We take a look at the evo­lu­tion of Santa Cruz’s V10, ar­guably the ‘win­ningest’ bike in down­hill rac­ing his­tory

Mountain Biking UK - - UPLIFT -

When the Santa Cruz V10 first hit the scene in 2002, it made waves with its mas­sive 255mm of rear wheel travel and new ‘Vir­tual Pivot Point’ (VPP) link­age de­sign. Since then, the bike has been con­tin­u­ally de­vel­oped and re­fined. Six dif­fer­ent it­er­a­tions have been made avail­able to the pub­lic, and there have been nu­mer­ous team-only pro­to­types too. To this day, the launch of a new model is still head­line news.

The lat­est V10 is a 29in-wheeled, 200mm-travel race rocket, which can cur­rently be seen in ac­tion un­der the Santa Cruz Syn­di­cate and is set to go into pro­duc­tion soon. The bike is now just as fa­mous as some of the big names who’ve pi­loted it. Nathan Ren­nie, Steve Peat, Greg Min­naar, Josh Bryce­land, Loris Vergier and Luca Shaw have all taken a V10 to at least one World Cup or World Cham­pi­onships podium, achiev­ing more than 100 top-five fin­ishes be­tween them.

Santa Cruz’s VPP de­sign – which con­nects the rear tri­an­gle to the main­frame via two short links to cre­ate a ‘vir­tual’ pivot point that changes through­out the bike’s travel – has re­mained at the heart of the V10 since the be­gin­ning. You can see the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the orig­i­nal (be­low) and the cur­rent bike, even though the first de­sign had its up­per link be­hind the seat tube and used a float­ing brake rod.

When it comes to ge­om­e­try though, things have changed mas­sively. The largest 2002 V10 had a 67-de­gree head an­gle, 627mm top tube, 399mm bot­tom bracket height and 1,199mm wheel­base, while the cur­rent pro­duc­tion bike is three de­grees slacker, with a much lower BB (360mm) and longer TT (682mm) and wheel­base (1,218mm).

With di­rect in­put from the Syn­di­cate rid­ers, the de­sign of the V10 has been con­tin­u­ally pushed to try to keep it on the podium, and with the re­sults to date, you’d have to say Santa Cruz have suc­ceeded. Is this the king of down­hill bikes? It just might be.

Greg Min­naar’s lat­est 29er V10 pro­to­type is a far cry from the orig­i­nal bike, with its sky-high BB and stumpy top tube

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