Ask Pinkbike - BoXXers, Which Santa Cruz, and Preventing Tire Buzz

Feb 7, 2017
by Pinkbike Staff  
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Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.

BoXXer Team vs World Cup

Question: Pinkbike user @Teagansalter asked this question in the downhill forum: It's come to my attention that, no matter the price of the bike, any company that uses RockShox forks will spec a BoXXer Team despite the World Cup being a far better fork and some of the bikes costing a lot. It doesn't make any sense to me. Can someone explain why they would do this?

bigquotesWhile some companies do spec the "second tier" BoXXer fork on their high-end bikes, it's not nearly as cut and dry as you make it sound. For example, both the S-Works Demo and the Glory Advanced 0 come with the coil-sprung BoXXer Team instead of the air-sprung World Cup fork, but the priciest downhill bikes from Devinci, Lapierre, and Commencal all come with the World Cup. That's a small sample size, but you get the idea.

Also, the World Cup is not a "far better fork" than the Team model. In fact, they both share the same Charger damper, which is the important bits, and differ only in the spring they use. The coil-sprung fork is more active and supple due to the air fork needing more seals (and hence it has more friction), but the air-sprung fork's spring rate is obviously easier to adjust. In the past, I've seen some sponsored pros using a BoXXer with World Cup decals and air cap, but with a coil spring inside because they want that smoother action. Me? I like the adjustability and progressivity of the air spring. Figuring out a bike's spec is a battle of costs, and the Team fork looks nearly identical to the more expensive World Cup model, so if a company can lower a bike's MSRP a bit by going that route, they might decide to do exactly that to have the bike be priced competitively.
- Mike Levy

Commencal Supreme V4 Review
The Supreme DH V4 World Cup comes with the air-sprung BoXXer World Cup fork, but some companies spec the coil-sprung Team fork on their high-end bikes.

Santa Cruz Bronson or Nomad?

Question: Pinkbike user @Blake-P asked this question in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: I'm debating between getting either a Santa Cruz Bronson or a Nomad for this upcoming summer. I'm coming from a 2005 Kona Coiler, so I know both will be a massive improvement from what I have. I'll be riding pretty much exclusively Summit County (Breckenridge) with possibly some weekend trips to Moab/Fruita and some stuff down in the Boulder area. A lot of the riding I do is faster singletrack, some small drops and stuff. However, everything I ride down I'll have to pedal back up, whether that be up a trail or just a road (since I have my dog with me some of the time). Would a Nomad or Bronson fit my needs more? I'm looking for a single do-it-all bike.

bigquotesYou're absolutely right that either option will be a massive improvement over your current ride, but in this case I'd cast my vote for the Bronson. The Bronson's more than enough bike to handle the terrain and riding style you described, with the added bonus that it also pedals a little better than its longer travel sibling. The Bronson is more of an all-rounder than the Nomad, and its slightly steeper head angle and shorter wheelbase make if feel more nimble and manageable on mellower trails.

There's also the fact that the Bronson has 12 x 148mm Boost rear spacing. That might not be as much of an issue if it's going to be another twelve years before you buy a new bike, but because it's the most current standard it could help with the resale value in the near future. - Mike Kazimer

Santa Cruz Bronson
The 150mm travel Bronson...
Santa Cruz Nomad
...and the 165mm Nomad.

Buzzing from Riding Downhill

Question: Pinkbike user @Joetcaplin85 asked this question in the Downhill Forum: I've just bought a Nukeproof Pulse Comp 2017 model. I love it, but after jumping a few step downs I've become aware of a problem. I'm running my seat post pretty high, and when the rear suspension compresses the tire buzzes on my seat. Any thoughts on what I should do other than run my seat stupidly high?

bigquotesFirstly, you should remove the shock from the bike and then take the spring off. Re-install the springless shock, then you can cycle the rear suspension through its full travel and check that it is the saddle striking the wheel. Sometimes it can be the seat clamp or even the frame on some bikes.

If you want the seat as low as possible, adjust its position further forwards on the rails and then adjust the seat height. You should also give the suspension an extra push to compress the bottom out bumper on the shock shaft, this checks that it is really bottomed out.

