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The long awaited V-10 review!!!

Freak

...............................................
Aug 15, 2001
3,727
0
Redmond, Washington
An Elegant Racing Machine
By Jen Castle (Jr_Bullit)

Cyclists are a part of a unique group of athletes whose equipment is almost as important as the athlete in achieving the win. Downhill Mountain Bike Racing is at another level entirely, as the bike ridden has an enormous impact on riding style, speed and endurance.

Santa Cruz Bicycles upped the standard of racing equipment with its newest downhill frame, the VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) V10. Straight from the box the frame gives the impression of speed. With its elegant raked out design, your eyes caress the metal machine pausing only to note the superb craftsmanship.

Created from 6066 aluminum alloy, all the pivots run on sealed cartridge bearings, and it features fully replaceable dropouts, a floating rear brake and comes standard with the much admired 5th Element shock. As its name suggests, the V10 has ten inches of rear wheel travel. Your first impression when sitting on the bike is that it’s too soft, with its four inches of sag. It feels almost as if you’re sinking into a nice fluffy chair rather than onto one of the smoothest machines out there. The V10 has a longer wheel base than you might expect, though once in the cockpit it certainly doesn’t feel long.



In a parking lot the bike pedals like a hardtail. There is no bouncing or bobbing as you pedal around. Once on the trail you’ll be pleased to note that there is also no kickback to the pedals as you speed over chatter-bumps and obstacles on the path. You can stand up and hammer down a rock-filled or root-choked section and barely notice the bike working beneath you. The bike is amazingly quiet both when pedaling and when landing jumps and drops, and even on the hardest hits you feel like you landed on a cushion of air. Another thing to note is its stability at high-speeds. There’s very little flex in the rear wheel, which adds to the sensation that the wheel wants to stay on the ground. While the V10 is in no way a traditional “free-ride” bike, you can freely-ride it anywhere you choose. It is a pure race bike in every way and on all terrain.

A few important notes on building up your frame:
* Choose a front fork that “fits” the frame. On a medium sized V10 a Boxxer was as close to a perfect match as we could get. Any larger fork (such as the Stratos S7) seems to raked the front end out to much.
* If using an Isis standard setup, your options for a bottom bracket are limited. Also note that with a chain guide, the recommended 73x122mm-bottom bracket is an extremely tight fit once the cranks are on.
* While no one will ever argue with the amazing performance of the 5th Element rear shock, setting it up requires good technical skill, care and patience. Additionally, the beginning and ending compression adjusters are challenging to reach as they are housed far inside the frame.
* The cable routing system is one of the best out there. However, if you are not comfortable bleeding your own brakes, take it to your local bike shop for assistance. In order to place your cables in proper fashion, you need to disconnect the rear brake, route the cable, and re-bleed it.



From a spectator’s point of view, it looks like the bike is doing the majority of the work, while the rider is merely concentrating on his line. A good example of how well designed the V10 is: Jason Strother (known fondly on RideMonkey as Freak) let me try out his bike. Freak is nearly a foot taller than I am and roughly 70lbs heavier, needless to say his V10 is at least ten pounds heavier than my small Bullit, and a medium sized frame is generally a huge bike for me to attempt to ride. Not only was I able to hop on his bike and sprint away at a faster pace than I had set all afternoon on my bike, I dusted the Freak on a short uphill climb.



Santa Cruz has definitely raised the bar for downhill racing in terms of bike quality and craftsmanship. If ever you are in a position to possess one of these elegant beauties take it. If someone should ever kindly offer to let you test ride one take it, unless of course you are afraid to return to your own outdated ride.

 

Attachments

mtbtuc8700

Chimp
Nov 14, 2001
29
0
CT
Thanks for the review, and the tips are nice too! Sounds like the great ride it was hipe to be. I will be looking forward to seeing what the come up with for the freeride bike next year thats vpp. Enjoy the new ride!
 
Apr 14, 2002
62
0
Los Osos, California
:mad: :mad: :mad: why did you do that to me??? now i know that its good. before i could tell myself, "you dont even know it it rides good", but no, you had to tell me, huh? i want one so bad, and even more now. but alas, i am broke...




P.S. thanks for the review-
 

Castor

Chimp
Mar 27, 2002
11
0
The Netherlands
What a great review, great to read and what seems a grrrreat and radical bike too! I like the pix very much! :cool:

From today on I see myself as a biker considering taking up DH! ;)
 
May 24, 2002
890
0
Boulder CO
Freak,
I have a V10 coming. It is in the second batch in which I am anxiously awaiting. Currently I have Bullit w/Super T (and 5th Element which should include a helpline or something to set up for the first time), which is a good bike, but not quite a full on DHer so needless to say I cant wait. I am 17, race "junior X" DH and DS and XC here in Colorado. I just have a few questions. First off, I am wondering what you think of its "jumpability", I know it will want to stay planted, but if you hit something will it still get airborn reasonably well? How does it pedal out of the saddle going hard, (for a 188 lb 6' 2" guy)? I really cannot wait and hope the Boxxer up front can handle its rear end.
Jeff
 

