First Ride: Santa Cruz Bronson Carbon - 650B Ripper

Apr 30, 2013
by Richard Cunningham  
Santa Cruz Bronson C

Santa Cruz announced the Bronson on April Fools' Day, but the first mid-size-wheel trailbike from the Coastal California bike maker was no joke. We traveled to the new SC factory, situated at the foot of some of the area's choice riding, to get a first-hand impression of how the bike performs. Those who have ridden in the coastal mountains of Santa Cruz will verify that the dirt, trails and average temperature are near-perfect 260 days out of the year - and the other 105 days it's fisherman-cold and pissing rain. We were fortunate to enjoy one of the 260 - shredding between shaded redwood forest and oak woodlands for a most enjoyable day of riding on the trails where the Bronson was born and raised.

Santa Cruz Bronson C
  Bronson C frames share similar DNA with the Blur LTc and Tallboy LTc, but its carbon chassis is produced in a completely different mold and beefed up for pro-level enduro competition.


Bronson C Walk-Around

Bronsons have six inches of rear-wheel travel (5.9"/150mm) and can be configured with a number of forks ranging in travel from 150 to 180 millimeters, although a 150mm fork is preferred. Frames are available in welded-aluminum or carbon and in a number of builds. Both the alloy and carbon frame are built on separate tooling from any other Santa Cruz model, but the family resemblance with the Blur LTc and Tallboy is nearly identical. Bronsons are built much tougher than what is required for an XC trailbike and are advertised as all-mountain and enduro-specific. Our test Bronson was the carbon version, set up with a SRAM XXI drivetrain, Shimano XTR Trail Brakes and a Fox Float CTD fork and shock. Topping off the high-end build was a matched pair of Enve's newest AM wheels in 650B. Santa Cruz's website pegs the retail cost of our test Bronson just beyond the $10,000 mark. We tried to ignore that detail and revel in the knowledge that Santa Cruz's claimed weight for our test Bronson was 26.21 pounds - pretty sweet for an AM sled. (Santa Cruz Bronson C builds start at $4150.) Medium-sized Bronson C frames are said to weigh 5.3 pounds and with a Fox float CTD shock, cost $2,699. Color options are natural carbon with blue or yellow graphics, or Tennis Green.

Santa Cruz Bronson details
  (From left) Bronson frames use a forged-aluminum upper rocker that drives a Fox Float CTD shock. The Reverb Stealth dropper post keeps the Bronson's flowing lines uncluttered. Santa Cruz includes grease fittings to purge the lower rocker bearings and a bash guard to ward off rock impacts to the down tube.


Suspension Notes:
Bronsons rely on Santa Cruz's generation-2 VPP rear suspension for firm pedaling response paired with smooth suspension action, but those who insist on pedaling performance that comes close to a hardtail can fuss with the Fox CTD controls to obtain satisfaction. We questioned why the Enduro-specific Bronson does not have an option for the Float-X CTD reservoir damper and the answer seemed to be that the new shock was not yet forthcoming to OEMs. It seems like a perfect match, but as we discovered, the standard Float CTD shock was aptly suited for the Bronson's hard-charging style. Both the upper and lower rocker links are forged aluminum and both use SC's adjustable angular-contact bearing system. In keeping with SC's recent tradition, grease fittings are tucked into the lower link to encourage preventative bearing maintenance.

Santa Cruz Bronson details
  SRAM's single-chainring XXI drivetrain allows the Reverb Remote button to be located under the left handlebar where it should be. A reminder from Santa Cruz on the top tube - in case you forget who's the boss.


Key Numbers:
Quickly scanning the Bronson's frame numbers backs up its mission statement - with a low, 13.6-inch bottom bracket height, a reasonably slack, 67-degree head angle, and a moderately short, 17.3-inch chainstay length the Bronson should handle brightly enough to dodge and weave through the trees, and still possess a shovel-full of courage-enhancing stability for high-speed forays down technical trails that should be the realm of a big bike. Previous experience with 650B wheels suggests that, shod with 2.35-inch tires, the Bronson will breeze over the rocks and deadfall which are the signatures of the Santa Cruz trail network.




Santa Cruz Bronson C

bigquotesEvery berm, every twist and turn through this forest, can be executed at speeds that exceed a normal rider's imagination - and the locals use this to their advantage - tempting us with each new section of trail and then crushing us once again. This is the dark soul of Bronson.


With the best part of the day ahead of us and three honch riders from Santa Cruz Bikes, eager to show us every nuance of the local trail network, we throw a leg over the first 650B design to emerge from the iconic bike brand, find a wheel and hang on for dear life. They call it 'hero dirt' and the local mountains above the brand's namesake city are made of it. The divine mixture of loam, clay and sand, kept moist by the eternal shade of coastal redwood trees, grips tires better than baby monkeys hold onto their mothers. Every berm, every twist and turn through this forest, can be executed at speeds that exceed a normal rider's imagination - and the locals use this to their advantage - tempting us with each new section of trail and then crushing us once again. This is the dark soul of Bronson.

Granted, we are riding on the exact trails that Santa Cruz used to hone the handling of the Bronson, but the ease and agility with which the bike moves through the forest is remarkable. It has a beautiful front/rear balance that requires very little attention at the handlebar to keep the bike on line. It is a rare moment when the front tire won't follow orders and the Bronson's rear tire tends to track the front unless its pilot calls for a drift. There is a surety to its steering that encourages the rider to ignore minor obstacles and choose the flow lines. The Bronson front wheel seems eager to drive over almost anything in its way. Santa Cruz offers Maxxis High Rollers as standard rubber on the Bronson, but our test bike was outfitted with Maxxis Ardent tires, which roll faster, but give up a lot of grip in the turns to their DH-oriented kin. Tearing into the hero dirt, we imagine that a High Roller-equipped Bronson would corner and climb like it were geared directly to the earth.

Santa Cruz Bronson - RC and friends in Santa Cruz
  Dropping into one of the zone's longer chutes - easy work for the Bronson. Regrouping in the redwoods for another round of Bronson-in-the-forest. Poison oak - it's everywhere - waiting for bare legs and arms.


Descending proved that, for Santa Cruz Bikes at least, Fox has implemented changes in its 34 Float CTD fork's damping and spring rates to eliminate the mushy feel in compression and brake dive that the original model often suffered from. The Bronson dove fearlessly down rock chutes and leveled roots like a dedicated enduro chassis must. Under braking, aided by its Shimano XTR Trail stoppers, the Bronson feels sure and controllable in nearly all situations. Drops and jumps are non-issues, with the very stiff-feeling chassis feeling instantly composed upon landings, ready to negotiate the next feature. This agility seems to stem from a combination of a slightly steeper head angle than current fashion dictates that is paired with a rigid, balanced-feeling chassis, and this is an emerging theme from Santa Cruz. The Bronson's ability to react to situations in a quick, decisive manner may trump bikes that employ excessively slack steering geometry and favor a plow-through-everything strategy. At any rate, it makes for a fun ride.

Speaking of rear suspension, the feel of the Bronson's VPP rear end is very much like the Tallboy LTc, with a supple feel of the bottom and through the mid stroke, with a gradual rising rate at the end-stroke to soften hard landings. Climbing traction is abundant and there is enough pedaling firmness in the suspension to minimize the need to switch the CTD shock to Trail or Climb modes. While 150-millimeters of travel is quite common in this category, the second-gen VPP's mid-stroke performance is as good as it gets, and in fast trail situations the system really shines. There is no sense that the larger wheels are a travel-booster like one often experiences from 29-inch wheel designs, but like a big-wheel bike, the Bronson feels quite capable of charging nasty sections that a 26er rider might shy from. Excellent performance at the suspension's end-stroke, aided by a laterally rigid chassis, keeps the bike in control after hard landings and even if the Bronson lands out of shape, it recovers quickly. Over trail chatter, on the opposite side of the suspension's spectrum, the tires feel well grounded, which removes much of the anxiety from fast, sweeping turns. The only possible negative suspension trait we noticed was that the rear wheel would catch momentarily before popping over a tall root or deadfall limb at slow speeds. This was not the case once the wheels were rolling at a proper clip. Whether this was a setup issue or inherent to the VPP suspension will be explored in a future test.

Mechanically, what is not to like about Enve Carbon AM wheels, Shimano's best disc brakes and SRAM's eleven-speed one-by drivetrain? We would be hard pressed to find a quieter running bike. Only the click click of its SRAM XXI transmission and the sound of its tires scrubbing the soil break the silence of the Bronson's ride. If there was any chain slap, Santa Cruz's molded rubber chainstay protector would mask any hint of it. Double points to SC for integrating a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post into the Bronson's frame design. The port for the actuator hose is further protected by a rubber boot, and the lack of a front derailleur allows the remote button to be placed under the left handlebar where it lines up perfectly with the thumb. For those who feel the need for a front mech, Santa Cruz includes the necessary housing stops and direct mount face-plate to do the job right. ISCG tabs are also standard fare. About the only aspect of the bike we'd change is to go to a wider, 750-millimeter handlebar - which is supposedly a running change for production Bronsons.

