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Steve Peat: Riding the V10 Prototype

We were lucky enough to test ride Steve Peat's V10 prototype bike. Words by Steve Jones.

This is all pretty ludicrous whichever way you look at it. Even as a prototype Santa Cruz would have to be pretty much tripping to radically alter a bike that has just won them their first world downhill title. And I for one would have to have been equally on the local Chianti for some time to suggest in any way that Steve Peat could (without beating about the bush) do better…

From Dirt Issue 63, May 2007 

But they have built him, Nathan, and Marc Beaumont something quite different on which to go in search of silver…or gold. How different? Well, not a great deal. Maybe a slightly longer wheelbase, but no more than half an inch, the main difference, apart from the fantastic weight saving, is the altered upper link in both size and material. It’s all about progress and if they’re not moving forwards then they are moving back.

Of course you might have already decided that Steve Peat’s V10 is a good bike. This could be for very many different reasons. The unique paintwork, carbon swinglink, low slung top tube or the silverwear he has perched next to the fish tank in his front room. But that was last year, this is a new bike. This is the bike Steve Peat will use to defend that World Cup title. Quite why he has given it to me to try and break god only knows, but then he has got my camera.

As a benchmark I had ridden a ‘06 version a few weeks before (a medium, the same as all the previous one I’d ridden). On the short, slow and technical track it was a gem. It worked for me. Start pressing the throttle and it began to feel increasingly uncomfortable. It was an extremely good bike don’t get me wrong here, but having two other bikes to compare it to (a Session 10 and a 224) I felt it could be more forgiving, particularly on the arms. The further down the hill the more arm ache on a V10 than the two others. Why was this I wondered? It could have been too much compression on the forks or my weight being thrown around. At the time I thought it was the latter. Of course this could then be partly down to my shape on the bike and my inability to compensate. Or it could be that I am just not tough enough. Whatever, the feeling seemed to be backing up several previous outings on the V10 (I had even ducked out of a review on the pages of this magazine scared to write exactly how I felt about the ‘05 versions). Maybe it was quite simply that with a high bottom bracket, ten on the back and eight on the front didn’t add up.

Suspension is such a very personal thing. I felt that I had never fully explored the possibilities on the V10. The chance to ride Steve Peat’s ‘07 World Cup race bike worried me…a little bit. But this was clearly an amazing opportunity and I was surprisingly open minded about the bike I was about to swing a leg over. I can only put this mindset down to one thing, and that is the need of two of the most successful Santa Cruz riders of all time to tinker with non-standard suspension set–ups. The Push Fox of Peaty’s and the tweaked Fox of Marc Beaumont’s. Both riders have gone places on the V10 so bollocks to any idea I might have that this bike could do better.

Click through to view the full Steve Peat: Riding the V10 Prototype before reading on…

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