2.5″ max. tyres

>>> Buy Now: Santa Cruz V10 C at Evans Cycles from £5,399

santa cruz v10

Santa Cruz V10 29er. Pic: Santa Cruz Bicycles

Santa Cruz V10 29er (Mk7), 2017

  • Carbon
  • 210mm rear travel
  • 180-200mm fork recommended
  • VPP
  • 1.5″ head tube
  • 157 x 12mm rear dropouts
  • 64° head angle (approx.)
  • 18.2″ chain stays
  • 29″ wheels
  • 2.5″ max. tyres

Santa Cruz V10 29er raced at Lourdes in 2017

Rumours were confirmed of a Santa Cruz V10 29er downhill bike that the Syndicate would end up racing on at the fateful opening World Cup round in Lourdes.

In a move that surprises pretty much no-one, Santa Cruz have revealed their new 29er V10 downhill bike. They’re being a bit coy with the specific info – such as geometry and amount of travel – but we can leave the specifics for now. Just the news of one of the highest-profile race teams racing on 29in wheels is the big news here.

Greg Minnaar, Luca Shaw, and Loris Vergier are riding the new bike in Lourdes on April 30th “because that’s what they feel most confident on”.

santa cruz v10 29er

Why now?

Basically, World Cup tracks have become faster over the past few seasons. Bar the odd round in super-techy venues such as Val di Sole or Champery, the speeds are on the up. So it makes sense to try bigger wheel size.

“Tracks are faster, times are tighter, and eking another second out of a 4-minute track can be the difference between a World Cup win and missing the podium entirely.” – Santa Cruz press release.

The technology is also now more available for longer travel on 29in wheels. Now that Fox are semi-officially doing 29in Fox 40 triple clamp suspension forks, a large part of the problem has been solved straight away.

santa cruz v10 29er

“Fox gave us a critical piece of the puzzle when they delivered a prototype 40 for us to test on a modified Hightower. Our first test session aboard that Hightower showed consistently faster times on the bigger wheels, we all decided we had to go for it.” – Jason Marsh, Santa Cruz Syndicate mechanic.

“We needed to sit the bike into the travel to compensate for the BB height change created by the larger wheel diameter, and the guys at Chris King were able to make us a Buzzworks headset that then corrected the resulting change to the head angle. We also had to reduce the travel to maintain tyre clearance at bottom out, which then meant we had to change the shock rate progression to maintain good suspension feel. The leverage curve is similar to the existing V10, but the leverage ratios have been modified slightly.” – Jason Marsh.

santa cruz v10 29er

Expect links and headsets to change over the course of the season as the riders keep working toward their ideal setups.

“ENVE was on board to build some 29-inch M90s. Maxxis delivered bigger versions of the Syndicate’s preferred tyres, and Chris King’s Buzzworks group whipped up some custom headsets to bring the geometry in line.” – Nick Anderson, Santa Cruz head engineer.

Fox altered the brake mount location on the 40’s lowers to accommodate Boost flange spacing, which meant a standard 20x110mm DH hub wouldn’t work so Chris King machined a one-off design they call ISO-AB (Asymmetric Boost) to get everything in sync.

santa cruz v10 29er

Who’s behind the move?

Well, the 29er V10 wouldn’t be happening if it just one person’s desire. The whole of Santa Cruz Syndicate are more than likely into the idea of going faster and winning more. Having said that, Greg Minnaar is highlighted as the “driving force” behind the project.

“I raced the Hightower at the Enduro World Series in Finale Ligure, Italy, last October, and it just held so much speed. That’s when I knew we had to come back to the 29er V10 idea.” – Greg Minnaar.

Production timeline

“We machined a few different sets of links, welded up three aluminum swingarms, and did more testing. As the riders got on terms with the new bikes, they got even faster. We played with linkages and shocks to achieve different angles, travel, and leverage ratios until Greg felt happy with setting everything in stone.” – Jason Marsh.

In order to race a carbon bike at Lourdes, Santa Cruz needed to start manufacturing by mid-January. Nick Anderson, head engineer, finished the design in early January and sent it to their carbon factory to get the tooling machined.

“We’re fortunate enough to co-own our own carbon manufacturing facility in China, which gives us bandwidth to indulge in this kind of project. I don’t think it would have been possible without this kind of partnership.” – Nick Anderson, Santa Cruz head engineer.

santa cruz v10 29er

What do Luca and Loris think?

“Greg practically forced me to try the bike. I tried it once in testing, but went straight back to my original 27.5 inch bike because that’s what felt fastest across the length of the test track. But Greg insisted I give the 29er another shot. So I did, and I felt like it was still slower. The clocks don’t lie though, and I was consistently posting quicker times on the new bike compared to the old—and this was on my local track! That’s when I realised the new bike was deceptively quick.” – Loris Vergier.

Luca Shaw took straight to it. “Psychologically I think it really helped that the bike already looked refined, straight off the bat. The swingarm and links are custom, and they’re mated to a production V10 front triangle. Loris and I are riding bikes with 190mm of travel, and Greg’s got 210 because the XXL frame has more room.”

Behind the scenes testing of the Santa Cruz V10 29er

Check out this video of Syndicate testing the new Santa Cruz V10 29er earlier this year in Italy. Includes thrilling unboxing-in-the-hotel-room footage…

We all know what happened next at Lourdes but this video footage from earlier this year is still fascinating. Arguably more fascinating than ever actually.

Your best bet is to clear ten mins or so to watch the video for yourself. To whet your appetite here are some choice quotes…

  • “I’m now riding a bike I probably should have ridden fifteen years ago, in terms of sizing” – Greg Minnaar.
  • “I think it turns better than the 27.5” – Luca Shaw.
  • “You feel smooth and I’m pretty sure smooth is fast.” – Loris Vergier.
  • “We don’t want it to handle like the 27.5 bike we want it to be a completely new bike. A new way of looking at things.” – Jason Marsh, Syndicate mechanic.
  • “The grip on that! That’s amazing isn’t it?” – Marsh again.