Downhill racing places unique demands on a bike frame - and few bikes pay more attention to this than Santa Cruz's V10 line.
The two versions of this bike are broadly the same but feature one important difference: the frame material.
The Carbon C version is heavier, but also more affordable. The Carbon CC is a little more than two pounds lighter, but the added work to reduce the weight pushes the cost higher.
Here's everything else you need to know about this rugged bike.
FRAME SIZE: 5'0" to 6'5"
BRAKE TYPE: Disc Braking System
SHIFTER: SRAM GX 7-speed shifters, SRAM X01 DH shifters
RIMS: E*thirteen LG1+ 650 Rims with 32 holes
TIRES: Maxxis High Roller 2 27 .5x2.4 DH TR 3c tires
PRICE RANGES: $3,599 to $8,999
While the two versions of the V10 have different parts, their overall performance is similar, so the differences are only called out when they matter.
The V10 comes in five frame sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL), sized for riders ranging from 5'0" to 6'5". This is a wider range of intended heights than many other bikes we've seen, and we were glad to see the effort made.
There's no overlap in the sizes - the Small is for riders from 5'0" to 5'4", while the Medium goes from 5'4" to 5'8". If you're right on the line between the two sizes, ask a dealer which size is more appropriate for you.
There is one part of the frame that varies between the two models - the shocks. The Carbon C version comes with the FOX DHX2 Performance Elite system, a solid choice. The Carbon CC build comes with your choice of the FOX DHX2 Factory SLS or the RockShox Vivid Air system. The price difference is negligible.
Both models of the V10 use a disc braking system, and we're glad they did.
They're not necessary for casual rides along a road, but when you're racing downhill over rough terrain, the value of being able to brake faster and more evenly - even in poor weather - can't be overstated.
The Carbon C uses the SRAM GX 7-speed shifters. This is a lower number of settings than we'd expect to find on a bike meant for flat terrain, but rough downhill racing honestly doesn't need speed settings as much as it needs the ability to control your bike.
The Carbon CC switches over to SRAM X01 DH shifters, which has the same number of speeds but more precision and options than the GX. The most helpful part of this shifter is its ZeroLoss technology, which instantly changes your gear instead of forcing you to wait for a shift. If you need to change quickly - and in downhill racing, you often do - this feature matters.
Both versions of the V10 use E*thirteen LG1+ 650 Rims with 32 holes. These are extremely stiff, durable rims meant for the shocks and impacts of downhill racing (and really, we didn't expect anything else). These rims are compatible with tubeless tires, another important consideration for downhill racing.
Both models use the Maxxis High Roller 2 27 .5x2.4 DH TR 3c tires. Yes, we're aware that's quite a name, so here's what you need to know about them:
These are extremely aggressive downhill racing tires that emphasize the ability to penetrate soil (i.e., get a good grip) and clear mud. The treads in the center and shoulder of this tire are modified to provide better traction on rough surfaces when you break. They are a little on the heavy side, but that's not necessarily a bad thing when you're racing downhill. They're also highly resistant to punctures.
The tire comes in three styles (Single Compound, Super Tacky, and Maxxgrip), so be sure to order the right style when you need a replacement.
The Carbon C starts at $5,799, while the Carbon CC kit retails for $,8699. If you prefer to customize your bike, the Carbon CC comes in two frame-only options (based on which shock system you want) at $3,599 and $3,699.
What We Like
The Santa Cruz V10 is a powerful, aggressive machine meant to help you conquer the roughest downhill terrain. The sturdy frame, puncture-resistant wheels, and comfortable grips make this a pleasure to ride. Other positives include:
What We Don't Like
As good as this bike is, there are a few things we're not quite delighted with.
Most notably, there are no places to mount a water bottle, and we think they could have included those on the top of the frame. That's an unusual place to put a bottle, but this is a downhill racing bike, and nothing on the underside would be safe enough.
We'd also have liked to see the Carbon CC's rim option (the Enve 27.5) extended to the normal Carbon C since there honestly isn't that much difference between them.
When it comes to downhill racing, two factors matter more than anything else: safety and control.
A good bike significantly reduces the chance of injuring yourself during a race, and perhaps more to the point, the added cost of a good bike is much less than what you'd have to pay in hospital bills.
As such, if you're going to buy the Santa Cruz V10 at all, we recommend going for the Carbon CC version with the FOX DHX2 Factory SLS shock setup. The Enve 27.5 rims are optional, but worth considering if you expect to go over rocks as well as dirt.
The Santa Cruz V10 downhill racing bike is a powerful, durable, and reliable machine.
It's not just designed to get you into the race, it's designed to help you win it. If you're ready to start getting involved with some serious competitions, take a look at the V10 and see what it can do for you.
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