Review: Santa Cruz Bronson V3

Jan 1, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  
The new Santa Cruz Bronson took a page out of the Nomad's playbook, and version 3.0 of this all-mountain machine bears more than a passing resemblance to its longer travel sibling. It's still rolling on 27.5” wheels, and still has 150mm of travel, but along with the switch to a Nomad-style suspension layout, there have been a number of geometry tweaks to help it maintain its trail cred.

There are two different flavors of carbon frame – the top-of-the-line CC option, and the slightly heavier (but less expensive) C version, along with an aluminum model.

Our test bike came with the X01 build kit, which includes an X01 Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, SRAM Code RSC brakes, a Fox 36 GRIP2 fork, RockShox Super Deluxe shock, and carbon Reserve wheels. All that tallies up to an $8,199 price tag; swapping out the carbon hoops for alloy drops the price down to $7,000 USD. There's also a frame only option for $3,299, or the aluminum frame only can be purchased for $1,999.
Bronson X01 Carbon CC Details

• Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
• Travel: 150mm
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Frame construction: carbon fiber
• 65.1° or 65.4° head angle
• Chainstay length: 430mm
• Sizes: XS-XL
• Weight: 29.4 lb (13.3 kg) size large, w/o pedals
• Price: $8199 USD as tested
• Frame only: AL: $1999, CC: $3299
• Colors: Industry Blue, Primer Grey
• Lifetime frame warranty
www.santacruzbicycles.com


bigquotesThe Bronson delivers a balanced blend of playfulness and plowability... It's the sort of bike that encourages goofing off and finding creative line options rather than always going full throttle straight down the trail. Mike Kazimer







Santa Cruz Bronson
The Bronson has a one-piece swingarm, and the shock passes through a tunnel in the seat tube.


Construction and Features

Thanks in part to the new shock orientation, the Bronson has more standover clearance than ever before. The seat tube lengths have been also been shortened, which allows riders to run longer travel dropper posts, and makes it easier to bump up a size without running into any issues.

Santa Cruz have long been proponents of threaded bottom brackets, which is what you'll find here. There are also the 'de rigueur' ISCG 05 tabs, and a molded chainstay protector to keep things nice and quiet. Along with their lifetime frame warranty, Santa Cruz also have a lifetime warranty on the pivot bearings - if they ever wear out customers can fill out a form online and have fresh bearings headed their way within 48 hours.

There's a “Plus” version of the Bronson offered that comes with 2.6” tires front and rear mounted to 37mm internal width rims, or the regular option that has a 2.5” tire up front and a 2.4” tire in the rear. I'll get into the handling specifics a little later on, but for now, just know that there's plenty of room for big ol' tires; all the way up to 2.8” if you want to go that route.


Santa Cruz Bronson
Frame protection is in place around the bottom bracket and further up the downtube to protect from flying trail debris and shuttling induced damage.
Santa Cruz Bronson
A tiny fender shelters the Super Deluxe shock.




Santa Cruz Bronson 2019

Geometry & Sizing

The evolution of the Santa Cruz Bronson's geometry follows the longer and slacker trend that's still not finished yet. 67, 66, 65-degrees... Any guesses as to what the head angle of the 4th generation Bronson will be? The same progression applies to the reach numbers – they've increased by approximately 15mm with each iteration, and the latest version checks in at 455mm for a size large in the low geometry setting, which isn't super long, but it's not wildly short either.

To accompany that longer reach, Santa Cruz steepened Bronson's the seat tube angle to 75-degrees, compared to the 74-degree angle of its predecessor. The chainstay length was trimmed a tiny bit, and it now sits at a relatively short 430mm.

There is a flip chip that can be used to adjust the head angle by .3 degrees and the bottom bracket height by 4mm, but it'd take a super sensitive rider to notice the difference between those two settings.


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Suspension Design

The move to a different suspension layout did more than just alter the Bronson's looks – the frame kinematics were changed as well. It's still a VPP design, with two counter-rotating links, but driving the shock from the lower link creates a consistent rising rate suspension curve. This helps keep the rear end behaving consistently throughout its travel, free from any mid-stroke wallowing.

Although it is possible to fit a coil shock on the Bronson, Santa Cruz designed it with air in mind; there's not really enough end-stroke ramp up to make a coil the best choice. There's also not quite enough clearance in the shock tunnel to fit a Float X2 or a Cane Creek DB air – those oversize air cans don't fit.



