Evolution of the V10
- Early Development
- The Syndicate
- World Cup Validation
EARLY DEVELOPMENT - A COUPLE MULES AND A GOAT
Mid-way through the 2021 World Cup Season the work began to develop the V10. The current bike was working well - it won the World Championship that year - but we wanted to refine the recipe. To do so meant exploring some hypotheses about suspension.
Two mules are fabricated in-house at Santa Cruz to explore some alternative suspension directions and geo refinements.
Product Manager of Suspension and Ride Quality, Kiran MacKinnon has his first official test session in California. Mule A and Mule B are compared and optimized with available adjustments to create a baseline. Feedback/points of improvement are recorded. Both mules are compared against a V10.7 race bike.
(September 29, 2021)
A / B testing
The GOAT tries out two first mules in Andorra. A favorite is chosen, but the conclusion is somewhat blurry. The general consensus is that Mule A feels more effortless to ride at race pace, but there are some unanswered questions. Greg’s initial feedback is that Mule A is the clear winner, but as the week goes on and more setups are tried, testing fatigue sets in. (October 24, 2021)
Kiran has a second official test in California to decipher the puzzling notes from Andorra, and to try the two mules in an additional terrain. Mark Allison also attends the test and gives input on mules. (November 30, 2021)
New names enter the chat
Jackson Goldstone, Nina Hoffmann and Laurie Greenland are signed to the Santa Cruz Syndicate. The Santa Cruz Product team picks their brains about what they’ve liked on other bikes and what’s on their wishlist for the next bike. (January 2022)
Mule C is welded up in-house. Mule C: A combination of everything learned from the 10 combined variants of Mules A and B. Leverage targeted a middle ground of Mule A and B strategies. Lower anti-squat than Mule A, while utilizing low pivot layout for maximizing low anti-rise for best possible braking. Platform used to fine tune the final kinematic details for production.
Kiran has a third test in original California location. Mule C is compared against Mule A and Mule B in familiar terrain for a final conclusion on direction. This time, Engineering Director and lead engineer on the V10 project, Aaron Foley, joins to try the bikes out and get first hand feedback. (April 2022)
A Windrock winner
Kiran has a fourth test at Windrock Bike Park in Tennessee to evaluate Mule C refinements and how they compare to Mule A in more WC style terrain. Max Morgan joins the test to give feedback on the final mule. (April 25, 2022)
THE SYNDICATE TAKE FLIGHT - FIRST RIDES DOWNUNDER
Carbon chassis calculations
Frame stiffness was a big topic for the team going into the V10.8 project. V10.7 was on the high end of stiffness which made for a predictable ride, but potentially traction and trail feedback quality could be improved. Tube shapes in the carbon frame and aluminum links were refined to get the desired overall frame stiffness. This resulted in an approximate average of 10% reduction in front end stiffness, and an 8% reduction in rear end stiffness when compared to the previous generation V10. (April-November 2022)
Christmas cake fresh from the mold
The first pre-production carbon frames arrive from our exclusive carbon factory (Skybox). Kiran puts one together and gives it a shakedown in Laguna Beach where initial mules were tested. Samples are also strength and fatigue tested in our own composites lab. (November 2022)
Just before Christmas the Syndicate and team mechanics arrive in Santa Cruz to be presented with the first carbon samples. (December 10, 2022)
First rides, first wins
The squad takes these first carbon prototypes to Queenstown, Maydena and Thredbo for two months of testing. Fresh rigs, fresh tracks, fresh feelings all-round. (January 16, 2023)
Jackson Goldstone set the fastest time at the Australian National Championship. (February 18, 2023)…
…and the New Zealand National Championship. Being a visitor he’s ineligible for the titles. Yeah, bro! (February 26, 2023)
WORLD CUP VALIDATION - POINTS, PODIUMS AND PUZZLING
The podiums and ponderings begin
The Syndicate has their first outing on nearly-production, custom-painted V10s at the Lenzerheide World Cup. Nina finishes third, Laurie 4th. A good start.
Then Jackson Goldstone scores his first elite World Cup podium at the Leogang World Cup round. Things seem all gravy in the team and with the bike. However, Greg Minnaar isn’t having a lucky start to the year. He thinks he senses too much flex in the swingarm so the team in California hand wrap a new rear triangle in the composites lab and rush ship it to the team in time for Val di Sol, IT. (June 2023)
The winning ways
At the legendary VDS round Jackson Goldstone wins his first World Cup at Val di Sol.
After the race, still picking apart his puzzle, Greg goes to Andorra for additional testing with different links and rear triangle. He opts for a 6% stiffer 29-inch swingarm and 3% stiffer upper link. Greg also experiments with additional geometry setups after discussing feedback with Kiran. (July 1, 2023)
Pounding laps away from the races
At the same time our staff and friends accumulate thousands of laps on pre-production V10s at bike parks all over the world. Morzine, Whistler, Chatel, Sun Peaks, Windrock, Big Bear. All in the name of fun testing. (Summer 2023)