29er downhill bike… who would have thunk it? The theory and the science have proven that 29er wheels roll faster. We’ve seen cross-country, trail and enduro bikes at the highest level migrate to 29er wheels because of this speed advantage. But what about downhill? Because of the application and bike geometry, the beating is much for severe and the wheelbases get very long. The gating items were tires, wheels and suspension components. And riders had to get used to maneuvering these fast but less agile missles. They’re more like thoroughbreds than quarter horses that can turn on a dime.
In 2017, Vergier, Shaw and Minaar qualified near the top of the Lourdes, France World Cup downhill and the anticipation for these production bikes has reached a fever pitch since then.
Santa Cruz set about designing entirely new V10—longer reach, better shock rate, and better frame and cable protection. All three frame sizes (and Reserve carbon DH wheels) were designed and manufactured in time for a week of testing before the Ft. William World Cup in 2018. Greg crashed in those sessions, breaking his arm, and effectively ending his season. A few days later, Luca qualified first and Loris third on the new bike. Loris put down a scorcher in the finals that only fellow Frenchman Amaury Pierron could top, but Luca flatted high on the course and had to cruise down.
This left little doubt about the viability of these 29er DH bikes at the highest level. Testing continued throughout the 2018 season, usually in the form of link sets designed to tweak the shock rate or make minor alterations in geometry. The result is perhaps the most refined suspension performance available outside of a World Cup pit.
Pairing 29-inch wheels with 215mm of travel makes a juggernaut of a race bike, but racing isn’t for everybody or every trail. Depending on the type of trails or riding style you’re into, breaking out the biggest artillery might not be ideal. Rider height also looms large when deciding which wheel size is optimal and a lot of people may opt for smaller wheels. So Santa Cruz made a 27.5 version too.
The 27.5 bike comes in Small, Medium, and Large, while the 29 comes in Medium, Large, and XL. It comes as a frame only at $3699, an S build at $5999 and an XO1 build at $8199. Carbon wheels are extra starting at $1599.
Frame Only – $3,699
S Build – $5,999
01 Build – $8,199
To learn more about the Ride Concepts line, head over to https://www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/v10.