Specifications

Specifications
Price $8199
Travel 150mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Air RCT
Fork FOX 36 Float Performance Elite, 160mm
Headset Cane Creek 40 IS Integrated Headset
Cassette SRAM XG1295 Eagle 10-50T
Crankarms SRAM X1 Eagle Carbon 148 DUB, 32t
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle
Chain SRAM X01 Eagle 12 SPD
Shifter Pods SRAM X01 Eagle
Handlebar SCB AM Carbon
Stem Race Face Aeffect R 50mm
Grips Santa Cruz Palmdale Grips
Brakes SRAM Code RSC
Hubs DT 350
Rim Santa Cruz Reserve 37 Carbon
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF, 27.5x 2.6" (F), DHR2 27.5 x 2.6" (R)
Seat WTB Silverado Team Saddle
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth 31.6



Santa Cruz Bronson














Test Bike Setup

Other than trimming the bars down to 780mm, and swapping the 50mm stem out for one that measured 40mm I kept the Bronson in its stock configuration.

Inflating the RockShox Super Deluxe RCT to 185psi gave me 30% sag, and the three pre-installed volume spacers provided plenty of ramp up to prevent the shock from blowing through the last bit of its travel. It's possible to eke a little more end-stroke ramp up by removing 2 spacers and replacing them with one “Gnar” spacer, which is equivalent to 2.5 spacers, but that's the absolute maximum possible, and a step I never felt like I needed to take.

Up front, I ran 73 psi with one volume spacer in the Fox 36. LSC and HSC were set a few clicks in from fully open, and the rebound setting were within the range suggested by Fox for my weight.

Testing took place Bellingham, Washington, with multiple trips across the border to ride in Squamish and Whistler, BC, where it was called into action during the Pinkbike Field Test.


Me.
Mike Kazimer
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Age: 36
Height: 5'11"
Inseam: 33"
Weight: 160 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mikekazimer


Santa Cruz Bronson


Climbing

The switch to a new suspension layout didn't do anything to diminish the Bronson's climbing prowess. It's extremely calm under power, which means there's really no need to reach for that climb switch unless you've got a big stretch of pavement ahead of you. Efficient pedaling often comes at a price in the form of reduced traction, but that's not the case here – there's plenty of grip to keep the rear wheel tracking over slippery roots and greasy rocks.

That being said, for as well as the Bronson climbs, it still feels like you're sitting on top of 150mm of travel, and while it performs very well for its travel bracket, a shorter travel bike like the 5010 still has the edge when it comes to outright climbing quickness.

Santa Cruz didn't go super-steep with the Bronson's seat tube angle, but they didn't go crazy with the front center length either, a combo that created a comfortable position for my 5'11” height. That shorter overall length compared to some of the more stretched out options that we're starting to see does make the Bronson a little easier to handle at slower speeds. Compared to a bike like the Mondraker Foxy, which has the same amount of travel but a much longer wheelbase, it's easier to wriggle it through tight and tricky sections of trail.

Santa Cruz Bronson
Alex Evans doing a little bit of dirt work with those 2.6" tires.

Descending

I've been riding a bunch of extra-long and slack 29ers lately, and as much fun as that new-school geometry is, the Bronson's smaller wheels and slightly less sprawling dimensions give it a level of maneuverability that's very easy to get along with. I felt right at home from the moment the tires touched dirt; there was no need to adapt my riding style or learn to live with any handling quirks.

The Bronson delivers a balanced blend of playfulness and plowability. It's easy to pop up and over obstacles and to stuff the back wheel into tight turns, but there's also plenty of travel on tap for rougher sections of trail. It's the sort of bike that encourages goofing off and finding creative line options rather than always going full throttle straight down the trail.

Compared to the Hightower LT, Santa Cruz's 150mm 29er, or the previous Bronson for that matter, the new Bronson has an even plusher, more bottomless feel. There's no sudden harshness or spiking as you approach the end of the travel – the ramp-up is very smooth and controlled no matter how big the hit.

Cornering was especially enjoyable on the grey machine – the bike's center of gravity is nice and low, which makes it possible to really drive the back end through a turn. The Bronson has a planted, surefootedness to it that makes it possible to stay centered and in control with minimal effort on high speed, rough sections of trail.


