Santa Cruz have hardly been secretive about the development of the new V10, quite the opposite in fact. While we usually don't know much about a new bike until right at launch, Santa Cruz have openly shared their development story on the new V10, and why not? The bike has spent several seasons under some of the highest profile downhill racers on the circuit on the Syndicate team including Jackson Goldstone and Laurie Greenland, available for all to see. The DH World Cup circuit is the best possible development ground for such a bike; it would be impossible to hide a bike that spends so much time in the limelight and on the podium, so why not share it?
For those that have been following the story of the new V10, today is the day you've been waiting for - the official release of the V10 8. For those that haven't been following the development story, the V10 8 is the culmination of years of refinement, fine-tuning, testing, and racing provenance under some of the most skilled athletes on the planet, in the toughest conditions a bicycle can face.
While the new V10 may not look dissimilar to the previous generation, that's because it was already a winning recipe. Santa Cruz are simply staying ahead of their own game. Not content with simply sticking with what they knew, Santa Cruz engineers sought to look outside the box to make sure they weren't missing something. Exploring all avenues is an important part of product development, that's why Santa Cruz produced several test mules with different suspension designs to see what the high pivot hype was about, among others.
Testing confirmed what they thought, that their tried and tested VPP layout produced the ride characteristics that the engineers and the Syndicate team were looking for, resulting in a high-performance, race winning bike. Multiple world cup podiums and victories are the proof in the pudding, with Jackson Goldstone's win at the final UCI DH World Cup of 2023 on home turf in Mont Saint Anne the cherry on top. That brings us to today's bike: the V10 8.
- 208mm VPP rear travel
- 203mm fork travel
- SM-LG MX wheels, XL 29" wheels
- CC carbon frame
- 3-pos reach adjustment
- 3-pos rear center adjustment
- 3-pos BB height/HTA adjustment
So what's new on the V10 8? Things are looking pretty similar between the Gen 7 and 8 bikes, however there are plenty of differences, but as ever the name of the game is refine, not redefine. Most of the changes are not drastic but a handful of changes in finishing kit and small parts, geometry and adjustments and general refinements results in a bike that can put seconds into the rest of the field.
Let's talk about the frame first. The V10 8 comes in sizes small through extra large, with S - L rolling on mixed wheels only, and the XL bike on 29" wheels only, and constructed using Santa Cruz's high modulus CC carbon only - it is a race bike after all. As mentioned above, where the old V10 had a high and low shock position and a two position rear axle adjustment, the new bike now has a three position chainstay length adjustment, a 3-position shock flip chip and a 3-position reach adjustment. Not only is the geo adjustable, but following the rest of the range, the new V10 also features size-specific chainstay lengths for weight balance and size specific stiffness profiles, so that each size produces the same ride characteristics and smaller frames aren't overly stiff or XL frames overly flexy.
Fit and finish on the new bike is exquisite, as usual from Santa Cruz. Looking at the bike, it's evident that they really took the time to make sure the small details as well as the large were as dialed as they could be. The frame includes some sweet details such as a moulded/ribbed chainstay protector to keep noise down, moulded plastic fenders to keep dirt and mud out of the shock and linkage, fully internal routing for brake and shift cables, with some particularly tidy looking guides around the BB area to keep things extra slick.
The V10 8 uses the same VPP suspension layout as the previous bike. Santa Cruz experimented with different suspension layouts for the V10 8 to make sure they were on the right track, including mid/high-pivot and idler setups with a rearward axle path. Their main aims were to produce a bike that carries speed and pumps well, with more support at the start of the travel while still creating traction. They found that the high pivot/idler setup consistently produced a bike that sat too far into the travel and did not carry speed as well where the traditional VPP design held its speed much better with less rider fatigue at speed, translating into a better race bike. The V10 8 then keeps its lower-link VPP roots, but drops its travel from 215 to 208mm, running firmer off the top to prevent it from bogging down and providing more support.
Geometry is the big change with this version of Santa Cruz's flagship race bike. Not only is the geometry radically more progressive, but riders also have a lot of options to fine tune the geo to suit their preferences, or even different race courses. Starting with head angle, the new bike drops a full degree off the old one, adjustable between 62.7º-63º with BB height the same as the old bike adjustable between 351-356mm with one extra stop in between.
Reach on the V10 8 has grown substantially, with a large bike sitting at 464, 474 and 480mm in the low shock position - that's a minimum of 4mm longer and a max of 20mm longer than the old bike. That puts the wheelbase at a whopping 1302mm - 24mm longer than the previous gen. Finally, those size-specific chainstays come in at 451-456-461mm in a size L, but coming as short as 440mm in a small and as long as 466mm in an XL.
Build and Spec
As mentioned earlier, the V10 8 is available in four frame sizes, with wheel size dictated by frame size, all getting MX with the exception of the XL on 29" front and rear. There is one colour - red, and two. build kits, - CC S and CC XO1 as well as a frame-only option.
The CC S MX and 29" build kits comes with a Fox 40 Performance fork and DHX2 Performance Elite shock, Reserve 30 DH Aluminum wheels on Industry Nine 1/1 hubs and runs a Sram GX 7sp DH drivetrain and Code Bronze Stealth brakes. Finishing kit is a Race Face Chester seatpost, Santa Cruz direct mount stem and Burgtec bars.
The CC XO1 MX and 29" builds rocks the Fox Factory 40 fork, and a Factory DHX2 shock. It runs a sram XO1 7sp DH drivetrain and Code Silver Stealth brakes. Finishing kit is a OneUp direct mount stem and Alloy bar with a Burgtec Xpress carbon seatpost. Wheels are the same Reserve 30 DH Aluminum rims on I9 1/1 hubs. Both bikes roll on Maxxgrip Maxxis Assegai tires front and rear, for maximum hookup.
Those looking for the ultimate DH race sled with surely look to the frame-only option to spec their own custom build, since component choice at the top end can be a highly personal affair. As always, don't hesitate to contact us to get your own custom build rolling.