Freak

...............................................
Aug 15, 2001
3,727
0
Redmond, Washington
Originally posted by neversummersnow
Freak,
I have a V10 coming. It is in the second batch in which I am anxiously awaiting. Currently I have Bullit w/Super T (and 5th Element which should include a helpline or something to set up for the first time), which is a good bike, but not quite a full on DHer so needless to say I cant wait. I am 17, race "junior X" DH and DS and XC here in Colorado. I just have a few questions. First off, I am wondering what you think of its "jumpability", I know it will want to stay planted, but if you hit something will it still get airborn reasonably well? How does it pedal out of the saddle going hard, (for a 188 lb 6' 2" guy)? I really cannot wait and hope the Boxxer up front can handle its rear end.
Jeff
It jumps just fine, I didn't have any problems jumping my usual jumps with it.

When you pedal the bike, it goes!!! Plain and simple, in the saddle or out. I'm about 180lbs.

The boxxer actually fits the bike quite nicely.
 

PinchFlat

Chimp
Sep 10, 2001
25
0
UT
Hey... a few questions.

So you got a medium.?? Wasn't your Super8 a large?

What is the stroke of that shock? Is the leverage ratio lower then the Super8? (the reason I got rid if my Super8 was I blow my shock 4 times in 5 months- i was told due to the high leverage ratio)

Is it QR or a through axle?

Enough for now. I need to find someone that has one around me so i can take it for a ride.
 

Freak

...............................................
Aug 15, 2001
3,727
0
Redmond, Washington
Originally posted by PinchFlat
Hey... a few questions.

So you got a medium.?? Wasn't your Super8 a large?

What is the stroke of that shock? Is the leverage ratio lower then the Super8? (the reason I got rid if my Super8 was I blow my shock 4 times in 5 months- i was told due to the high leverage ratio)

Is it QR or a through axle?

Enough for now. I need to find someone that has one around me so i can take it for a ride.
Yes, my Super 8 was a large, and it was actually a little to big for me.

Not sure what the stroke of the 5th element is....but the leverage ratio shouldn't be as high as the Super 8.

The rear axle is a 15mm.
 

suspensionguy

Dude from Progressive
Nov 13, 2001
14
0
Hesperia, Ca
Stroke of the 5th element is 2.75" with an 8.75"eye to eye which translates to a 3.65 to 1 lever ratio (10" of travel).

Lever ratio is not what "blows" a shock up, it's the shock itself.

All Santa Cruz mtn bikes delivered with a 5th Element shock have a tuning guide included as well as our tech line # (which is 760 948-4012). We recommend "ball park" settings for each rider for his weight and from there it is "fine tuning".

Larry/Progressive
 

PinchFlat

Chimp
Sep 10, 2001
25
0
UT
Originally posted by suspensionguy
Stroke of the 5th element is 2.75" with an 8.75"eye to eye which translates to a 3.65 to 1 lever ratio (10" of travel).

Lever ratio is not what "blows" a shock up, it's the shock itself.

All Santa Cruz mtn bikes delivered with a 5th Element shock have a tuning guide included as well as our tech line # (which is 760 948-4012). We recommend "ball park" settings for each rider for his weight and from there it is "fine tuning".

Larry/Progressive
Thanks guys...
so it wasn't my fat 220lbs ass that blew the 4 to 1 super8 leverage ratio??? it was the crap fox shock?

... and Larry, when can I get a 5th element for my 2001 Balfa bb7? (2.25" with an 8"eye to eye) I will surely use one instead of that fox crap I have on now. Progressive, Fox and Stratos are my only options for my frame due to the limited width clearance. and I'm just waiting for my Fox to blow (in my mind it's only a matter of time) and don't want to use a Stratos shock is I don't have to.
 

PinchFlat

Chimp
Sep 10, 2001
25
0
UT
Ohhh Man!... Just went down to my LBS today and the have a Med White V10 frame... it's beautiful. Does anyone want to buy my bb7 frame?...heh.
 

vitox

Turbo Monkey
Sep 23, 2001
2,939
1
Santiago du Chili
Originally posted by PinchFlat


Thanks guys...
so it wasn't my fat 220lbs ass that blew the 4 to 1 super8 leverage ratio??? it was the crap fox shock?

... and Larry, when can I get a 5th element for my 2001 Balfa bb7? (2.25" with an 8"eye to eye)

just fyi

its 2.25" stroke fox is 7.875" eye to eye, almost 8" but not quite
 
May 24, 2002
890
0
Boulder CO
Freak-
I know this may seem like a ridiculous question but I have to know. Like I said I am getting a V10 in about a month. I currently have a BUllit set up w/7 on the rear 7 up front. It is actually a really good slalom/mountain cross bike for the stuff we tend to see in colorado and it even weighs 45 lbs. Now tell me, honostly, if you think the V10 will do as well as my Bullit on a rougher steep slalom track and mountaincross? You said you can jump everthing you could on your Giant Comp (the slalom course is so rough pro class has been won on the Giant DH Comp). How does the V10 corner? THink I'll be able to slalom/MX it for the better part of this year?
=Jeff=
 

bizutch

Delicate CUSTOM flower
Dec 11, 2001
15,922
8
Over your shoulder whispering
I'm not wanting to jump on the 'diss a cool bike" wagon, but with it being so long, it has to totally suck on East Coast courses.

