Santa Cruz 5010 or Canyon Spectral AL 6.0?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Santa Cruz 5010 or Canyon Spectral AL 6.0?

    I get the argument for the LBS...and that definitely holds value for me, as this will be my first real mountain bike. I'm definitely on the beginner side, but been riding bikes my whole life - but since moved to Colorado, I can justify a real mountain bike. I rode the 5010, really liked it a lot. I still want to demo a Hightower...but thats another 29" topic. I originally started with a $2500 budget...and that keeps creeping up.

    I also started researching the Canyon Spectral 6.0...for $2900, I get a bike spec'd closer to a $4000+ 5010. But I can't demo it, and I'm not sure about the whole service aspect. On the 5010 I was looking at an R or S build. As a beginner, I'm sure the components may not be as meaningful to me in the beginning...but I want to grow into whatever bike I get, without wasting money on things that are overkill even long term for my skillset. So I'm weighing a WAY better spec'd bike (Canyon) for much less money...vs a great bike (5010) and maybe more in line with what I need if I got closer to a D or R build, and get the LBS experience and care. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I always vote for the bike you like to ride the best. what fits best. then worry about spec and cost, but there is no denying you can get more for your money by going direct. will it be an extra hassle if you have a warranty issue? hard to say, but most local shops will still gladly wrench on it, or depending on where you live, you may have mobile techs. or you can start buying tools with the money you save, and learn to do most things yourself on youtube.

    I just recently got the S+, and I'm digging it. Fits my riding style and needs perfectly. No doubt you pay extra just for the SC name on it, but they also have a great rep for taking care of their customers, as does the shop I bought it from.

  3. #3
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    I rode a canyon spectral cf 9 for about an hour on Saturday at the duthie bike fair.

    Santa Cruz was there as well, but the line was so long I never got to ride any of their bikes . The 5010 was one of the bikes i wanted to ride most, but alas.

    I did ride a transition smuggler though, which I think is actually more similar to the 5010 than the canyon.

    The canyon actually rode really similar to my Kona Process 153, if you can get your hands on on of those locally. The smuggler was much more poppy in my opinion, like id imagine the 5010 is from all the reviews I've read.

    You may check out the Whyte t130 as well. It's nearly identical in specs and geometry to the 5010, and much more attainable price points. The transition scout is also fairly similar, with a $3k build option.

  4. #4
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    +1 for the Whyte T-130. Before my last purchase, I got my hands on a Spectral, a YT Jeffsey, a couple of Pivots, Treks, Rocky Mounts, etc. The Whyte was my favorite and went with it. It's a consumer direct as well (like Canyon). Great all around trail bike, really nice build quality. As for your question regarding 'service aspect' with a consumer direct bike, not an issue. Any decent LBS will work on any brand bike regardless of model, year, etc. As for warranty work with Whyte, you can either send it to them (in CA for the U.S.) or take it to an LBS and get reimbursed if they charge you. I'm not sure, but Canyon may offer the same options. BTW, no shipping costs (or tax if outside of CA) with Whyte. They also have a 30 day try it deal. Don't like it, send it back.

    Looks like you're in CO. I ride CO a few times of year. The T-130 is right at home there. It's playful and easy to pop around, quick (accelerates), climbs decent, and feels like it has more than 140mm when coming down. Really sweeps nicely on flow and is easy and confident when it gets off the ground. Easy to handle and stable on techy roots, rock gardens, etc.

    In the end, you probably won't go wrong with any of the bikes you mentioned. Like d365said... fit should be at the top of the list. Fit and feel. To me, The Spectral felt more short and tall like a Trek. The Whyte T-130 and YT Jeffsey felt more long and low. Rocky Mountain, Giant, Pivot Mach's and 429 were in the middle. At least that's how they fit and felt to me.
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys. Great feedback...starting to lean back to the 5010, but checking out the others as well! Will try the Transition since it is at a LBS about 25 minutes from me...

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    Sorry, I was on mobile last night, so I didn't type much :P.

    I agree with Fredcook, even though I didn't think about it at the time. The Canyon did feel a bit tall/short in comparison. I also rode a Pivot Mach 5.5, which was't as long/low as the Transition, but maybe wasn't quite as tall as the Canyon. Again, not saying the Canyon felt overly tall/tippy, its just in comparison to the others that it felt "taller".

    Otherwise, I thought it was a fine bike. It seemed to pedal well enough that I didn't think about it. I tried the climb switch, which helped, but for the climbs I did at Duthie, it really wasn't required.

    I tried a few tighter climbs (singletrack, vs the other fireroad climbs), and I made the same tight turns that I did on all the other bikes without dabbing a foot, and it had plenty of traction for the (admittedly "not very techy") climbs they have there.