Santa Cruz Bronson C - RC drifting
  Seat up, foot down, brakes off - some old school drifting action aboard the Bronson.

bigquotesGlowing as this text has been about Santa Cruz's first 650B design, riding the Bronson on its home trails for a day cannot provide the range of experiences required for a conclusive bike review. What we can say for sure is that we like the Bronson - it's a ripper. Comparisons can be made between its lookalike cousins - the 26-inch Blur LTc and the 29er Tallboy LTc - but with all due respect, the Bronson is a cut above both in a number of ways. The Bronson has much more high-speed stability than both of its predecessors, and it feels better balanced than the Blur in the corners. While the Tallboy and the Bronson share a similar flow when negotiating rough trails, the Tallboy likes to cruise effortlessly down the trail at about the same cadence, while the Bronson is a charger with a more energetic feel, and it pushes its rider to carve more creative lines and search for features to boost that may escape riders mounted on lesser machinery. It will be interesting to see how well the Bronson lives up to its purpose on the World Enduro Circuit. While you are watching, look for the complete test later this year. - RC


Must Read This Week

267 Comments

  • + 252
 It would be nice to see these bikes being tested with "reasonable" components. Sure the top shelf ones look shiny and are better, but who can actually afford ENVE rims? Really little people. And this surely biase the feeling of the test riders to have such super light rims on the bike. Recently we've seen a lot of 29ers (not just here on PB) being tested with carbon rims and unrealistically light tyres. Of course the bikes felt quite dynamic with regards to acceleration under a pedal stroke. Not sure it will be with more standard rims and tyres.
  • + 81
 Spot on comment man. A 29er with whatever wheels and tyres is dead at lower speeds. You really need to keep it rolling otherwise it is a pain to ride. I've been there, you climb a steep hill and at 190 bpm you feel like its time to go to lowest gear, or to have a breather by spinning slower and as soon as you do it it's over. It all depends on the trails you ride, but if you do live in rock&root infested terrain with really steep and tight trails, you either buy carbon rims and toilet paper tyres or move to some other part of the world. Because... You can't sell 29er and admit you were wrong... Wagon wheels don't like low speed. They like it rolling. My 26" HT climbs technical steeps better than my 29" HT. off course 650b solves both issues... it climbs better than 29 and 26, it is easier to manouver than 29, and rolls over rock gardens faster than 26. and my pig plays a banjo when I give her noodles. Repeat after me: progression of the sport, innovation, don't feed the trolls, stability, attack angle, stoke, increased contact patch, tits, shred and wide range ratio
  • + 131
 PB is a bit like top gear, just without all the jokes. and the explosions and build-your-own-electric-town-car stuff... but apart from that: testing things that are absolutely pornicious and practically no one can afford.
  • + 2
 Aspire to something . Maybe the wheels are a long shot and not worth the money , but the rest of the bike is a reality if you shop around for parts . You might not be able to afford a Ferrari but you can afford the ferrari of bikes !
  • + 65
 WAKI, video of your pig please...
  • + 23
 EnduroManiac is right. I had the chance to ride some Enves on my Transition Bandit 29, and I was totally blown away by the difference they made. I thought I would enjoy some vague improvement because of the lighter weight, but instead I felt like I was on a totally new bike. I don't think I've ever had a single part make such a big difference.The weight isn't even the defining factor; Enves aren't even the lightest carbon wheels. They're so stiff that their response felt instant, whether mashing on the cranks or hitting a corner. I felt it on climbs, but even more so on descents, and they almost tossed me in the corners because there is zero flex. They made my Charger Pros feel like marshmallows. They give near-instant trail feedback, yet the carbon tends to dampen small chatter. Sorry to gush, but they were awesome. Whether the difference is worth $2500, that's the kind of question Pinkbike should be answering, because most of us won't be able to find that out by ourselves!

P.S., RC, use that dropper post! Wink
  • + 4
 I was thinking about your comment the whole time reading this EnduroManiac. Spot on!
  • - 4
flag will-quake (Apr 30, 2013 at 3:51) (Below Threshold)
 Wakidesigns I get what you're saying with your heart rate at 190bpm but heart rates are relevant to individuals, just trying to help your daily input be more creditable.
  • - 3
 Great comment. are there any cost effective aluminum alternatives to the Enves in 650b? Also, I hope they start coming out with 650b hard tail trail/all mountain bikes w/ similar geometry. In all most all cases, the full suspension is way to pricey for what you get. (in my humble opinion)
  • + 6
 A marketing ploy: this is a net loss product, when unsuspecting customers stop drooling over this build and think they've come back to earth (deciding to buy the 5k version) is where the money is made. The real review should have been the affordable build which goes to show that BP is part of the machine.
What am I saying!? 5k should be prime build!!!
No worries, I enjoyed your writing RC. On point! Thanks.
  • + 1
 I would love to see a vid of Joe Graney from SC reading comments on the internet... Maybe some series. Episode 1 - Joe reading pinkbike, eposode 2 Joe reading Ride Monkey. Ep.3 Joe on MBA, Ep.4 Joe at Anger Management Institute in San Diego ep5. Joe on vital. Ep.6 Joe and Lopes fight over a parking spot. Ep.7 Joe finds his boss' neck.
  • + 18
 So what you're saying EnduroManiac, and correct me if i'm wrong, is that really little people are wealthier than regular sized people? Interesting.
  • + 4
 I always tell non-bikers that my Nomad C is the Ferrari of bikes! I was wondering why they never mentioned the nomad in this review.
  • + 2
 I lie seeing the high end reviews. It tells me what's possible and what to aspire to. I I want to know how X-7 or SLX rides, I can just pick up a beater demo from my LBS. it's nic to know the benefits of xx1 and Enve before buying. And it's not exactly hard to check out other pricing options.
  • - 14
flag Questrails (Apr 30, 2013 at 7:00) (Below Threshold)
 Gee this bike looks great I going to buyv3 of them today. Love that fox ckbj suspension. Hurray for things hey brendog do a tail poke for us pb an jerk offs.
  • + 2
 @bpack, if your looking for affordable carbon rims check out light-bicycle. I've ridden the Enve's and I can't tell the difference with my light-bicycle rims. (except that they cost 10 times less)
  • + 4
 I am on the other end of this situation. I hate it when they review an X7, SLX bike with Evolution Series Fox Suspension and say its an "OK" bike. I'm in the market for XO, XTR bikes with Factory Kashima Fox Suspension and carbon anything and everything. I want to know how the bike I would buy performs, just like you do. I guess what I am trying to say is there are 2 sides to every situation. While you would like a cheaper build tested, I prefer the "dream" build tests. Does not seem like it would be to hard for them to ride both and talk about the differences in builds as well as the performance of the frame.
  • + 4
 Have to agree with you on the Enve wheels. Mine AM are 4 years old. Still solid and still run true just like new. I'm still glad I went out on a limb and bought them. They have actually saved me money. Before these wheels I was spending a grand or more every year for wheels. Since I bought these. No more dented wheels and my truing stand just collects dust. I don't think they perfect for everyone or every discipline, but for Trail riding they are well worth the money.
  • + 13
 I think that PB should test two bikes: the highest end build and the lowest specced model. That way, we can really get a sense of how the frame works as a platform for whatever you throw on there. We know that XX1 is great, we know ENVE carbon rims are great. But the majority of us on Pinkbike can't afford them, and if we really want to know about them we can read a drivetrain review or a wheel review. When reviewing a bike you should really focus on the things that will carry over no matter what the build is.
  • + 2
 pinkbike, give that man a job! enduramaniac you nailled it! big wheeled bike are going to 'feel like your 26, but faster' when the rig is in another technological epoch!
  • + 26
 Funny, Last year I tested five dual-suspension trailbikes under 3000 USD and nobody remembers one of them. Complain if you want, but the numbers don't lie - the best bikes earn the most attention and PB members are sharp enough to understand that the same bike set up with one tier lower spec components will closely match the performance of the uber-priced one. If you really want to scream 'overpriced,' consider how many brands sell road bikes for ten grand - No suspension? Cable-operated rim brakes? No dropper? Think of all the free stuff that you get on the Bronson for the same cash. Just sayin'
  • + 1
 Maybe I'm wrong but didn't AM wheels from Enve see the light in late 2011?. Can't be 4 years old
  • + 3
 Pichy, Enve used to be called Edge. Not exactly sure why the name change. My set is branded Edge which is now Enve, but as far as I know the rim hasn't changed much if at all. In any case I love these wheels and I won't be going back to aluminum rims. I also won't be running anything less than XT or OX on my bike either. You get what you pay for. Like I tell all the newbies in Vail who can't seem to make it here. Stay out of the bar and off the drugs, and its amazing what you can afford.
  • + 2
 Bikethrasher,

They changed names due to some trademark conflicts in the EU. Just for fun fact'ing. I miss the old Edge logos... you know, when I saw them on other people's bikes.

www.bikeradar.com/news/article/edge-composites-now-enve-composites-27499
  • + 0
 Oh hurray nice bike I want to ride bronson and buy american bluejeans. Hopefully my humongous dork doesnt hang out while shredding.
  • + 1
 Depends on the purpose of the review. If it's purely entertainment it would only make sense to review bikes like this but if it aims to advices people in the market for a new bike, I think it's a bit stupid to review a 10k bike on a site mostly frequented by 16 y/o's.