If the saddle is still too high for your liking, there are two saddles designed to get around this issue. The first is the WTB High Tail which Mike Levy reviewed in 2015, the second is the Ergon SMD2 saddle which I reviewed more recently. Both of these saddles are shaped to avoid tire buzz. The WTB has material cut away at the rear to create space, whereas the Ergon saddle has a 'Wheel Gap' shaped to allow the tire to pass between the rails. - Paul Aston

WTB Hight Tail review test
WTB's High Tail saddle is cut away to create extra tire clearance.
Ergon SMD2 Saddle
The base of the Ergon SMD2 saddle is shaped to allow the tire to slot between the rails.

Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


  • 94 18
 Are those two Santa Cruzes put next to each other, a puzzle for experts in "compare images" exercise?
  • 25 4
 I tried to guess the correct one, which I failed. SC's all look the same to me! Not a bad thing, they're nice looking bikes.but maybe a bit of variety would be nice?
  • 49 8
 naah, you blind waki, the nomad looks totally outdated next to the bronson
  • 11 1
 O dear, here we go again.
  • 37 5
 @gbeaks33: it's easy to tell the difference, Bronson linkage is attatched to the top tube, when the nomad is to the down tube
  • 8 4
 I've always loved the feel of a coil sprung fork for downhill. Ever since the coil sprung version of the fox 40 was released I've wanted to use it and get back on that coil sprung feel. I just wish they offered it with the Kashima coated stanchions. That would be badass. The coil springs will add some weight but hey its still lighter than some other duel crown forks out there.
  • 25 6
 @LkWebz: how do you know that Bronson is not a 5010?
  • 10 11
 @WAKIdesigns: the 5010 full linkage is mounted on the seatstay, while the Bronson the top pivot is located at the joint of the top tube and seat stay.
  • 4 1
 a href="">Yeah they are totally different./a>
  • 3 14
flag ShreddieMercury (Feb 7, 2017 at 15:50) (Below Threshold)
 I really hate the pedal ad to the right of the main page. "Because the world was never just flat."

