What it does well: One of our favorite bikes in the test, the 5010 apparently does everything well, but our testers praised its handling above all else. Whether climbing or descending technical track, we felt more balanced on this 27.5-inch wheeled bike. You can place the front wheel where you want it. And it’s effortless to get that initial acceleration you need in trackstand-and-go terrain. Much of the credit for the natural fit and intuitive handling comes from new geometry, which here too features a longer top tube allowing a shorter stem. But with the Santa Cruz, the head tube angle is still a relatively slack 67 degrees. All that plus shorter chainstays and a lower bottom bracket made it one of the nimblest bikes we’ve ever run. It’s a real joy in ledgy red rock gardens where you need to constantly readjust your line of travel. And with 130mm of travel (a tad over five inches) it absorbs bigger hits at trail riding speeds without bottoming out.
What it does poorly: A technical trail bike is the perfect application of 27.5 wheels, but the penance for that wheel size is a bike that doesn’t roll as easily over taller roots and cobbles in fast straightaways.
So who’s it for? The 5010 was perhaps the most versatile bike we tested. In the higher end build kits it’s light enough to race on an epic. But this is really your do-everything mountain bike for rough trails and long rides. It’s as funhoggy as the Scott Genius Plus, but with skinnier tires for faster climbing. 25.4 lbs. to 29.9 lbs.