Thinking about it, it's pretty bad actually, telling them this bike will make riding SO much better, implying you're missing out a lot riding your 'standard' aluminium bike, but that's how the industry works I guess.
  • + 2
 Joseph... I agree, it's like you care for people... and those people, deep inside, are just like you, and think the same way. But in this culture all that matters is what's outside, and they always want to see the best of the best. We are bullied to like the best. It's not bad in theory, in practice if that level is a tad higher to what you can aspire, it's awesome! It will push you to excell, but if it's waaaay higher, that you can't even imagine how to get there - it leads to paralysis. It just seems unobtainable, and you are left with the feeling that even stuff you have is crap, and you start to rely on it, not on yourself. At best it becomes just an entertainment. If you can easily buy it - then it's a paralysis as well, you just don't feel the need to try hard to learn something as things feel so easy (often it is only a placebo triggered by post-rationalization motivated by feelings of doubt about buying something so expensive, buying at all or if it was a right choice). Only people that get those things for free, by the virtue of their skill and strength, can use them purely as a tool. We average mortals will always add some irrational magic value to it, as if it was meant to elevate us to the level of pros.

People want to be cheated... people live in fantasy world, the more rational it is, bigger the delusion.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns, woah woah woah! Reply after the mushrooms have worn off, HAHA! Just kidding, but kind of not.
  • + 1
 Completely agree, I was actually going to compare it to top gear, but you beat me to it. ;-)
  • + 65
 I stopped reading at $10,000...
  • + 8
 Some start there. Remember, that's the most common question you get asked about your bike, by "that random guy at the party". The one and only "how much does it cost?". I think many love to answer Big Grin . The beige upper middle class is everywhere
  • + 31
 I for one am completely embarrassed to tell people how much my bikes are worth when they ask, especially when the prices completely eclipse the value of my car and theirs
  • + 12
 now that I own a couple of decent enough bikes I'll never have to face paying for a complete build thank god. If I did I'd just buy 'used, but almost new' again and again. Just like when you buy a car. There's enough guys who buy pimped bikes and then sell em on after a year. Used is the way forward. Either that or direct from supplier. The madness has to stop
  • + 10
 Agree 100% with Evo and finger...it is beyond ridiculous what a new bike costs. I only buy slightly used bikes here on PB now, I'll let someone else take the huge fall initially.
  • + 2
 Nobody forces any of you to buy any of these. People expect high tech at the price of peanuts. Let's take XX1, off course the technology will trickle down to lower groups, off course they could release this technology in the form of X5. But that would ruin the show and we all like the show. We all like to look at overengineered top notch stuff. There are so few that truly ride same stuff since 10 years. The rest of haters are just hipocrites. I used to be one of them. Sure, many people are tools that will buy into anything, and praise any new crap, but you know who you are, so stay cool. Just drop it - it looks super cool, performs outstandingly, let the fat man pay. Maybe he'll sell it to you when even better stuff comes along. Just enjoy it
  • + 3
 When people ask how much the bikes cost I don't answer. I'm prolly older then you guys but I figure if a newbie asks that question they don't have a frame of reference and they are expecting to be shocked. Don't give them the satisfaction. I've got 8 bikes that I bought new averaging 3500 each. This is still less then my bro has into a single snow machine that only works half the year, on the weekend, when conditions are right and it just makes him fat and costs money.
  • + 10
 I think you guys are missing the point of the original poster. Riding a $10k bike is going to feel awesome, period. Its not going to tell you if this 650b wheeled bike rides any better than a 26" Blur, unless you test back to back with a Blur speced out exactly like this one up to $10k, or test the both bikes with more moderate, but identical, builds. All this review tells me is that a $10k bike rides nice (well no shit).
  • + 1
 I have done the same thing. I just got a lightly used SC Tallboy C with XX and XO parts for less than 50% of what the original owner paid. Still rides like a dream and I have no regrets.
  • + 1
 The aluminum version starts at $3399 and the Carbon at $4150, They are testing a "dream build" here.
  • + 1
 When your used bike breaks that isn't a dream anymore its a nightmare. Same as getting a good rebuild on your fork when you tell the guys at the shop you bought it on ebay.
  • + 1
 Didn't break and I ended up selling the frame for $1000 so it was a great investment.
  • + 1
 The parts are all working perfectly on my current frame.
  • + 47
 Yeah, I can really hear my wife: That's nice bike, I'm really glad you spent 10k for a bike wisely. We don't need anything else. I'm happy for you. You should buy me one too!
  • + 2
 Erm, not quite what mine would say(yaya I get the sarcasm). LOL
Just how different is this really going to be compared to my Nomad C?
  • + 1
 and then we wake up
  • + 20
 Has PB lost touch with its reader(viewer) base?

A more realistic review would have been a spec most of us could afford. Even 5k for a trail bike is a large chunk for normal people, 10k is something lawyers and doctors buy to throw on the back of their M series X6 and bring in for a cleaning when they spill strawberry milkshake on it (true story)……

How would it be with aluminum wheels? since Envy's are known to make a bike ride completely different, and $2500 on wheels is $2500 into a car payment, student loan (this IS PB remember), another complete bike (!!) or a XCR-M.....
  • - 17
flag deeeight (Apr 30, 2013 at 6:20) (Below Threshold)
 Depends if you think the reader base are still a bunch of teenagers who can barely afford Canadian tire bikes I suppose.
  • + 15
 I'm an engineer, and there is no way in h*ll I'm paying anything close to 10k for a pedal bike...
  • + 14
 I'm a manufacturing Engineer, former tool and die maker, making 'enough' to buy the bike if I was an idiot with my money, but I'd be stupid to do so. 10K isn't going to make me much faster than I am, nor is it going to make my riding much more enjoyable than it is. I've had DH bikes worth 10k, but I acheved it with sponsors years back. 10K buys you a used R1... A nice used yamaha super motard....Even a track day car off bringatrailer.com in some instacnes, etc. I'm not against bikes this expensive, and I support the advancement in technology, but that's not the point.
Again, out of touch. where's the review of a model us responsible adults can afford?
  • + 1
 Atrokz - Has the viewer base lost touch with itself. Speed costs money. Advancement in technology is a result from investment in new ideas that are usually expensive. If it weren't for the 10K bikes your 3K bike would suck. That said, non-racers dropping an extra few grand to save a pound are coming from a place of EGO and that isn't cool. My modified aluminum Covert Build 1 cost $6500 at 28.6 pounds. So spend an extra $3500 more to save 2.4 pounds. Sure man, if money was not an object then why the hell not. If your money is scarce then be thankful you're not the only guy driving the market or bikes would suck. I watched bikes develop from the 80's when the top price point for a steel 15 speed that weighed 42 pounds was 2K. If people weren't willing to pay for those overpriced bikes then these new overpriced bikes wouldn't be so good.
  • + 8
 Preaching to the choir. Again, and I think I’m exhausting this point, I have owned bikes worth upwards of 10k, and I support the advancements in technology. Hell, I am a manufacturing engineer in defence. Think about costs there….

The issue is that we have bike tests with the most expensive model that nearly no one on this site will buy, save for a few. Considering envy’s are supposed to drastically change handling dynamics (from ALL reported accounts), we sit here wondering how that 650B Bronson will handle with our measly aluminum wheels that us mere mortals can afford. Why not test what people will actualy buy. See what I’m saying? Most of PB’s reader base isn’t spending 8-10k on a single complete bike, so why not cater to the majority? The comparison someone made to Top Gear minus the entertainment was spot on.

That said, I can understand why RC wouldn't turn down a test on such a rig. I'd absolutely love to have a go on it.

Also, on the topic of value added costs, I wonder where the money should be spent if on a middle class budget: Carbon frame, or carbon wheels.....
  • - 1
 the only time i complain about money is when i don't have any. testing a flagship model with an emerging new "standard" in wheels makes sense. Just like when 29ers were creeping in it was mostly small boutique builds that were more expensive that were being featured. it's a push. the reviews of other models will trickle down. they always do. you don't see anyone really complaining about a new xtr or xx review do you? It's just not the way you grab someone's attention. can't create a want like that. what i zoned in on in the article was in regards to 26 & 29 with the line "but with all due respect, the bronson is a cut above both in a number of ways". the holy grail is found. again. it is here today gone..probably later today. hehe
  • + 7
 R.C., if you're reading this, it'd be a great time to do a comparison on where money is best spent: Carbon frames, or carbon wheels....
  • + 3
 Carbon rims for sure IF the costs were equivalent. They make a huge diff. Reality is the jump from aluminum to carbon is 10-50%-ish for a frame but 10 fold for rims (Stan's vs. ENVE for example). Thats the part I don't get.
  • + 2
 that's inviting roadies, atrokz! let's keep it on the dirt... haha
  • + 1
 @fullbug, zing!
@warhorse, I hear the same thing. hence my questioning about the review being helpful for pondering the lower cost options. Maybe an alu bronson with envy wheels IS the hot ticket. But it's still 1k a rim.... OUCH!
  • + 3
 the wheels make more sense. rotating mass, right? with shock and fork working well, is carbon offering enough of a mechanical advantage at the frame to justify the cost? egineers, help me out!
  • + 1
 @fullbug. A carbon frame will give you a greater weight saving in total. And any carbon, like the article says, is more comfortable. One of the interesting things about carbon is that although it's strong, it will flex.But then you're like, wait a sec, Carbon is super stiff. Also true. It's all down to how the frames/wheels are made. A stiff frame will help with power transfer, for better acceleration. But wheels help more for when you're not pedalling, with rolling speed etc.