  • 38 1
 Can't you see the Boost spacing on the Bronson?
  • 32 2
 @WAKIdesigns: The bronson, says "bronson" on it...
  • 2 5
 @gbeaks33: easy to tell the difference ... look at shock mounts .... nomad on the down tube and bronson on top tube
  • 7 4
 @LkWebz: yeah. The bronson looks like a rocky mountain and the nomad looks like a cove lol
  • 6 1
 @LkWebz: and Bronson is compatable with a front derailer as the Nomad has an extra support for the rear triangle????????
  • 1 0
 @LkWebz: You're meaning the forward shock mount position right?
  • 6 2
 Now let's look at different Cube, Yeti or Trek bikes and guess which bike is which if they all came in same wheel size, colors and had Pikes on... All I am saying is that I miss the days where bikes were more distinctive in the form. Only few companies managed to keep it this way, like Specialized... Camber - Stumpy - Enduro, easy to see which is which. I'll show myself out...
  • 4 1
 Bronson-2016 Tracer, Nomad-2017 Tracer
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Because it says "BRONSON" on the chain stay
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: cause it says Bronson on the side of it????
  • 1 0
 @Sontator: Outdated & sooooooo much better.
  • 40 1
 Had a v1 Bronson. Traded up for a Nomad and never looked back. You lose a super small piece of climbin g but the descent is sooooooo much better. Hit a drop wrong? All good. Case a double? All good. Wrong line? All good.
  • 17 1
 I like the part of hitting a drop wrong.
  • 29 2
 @passwordpinkbike: I like the part about having a Nomad. I would do unthinkable things to my body on webcam for a new Nomad. PM me affluent sadistic people.
  • 3 0
 But hasn't the geo etc of the new bronson made it closer to a nomad compared to your v1?
  • 5 1
 I have a v2 bronson and have hit drops badly, cased doubles, and picked sub optimal lines.All was good as well.
  • 4 2
 V1 Bronson sucks compared to v2. I had a nomad v3 and now a Bronson v2 and I wouldn't want a nomad again.
  • 1 0
 I loved my V1 Bronson. Have a V3 Nomad now, and aside from at bike parks, I would take the Bronson everytime.
  • 26 1
 Isn't the answer to the tire buzz question kinda the responsibility of the manufacturer not to make a bike that needs a special saddle?
  • 11 0
 You would think... I wonder what the next development will be - 29er DH bikes with no seat at all? Comes with a free gym membership for those squats you'll need to stand up forever :-)
  • 3 0
 Agree! You spend the amount of $ even on an entry level "good" bike these days, it should be able to function 100% of its intended design! While it may not be more than irritating, it could also present a safety problem in just the right situation.
  • 6 0
 I'd take a little seat buzz over taint buzz from one of those "solution" seats any day...
  • 1 0
 @headshot: What, did you see the new It's Always Sunny... Hero or Hate Crime...?
  • 15 3
 Any idea what and when the new nomad will be. Will it simply be an update to boost spacing? Seems like all the new bikes are coming out, Pivot Firebird, new Intense etc...
  • 15 1
 Heard the new nomad is meant to have 148 rear and 170mm travel
  • 2 1
 Boost front and rear for sure. I wish they would just release it already
  • 4 1
 Mid year is what I heard. Around the same time the Hightower LT and new colors for the Hightower come out.
  • 2 1
 @RichPune: How do you know theres going to be a HT LT?
  • 9 0
 @poozank: I don't know for sure, it's just second-hand knowledge passed down from a friend that sells a lot of Santa Cruz bikes. It makes sense, Santa Cruz, who is usually ahead of the curve, is lacking a longer travel 29er. But who knows, maybe the new Nomad will be a 29er and minds will be blown.
  • 7 6
 @RichPune: haha since when has SC been ahead of the curve?! Wink
  • 6 13
flag weebleswobbles (Feb 7, 2017 at 16:03) (Below Threshold)
 @RichPune: they definitely need new colors cuz the color of the two.bikes they picture is f@cking ugly
  • 3 2
 @RichPune: I wasn't aware they would have diff hightower colors and models. Time to put mine up for sale before it drops 1k in value just because a new color will come out. Lol
  • 6 1
 @parallaxid: Hahaha - yeah it's been awhile. But the first gen Nomad was pretty baller for the time. So was the original Tallboy.
  • 1 3
 @parallaxid: My Kawasaki green 1995 Heckler set the bar for hipo single pivots. It did not have rear disc brake mounts now that think about it, so strike that.
  • 2 1
 @RichPune: I hope the new Hightower comes in honey mustard yellow, golden syrup, root beer brown or guacamole green!
  • 25 1
 I hope the new Hightower is dark blue with Police Academy badge at the head tube.
  • 1 3
 Haha down votes doesn't change that the two Santa Cruz bikes are the fugliest two color schemes, maybe ever
  • 1 0
 @RichPune: Good to know. My next bike will be a Hightower, but I'm just not 'in love' with either of the two colors now. And you're right! Last year (July 1st?) or thereabouts was when the metal bronson and 5010 came out, yeah? I think mid summer is an odd time to drop bikes, but it would make sense if it were that same time frame again this year..
  • 9 2
 I've demoed both the Bronson and Nomad many times (thanks Santa Cruz for the free factory demo program, the decision was so hard I had to demo bikes every weekend for months, totally wasn't abusing the availability of Enve/XX1 specced dream bikes for free). If you're going to do lift/shuttle stuff regularly go with the Nomad, if not take the Bronson. I've never been in a situation on a Bronson where I was sketched out about something that I wouldn't also sweat on the Nomad, the Nomad is just a little easier to move around on on steep stuff and a little more friendly on bad landings.
  • 8 1
 Bronson or Nomad tough choice. If your living in Breckenridge I suggest demoing the two bikes head to head and compare apples to apples. I hear Avalanche Sports demos both these bikes at a very fair price and will apply your demo days toward purchase. They also demo Ibis and the Mojo HD3 is a good blend of the two bikes.
  • 2 0
 @Blake-P Avalanche is the best. I've had both of those bikes and could help you out as well deciding between the two. PM me.
  • 11 2
 I love my Nomad, I wouldn't trade it for the Bronson--and yes I've ridden the new Bronson.
  • 7 1
 The Bronson probably does climb better than the Nomad. It depends on what you're after. I ride a Nomad Mk3 and just fitted a Lyrik 180mm and my life is now complete. I don't love climbing and don't feel the 180mm is a disadvantage over my 160 Pike on the climb but love the Lyrik 180 when descending. I'd vote for the Nomad as the joy of the descending out votes the extra climbing capability of the Bronson. Get the Nomad and don't look back!!! That's my 5 cents
  • 12 4
 I simply like how spring feels so I opted for the Boxxer Team on my M16. personal preference
  • 11 1
 I've seen a few bike check videos with World Cup racers running a prototype progressive coil spring in their Boxxer. I'm surprised there hasn't been more attention paid to them here on PB.
  • 5 1
 @cmkneeland: Correct.. Steel, dual rate Boxxer springs, most of the WC teams will be using them this year.. Been kept very quiet so far
  • 3 2
 My son had a boxxer team and we put World Cup (air rod) kit in it and after a few rides he had me switch it back out.
  • 1 1
 @cmkneeland: How is that not already being done? The air spring shaft on my 2011 Fox 32 has two springs on the underside of the seal head (in the negative chamber area), a large one presumably with a lower rate than the small one.
  • 1 0
 @IrishPirate: sounds bad ass!
  • 5 2
 on a retail bike, an air fork makes way more sense, as not only is it easier to set up(change the pressure, add a few tokens), you don't also then have to go to your LBS and have them order you a new spring or multiple springs while trying to find out if you ride better with an medium, firm, or extra firm.

