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Hey guys, I have this burning question as I am looking for a new ride. I'm leaning towards the Santa Cruz 5010 carbon. From only the frame's durability standpoint (not parts durability, not performance), is it capable to tackle DH trails and big jumps (if one day I am skillful/confident to ride it)?
 

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Officially... no.

In real life, it depends. Big jumps are not a problem if the landing is smooth and the rider skilled enough to land it every time. Casing a big jump though is beyond what such a frame is designed for. Hucking to flat... that's not healthy for any frame.

DH runs under a skilled rider that knows what they're doing, the frame should be fine, but perhaps not the most fun situation for the rider. Ride gnarly terrain at speed repeatedly and issues may appear. For example, a mate of mine who is a strong and fast rider has been riding his alu Tallboy on super rocky trails and the local enduro series for two years straight. Last year he found a crack on one of the links. Nobody was surprized, his frame was ridden beyond it's purpose. Santa Cruz warrantied the part anyway.

If you want to develop towards DH and jumping buy something that will allow you to grow in this direction and be forgiving when your skills fail you. It will be safer and probably cheaper in the long run.
 

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I agree that it depends. You can take a trail bike to probably any bike park and ride around, and even hit some decent size jumps. There's also some crazy stuff out there that I would not dream of touching on any trail bike. My advice is to buy a bike for what you ride now. A 5010 isn't going to hold you back anytime soon.
 

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depends on the rider.. once upon a time i took my old Schwinn Homegrown hardtail down some DH trails at Deer Valley.
 
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Yes it's capable, you can go downhill on your bike. Freeride? If you've got the balls to do it, so can the bike. But you've got to be realistic. You will find the limit of the bike as you progress. You'll either find that big stuff has it's risks and you'll dial back or you'll want a more capable bike. Back in the day we were occasionally hitting 9 foot drops on 100mm travel Kona bear/ dawg bikes. Not ideal, but they held up for years.
 

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I think you also have to consider the what ifs. So like the previous posts, skill will factor in. Downhill bikes have beefier stronger frames. If you got in an accident and the 5010's frame landed hard directly on a rock, the frame would probably give. I crashed once on my Session88 and it tumbled down 10-15 feet on a bunch of rocks. I don't think a trail bike's frame would have survived. I could be wrong but I don't want to find out.

As far as big jumps. I misjudged (due to inexperience) and overshot a 30 foot gap. Not sure how high. I landed flat. I bucked and surprisingly only hurt my wrist and had some scratches on my back, but my Session's frame was fine. I would assume a trail bikes frame wouldn't withstand. On top of that I would probably have had severe injuries if I overshot with a trail bike. I guess my point is that crashes are going to happen, and downhill bikes are much more forgiving and it also allows a little room to make errors. It'll give you more confidence. You also need to be concerned about the wheels. If you are railing down rocks at speed on the 5010 you may damage the wheels since they're not designed to take a beating. Brake pads will wear quicker also. That can add to your expenses.

Then you also have the fun factor. If you ride true dh trails on the 5010 over and over every year, you will get tired more easily and it becomes less fun (maybe I'm just old).

If you can only afford one bike, you may want to consider an enduro bike. 160mm. I still ride my 2012 Session88 and bought the Pivot Mach6 in 2018. If you are patient maybe buy the trail or enduro bike then save up for a 26 dh rig. If you haven't yet, you may want to go to a bike park, rent a dh rig, explore the different trails, and see if this is something you really want to do.
 

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I have ridden a hardtail on some pretty gnarly black diamond trails at a bike park and certainly pedaled some rides that involved some very steep DH afterward. It worked just fine. Having more travel and a longer/slacker bike is more comfortable but short of the biggest drops and jumps, it's not necessary. I actually prefer an enduro style bike to a DH bike at the bike park because I'm not fast or good enough to take advantage of the marginal difference. I also know people who have been riding for decades who feel the same way.

I would not show up at a bike park with an ancient 72 degree head angle twitchy skinny tire bike, but I would be happy to take any major brand's trail bikes down any blue and most any single black diamond bike park trail.

Park is just mountain biking minus much or all of the climbing.
 

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Officially... no.

In real life, it depends. Big jumps are not a problem if the landing is smooth and the rider skilled enough to land it every time. Casing a big jump though is beyond what such a frame is designed for. Hucking to flat... that's not healthy for any frame.