I think the best answer is both! (Obviously) but if I had to choose one, Id go with the frame, as for my riding I do more pedalling/climbing. Hope this helps.
  • + 4
 In the case of the Santa Cruz, the carbon frame would be the better choice, because SC uses carbon to produce a frame that is slightly lighter than an aluminum version of the same, but around four times more durable. Carbon, used in this way is the future of off road design. If you already owned a bike, and its suspension was where you wanted it to be, carbon wheels with wide profile rims would be my first recommendation for enhanced performance. Built correctly, with carbon and a matrix that was designed for maximum impact resistance at a weight that was marginally lighter than an elite level aluminum rim, carbon would be the stronger, better -performing and and longer-lasting wheel.

For the price haters, click on the link and you'll see that there are Bronsons starting around $4000. Santa Cruz always keeps one foot in the reality box.
  • + 1
 thnx, adym & rc. been around enough carbon and understand it's basic properties and apps but honestly have never ridden a carbon mtb til a recent scott 650b demo. It was ok, which, i can probably attribute to its crap base tune that cancelled out any other feedback.

i hope the future brings true affordability for me with the wheel options but somehow doubt it. i'd be giving up bike trips to go carbon right now! no can do!
rc, do you have an upcoming review on the wide side syntace hoops coming soon? would like to see some comparisons with the enve offerings.
  • + 0
 I agree with RC. My last frame purchase was an Ibis Mojo SL. Great bike, but the difference in suspension feel and handling from my bought on sale $800.00 Da Bomb Da Pukka was really minimal. There was about 2.5lbs difference in weight. I had a nice (at the time) aluminum wheelset, and when switching to carbon wheels, there was even less difference between the two bikes, excepting the 2.5lbs overall weight. Since it was static weight it was basically unnoticeable. In future, the wheels will ALWAYS be the best I can get, and will cut corners on frames if needed.

BTW, I won't buy aluminum anymore. Either carbon frames, or I build my own CroMo frames.
  • + 0
 To the first few replies in this thread -
I'm an engineer too, and I make enough to buy this bike easily, and I wouldn't get any faster, nor would I really ever get the true worth out of it, but you know what?
Why do I have that unfinished rat rod and four spare bodies in my garage? Why do I have at LEAST 10 computer cases and a myriad of parts doing nothing, while I only use the rig I built most recently?
BECAUSE I CAN.
First world, "selfish American" answer, but I worked hard to get here, and since I can get what I want when I want, I don't see why people gripe when the pricey stuff is tested here, because there's the dream world for some, and for others, maybe there might be a reason that it's called reality.
My wife has what she wants and needs, the kids are sleeping on beds they don't deserve, I drink way too much craft beer, I sit in a chair that was made specifically for my rear end, and all because I wanted those things, and there's not much else to do with the money but give to those who gave to me in my earlier years. Maybe that's a crappy philosophy, but it's been successful so far...
Oh, before anyone calls me elitist, my favorite bike is my Ragley Troof.
  • + 12
 @RichardCunningham I think most of the price haters are not hating on price alone but the fact that there is no comparison (review) between a $4000 and $10000 model. Is there a $6000 difference in ride quality? durablity? Fun? or Perfomance?
  • + 1
 so carbon frame is worth it, are the fork and shock upgrades worth it to?
  • + 0
 @toogoodtodie:THANK YOU!!!! Smile Smile Smile

It takes a lot of years of sacrifice to get to this point in life, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with being able to afford to treat oneself to the nicer things.
  • + 2
 StinkyTO has it right. Since it's more than likely none of us will be buying that spec, how's the handling/feel/ride/etc on the lower end models? Especialy currious since every reporter says those wheels are 'game changers'.
  • + 2
 I'd be surprised if the sales on this build are very high, it's just bait for the more realistic builds. The funny part is that aside from the pros riding this setup, anyone who actually pays for this10k bike likely wont get anywhere near the skill level to notice any difference. No dis on SC, it's a fine looking bike and likely rips. No dis on folks who have nothing better to do with their cash but holy christo! Give yer heads a shake! If you've got extra cash and want to know where best to spend it, how about a skills camp with a pro? Invest in yourself... While you're at it, sponsor a young ripper.
The author is respected, a comparison to the base or even mid build would have taken this article to the next level.
  • + 3
 @atrokz: My sermon to the middle class: "downgrade your car, buy BOTH the carbon frames and the carbon wheels. yolo."

but I am interested in how RC would answer your question
  • + 7
 I can afford the toys I want NOW, and I cannot take my money with me to the afterlife so....
  • - 2
 I agree with both sides of this discussion. Nr1 - 10k is fkn ridiculous loads of money for a bike, Man, 650$ for a rim is ridiculous. Nr2 those top of the shelf things are really great to see, this is what we humans aspire to, it's natural for us, that's why very few of us would not like to ride such bike if given a chance. They are fascinating - period.

Now the issue is that we have to ask ourselves whether we want to read/watch a review or get entertained. People forget what were car shows on TV before Top Gear came along. That is the modt popular show in its kind, and if you would buy a car basing on opinion of mr Clarkson, then get your head checked.
  • + 2
 hard to argue deeight's point. +
  • + 2
 Look at the rims made by www.light-bicycle.com. Cheap for what they are and I can personally vouch that they are strong as hell. My riding weight is any were from 225-245lbs and I have yet to have an issue with my sup 1500g wide trail wheels set. Forget about ENVE and use the extra money saved to spice up tue rest of the bike.
  • + 0
 Light bicycle rims are my go to rims now. I have 2 sets. I have 650b from the the first production run. My previous favorite was the Spank rims, when I used to use aluminum, in the olden days before electricity and cell phones Smile .
  • + 2
 All these all or nothing carbon fibre comments are hilarious. It's not the material it's the application. Suspension rate, geometry, tires are far more indicative of performance than frame material. Man there are some marketing suckers here...
  • - 2
 Trolling.jclnv is is just trolling. Don't feed the trolls. Already reported to the mods.
  • + 4
 Willie... Take a month off from PB and all bike sites/forums, then come back and read what you just wrote. Might change your life if even for a moment
  • + 2
 Good call
  • + 2
 How is that comment trolling? It's the most sensible thing written in this entire thread and review.
  • + 11
 This is a long string, but there are a lot of valid questions and statements in it.

In a value/performance comparison of bikes similar to the Bronson in the present North American marketplace, $5000 buys the most performance for the money. Below that price, we start seeing heavier aluminum frames and wheels, compromised drivetrain choices, less-sophisticated suspension, and house-brand components that look the part, but may or may not have been made to the higher standards of pro-level items. As the price increases from that point, however, the improvement in overall performance tapers off dramatically. From my experience, the 5000-dollar model out-performs the 2500 bike by over 25 percent, while the improvement in actual performance and subjective feel between the 5000-dollar and 10,000-model is less than five percent.

At 5000 bucks, you usually get the maker's best carbon frame and after that, the price is tied into the OEM cost of the components. The profit margins are usually slimmer on the elite models, so if you are that person - the one who believes he or she needs XXI, Enve wheels and Kashima-coated Fox suspension, the retail price of the 10,000 Bronson is a bargain. You would pay much more to assemble that same kit from aftermarket-priced parts.

The human body is the same. Simply riding a lot gets us fit enough to perform at an expert level - probably 200 percent better fitness than the national average - but to perform at a pro level, we must change our entire lifestyle - Hire a coach, guard how we eat, add regular sessions in the gym, adopt an organized workout schedule, practice metered sleep patterns, schedule physical examinations and therapy - and with all that, we can hope for a five-percent better result on a good day at the races. Is it worth it? Yes, if you want to be the best at what you do.
- RC
  • + 2
 Well sais RC. The "law of diminishing returns". But they are returns nonetheless.
  • + 1
 Yo Cunningham - ever heard of Yt Industries?
  • + 1
 @tabletop84

I think if you buy a YT Wicked PRO, sell the frame and the fork, buy Blur LT2 frameset, u might end up at 4000$. Change those flexy&heavy Crossmax SX wheels to Carbon wheels from Superstar, buy ENVE handlebar for the change in price. And you get a BOS Idylle fork... it does not get better.

@RC
We didn't speak of geometry... what's all this progressive technology worth when the bike has a conservative geo? They stuck their neck up with Blur TRc but the flagship must fit the averaged bag of skills and muscles of the masses and keep them where they are, isn't it? Specialized changed their approach to design to a bit didactic one. Short chainstays, longer TTs, lower BBs, slacker head angles. No need to go into details and percentages, save the XX1 from 2012, Enve stuff from 2009, that bike is nowhere more developed than Ibis Mojo from 2007. Kashima does not count, and with CTD, one can argue that suspension got degenerated.

Whatever. Great bike anyways, I would keep it if I got it for free Big Grin , even in the cheapest build, which I can't say about Trek Remedy, Scott Genius or other expensive "averageation". But as soon as someone would give me S-works Stumpy Evo or Spitfire V2 on Bos suspension, even this 10k build would be out for sale
  • + 1
 Until last week, YT was unavailable for sale to the USA... all their bikes employ horst-links and the patent didn't expire until April 23rd. But there's nothing really special about them, they're simply another direct-to-consumer marketed brand. Canfield Brothers in the USA operates the same way, as does Titus now that its owned by On One. If something screws up with the bike, you have to deal with them directly to resolve the issue, and given that there's no guarantee they'll be around for the long haul, getting spares might become a problem in the future.