although it'd be a different story if it shipped with all the springs and if bikes with air suspension shipped with all the tokens.
  • 15 7
 dude...swapping springs is easy even for a blind ginger...
  • 3 1
 @nvranka: its true. even a ginge could do it
  • 3 0
 @nvranka: i know it's easy to do, but it's the faff of having to get different springs.
  • 4 1
 @ashyjay: and having people laugh at you because you've dyed your hair ginger.
  • 7 1
 Dudes you should ride 26" and sleep later it's much easier on your constituiton.
  • 3 0
 do you really need to ask "which bike" in this day in age? You should read another 100 reviews and 1000 forum threads before you buy anything . Because you surley do not want to make an uneducated purchse. You might buy the wrong bike.
  • 3 1
 Nomad vs Bronson really depends on what trails you ride and what your riding style is....we have both the current nomad and the new 5010....I like them both for different reasons....if I could have only one bike where I currently live , which is whistler I would keep the nomad, were I to move to Co and ride fast Co Singletrack with eye bleeding climbs, I would keep the 5010...or maybe sell both and get a Bronson :0..I haven't tried the Bronson since it was too close to the nomad to bother ...
  • 6 2
 @Blake-P buy my Nomad and I'll use the money to get a Hightower 29! HAHAHAHAHA
  • 3 2
 I ride a '15 nomad. The only complaint i have is the pedal strike on climbing trails. Due to the low BB, I pedal strike where a buddy on a '15 Bronson doesn't. That being said, on the DH, it rides like a dream. I put a 170mm Fox 36 and like the change. Head to Whistler and no need to rent a bike!
  • 2 1
 It's easy to understand why pro riders choose coil suspension. Coil suspension offers better performance. Is a fact.
Now, why use a air top cap and other tricks to hide the truth? And all that marketing pushing stupid standards...
To the bike industry and other pro 15mm axle and "feel like a coil" guys: truth = good, lie = bad
  • 1 0
 OK. Here we go. I need sizing advice please! have Bronson 2014 (v1) and has always felt cramped/short. Bout to replace frame with Nomad. Med or large is question. Really like to here what PB staff have to say too Wink I stand up and pedal alot and have always felt like when I do knee's r close to handle bars and shoulders almost forward of bars. Also feels like i can't get good leverage when seated and pedaling hard cuase bars r too close. Nomad is longer but SC still shorter than many. don't have access to a shop with nomad. I'm 5'8" but more advanced rider. Also, how does compare to Bronson when standing and pedaling through gnar? Thanks.
  • 1 0
 Definitely get the medium. I had the V1 Bronson as well, now I ride the large Nomad 3 at 6'. It's not really any shorter than any of the other new bikes. In fact, it's much bigger than the V1 Bronson. I stand and mash as well. The Bronson pedals much better when standing than the Nomad. You pretty much can't pedal much at all through gnar with the Nomad. I had to drop down crank length and still will pedal strike. I would be looking at a V2 Bronson unless bike parks are the majority of your riding.
  • 7 3
 Go the Nomad Smile I doubt you'd look back.
  • 4 1
 have you ever tried the climbs in breck? i will take any advantage i can at that altitude (admittedly I say that and I pedal a 35 pound canfield balance up there). for the trails he describes a bronson sounds ideal. if he rides resorts at all I would say nomad.
  • 12 3
 @adrennan: if you're riding resorts all day then get a v10
  • 2 3
 I went down from a demo 8 to all mountain bike and actually prefer it
  • 2 0
 @weezyb: had i said all day, i would likely agree with you. I said "at all" as in you mostly ride trail and go a couple days a year to the bike park.
  • 1 0
 @weezyb: He's riding resorts, but he said he mostly rides up. Also, he mentioned a bunch of other non-resorts.
  • 4 2
 Ride in CO. Live here. I have a Bronson. Nomad would be better for park / dh racing but I've never been let down. Ridden alot of the Breck stuff.
  • 1 0
 I use to get really bad tire buzz. So I did a cheap version and just cut out a tire sized slot in the back of my seat. Works great and u really don't use that part of the seat anyways.
  • 2 1
 I have a 2013 Boxxer World Cup and it's silky smooth, and as a plus much easier to change spring rate with air vs coil. If you can swing it the World Cup
  • 6 2
 Get the nomad
  • 2 0
 I'd skip the massive price of a Santa Cruz and get a Yt Capra with a much better parts spec.
  • 2 0
 Riding downhill always gives me a buzz!
  • 1 0
 nowa these days with bikes as much as they are now, you really have one choice when buying. OCD what!
  • 1 1
 Hightower like all the racers run.
  • 1 1
 Do you want a bran son or a bran son?
  • 3 6
 Still baffles me that anyone actually prefers an air sprung DH fork...
  • 9 4
 Just like you, everyone has their opinion so until you beat Aaron Gwin may I suggest you keep your negative input to yourself but you intelligent informed opinions are welcome
  • 5 1
 @Cashman39: according to vital, gwin has been on coil disguised as air the past two seasons
  • 2 0
 it is impossible to say whether air-spring stiction robs you off more time than 1kg added to the sprung weight of the bike. Air gives nice bottom out characteristics over coil, but sucks in midstroke support.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: remember Sam hill through those flat turns at meribel a few years ago? Insane grip. Impossible with air shocks.
  • 4 0
 @jaame: such details are beyond my comprehension. Coil wins for me in service department. Longer service intervals, easier to service. And it helps my OCD. With coil I just have this spring rate and I make the best of it. And it always stays this way. Whenever I get air, I fiddle with pressures and it never feels right. Coil is never on my mind. I can't wait for SAR to release coil kit for Lyrik
  • 1 0
 @jaame: that wasn't my point. But it's interesting to know. I'm just not a fan of people being a hater because someone else has a different opinion
  • 2 0
 @Cashman39: LOL he pulls the gwin card, good thing you have such an "informed opinion"....jackass

