Pro bike: Steve Peat’s Santa Cruz V-10

Downhill world champ's 2010 alloy race rig

Last year Steve Peat finally won the UCI Downhill World Championships in the dust and heat of Canberra, Australia. The custom-painted and prepared Santa Cruz V-10 he rode to victory that day has long since been retired but his new World Cup race steeds share a lot in common with that hallowed machine.


Earlier this month, Santa Cruz unveiled a new prototype carbon V-10, but while that’s being tweaked and refined it’s the latest alloy version that’s likely to be the Syndicate squad’s World Cup workhorse, and that’s the machine you see here.

The frame has custom Peaty geometry, so it’s slightly longer and slacker than an off-the-shelf V-10. It also features a 1.5in headtube to give slightly more direct steering and a bit more strength to withstand multiple World Cup runs. The paint is, as you’d expect, custom Santa Cruz Syndicate livery.

The V-10 features Santa Cruz’s VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) technology, which uses chain tension to counteract the dreaded suspension bob. As with the company’s other 2010 VPP machines, Peaty’s V-10 has a carbon fibre top link which reduces overall weight and also helps to lower the bike’s centre of gravity, improving stability in the corners.

Steve peat’s santa cruz v-10: steve peat’s santa cruz v-10
Ric McLaughlin

Steve Peat’s alloy V-10 race bike has a full factory paintjob

As for travel, well the clue is in the title – the V-10 offers 10in (254mm). Interestingly, at Canberra while every man and his dog was concerned with reducing travel, Peaty opted to stay with the full-blown V-10. “I knew the bike pedalled really well and would rather stick with something I’ve been riding all season,” he said at the time.

The really special touch as far as the frame is concerned, however, comes in the shape of a RockShox Vivid Air rear shock. These were spotted on Syndicate machines at various races last year but the coil-sprung Vivid 5.1 was still standard issue. For 2010, the team have fully committed to running the high volume air shock, which comes complete with ‘upside down’ mounting and piggyback reservoir.

Steve peat’s santa cruz v-10: steve peat’s santa cruz v-10
Ric McLaughlin

The Syndicate team have fully committed to the RockShox Vivid air shock for 2010

“We’re in the final phases of testing,” Peaty told us. “I really like the feel of it and reckon that RockShox have got it working just as well as a coil-and-oil shock. They’re so much lighter it’s amazing.” If the big man is that impressed then surely it can’t be long before RockShox bite the bullet and release a production version.

Up front, Peat’s RockShox Boxxer WC fork is pretty much stock apart from some custom rainbow-striped graphics and extensive tuning. He runs a 50mm Truvativ direct-mount stem and a 780mm Truvativ Boobar handlebar which comes with a seven-degree backsweep and five-degree upsweep. Strapped onto this is a Crud Fast Fender mudguard, which Steve helped develop.

Steve peat’s santa cruz v-10: steve peat’s santa cruz v-10
Ric McLaughlin

Even Steve’s RockShox Boxxer fork gets the rainbow stripes treatment

The rainbow treatment also appears on some custom BlackBox Avid Elixir brakes, complete with polished finish and ‘Peaty’ etched levers. “They’re pretty much stock too,” Steve tells us. “There’s one or two special things going on in there but not too much.”

What are pretty remarkable, however, are the V-10’s wheels. Edge Composites are new to the Syndicate sponsorship roster this year and take the place of DT Swiss for supplying wheels. The carbon rims are designed and manufactured in-house in Ogden, Utah and weigh in at a claimed 400g each. They’re laced up to ultra-reliable Chris King hubs and Peaty is already a big fan.

Steve peat’s santa cruz v-10: steve peat’s santa cruz v-10
Ric McLaughlin

The Santa Cruz Syndicate will be running Edge Composites carbon rims this season

“They’re super strong and I’ve deliberately thumped them about a bit in rock gardens,” he says. “They roll really quick too.” Keeping Peaty up to speed this season are more new sponsors – Maxxis Tires. Steve was running stock Maxxis High Roller Super Tackys when we caught up with him despite having run custom-made WTB rubber for his World Champs run in Australia.

Powering all this is a pair of BlackBox branded Truvativ Stylo cranks mated to a red e*thirteen Guidering and a pair of CrankBrothers Mallet pedals with their bash plates removed. These are all held securely in place via an e*thirteen LG1+ chain device. The LG1+ saves a bit of weight over its SRS+ stablemate by avoiding the use of a full-size bash ring.

Steve peat’s santa cruz v-10: steve peat’s santa cruz v-10
Ric McLaughlin

Signature Lizard Skins grips are teamed up with customised BlackBox Avid Elixir brakes

As far as the transmission is concerned, Peaty is running a 10-speed 2010 Sram X0 setup complete with stealthy black colourway. “It’s just a regular SRAM cassette on there,” he told us. “It’s pretty small. I didn’t go for one of the one-piece XX numbers as I like to play around with my gearing and keep it fairly tall.”

There are a couple of other personal touches too. Steve is running a custom WTB Pure V saddle complete with more rainbow stripes and obligatory ‘Peaty’ logo. The moniker also crops up on his signature Lizard Skins grips along with a patriotic red, white and blue colour scheme.   

With a bike this dialled and the prototype V-10 Carbon available too, you’d be a brave man to bet against Peat enjoying major success on the world circuit this year. Check out BikeRadar tomorrow for a full interview with the man himself.

Steve peat’s santa cruz v-10: steve peat’s santa cruz v-10
Ric McLaughlin

Peaty puts the latest alloy V-10 through its paces at Fort William, Scotland

Bike specification

  • Frame: Santa Cruz V-10.3
  • Rear shock: RockShox Vivid Air
  • Fork: RockShox Boxxer WC (custom tuned)
  • Headset: Chris King
  • Stem: Truvativ Holzfeller direct-mount, 50mm
  • Handlebar: Truvativ Boobar, 780mm
  • Grips: Lizard Skins Lock-on Peaty
  • Brakes: Custom BlackBox Avid Elixirs with polished finish and ‘Peaty’ etched levers
  • Chainguide: e*thirteen LG1+
  • Gearing: 10-speed 2010 Sram X0
  • Crankset: BlackBox Truvativ Stylo with e*thirteen Guidering
  • Pedals: CrankBrothers Mallet (with bash plates removed)
  • Front wheel: Edge Composites AM rim, Chris King hub
  • Rear wheel: Edge Composites AM rim, Chris King hub
  • Front tyre: Maxxis High Roller Super Tacky
  • Rear tyre: Maxxis High Roller Super Tacky
  • Saddle: Custom WTB Pure V
  • Seatpost: Truvativ
  • Accessories: Crud Steve Peat Fast Fender