Also there's very little special about their bike designs... they're employing 20 year old technology and materials that aren't even slightly state of the art anymore. All their suspension frames are built around 7005-T6 aluminium, which is a sign of two things... #1 they're using the second most common aluminium alloy used in bicycle frames, and that they went with a "safe" material choice to ease production skill/tooling requirements and eliminate the need for fancy testing equipment. Myself...I'd rather pay for a brand that seriously tests their bikes on lab equipment, and is leading the way in material development and suspension design.
  • + 1
 deeeight is on the right on. YT's biggest selling point is the incredible spec you can have for the money. That's all well and good, but the frames themselves are pretty ordinary. Although the geometries are modern there is nothing really progressive in the materials or design. So to basically say "why buy a carbon bronson when I can buy a YT?" is kind of a ridiculous thing.
  • + 1
 lol are you astronauts or mountainbikers? What counts is the ride quality and on that behalf check the reviews for yt bikes. Tues got DIRT bike of the year in 2012 and tons of other stellar reviews. If you wanna ride a name and feel special buy SC but at the end of the day it's just another mountainbike.

Also: there will be a carbon tues for around 4000$ soon (complete build).
  • + 2
 I'm nowhere close supporting YT, even though I was close to supporting light-bike or Superstar components. I say f*ck that, I can afford supporting local production and so I do it. I don't know about testing of YT, but their geometry is tons better than other cheap mass brands like On One, Fetus, Canyon, Rose, Redbull, Rotwild, Mongoose, Haro etc.I'd just like to know why ENVE rim costs soooo much more than anything else. I think they need to make a "inside factory" vid, otherwise the light-bicycle will eat them. For instance their handlebars have a pretty acceptable pricing.
  • + 1
 tabletop how did I know I was going to click on your profile and find a YT? lol. I have nothing against them, it's just asinine to think you shouldn't buy anything else because they are such a bargain. It has nothing to do with "feeling special".
  • + 1
 Mnom mnom so much Troll food here, mnom nam nam nam... burp nom nam nam, I hope some true facts will come along, proven and tested personally, an actual opinion would be so tasty. An engineer for a fact would make my day Chrrrum chrrruuuum nom nom nom
  • + 1
 ^^^^^ I have to say, this is a great comment. Smile Smile Smile Smile
  • + 1
 Any time manufacturing is done in the USA prices go waaaaaaaay up! CF makers charge a lot for many reasons one being the health regulations from OSHA to keep them from getting sick when finishing any parts. ENVE makes really nice wheels but for the price of 1 rim I can get a complete wheel set and 1 extra rim from light-bicycle and they have a 1 year replacement warranty.
  • + 4
 I'm surprised no one mentioned the second hand route. If you know what you're doing and know how to service things you can end up with a 10k bike for maybe 4k, thanks to guys like Toogood2die with more money than brains.
  • + 1
 @Joseph-Kony... hell its how I do all my own bikes, not second-hand per say but definitely by building my own. Sometimes I'll get a frame brand new out of a shop and then spend a year gathering the right components before assembling it. What makes a component "right" ? Price and weight and performance usually. It was ten months from when I got my Salsa Spearfish frameset and it got its first ride. This is the write-up I did for it on mtbr when that occurred.

forums.mtbr.com/salsa/10-months-day-when-i-brought-home-my-spearfish-frameset-821772.html#post9831581
  • + 1
 True, if you know where to look you can get some pretty nice deals. Personally, I'd never buy a complete bike. I just finished building my Kona Honzo, costed me around 1200 euros whereas the stock one is close to 1800 with some pretty horrible components on it.. Nice build, I like the Ultegra derailleur.
  • + 1
 There are some truly ridiculous deals these days even for buying first hand. MSRP for XX1 cranks is 320€ on CRC, and you can get these in German webstore for frkn 170€.

@Joseph-Kony - Kona Honzo or anything in similar geo is the only thing that might make me get back on a 29er for my trails. I also like that they had the balls to realaes the bike with out the fkn stupid front derailleur. I envy you Big Grin

@deeight - sweet Salsa, really great looking. Those shifters look and work slick but... lifting your thumb over the bar of a mountain bike in the terrain, even on an uphill... it's just a matter of time. Same applies for people using lock outs and dropper levers above bars. Just sayin´
  • + 1
 Matter of time for what? I've shifted that way fine for 26 years... all my bikes run thumbshifters.
  • + 16
 As beautiful and well accomplished as the Bronson is. That price is just bats**t crazy. No mountain bike is worth that...
  • + 4
 So you're saying that over the course of your ownership, you can never see yourself paying that sticker (or starting there and getting a better price from your LBS), or something close to it?
God, I've got easily twice that value in bikes in my garage right now. Granted, that's not just three or four, it's something closer to 10 bike counting parts and frames, but seriously, wouldn't you give up part of a collection's value for the chance at what could be the perfect bike for you?
Frankly... I would.
First world problems, I know, but hey, you said "No mountain bike is worth that..."
Oh, that's also been proven wrong from the R&D and economic standpoint as well, so there's that to consider as well!
  • + 1
 bear n mind that the bike tested costs over $13000 dollars in the uk.
  • + 2
 Thats most of what I earn in a year, Ill stick with my 2k specialized and not starve to death.
  • + 1
 Point taken, but you can't really say it's not WORTH it. Ill bet it is....but ill have to keep to dreaming about it.
  • + 12
 Totally agree with the opening comment, please can we see the aluminium version, decked out with slx and a bargain superstar (Carbon) wheelset, bar, stem, pedals? Then some of use may be able to aspire towards buying it. Its like testing a Zonda when your audience drives Fords (not that there is anything wrong with Fords).
  • + 1
 there is absolutely something wrong with fords. although they seem to be stepping up their game in terms of aesthetic design, which i support.
  • + 1
 There is nothing wrong with fords, although I can only speak for their trucks...
The last old girl I traded in owed me nothing... Loved that truck. The new one is unfu*#n' believable! And you're right, styles for miles!
To tie this all together, four of these bikes do not equal my 2013 fx4 with leather! Not by a long shot!
  • + 0
 How much would that truck cost with all carbon fibre body panels, the best wheels and tires on the market and a top of the line supercharged crate engine? 100+k.
  • + 1
 I think your point is that if I was to buy my truck at the same relative level as this bike, it would cost 100k or more? You are likely right Willie, very astute observation.
Metaphorically speaking (so as to stay on topic), I have no use for a truck like that and in my daily usage would never notice the difference in performance. If I was ignorant enough to buy a truck at that level and continue to drive the way I do, I'd fully expect to be laughed at on the regular. I would deserve the mockery.
If however, I showed my driving skill level to be amongst the best in the world, that would be a different story. But then I'd likely get paid somehow to drive a truck like that so that last point is moot.
My point was different, even if the cash was surplus (I had no better use for it), I'd choose my truck over four of these plastic bicycles. (The invoice would be the same)
You might have a tough time with this concept because you apparently live a different reality to most.
I sincerely hope your slightly bigger plastic bicycle parts give you your due.
Good day sir.
  • + 1
 Each person decides what their value system is. I own a truck I paid $100.00 for, and it takes my garbage to the dump. My car is a VW Passat. Each of us can choose what we value. My issue is the numerous posts that assume everyone has or should have the same values as the poster does. Is it really important to tell everyone you don't want this bicycle? I don't either, but I am not assuming everyone else needs to know my personal value system.
  • + 1
 Cool man.
  • + 1
 Btw, what is the $100 truck? I had a '89 Toyota that I was very sad to give up but the craziest thing happened when I posted the sale ad. Sold in less than a day with practically a bidding war. -loved that truck too.
Most of the sensible posts where calling for a comparison to the more affordable builds.
Seems RC has had some pretty sensible comments in reply a couple posts up.
No two ways about it. 10k is a fat wad for a bicycle.
  • + 1
 Its a '77 Ford F250. 70k miles on it. Floor was rusted through, which I fixed. New battery- which cost more than the truck and its been running fine for three years now. I do need new tires now though.