My Turner turns on a dime..mostly b/c of the length & BB height.

Seems like the Santa Cruz would be just the opposite...long & tall....which would make it a slow turning bike....especially in S turns, switchbacks & stuff like that?

Any comments anybody?
 

Freak

...............................................
Aug 15, 2001
3,727
0
Redmond, Washington
Originally posted by bizutch
I'm not wanting to jump on the 'diss a cool bike" wagon, but with it being so long, it has to totally suck on East Coast courses.

My Turner turns on a dime..mostly b/c of the length & BB height.

Seems like the Santa Cruz would be just the opposite...long & tall....which would make it a slow turning bike....especially in S turns, switchbacks & stuff like that?

Any comments anybody?
Yes, it is long, but it's not tall. When your sitting on it with 4" of sag, the bike sits down a lot.

And yes, it is hard to get it around of some of the really tight turns, but you can really power out of the turns and not loose any power.

Overall, I would like to have a shorter wheel base, but it's not as bad as I thought it would be.
 

SDJ

Chimp
Mar 26, 2002
4
0
Boston
Hey I just got my V10 and I got a couple of setup questions for ya.

I'm using the same cranks and chainguide as you .

Did you use the 73x122 BB or 73x127 ?

How many spacers did you use for evil guide ?

How did you setup the mounting plate. Coutersink toward the frame of toward the cranks ?

Thanks dude, this will save me some time.
 

Freak

...............................................
Aug 15, 2001
3,727
0
Redmond, Washington
Originally posted by SDJ
Hey I just got my V10 and I got a couple of setup questions for ya.

I'm using the same cranks and chainguide as you .

Did you use the 73x122 BB or 73x127 ?

How many spacers did you use for evil guide ?

How did you setup the mounting plate. Coutersink toward the frame of toward the cranks ?

Thanks dude, this will save me some time.
I'm using the FSA 73x122, with a 1mm bb spacer behind the guide adapter, and bottom bracket. It is VERY tight on the non drive side.

The adapter is facing normal, and the guide bolted straight to it.

I can probably get some pics tonight...Let me know and I will
 

SDJ

Chimp
Mar 26, 2002
4
0
Boston
Thanks again, unfortunatly FSA is also out of stock and won't have them for another 3 weeks! For now I am gonna try the Race Face Signature 68/73 128mm.
 

Freak

...............................................
Aug 15, 2001
3,727
0
Redmond, Washington
Originally posted by SDJ
Thanks again, unfortunatly FSA is also out of stock and won't have them for another 3 weeks! For now I am gonna try the Race Face Signature 68/73 128mm.
Yea, that's the problem....Everyone is out of stock!!
 

ladge

Chimp
May 5, 2002
29
0
Arvada
Hey that was a GREAT review. Just wanted to sincerely say thanks! That advice for people building up the frames will be very helpful.

I was a little concerned about fork size too. I think that my fork will be a little to tall, but still bearable. ( I got a large )

Hopefully mine shows up soon so I can experience the sweetness!!!

Thanks again! Have fun!
 

racerX

Chimp
Jan 20, 2002
16
0
Camas Valley, Oregon
You guys do it every time, Blow my wheels off! another great review. makes me cry and weep out loud that I do not have enough denero to afford such a machine let alone ride one just because I am the review miester. looking forward to making the millions it requires to ride quality. price for pound I could more likely afford a Lambourghini, sooner. but hey maybe they will drop trow for the little guys someday.

keep it up!

RacerX :devil:
 

Freak

...............................................
Aug 15, 2001
3,727
0
Redmond, Washington
Originally posted by left coast punk
I was wondering if you had any tuning tips for the 5th on the V10.
Follow the guide that comes with the shock, and start with small adjustments....on adjust one thing at a time....Well, that's how I got mine set up...
 

ladge

Chimp
May 5, 2002
29
0
Arvada
"I was wondering if you had any tuning tips for the 5th on the V10."


As far as the hassle adjusting beginning and ending stroke compression you may try this. I found this flexible cable adapter that allowed hex keys ( allen's ) to be used at an auto parts store. All that did was make it easier to fine tune the 5th while riding it.

Also make sure you adjust the settings in the order the manual says to.

Spring preload - pretty much a two person job. FYI - I thought that I could measure preload using eye to eye bolts. The V10 instruction card says measure the preload directly on the shock shaft. Don't ask me why but measuring preload eye to eye vs. spring is different. We measured the sag eye to eye first and was way off compared to what we got on the shaft.

As far as what to set the 5th at - I'd recommend this. Find your weight on the 5th element recommended setup page. If you don't have this you should be able to download it on progressive suspensions web site. Set it up for your rider weight ( or slightly +/- since I think they used 10lb increments). From there it's pretty much up to you to tinker with it to fine tune it.