    The seat tube didn't seem as far forward as a few of the other bikes, which meant it was a bit easier to wheelie, if that's something that is important to you .

    The Pivot was plusher than the Canyon, for whatever that's worth. The Pivot felt a bit more like a pillow, while the Canyon was a bit more direct. Maybe it was sag/suspension setup differences? Or maybe it is just the linkage design, I couldn't tell you right now.

    Like I said, my Kona Process (that I own), feels really darn similar to the Canyon in all honesty. Not that I couldn't tell them apart... but, enough that I'd say they're similar enough that riding the Process 153 could give you an idea what to expect. So maybe see if a LBS has the Kona as well.

    And, I'm a somewhat newer rider as well. I officially started mountain biking last October, even though I grew up riding dirt bikes, and BMX bikes around the neighborhood. I'm most comfortable on blue trails atm, but am edging closer and closer to black stuff looking fun. I got the Process 153 on a great sale around new years, with the understanding it may not be the perfect bike, but one that I could use to learn my preferences, and help develop my skills.

    Good luck on your search .

  7. #7
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    Honestly, santa cruz isnt much of a bargain brand and you get very little for your dollar. They *are* excellent frames, but you pay significantly for them.

    I think if you want a santa cruz and nothing else, buy one, but dont look too hard at what you're getting for your dollar. Its not much, but you got a santa cruz! Nearly everyone has a better deal than them, but they dont ride the same. If thats good or bad is subjective.

    If you're say, 5'11, you fit so squarely on a size large frame that you can confidently order online and the odds that it fits are extremely high. Same with 5'8 and mediums. Or 5'5 and smalls. People are reluctant to go off chart sizing, but in my experience, those are the magic 3 heights that work so well you can nearly always order blind.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Honestly, santa cruz isnt much of a bargain brand and you get very little for your dollar. They *are* excellent frames, but you pay significantly for them.

    I think if you want a santa cruz and nothing else, buy one, but dont look too hard at what you're getting for your dollar. Its not much, but you got a santa cruz! Nearly everyone has a better deal than them, but they dont ride the same. If thats good or bad is subjective.
    Thanks for the reply. I don't know...as I look to a lot of other brands at LBS's, SC seems really comparable in what I get for the money (let's say, like a Trek Remedy...same price and specs almost as a 5010 AL S build). I'm seeing the biggest difference if I'm willing to go direct. I'm 5'9, so 99% sure I'm G2G on a medium

  9. #9
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    I've demoed 5010, but have not ridden the Spectral. With the Spectral being 160F/150R, I think it's more comparable to the SC Bronson. I think the Process 153 was good comparison too. These are just bigger bikes than the 5010. For me to get the most out of these bigger trail bikes, I would need to be riding steeper, chunkier trails most of the time.

    But most of my riding is more flow trails so I prefer the shorter travel bikes like 5010. They're just more fun to ride on these types of trails. Try to demo as much as you can.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by G4CO View Post
    Thanks for the reply. I don't know...as I look to a lot of other brands at LBS's, SC seems really comparable in what I get for the money (let's say, like a Trek Remedy...same price and specs almost as a 5010 AL S build). I'm seeing the biggest difference if I'm willing to go direct. I'm 5'9, so 99% sure I'm G2G on a medium
    Compare a $3999 5010 S to a trance advance 2 $4300. You get a 36 instead of 34, DPX instead of DPS, and carbon wheels instead of the cheap version WTB aluminum rim. Also gets you a carbon frame for the price of aluminum. You do step down to NX, but all things considered, thats an enormous step up the chain.

    And thats full pop for the carbon trance. They're probably 10-20% off now that the new 2020's are rolling out.

    Not trying to talk you out of the SC, they really are nice bikes, but if you're hunting for value...

  11. #11
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    That sucks. The AL S+ used to come with a DPX2, I thought.

    You've always gotten a little more value generally from Giant over most other brands, but you get a lot of Giant branded parts, which good or bad is subjective. Same as S or Trek, I guess.

    I chose the 5010 over the Trance for the way the bikes rode and fit. I'd happily own a Trance though, not saying that.

  12. #12
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    Another option... go down to the D build. Its $2700 bucks.

    While Ill agree that the R build is very clearly better, I think both arent very good... actually the R build pretty much sucks, and I can totally understand why you'd be looking at canyon. WAY better build. I dislike paying more for something that still isnt good.

    But the 5010 really is an awesome frame! Go D build, sell the fork and shock right off the bat and get something nicer. Mattocs and RCT3 pikes are under $500 if you hunt, and either destroys the 34 rhythm fork by a big margin. Rear shocks are all over for dirt cheap, I picked up a brand new RCT3 debonair for $75 shipped and its significantly better than the DPS.