RCs comments are spot on with my experiences with bikes. There is a sweet spot that gets you 95% of the performance, at a much more reasonable price. If you kept the wheels and frame, went down to slx or X9 on everything else, you would hardly feel a difference. Since wheels make the biggest difference in feel on a cycle, I start every new bike now around the wheels, and budget the rest from there. The light-bicycle wheels are an incredible value, and are my starting point now. I would much sooner buy a chinese frame on ebay and hang XX off of it, than all SLX and cheaper wheels on a designer frame.
  • + 1
 in my country they say, when you ride ford take come money for cab! you'll need it hah..
  • + 17
 Better sell my house...
  • + 12
 I live in Santa Cruz, and I've seen people on this bike. Rode briefly with some guy who had one. It looks, and probably is, a top ten-sweetest ride ever type bike, but the fellow had difficulty keeping up on the downhill and could only match me on the uphill (pogonip entrance to campus). I ride a Trek Slash. Not gloating, just repeating what we all know; a bike doesn't make a rider. Also, we both wasted precious calories that could have been used to harvest more lentils. /r/frugal_jerk
  • + 15
 That would be a perfect bike to win in an online contest Smile
  • + 1
 Not that I ever win anything Frown
  • + 10
 Sick and tired of hearing about a 10k build being "a ripper"
No shit????? You could build a f*cking huffy frame with 10k that would feel good! (Slight exaggeration)
Get some real reviews on here pinkbike!
How about a series on the lower levels that the top companies make?
  • + 4
 A good point. I'm struggling to recall a review of something that wasn't high end and top price. Nice to see these type of bikes, but would love to hear PB's respected opinion on some che...i mean affordable bikes too.
  • + 2
 Of course companies give testers their top tier, that way they tell everyone ( were not that stupid ) how bitchin' the bike was/is and everyone runs out to buy one ( at least that's what bike companies hope will happen).
  • + 11
 Amazing bike and everything but I think it would be more refreshing to read how the Aluminium one is with XT and sensible wheels.
  • + 8
 I like reading the reviews of the high end bikes. For someone with deeper pockets or simply a long time enthusiast who wants the best available these bikes have their place - and they represent the start of the art and unlike the economy this technology does trickle down. If you don't like the 10k model, buy the 5k. Not sure what all the heart burn is about. There is something for everyone in the line up.
  • + 8
 man, chill out on the price. As a comparison, last time I checked Car & Driver still reviewed million dollar supercars and instead of complaining, people eat that up. Based on the frame price, you can build a sub-$5k carbon Bronson with decent components, which would be pretty damn sweet - I even know a guy who has one on order. Not every one can afford one, but then not every one works hard in school, goes to college, and then gets a decent job - it's called hard work. That said, I'm at least a year away from purchasing that frame... which is alright because I want to see how it handles ultra-tech dh-style terrain.
  • - 1
 Best Driver's Car had the Subaru BRZ facing off against the McLaren and the Avedentor, as well as others, and according to them, it beat both!
Money doesn't mean anything when it comes to "what's best for the pilot" in this day and age, but I COMPLETELY AGREE with you!
I don't get the griping here... it's not like journalists in the MTB industry haven't explained multiple times that R&D costs money...
  • - 1
 Togood2die that has to be the dumbest comment I have ever read on pinkbike! Putting Subaru in the same sentence as Mclaren and Aventador.
  • + 2
 Haha, you'd better go read the Motor Trend article then. I'm not the one that wrote it, I'm REFERENCING it. You apparently didn't read what I wrote. Very catchy habit these days....
  • + 1
 Unfortunately most of us in the UK who have done the aforementioned hard graft of getting a decent job, our successive government like to reclaim a hefty chunk, in fact, the exact amount from me it would take to buy the bronson with that build.
  • + 10
 Bike Magazines really want us all on 650's. What a joke. I eat big wheels for dinner on my Mojo HD..... Skill set will always win over wheel set.
  • - 8
flag Willie1 (Apr 30, 2013 at 10:48) (Below Threshold)
 Trolling. Move on. Nuthin to see here.
  • - 8
flag Willie1 (Apr 30, 2013 at 16:21) (Below Threshold)
 Neg props don't change the fact that this is trolling. Keep at it.
  • + 5
 How is it trolling? Half an inch difference in the dimension that maters. Worth making an established standard obsolete overnight? You'd have to be pretty gullible to buy into it. This is a marketing driven change, not a technological one. But hey, keep drinking the koolaid and I'll keep trolling.
  • - 7
flag Willie1 (May 1, 2013 at 0:14) (Below Threshold)
 Get over it. Its been proven over and over. Just because you are ignorant to reality doesn't mean it isn't true. Smile You missed the boat too!!!

BTW the world isn't flat either.
  • + 2
 So good skills plus bigger wheels = :-)
  • + 3
 What has been proven? Where is the data? If you were going to argue anything it would be that 29" offers advantages over 26". You want to really know who missed the boat? Companies who missed the 29" boat or don't have the R&D to build something like a Enduro 29". That's why they jumped on the 650b boat and you're being swept along in the marketing backwash.
  • - 2
 I was riding 650b BEFORE the marketing frenzy. I know first hand the advantages the size offers, compared 650b with 26" on the same bike with the same spec back to back, and know it isn't marketing. I can't imagine EVER using 26" wheels again, excepting a pump track bike or the like. I am thankful the price and availability of thse components are improving. If you can't find the data, you have been living under a rock for the last 6 months.
Do a simple experiment, ride your bike with 2.0 tires, then ride the same trail with 2.4 tires. Tell me if you feel a difference. That experiment is less of a change than going with a 650b wheel/tire combo.
As I said, the world isn't flat either, no matter how much you want it to be true.
  • + 2
 I do see an internet troll and it's not mojoronnie.
  • - 2
 I see, the NEW definition of trolling: report information based on first hand experience with products, and have enough experience with similar products to make relative comparisons. Secondly, a troll must not agree with the unverified internet rumors.

I like it. We can all feel better now that we know what is what.

This comment actually is trolling, as I am just engaging a meaningless argument with someone who has no interest in finding out if there are real differences, and just wants to push their belief system. I know the trolls will just neg prop me and continue believing inaccuracies. It is likely to inflame, and doesn't add to the knowledge base in any way. It is opinion, and I have the right to let everyone know exactly what I am thinking at every moment because I am the center of the universe.
  • + 2
 Willie1 why so desperate?
  • - 3
 I think the 26ers are desperate to hold on to their delusions. Smile
  • + 2
 You're confused of the facts. Volume of tire is not the same as tire diameter. The difference is 25mm and only half of that, axle to ground, makes any difference. So 12.5 mm is all we're talking. That's about the difference in tire deformation between 25 and 35 psi. This bike would still be a good one if it had 26" wheels, just as the similar geometry Stumpy Evo 26" is.

Oh and don't forget to link to that scientifically tested, peer reviewed evidence of 650b being faster than 26"....
  • + 0
 A 650b tire of equal size will to a 26" tire will have more volume because of the diameter. There are two advantages here, volume, and diameter. I assumed that was understood. Anyone who completed grade six math can calculate this.
  • + 1
 You have no idea what you're going on about. No wonder you're such a 650b advocate. Yes overall there is more volume between the two sizes with equal tires but obviously, a 2.3" on a 26" will have equal distance from tire O.D. to rim O.D as a 650b. As I clearly stated above, your 650b wheels are giving you 12.5mm difference from axle centre to tire O.D. to a 26". Anyone can work out that is a marketing change in standards, not a technical change.
  • - 2
 How did you do in science in school?
  • + 3
 Not as bad as you did in marketing.
  • + 6
 I have now owned 1 Blur LTc and one new V-10.4 and now a new V10.5(frame only upgrade). I recently sold my Blur LTc on PB and the condition of the bike was not far off from when it was new! I rode that bike extremely hard and never held back, just good maintenance and tlc.... Santa Cruz bikes are simply awesome and worth the spend. My new V10 is simply beautiful both to look at and to ride..... and I have now just ordered a new Bronson C. Santa Cruz only make and focus on "mountain" bikes and for that reason their passion and expertise is class leading.
That being said, if your bike makes you smile every time you look at it and ride it then it was worth the money...
  • + 7
 Don't buy these bikes! do notsupport the overprice in bike industry... Supporting this kind of bullshit will make these prices a standard in the market.
  • + 5
 Yawn! VPP suspension is the Pits! Show me a Santa Cruz bike after 6 months of riding that doesn't show wear on the lower links near the bottom bracket from rocks and debris from the trail. Owned a SC Blur LTC for a couple months and put it up for sale because the VPP suspension was a disappointment. SC should rethink their coveted suspension design as it is highly overated. I'm holding off for a more innovative 650b design. This bike is not a game changer.
  • + 4
 No doubt, all these fools drooling over the pictures. I don't see any VPP owners on here saying it's the best bike/suspension design ever.
  • + 4
 A smart consumer could hit the weight point of this test bike, building it themselves using just the frame and none of the build kits from SC for a lot less than $10k USD. Magazines don't muck around with custom building bikes, they just get something from a brand's option lists which is presented to them to try (for free). A wolf-tooth chainring on a raceface turbine crankset will do the same thing as the XX1 crankset at close to the same weight, for about a third the price for example.
  • + 2
 I get your point, but you are wrong on the cost. XX1 cranks are the best deal in mountain biking. Retail is $285 and they can easily be found for under $250. Turbines cost right about the same, plus $85 for the wolf tooth. The entire XX1 drivetrain will only set you back about $950 with discounts. XTR and XX are closer to $1500. xT is about $750. Enve's are indeed crazy expensive. I buy mine on eBay.
  • + 1
 Yeah, I was surprised to see that the XX1 cranks were only $250.. the cassette, however is $450, which seems crazy.
  • + 1
 The cassette is definitely the big cost in that system. You can get them from Germany for $300, which is a huge savings over the $425 in the US. But its still a very high dollar part. The cranks are an amazing price though. I'm seeing lots of them even on single speeds and lower budget 1x10 builds.
  • + 1
 But you can't substitute an XX1 setup with anything else. No other setup can give you the range with a 1X system. Sure you can buy cheaper parts, but they cant replace the XX1 drive train.
  • + 5
 We all knew this would be a good bike - but it won't feel as special in $4150 guise. Looking foward to my 2013 Giant Reign clocking in at $2500. Bargain.
  • + 5
 I could have bought 3+ of my Stumpy Evo comp for the price of that bike. Ridiculous. How about reviewing a bike NOT priced for the top 1% here in the US??
  • + 3
 PinkBike tests what ever bike a company gives them to test.
That being said, Santa Cruz gave them a 10k bike with lightweight tires because they need to.

Bigger wheels means more weight. If they can't make it the same weight or lighter than your current 26" , you have little or no incentive to buy it.

In all reality, a real version of the bike will weigh 31lbs , with XT, pedals, proper Enduro tires( minion/ high roller) and a good set of aluminum wheels.