Santa Cruz Bronson




Santa Cruz Bronson
Kona Process 153 CR

How does it compare?

Kona's Process 153 CR 27.5 falls into the same category as the Bronson – it's a rugged all-mountain rig through and through. On paper, it's a little longer up front, with a 475mm reach vs. the Bronson's 455mm on a size large, and a little shorter out back, with 425mm chainstays vs. 430mm on the Santa Cruz. The 153's 66-degree head angle is also one degree steeper than the Bronson.

Climbing: The Process is a decent climber, but it's not quite at the same level as the Bronson. The Kona's 76-degree seat angle makes for a comfortable seated position, but there's a little more rear suspension movement under power, and it doesn't feel quite as efficient.

Descending: Both bikes can handle a generous serving of gnar, and there's no clear winner when it comes to deciding which bike is the more capable descender. However, I did have a few moments on the Process where I felt like the back end was squirting out from underneath me. There are plenty of short chainstay fans out there, but the combo of a longer front center and shorter back end made the Process feel a touch unbalanced at times, something I didn't experience on the Bronson.

The Process also feels stiffer, which, again, can be seen as a pro or a con depending on your personal preference. For me, the Bronson's overall feel was more to my liking. It's certainly not flexy, but it felt more compliant and comfortable at higher speeds on rough terrain. I'm also on the lighter side of the spectrum – bigger riders may like the 153's beefiness.

The Process is also a little heavier – Kona didn't hold back on the amount of carbon the used for the front triangle – but the frame only price is $200 cheaper than the Bronson, likely due in part to the use of aluminum rather than carbon for the chainstays.

What about the Nomad?

The Nomad and the Bronson share very similar geometry numbers, and weigh nearly the same, but they have two different personalities on the trail. If my rides typically involved shuttle or chairlift rides, or if descending was my number one priority, the 170mm Nomad would be my pick. That extra travel gives it the edge over the Bronson when it comes to pure DH runs.

But for rides that involve more than just gravity-fueled fun, I'd go with the Bronson. It feels livelier and quicker in more rolling terrain, and it's more enjoyable to pilot it through techy climbs than the Nomad.

Santa Cruz Nomad 4


Santa Cruz Bronson
Santa Cruz Bronson


Technical Report

Tire size: I spent time on the Bronson with 2.6” tires front and rear mounted to Reserve 37mm rims, and with a 2.5” tire up front and a 2.4” tire in the back on Reserve 30 rims (that's a nice mix of imperial and metric measurements...). Those may not seem like massive differences, but it was very noticeable on the trail. The 2.6” tires mute the small vibrations a little bit more, but the bike felt less precise while cornering and when maneuvering through tighter sections. Personally, I'd go with the 30mm rims and 2.5 / 2.4” combination, but I could see the bigger rims and rubber being popular with riders looking for the most forgiving and comfortable ride possible.

Reserve carbon rims: Adding carbon rims raise the price of the Bronson by $1,200, but you could always use the fact that they have a lifetime warranty to help justify shelling out that extra dough. They also have a nice ride feel, with plenty of stiffness, but not so much that it feels like your teeth are going to get rattle out of your head. Our test wheelsets withstood plenty of hard hits, emerging unscathed other than a few scuff marks, and they only needed a minor truing over the course of the test period. Personally, I'd stick with alloy, especially if I was planning on doing any racing.

Fox 36 GRIP2 fork / RockShox Super Deluxe shock: Not too many companies spec a fork from one major company and a shock from another, but in this case, the decision paid off. The suspension components work very well together and are a large part of the reason why the Bronson feels as good as it does charging through rough terrain.

SRAM Code RSC brakes: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, SRAM's Code RSC brakes delivered plenty of power and excellent modulation – they're an ideal match for the type of trails the Bronson is built to handle.


