What’s in a number?

About this time last year my well loved Santa Cruz Blur TR died. With Santa Cruz’s excellent crash-replacement offer, I set about browsing reviews of Nomads and Bronsons, while trying not to dream too hard about the just-launched High Tower.

Dyfi is a tricky place to choose one bike for. The range of style of descent is vast, from fast and slatey, to steep and rooty and every mixture in between. Climbing is more constant, generally being on forest road. But there’s a lot of it with evening rides typically average 800m in 20km, and a decent day doubling both figures. The ideal bike really must do it all.

After much deliberation and a few tests, I chose the 5010 frame with a “Dyfi Proof” build of Hope for anything that turns and Shimano SLX for everything else. Suspension was provided by an RS Pike up front with a Cane Creek DB Inline providing the only wild-card feature on an otherwise fairly plain build.

And has it worked? Yes!

After a very easy setup courtesy of RS'’s website and CC’s app, the bike settled down to doing what my Blur had always done - just working well. It didn’t take long for the differences to show and the sum of marginal gains add up. Compared with the Blur, the extra length of the 5010 and superior compression control of the Pike really show when heading offpiste into the steep and deep. Where the Blur would dive and tuck under, the 5010 holds its head up, giving the rider time to make mistake and correct them. The CC’d rear end remains subtle over roots with plenty in reserve for larger drops. Best of all, it’s a relaxing bike to ride. Alive in technical terrain, yet easy to pedal between “stages”, the SC is a great bike for a guide as you always feel there’s something in reserve.

Despite a harsh winter and awesome summer battering the bike from both weather extremes, the 5010 has been very reliable. The standard Shimano build has been faultless, with 1000km come and gone without a hitch. The Hope wheel bearings now need replacing, (which is a good lifespan for Dyfi) and both shocks are due a service. Upgrades have been limited to Sram Guide brakes and larger rotors to cope with the gradient. With winter approaching, I’ve also swapped the Bonty ST4 tyres for the popular Magic Mary/Nobby Nic combination. The only negative to report is the drive-side suspension linkage cover coming loose, despite lock-tite and correct torque. I’ll have to keep an eye on this and report back.

If you’re in the market for the ubiquitous yet illusive “do it all” bike for steep terrain with long climbs, make sure the 5010 is on your shortlist.