Is it a good bike? Most likely yes. Santa Cruz has been making good bikes for a while now.
  • + 4
 Such a beautiful bike! I don't mind bike porn every once in a while, but please test the aluminum Bronson! I would love to see it compares to other alu bikes in its travel range.
  • + 2
 ten K for a bike, they are taking the piss, it's cheaper to buy a brand new motorbike a full on race bike for less. mountain bike world is starting to kill the sport. PB with their bull shit promotion adds for cash how come everything is amazing not seen you do one review where you say something is crap?
even when your members get ripped off over one thousand pounds what do you do about nothing not a stitch. I will never buy off this site again......
  • + 2
 My 2010 GT Force carbon 150mm travel weighs 26lb with full XT and Talas. AM classic hubs and crest rims with carbon bars saved me 2lb over the stock 28lb weight. Total cost under £3k
Not sure why they're struggling to get under 27lb, Force frame is not mega light or owt????
  • + 2
 I'm sure the frame really isn't anymore expensive then the next company's.
The question that immediately came to mind was...
Who can afford $2,000 rims?
I mean seriously?!?! $2,000 for rims only? Someone must be smoking crack!
I'm thinking plowing through jagged rock gardens everyday would be an early death of those pretty rims anyway.
  • + 2
 READ THIS!
I Really dont understand what the point is folks!, if a bike has a 10k retail price and rides like a champ, does not nessesarily means that we ALL have to own it! what we are doing here is couch discussion, real world bikers will be extremely happy with this bike lets say the alu or carbon version with an xt/x9 build and stiff,light alu wheels.This is the bike of the bikes this moment and its build lets admit is top notch. If Its really worth 10000 dollars i dont know (i would say not) but if you are a top racer in the enduro scene, first of all 10000 dollars is nothing and and is anyway supplied by sponsors which have all the money, second, for them 10000 just to beat with 0,01sec the secont guy is a price they can afford! in fact 100 thousand dollars is a price they can afford and santa cruz knows this! we all love bikes too much(hence the discussion) but lets regognise that not all bikes are for all bikers either we have, either we dont have the money to buy it.
  • + 1
 Agree! Who wants to see a review of a Chevy Cobalt? Not as many as want to see a review of a Ferrari!
  • + 3
 The people that are interested in buying Chevy Cobalt's.
  • - 2
 That is what consumer reports is for, not car and driver.
  • + 1
 Really. Here's a link to Car and Drivers test of the Chevy Cobalt: www.caranddriver.com/reviews/chevrolet-cobalt-ls-road-test
  • + 1
 They printed - but as I said - Who wants to see it?
  • + 1
 Depends on the purpose of the review. If it's purely entertainment it would only make sense to review bikes like this but if it aims to advices people in the market for a new bike, I think it's a bit stupid to review a 10k bike on a site mostly frequented by 16 y/o's.

Thinking about it, it's pretty bad actually, telling them this bike will make riding SO much better, implying you're missing out a lot riding your 'standard' aluminium bike.
  • + 4
 Geo is pretty standard , kinda light for the rough , it's overhyped. I'm sure it's fun but so are most trail bikes. It's all about the rider
  • + 1
 Pull your head out of your arse...I said it before and I'll say it again, google "Intense Carbine". Both stunning bikes, just not sure on why there are so many people getting excited. Don't think the Carbine was $10Gs either.
  • + 2
 I can totally understand the whining about the price... I however am fortunate to have a job that pays enoughthat I can afford this bike - However its a job that deep down I hate and takes up most of my time.
  • + 1
 Buy this bike, or maybe buy two or three bikes for the 10,000, buy other stuff you want while you have the funds, making sure to buy the best quality stuff that lasts. pay off your debts/mortgage and buy a load of clothes. Then get a new career that gives you more time and one that you enjoy. Get payed less and be happier that you can enjoy life riding your bike and doing the things you want. It's great.
  • + 1
 According to my sister who's an engineer a jaguar and works specifically with carbon, the techniques, processes and types of carbon used are of the mass produced production line type, according to her the price should be comparable to the same aluminium frame now. It is the leisure industry which keeps the MSRP high as well as their profits. This frame was made by either merida or giant and designed by Santa Cruz. If the technology that was being used in the construction of this frame that is the same as formula one cars i could understand the price.
  • + 1
 Just wonderin WTF is with bike companies naming their bikes that already have names on other bikes? Mirra co has a bronson, now santa cruz does, specialized already has an EVO, now intense does, can't wait to see the next newly named biked!
  • + 1
 What is the actual maximum travel fork the bronson can be ridden with? the Santa Cruz Bronson FAQ means 160mm as 'another great option', while this review states up to 180mm. I didnt find any limitation mentioned in the warrantee info on the SC website. Can PB clarify where the limit actually is with fork travel and the SC Bronson?
  • + 5
 Well worth it! Enve AM wheels are the cat's meow!
  • + 1
 I don't know guys - I wouldn't be too interested in seeing a test for an entry level Trek hard tail with a "Sora" group on it. Every manufacture wants their frame to be associated with high end parts. It's obvious they want to put their product in the best light. 10K bikes aren't a rarity anymore, that is becoming the price of a high end race bike and now THAT is ridiculous.
  • + 1
 Not to pick, Sora is a road group.
  • + 2
 I don't pay attention to Trek models really, especially not their entry level but if that's a new one with the new Sora it could be they've just used the rear derailleur on the bike. The new Sora 3500 series rear derailleur is rated to a maximum 32T cog and comes in a long cage format, making it perfectly suited to running on a mountain bike with an 8 or 9 speed drivetrain. It'll cost no more than an Alivio rear derailleur but it will be several ounces lighter.
  • + 1
 Don't get away with much on here! Thanks Spthomas!
  • + 0
 Noted deeeight, but I cannot tell you how many Sora derailuers I have seen broken off in the Ontario spring classic cross race, hidden rocks in mud chutes make easy work on road derailuers since cross bikes are the favored bike. Road parts need to stay on road bikes.
  • + 2
 There's no strength difference between road and mtb derailleurs. Shimano builds all their derailleurs to the same standards, just they get lighter and lighter as the prices go up. Ride low BB height cross bikes amongst rocks, and you'll rip rear derailleurs off regardless of the model. I've used road derailleurs on my mountain bikes for twenty years as have countless other racers, and a rock will kill a Saint derailleur as readily as it kills a Dura Ace. I simply try and avoid being a moron and riding my derailleur into rocks. Right now my Salsa Spearfish 29er has an Ultegra-6700 GS cage derailleur on it. Works with a 34T cog just fine, and it shifts smoothly all the time.
  • - 1
 deeeight, I have given up defending myself to the trolls. They don't give a shit about reality. They want to perpetuate the myths they heard previously and make it up as they go. I just report them to the mods now. I can't believe how many have been banned already.
  • + 5
 I just cant imagine getting rid of my Blur LT
  • + 4
 put slightly bigger tyres on your BLT and it is a bronson, 650b is snake oil for gullible folk.
  • + 1
 i bought one on 4 March. Rode it 5 times, Skeggsx2, Demo w upper Bacon and Henry Coe. and a nice poach nite ride on trails near woodside, california. got a 2nd personal on steam donkey, first trail to ride. the seat wans't even on right. hella strava prs and KOM at henry coe state park i've been drilling at since 2009 (was in 2nd place)

