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