Vast majority of racers prefer coil...every single friend of mine who riders DH (we aren't decorated racers) prefers coil...that's about as informed as you're going to get out of me on PB...

Only rationale I see behind air DH forks is negligible weight savings, SHORTER service intervals $$$, and negligible bottom out characteristics....

If you are decent on a bike, id be surprised if you prefer the feel of an air sprung dh fork over a coil.
  • 2 0
 A lot of things in mountain biking are confusing, and not because there's one obvious answer that everyone ignores.

Earlier in this very comment section there are people discussing the use of a dual rate steel spring at the world cup level in a Boxxer fork.

Do you want some kind of rising rate spring? Do you want it to rise like a dual rate? Would you prefer it to rise like 1/displacement like an air spring does? If so, why or why not?

It's confusing; I'm not sure whether a linear rate beats a rising rate and I'm not sure anyone could give me a reason other than 'some certain set of professional riders prefers it this way.'
  • 2 0
 @WaterBear: I don't disagree, but all I can go off of is the majority (myself included) preferring the feel of coil, which so far has not been replicated in an air fork
  • 2 0
 @WaterBear: well said. Most of stuff in MTB is confusing because human is the motor and there are very few sports (if any) where steering input and body manipulation makes such a big difference in results. So while I could agree that 10k V10cc with Enve kit will cut you some serious chunk of time over a Specialized Rockhopper, I see no way of establishing whether V10cc can cut any time from S-Works Demo. I think it would be hard enough to consistently win with Specialized Status. Now going into such detail as V10cc with BoxxerWC and Vivid Air put against V10cc with Boxxer Team and Vivid coil, is plain silly. I could buy it if you told me that a bike with customed valved front and rear damping units can cut some seconds and add fun factor to a bike with stock sht.
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