Santa Cruz Bronson


Pros

+ Outstanding blend of plush and playful
+ Ideal all-rounder for riders who prefer technical trails
+ Build kit leaves little to be desired
Cons

- Taller riders may want even more reach





Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesYou know that moment when jeans have achieved their ideal state of broken-in-ness? That period of time where they fit perfectly, right before the knees get holes in them and the back pockets start to tear? The Bronson is that feeling in bike form. It's extremely easy to get along with, a do-it-all machine that can be used for anything from enduro racing to big days in the backcountry.  Mike Kazimer









311 Comments

  • + 132
 The older I get, the less it'd hurt me to pay these prices. However I am just not willing to pay that much any more. It's getting ridiculous. The value for that much money isn't there.
  • + 65
 I get your vibe and at first glance makes sense but.............Im not sure that makes sense if you do some "like for like" analysis. You can get into the alloy version of this cheaper than you could alloy mk1 nomad.

I remember speccing up an mk1 nomad 10 years ago and the frame was £1800. You can now get the bronson alloy frame which will be infinitely better for the same price. Adjust for inflation and its waaaay cheaper to ride a rad Santa Cruz in 2018. Incidentally the bronson alloy is a hell of a looker - www.biketart.com/images/santa-cruz-bronson-alloy-2019-p48104-100512_image.jpg

I think a lot of the price anger should be directed at the big component players rather than the frame builders. I used to budget £30 for a cassette and now they are £125 for eagle mid range. (stamped steel vs machined alloy so maybe even thats justifiable) If your happy to be creative with your build though you can work around that.

Comparing top end carbon to yesteryears old top end alloy and saying everything is too expensive really isnt a fair anlysis.
  • + 5
 @Karve: exactly. A base model bike will far exceed what a top of the range 5 or 10 year old model was capable of, the trickle down effect has worked wonders for bike performance. I started riding 12 years ago, and back then anything less than xt/saint from shimano and x9 from sram was awful, more or less any brakes but hopes were similarly awful, top of the range suspension was still crap compared to the more basic stuff now, no droppers, rear suspension was a choice of pedalling or absorbing bumps, no in between, as you say, gear range was crap, either manage with a 11-34 cassette or be forced to run a front mech, about the only real thing that was anywhere near as good were wheels (ignoring diameter) and tyres (and even then we didn't have the tougher but lighter middle ground options). Relative performance levels have got cheaper, its only because the top performance available is soo much higher that it all seems more expensive.
  • + 48
 Some people will spend more than that in a year on Takeaways,beer,fags,weed and other drugs then what will you have to show for that money apart from the obvious(an older fatter less healthier you).
  • + 14
 I think it also depends on how long you intend to keep the bike - the longer you intend to keep it the more reasonable the monthly cost.

For me bikes have always been crazy expensive for the top end models, but where value has been lost is that it is harder and harder to transfer parts over with the changing standards. The days where you could just buy a new frame and swap the parts straight over are disappearing (yes, it can still be done but it's now much more difficult)... That also means that the resale price of your frame is hit as it uses older standards, which is bad for the first owner...
  • - 13
flag mattmach7 (Dec 31, 2018 at 5:44) (Below Threshold)
 Stop bitching people, cant afford quit riding or buy what you can afford. Somehow those bikes are here priced as is. Most of you are lucky to live in countries where standard of living is pretty high with plenty of opportunities!!! Get your lazy ass up and work some extra cash, is not so difficult here.
  • + 3
 @slimboyjim: This. Just keep your bike longer and sell it as a complete afterwards. I see too many people switching their mid range direct sales bikes every 2 years... they shouldn't complain about prices.
  • + 10
 @jzPV: Agreed...I work in the industry and am fortunate enough to purchase my bikes at ep pricing. Unless the current bike you own is gonna be your last you're better off selling it after a year to get the best r.o.i. and rolling that cash into the next complete bike. Plus you won't find yourself stuck with a bike that is no longer considered the latest and greatest with regards to industry standards. If this isn't a consideration or important to you then run it 'til it dies and start over. Either way works...just keep riding and be happy!
  • + 15
 The "it's getting ridiculous" in reference to bike prices is simply, 100% not true- top end/lust-worthy bikes have ALWAYS been this expensive. This goes back to 1994 where a rigid hardtail would cost you $6,000 USD, which in today’s currency, that equates to over $10,000 USD. For a rigid hardtail.

The value for the money is absolutely there given that the bikes of today are incredibly better than what they were 20+ years ago. Whether or not you want to pay that much money for a pedal-powered bike is another question altogether.

