It’s been rumored for a while, and there’s plenty of talk around the industry about 29er’s moving into the downhill realm, but now it’s real. The Santa Cruz V10 29er downhill bike will be raced at Lourdes this weekend by Syndicate team members Greg Minaar, Loris Vergier and Luca Shaw. It’s still very much a work in progress, but they’ve gone ahead and made carbon molds and production level front triangles for the team, but linkages and rear ends are still custom. And travel varies by rider size…
The last time the V10 was updated was in late 2014 when it switched to 27.5″ wheels. Now it’s getting bigger, though they’re saying the 27.5″ model will remain in the line and still see race time. Minaar pushed the big wheels program, having raced a Hightower for enduro and posting some very fast times. So, they secured a prototype Fox 40 29er fork, modified a Hightower to work with it, and began testing. Using custom linkages and parts to work with the existing V10 front triangle, they got it dialed enough to go into quasi production.
The new tire size created some clearance challenges. So, shorter riders on the team will make do with 190mm of travel, while Minaar’s XXL frame gets a full 210mm. The rear shocks were tuned and limited (or not) as necessary for each travel level.
Different size linkages are used, and they’re continuing to test linkage and pivot placements, lengths and other kinematics before finalizing the design. While Santa Cruz Bicycles hints that more info will come after the Lourdes race on April 30, 2017, it’s clear that testing will continue throughout this season.
The Fox 40 29er brought its own set of challenges. It’s built with Boost axle spacing, with brake mounts set accordingly, but “Boost” 20mm thru axle hubs aren’t really a thing yet (just wait, they will be), so they turned to team sponsor Chris King for the fix:
Through their Buzz Works program, they created a special 20mm thru axle front hub with brake mounts and flange spacing to center the wheel and ensure the rotor was in the right place. They also created special angle adjustable headsets for the bikes so the riders could dial in the head angle during testing.
Check out their story with rider comments on SCB’s new page here.