DH runs under a skilled rider that knows what they're doing, the frame should be fine, but perhaps not the most fun situation for the rider. Ride gnarly terrain at speed repeatedly and issues may appear. For example, a mate of mine who is a strong and fast rider has been riding his alu Tallboy on super rocky trails and the local enduro series for two years straight. Last year he found a crack on one of the links. Nobody was surprized, his frame was ridden beyond it's purpose. Santa Cruz warrantied the part anyway.

If you want to develop towards DH and jumping buy something that will allow you to grow in this direction and be forgiving when your skills fail you. It will be safer and probably cheaper in the long run.

this ....plus look at used bikes to save money while learning
 

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As long as I'm cruising the DH forum....

No.

Trail bikes can't handle consistent _real_ DH use.


I get DH passes to 2 different mountains each season. My DH rig built up with heavy duty parts needs lots of TLC. Rims, tires, bashgaurds, grips, hubs, shocks, etc... I seem to eat through these like candy.

Sure, most trail bikes can hobble down a black diamond dh track a few times. But if you want to really ride it hard, no. Not to exaggerate, but I'd be pretty certain if I rode my burly AM rig on my local dh hard something would fail by the first or second run of the day.

If you want to visit a dh park rarely and have a bit of fun using the lifts for the easier trails, then absolutely - you can get away with trail bike.
 

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"is it capable to tackle DH trails and big jumps"

Whats big to you may not be big to someone else. Is a 5' cliff big to you, while not big to someone else. Is going down a black diamond trail at 50 not a big deal to someone else, but is a big deal to you. You need to learn how to ride DH. You dont want anything in the back of your mind nagging at you thinking will the XC bike hold up, as your dropping 5' cliff. Shock mounts and frame welds. If you have internal routing for cables, that weakens the frame even more. I have broken 2 frames, one shock mount, the other internal cable routing holes on a rigid.

If you want to go big on DH, buy yourself a decent used DH bike. Otherwise just learn the basics of DH on your XC bike, like trail line, how to position the body on jumps, how to absorb and pump jumps.
 

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Yes and no. If you are in peak physical shape you can slam your way down but you won't be using the best tool for the job. You will be able to get down but you will be punished for mistakes where an enduro or DH bike would act like nothing happened. I personally think it can get dangerous to be under biked especially if you are jumping and don't have great technique. My worst fall last year was casing a big table top on my Downcountry bike. I was half a foot short and got punished. My megatower would have absorbed the hit not problem.
 

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The frame should be fine, as long as you are realistic. See what Danny Macaskill is doing on the 5010 to ease your concerns.

Buy the bike that suits what you ride most of the time. If that is trail and occasional DH/Freeride, the 5010 will be fine. Sure, it might get a little more wear and tear, but meh.

I have a 5010 CC and (until COVID-19) was planning to take it to Whistler this summer.
 

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I've done several bike park days and numerous days of shuttling this season on a 2020 Norco Sight A1. Not sure if it's really considered a trail bike? It makes a great trail bike though. Riding everything from XC loops to double black trails with 20+ foot gaps and 10+ foot drops. Alberta and British Columbia Canada.

Stock E13 wheels didn't last long but I'm now running Chromag BA30's and Cushcore. The bike is holding up great and is crazy capable for it's travel. At really rough mountains like Kicking Horse it's definitely a workout keeping up with friends on DH bikes. I'm running Exo+ tires with cushcore and knock on wood haven't had an issue. I'm 190lbs and have to run 28psi front and 32 rear even with cushcore to keep from pinging rims due to having less travel.

So I'd say yes you can as long as your trail bike is built for it. Would I rather have a DH bike for park and shuttles? For sure! That being said, the one bike quiver is working for me and I'm having a blast!
 

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No.

Trail bikes can't handle consistent _real_ DH use.
Yeah, if we're just talking about bike parks with well shaped landings then sure the trail bike will be fine. You can hit 10 ft drops on a hardtail if the landing is smooth. If we're talking about some serious DH where doing stuff like landing from 8 ft up into a rock garden at 20 mph then trail probably isn't going to last that long. Really, if you ride serious DH enough then even a DH bike is going to have parts break.
 

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Once upon a time ago I sold my DH bike and got the itch to do some park riding (N*@ Tahoe). Added some meaty tires on my 150mm travel trail bike and I was good to go. 1/2 way down my first run I realized this wasn't all that fun :( Felt like I brung a knife to a gun fight. Spent the day w/ the safety on and vowed to build a a dedicated DH bike for true DH for my next trip.
 
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