What is making people scratch their heads is the bike shop vs. direct to consumer pricing. But, that's more of a personal debate.
  • + 9
 @SteelCityMTBer: I’m f***ed then! I love weed and bikes! That’ll be why I’m skint then ????????
  • - 11
flag twowheelsforthemasses (Dec 31, 2018 at 6:45) (Below Threshold)
 @inked-up-metalhead: Base model parts today do not offer the quality that top of the line parts was 5-10 years ago. Cheaper and cheaper tech is making its way onto our bikes year after year. Not better parts but more available parts!

bro no offense, but obviously you didnt do a lot of riding back in the days. Fact, x9 sram stuff was on par with x0 as it ran ran the same ball bearing shifters but at a very little weight penalty, but they felt identical. Rear derailleur built exactly the same minus the carbon cages. If you like the sram shifters today, then you would have like them 10 years ago.

As for droppers, those were also available at the time you started riding. Actually years before that. Again you just didnt understand what you were looking at. Also suspension back then actually felt almost better in some areas than it does today.

As for brakes, no denying brake tech has come a long way, but there were plenty of good brakes back then as well, just large and heavy.
  • - 1
 @mattmach7: you are very right sir !!!
  • + 11
 @twowheelsforthemasses: Sorry but suspension components, dropper posts, drivetrain parts and rims were falling like flies just 8 years ago. Now you actually have a chance to ride your mid range bike for 5 years without destroying one of these components twice a year.
  • - 1
 How do the price-whining comments STILL get up-voted?? I could just copy-paste may last 10 comments on the topic. Go to a dealer, buy almost the same bike with a slightly lower spec for $3-4000 less MSRP and negotiate with the dealer and you can probably get the $5399 build that still has the Fox 36 for $5000. You know you can buy a Kia for like $50,000 if you build it up right (or wrong)?
  • + 12
 @twowheelsforthemasses: did you even read my comment? I said anything below xt/saint from shimano and x9 from sram was crap. Below x9. You know, x7, x5 and x3? The stuff was shit, whereas nx, gx and x1 stuff is actually pretty f*cking good considering where it sits in the ranks. So it's OK bro, no offence taken its your grammar comprehension that's the problem, not how much I rode. f*ck me, I remember when x0 and xx was launched, before which x9 was the best. And the first x0 mechs did have carbon cages.

As for droppers yes they were available, in the same way linkage forks and gearbox bikes are available now, they're out there but not common and a bit naff for the most part, they certainly weren't classed as essential like they are now.

And no, suspension did not feel better, it was certainly soggier and bottomed out easier, bit not better when you take a modern set up into consideration. From the frame side not much is different, but shock damping and consistency is through the roof in comparison.

Again no, brakes were naff. Shimanos were underpowered, Hayes had no modulation, avids were reasonable but expensive and hopes were rediculously expensive but actually good. I'm talking Hayes 9, original gen saint, avid juicy 7s and moto v2 era here, before elixirs and better shimanos came along.
  • + 10
 The law of diminishing returns is hardly a new thing, and you can get a Bronson much cheaper if you want.
  • + 1
 @mattmach7: puncutate!
  • + 3
 @yupstate: Probably just a thoughtless visceral reaction to a number with a $ in front of it. Or commenter is a Commencal agent.
  • + 3
 economics 101: one kidney is now worth $250,000 USD. subtract the hospital bills and you are still looking at a cool $10,000 profit to buy this bike and a fork upgrade Big Grin
  • + 7
 @Karve: Price aside, props to SC for producing a balanced playful 275, the now unique attributes of which Mike details well in his review. The MTB world is all about monster truck 29ers now. I own and ride 26 (DJ), 275, and 29. For all around playful, fun freeriding, my money is still on a balanced 275 with killer suspension design.

