With 64 World Cup podiums, 14 World Cup Wins and 3 World Championship Golds there’s no doubting that Santa Cruz’s V10 is the most successful DH bike of all time. Obviously it has undergone many incarnations over the years and this full carbon version (the previous production model had an aluminium rear end and carbon up front) is the latest step towards perfection.
We have of course already seen this frame throughout 2012 underneath the Syndicate riders, but as of January 2013 this will be the first time that punters will be able to get hold of one. The Syndicate team will actually be riding these production frames during the 2013 season, so basically if you get one you’ve got no excuses.
The 2012 V10 was already far from a heavyweight, but Santa Cruz have managed to knock nearly 2 lbs off the frame weight! That’s a serious chunk and the result is a frame that Santa Cruz reckon is the “lightest and strongest in the world”. They’re so confident in its strength that they have even extended the warranty from two years to five. If that wasn’t already good enough, you also get a lifetime warranty on the bearings (which you can keep running sweet thanks to some neat grease ports) and a crash replacement scheme.
The changes to the V10 aren’t just as simple as fitting a new carbon swingarm either, several other changes have happened too. That said, Santa Cruz quite rightly felt that they had got the suspension and geometry spot on last time around so that remains the same. The front triangle though has undergone some tweaking with the result being that it is now 300g lighter than before. It now tips the scales at just 2.3 lbs. That’s incredibly light by any standards and it has only been made possible by using a true monocoque construction rather than bonding various bits and bobs together like many other companies do. The video below (which might make you cry) shows you just how neat the front end is internally.
Weighing in at 1.5 lbs the new carbon rear end (which was co-developed with ENVE) is 530g lighter than its aluminium counterpart, and it’s actually even more refined than the version that the team have been running in 2012. The most significant change is the brace between the chain and seatstays which has been made considerably larger and flat. This improves stiffness whilst at the same time it doubles as a very handy mudguard.
Other changes include the welcome introduction of some fork bump stops, a 157mm rear end (the same kind of deal as 142mm, it just makes putting your wheel in a whole lot easier), and the suspension pivots feature a refined ‘collet’ system which does away for the need for pinch bolts. The only change that we’re not too sure about is the change to a direct mount rear mech hanger. This is a good thing if you’re happy running Shimano gears, but if you want to run SRAM you might be out of luck. Whether or not Santa Cruz are also going to produce a standard mech hanger for this frame is something that we still don’t know.
Overall then there are some significant changes for 2013, but if you’ve already got a 2012 v10 should you be worried? Probably not is the answer as like I said before this frame is identical in terms of geometry and suspension, and at the end of the day those are the two things that matter most. Of course you do get a few nice new details and save a pretty significant chunk of weight, but on the other hand it’ll also cost you a significant chunk more to buy. Refinement more than revolution is the name of the game here, but when you’ve already got a bike as good as the 2012 V10 there’s really not much more that you can do.
Here are all the full details…
The Lightest and Strongest* Production DH Frame in the World:
• Total frame weight:
• 6.97 lb (3.15 kg) M size with Rock Shox Vivid air
• 7.9 lb (3.6 kg) M size with Fox DHX RC4 shock with 9.5” x 3.0” steel coil
• 10” (25.4cm) to 8.5” (21.6cm) of adjustable travel
• New 157mm rear axle spacing – easier wheel installation.
• New molded rubber swingarm and downtube protectors.
• New integrated fork bumpers with cable guide.
• New carbon upper link – increased stiffness.
• Forged aluminum lower link with recessed grease ports.
• Collet axle pivots – lock in place without pinch bolts.
• Direct mount rear derailleur hanger.
• Full carbon dropouts and disk mounts.
• Co-molded aluminium hardware on upper pivot and bottom bracket – no bonding. • Race tested by Syndicate throughout 2012.
• Syndicate will race production frames in 2013.
• Internal production reference name is V10.5c
*as per Santa Cruz test lab results
FRONT TRIANGLE SPECIFICS
- New one piece monocoque carbon construction weighs 2.3 lb (1.05kg) for M size
- 0.7 lb (0.30 kg) lighter than previous generation
Weight saved through small changes to the external shape in high stress areas, and greater
optimizing of the layup.
SWING ARM SPECIFICS
• New carbon construction weighs 1.5 lb (0.68 kg)
• 1.2 lb (0.53 kg) lighter than aluminum version
• Developed using knowledge from ENVE Syndicate project
• New 5 year warranty for original owners (increased from 2 years) • Lifetime bearings warranty
• Lifetime crash replacement warranty
• SYNDICATE: matte carbon with red/white decals & Syndicate Chevrons • GREEN: matte carbon with green/grey decals
• Fox 40 color-matched decals for frame/fork and/or complete bike
• ENVE rims color-matched for complete bike