i have a TB 29r
i have a 575 26
i have a hecker 26

the Bronson wins..
  • + 1
 I understand the desire to have Pinkbike review a bike that the general public can afford, but even a $5k bike is out of the question for at leat 50% of pinkbike users. I can't afford this beautiful $10k machine, but, I do want to know what the top tier parts are and these companies want to show off all their hard work and advances in technology.
  • + 1
 Mountain Bikes are stupidly over priced machines full stop. You can go out and buy a 2nd hand Ducati 1098 for what they ask for their top end bikes £6k for a push bike, i'll wait until the next big thing comes along that shaves 1sec of a 22mile hike and wait for the numpties to sell their bikes for 3rd of the original price.... me!? I'm not envious or jealous! :-)
  • + 1
 You can build a 2x10 XTR version of this bike with Industry Nine wheels for 6500 which is way less than that 10K price tag. Weight wise will still almost the same. I have a frame on order and all the components. I9 is building a set of Enduro wheels for me and I should have all the parts to start assembling by the end of the month. I can post some pictures once i do the build.
  • + 1
 Richie nice write up. Can you give a recomdation on spec for say 4k bike, a 6k bike an 8k bronson. Say when you pick carbon frame over aluminium, enve over wtb i23's, xx1 over 2x10 xt. Looking at the basic ram kit that looks like it would be cheaper to buy that and up grade to 2x10 xt and wtb i23's on xt and offload the ram kit for a few quid. Also is the only reason i see to buy a bronson over LT or a nomad is the latest and greatest geometry or a better fork...
  • + 1
 Huge Fan of all your Reviews Mr Cunningham. Long time Subscriber to the place you used to work at. In your personal opinion would you say the bronson is one of the best things going right now? I really think this 650b thing, could be huge.
  • + 2
 Yeah.... those are gonna sell like crazy. I mean, how often do you get the chance to spend on a trail bike twice the money you would spend on a decent sh car ?
  • + 1
 Just ordered Bronson c with pike fork and xx1, Shimano xt with Ice-tech rotor. I didn't want to go with Enve so i ordered with Sram Roam 60's 27.5. Any thoughts on that would be great.
  • + 1
 Does it have a Ducati engine hidden in it somewhere? New Ducati Monster 696 for under $10k. Which is worth more after you take it off the lot? dumb. Ill wait for yeti to build a 650b.
  • + 1
 The frame alone will be $3500 for the Yeti if and when they build it...
  • + 2
 A Yeti with that build will cost the same. Any mass produced Moto or car is going to have economies of scale on their side and will, by virtue of that scale and sales volume, always seem more palatable MRSP wise. Just a matter of which one ranks higher on the their priority list. Volumes and Margins are low in the AM MTB space, so prices are going to be higher.
  • + 1
 Shit... I guess Ill just have to get sponsored now... Frown
  • + 1
 Blah blah blah. Anyone else feel the colors are off for the price of 4 used subarus. Red BB , yellow frame lettering , blue decal rims matte black overtone - orange backed seat tube . So it's a yeti - new holland Ferrari.
  • + 3
 Looks like a 1998 Gary Fischer Sugar
www.dirtragmag.com/reviews/gary-fisher-sugar-2-disc
  • + 1
 For everyone worrying about the price...you are reading a review for a carbon frame and carbon wheels. They offer the Bronson in aluminum, go read that review. Oh wait everyone only reviews the carbon, so get over it.
  • + 0
 The people bitching about the 10k price make me laugh, of course the top end model is the one that gets reviewed, the people can then choose from there what price level model is good for them. How many car reviews do you see of the base model?
  • + 0
 my LBS just got one in a couple of weeks ago and has it built up with an XT build, 2X10 speed, Reverb, fox 34's, don't remember the wheels but the cost was somewhere around 6 grand. I weighed it on their scale, and it came in at 29.75 lbs with no pedals. And that was a Medium frame. So I don't think its priced to far out of the realm of reason for being the newest and bestest out there. I don't think it was Pinkbike at fault for putting on the Ferrari build, If I owned a bike company and I was presenting the bike to a bunch of journalists to write about, I'd have a pretty kick ass build on it too. I wanna know how this bike compares to the Rune......
Oh ya, wider bars, 750mm, for a trail bike, Really RC? have you not reached the point of de-minishing returns with bar width, do you guys build all your trails with bobcats now, cause I clip shit like crazy on my DH bike with 750 on it.
  • + 1
 agree on width, I bought an 800mm bar and slowly cut it down in increments until I stopped clipping trees and sideslopes... at 720. Then I bought a 720 carbon bar on sale for cheap, ha
  • + 1
 Carbon, cheap ???? HA
  • + 3
 650b. All the negatives and none of the benefits. The marketing wheel size.
  • - 2
 Trolling. Missed the boat by about 6 months.
  • + 2
 No you just don't get it.
  • - 2
 JCLNV:
I've been riding 650b for a few years now. Piss off with your trolling. Do you own a 650b bike?
  • + 0
 Why would I ride 650b when 29" is available?
  • - 1
 Because they are different? Not sure what you are getting at.
  • - 2
 Because the 29" offers real geometry advantages over 26" and 650b.
  • + 0
 Oh there will be people who will spend $10k to get this bike, just not your average joe, or your average joe's kids. The bike industry, like many other industry, is messed up. LBS can sell bikes like this and struggle to stay in business. Mechanics can wrench all day and not be able to afford something like this, ever. Thanks for the pretty pictures/article though and I mean that sincerely pb. You are doing a good job keeping us up-to-date.
  • + 2
 slightly stretched Blur LT with 12mm more wheel radius, really can't see what's new about this bike.
  • + 1
 everybody is complaining about the price, fuck pps nobody is making us buy it. it's a fucking ferrari alright. That bike it's freaking awesome that's all i can say.
  • + 2
 Yo everyone....we are in luck. SC makes a one for less $$$. Its not carbon but its only $3300.
  • + 0
 carbon v's aluminium nomads.

www.i-mtb.com/carbon-vs-aluminium-santacruz-nomad-bike-test

carbon xt wtb bronson review with thoughts compared to a nomad.

www.i-mtb.com/santa-cruz-bronson-27-5-bike-test
  • - 1
 oh thank you santa cruz for realising that i really need a bike that is very marginally better than every other all mountain biker out there but costs massively more... i really need to spend 10k on each bike i own........... said no mountain biker ever
  • + 2
 You gotta get up to get down!

Not one mention if its climbing traits!?
Unless I missed it...review fail.
  • + 2
 Hm...I live in the land of milk and money...10k for a crosscountry bike? 10 years wage of a Northkorean...
  • + 1
 why would a person spend sooo much money on carbon fiber lighweight parts then put a few pounds of water in a bottle cage on it?
  • + 3
 Primary reason is for stiffness - CF doesn't flex like ALU; reduced weight is just a bonus. CF is also more consistent insofar as manufacturing goes and is more durable. CF is also better for vibration dampening. I have a CF frame, wheels, and bars - the bike just doesn't flex and my wrists never hurt.
  • - 1
 ?Carbon can be stiffer or flexier than aluminum, depending on the layup. That is its advantage. It can be designed to do almost whatever the engineer wants.
  • + 1
 Thanks for the responses, but I think you missed my point. I understand full well the virtues of CF. I do NOT understand why a person would want to mount a water bottle to a lightweight, high performance bike. Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon. That makes a water bottle almost 2 pounds. All that weight you saved buying carbon fiber? Gone with a water bottle mounted on your bike.
  • + 1
 Because sometimes its really nice to go ride without a pack and to still have a source of water. It's not rocket science.
  • + 2
 The cage was added by a respected French Journalist, because most European riders prefer a bottle over a hydro pack. I use the pic of his Bronson (identical in size and spec to mine) because he cleaned his up for Gary Perkin's side shot and it looked prettier than my muddy beast
  • + 1
 You are either adding that weight to your bike, or your body. A bottle holds 22 to 24oz at most, a hydration pack typically holds 70-100oz. The weight you add to the frame is minimal. If weight is you primary concern, then why does every xc racer ever race with a bottle on their bike (aside from ease of getting bottles at a feed zone)? I personally like the feeling of having nothing on my back while I ride, its pretty liberating and allows my body to regulate temperature a little more efficiently.
  • + 1
 I was handed a pair of those wheels yesterday in my bike shop, but with pink chris king hubs... light as a feather! sadly way out of my price range but so impressive
  • + 2
 I am throwing money at my screen and nothing is happening.
  • - 1
 But are you throwing $10,001.00 at the screen?
  • + 1
 Beefier carbon and slightly bigger wheels.... I love Santa Cruz bikes but my god r u people pathetic and easy to sale...
  • + 1
 I need to get a job at PB, so I can keep my regular ride and test ride all the new toys like RC... Nice review RC!!
  • + 2
 I should think it is near perfect for the price!!!
  • + 1
 For that coin on a carbon bike and the cables are not internally routed????
  • + 3
 WANT.
  • + 1
 10K? 5K? I'll keep my custom Khyber Elite.

That said, the bike is sex. Would still love to ride one.
  • + 1
 if the bikes don't have kickstands, then how did they take the pic? i don't see a shadow for fishing line either
  • + 1
 Nice bottle cage.. WTF... :-)
  • + 2
 10000 USD
  • + 1
 so do you guys prefer the nomad or the bronson?
  • + 1
 Too much news for one day i think....
  • + 2
 Bike porn!
  • + 1
 looks like a Trek Session
  • + 1
 Just found out thersa 26 inch Bronson as well
  • + 1
 SC only sell these as 650B setups. I've also seen someone custom build this frame as a 26er but it was far from stock
  • + 1
 I hear Re-Fi rates are really good right now...
  • + 2
 Just ordered mine today.
  • + 1
 Nice Specialized bottle cage holder...
  • + 1
 lol i noticed that too. i run a specialized saddle on my sc nickel.
  • + 1
 Anyone know the MSRP for this one?
  • + 16
 LOTS
  • + 1
 Just under AUD$5300 for a "base AM build. Price calculator for an XTR build with ENVE wheels is over 10K from an un-named shop. PM me and I will let you know what shop (keen for one myself, but the boss said no lol)
  • + 4
 From the article above: "Santa Cruz's website pegs the retail cost of our test Bronson just beyond the $10,000 mark."
  • + 1
 Full XX1 build with ENVE 2 wheels come in cheaper than the XTR build. Still looks horn, might need to beg and plead to be sent overseas for work again this year!!!!
  • + 0
 Cuban, I realised, I did read it. I was wanting the AUD MSRP.
  • + 2
 $4150 for the least expensive build from Santa Cruz.
  • + 0
 Why did I get neg props for asking how much it costs in Australian money?
  • + 4
 currencyconverter.com or something
  • + 9
 currency converter doesnt work as $2000 is currently worth 1500euros, but the $2000 frame gets sold for 2200 euros in Europe... Do not talk about tax, there is no way it adds up.
  • + 1
 looking gooooooood~~!!! ^^
  • + 1
 What a lengthy review.
  • + 1
 Hooo what a bike
  • + 1
 LOVE THIS BIKE !
  • + 1
 Sick colours!
  • + 0
 Hay PB any chance of a swop PS3 plus games lol SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET BIKE
  • + 0
 big wheels are fucking gay.
  • + 0
 "INTENSE" FTW!!! \m/
  • + 0
 RC, Wilder Ranch? 10K
  • + 1
 oh and there is not 105 days of rain and fisherman cold in SC try 30-40 and yes I live there
  • - 1
 Yeah, I was watching the runners tag the fence at Two Gates where the turn-around was.
  • + 1
 Yea man, you're mad with the 105 days of pissing rain! rickeyretardo has it pegged.

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