    Fork and shock change alone and you have a bike that really, really rips. Your suspension performance could exceed most builds at any cost, for less than what the R would run you.

    Drivetrain is consumable. When it wears, you can go from there. You'll change it out anyway, so the money sort of is being spent on drivetrain stuff no matter where you buy in.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Another option... go down to the D build. Its $2700 bucks.

    While Ill agree that the R build is very clearly better, I think both arent very good... actually the R build pretty much sucks, and I can totally understand why you'd be looking at canyon. WAY better build. I dislike paying more for something that still isnt good.

    But the 5010 really is an awesome frame! Go D build, sell the fork and shock right off the bat and get something nicer. Mattocs and RCT3 pikes are under $500 if you hunt, and either destroys the 34 rhythm fork by a big margin. Rear shocks are all over for dirt cheap, I picked up a brand new RCT3 debonair for $75 shipped and its significantly better than the DPS.

    Fork and shock change alone and you have a bike that really, really rips. Your suspension performance could exceed most builds at any cost, for less than what the R would run you.

    Drivetrain is consumable. When it wears, you can go from there. You'll change it out anyway, so the money sort of is being spent on drivetrain stuff no matter where you buy in.
    Lol...love the out of the box thinking. Interesting. To further my confusion, I've got a line on a brand new Specialized Enduro Elite 29/carbon for $2800. Thoughts? It's an Öhlins fork (?), GX x 11 drivetrain (no Eagle unfortunately)...but its carbon, 29, RockShox Monarch (?)...originally a $4500 retail bike. Thoughts? AT the price, along with that logic, I could swap out most things I dont love (go to GX Eagle for about $300?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by G4CO View Post
    Lol...love the out of the box thinking. Interesting. To further my confusion, I've got a line on a brand new Specialized Enduro Elite 29/carbon for $2800. Thoughts? It's an Öhlins fork (?), GX x 11 drivetrain (no Eagle unfortunately)...but its carbon, 29, RockShox Monarch (?)...originally a $4500 retail bike. Thoughts? AT the price, along with that logic, I could swap out most things I dont love (go to GX Eagle for about $300?)
    Yeah, getting the D build and swapping up suspension isn't a bad idea at all. I'd also maybe upgrade the brakes personally, but thats more of a "if you feel it needs it" after riding it for a while.

    The specialized is a pretty burly bike. 160mm up front, 65-66 hta, shortish chainstays, SRAM Code R brakes. Its much more like the Canyon Spectral, than the 5010/T-130/etc. In fact, looking at the geo/spec, its actually surprisingly similar.

    This model bike used to be the bleeding edge. However, its an older design now (and is due for a refresh here soon if rumors are to be believed), which is why some of the spec is a bit confusing to you, and likely why the price has been lowered. The shock isn't a metric trunion mount shock, the cassette is 11 speed GX, etc.

    That said, its still a perfectly good bike, with some good parts on it. I'd absolutely go take a look, and ride it if you can.

    And honestly, I wouldn't bother with eagle at first. Also, it would be more than $300 to upgrade. GX eagle cassettes alone are $200, and then you still have to swap shifters, deraileurs, and the freehub (11 speed uses a shimano style HX freehub, eagle used an "XD" freehub).

    Instead, rock the 11 speed GX until it wears out, then decide if you think you need it then.

  15. #15
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    Ill flat out admit that I dont like specialized bikes. That is a good deal, but meh. I think they pedal like a wet mattress.

    Tons of people dont agree though.

    Specialized Enduro 29'' 2017 - Linkage Design

    Id rather have my bikes over 100% A/S, especially if they're long travel. Thats a lot of mush to pedal.

  16. #16
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    I have V3 5010C and demo'd a Spectral 8.0CF. Fun bike. Very poppy which I loved. But, I could tell it's a bigger bike than my 5010 (130mm f&r don't forget) and not *quite* as fun/flickable as the 5010, IMO.
    2019 Santa Cruz 5010 Carbon C. R Build, in Purple.
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  17. #17
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    Sold my 5010 for a 19' Spectral. Canyon customer service is top notch. I had a slight issue with my bike (User error) and they replaced the bike free of charge. They provide a 6 year warranty. Canyon offers a 30 day trial. You might as well order one and test it out and if you don't like it you can send it back. You get a lot more bang for your buck with Canyon, especially when you compare it to SC bikes.

    " 2018 Test Winner (Mountainbike Magazin, 07/18)
    • 2018 Trail Bike of the Year (BikeRadar)
    • 2018 Bike of the Year 2018 (Vélo Vert)
    • 2018 VitalMTB (05/18): "incredible number of smiles per dollar", 5/5 stars
    • 2018 VitalMTB - The Canyon Spectral crept up and won us over in ways we could not have imagined, and on trail performance was spectacular."

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