Side note - interesting the upper internal routing entries appear different here vs. the N4. Do they remove the need to install those annoying little rubber things?
  • + 5
 @Karve: buy a year old bike for half its original retail price. Either through private party or dealers that blow em out..backcountry, jenson, etc
  • + 4
 @Karve: This is why I only do frame onlys now and swap parts from old bike and keep carrying on that way.. Upgrade the odd parts as needed.. Saves me a ton!
  • + 3
 @Karve: I own the carbon Nomad.... I was thinking of the alloy version pricewise but finally went for carbon. I saw the alloy version of the Nomad and tbh it’s nothing like the carbon version... almost a different bike... very average build quality and bad looks to my opinion... I guess the same goes for Bronson... the alloy version of Santacruz don’t worth the money. You are way better of fbuying a Devinci Troy or Spartan alloy. I used to own a Spartan and they are build in-house (alloy versions) build quality is top notch and does not compare to Santa’s aluminum versions..Chinese manufacturers might be experts in carbon but the aluminum versions are just that at least for Santacruz models..... just cheap Chinese builds....
  • + 7
 I'm super down on Santa Cruz this year (2019) because I think their build kits are way off the mark, in terms of price and spec. Even to get the Fox Performance Elite fork, you have to go to $7000 US. That's ridiculous. Then to get Fox Factory, you have to go to $9800. They are out of their minds!! I like their bikes, but they have gone nuts with the build kits. I won't even consider a Santa Cruz anymore. There are so many other amazing bikes with way better build coming in at less than $6500 US.
  • + 2
 @mybaben: Seems like you're the target market for the frameset and a custom build. Seems true with most of the high-end brands that if you're willing to be patient and do some bargain hunting you can get more value that way.
  • + 1
 @jrocksdh: CBO is a great one for SCs on clearance. Picked up a Stigmata last year for like 40% off. Only spec change in the "new" model was paint.
  • + 3
 Agreed. Bought mine 1 year old at half that price. No complaints.
  • + 1
 @SteelCityMTBer: well said!
  • + 2
 I’ll be broke as f*ck but riding the shit out of this!
  • - 12
flag conoat (Dec 31, 2018 at 13:37) (Below Threshold)
 $8000 bike. so like 2 weeks pay?

thank back to 1995 when you made $1000 every two weeks.....was $1000 for a bike ridiculous?


yeah, didn't think so. gotta keep your perspective or else you become a "get off my lawn" old man....lol
  • + 4
 Price is largely set by what riders will pay to play. Mountain biking at the high end is an expensive sport. Those are the facts. If you don't like it don't play, or ride a rigid single speed (or even an old 9 speed drive train). Like I did when I started the sport (with little money) I rode a rigid, thumbies, 7 speed I think - all second and third hand stuff. Now I'm seeing college kids with plastic wonder rigs that cost more than my current rig. If I were in a different financial situation (lost my money) I'd build up my old Surly KM, SS it, and keep riding. This is a luxury sport. It's not a necessity and big corporations are not colluding to set prices. Now go ahead kids, down vote because you don't like the facts of the situation. And by the way, Mike, thanks for the good review.
  • + 1
 @mybaben: Try to buy just the frame and built it to the spec, you will not match the price it is sold for... Btw. the only difference between factory/elite fork is the Kashima coating...
  • + 1
 @ka-brap: $8,200 for a well-balanced all-around mountain bike is ridiculous if you look at the competition. This bike may be marginally better than the $5,000 Specialized Stumpjumper Expert, but not $3,200 better.
  • + 0
 @ka-brap: that's trash. Name one rigid that cost that much in 1994... Most full suspensions back then were expensive but not that bad.

My stumpy back then was $800 or something.
  • + 4
 Wait... Hold up... Are you trying to tell me Pink Bike is reviewing an expensive bike? No way! GTFO. That has NEVER happened before.
  • + 1
 "A fool and his money are soon parted"
  • + 1
 @Marcencinitas: Exactly why I settled on the sb130! ????
  • + 0
 @Domba: yes, yes they are! Because, we're all going to die one day!
  • + 5
 @makripper: the 1994 Specialized Epic Ultimate retailed for $6,000 USD, featuring a fully rigid frame & fork, rim brakes, and 24-speed drivetrain (8-speed cassette). In today’s currency, that equates to over $10,000 USD.
  • + 2
 @Captain-Ron: Probably the only reason i work in the cycle industry is to get bikes at an affordable rate. I find once you shell out for your first bike at trade cost, sell it after a year or so to break even, and use that money to buy the next one and so on.
  • + 3
 @ka-brap: lol that was carbon lugged with titanium and only 1500 made. Those were unattainable to anyone but sponsored pros and rich idiots.
  • + 0
 @ka-brap: and it does have a suspension fork btw
  • + 0
 @makripper: so manufacturers didn’t owe you a bargain on their top end bikes then but they do now?
  • + 2
 @DrPete: what are you talking about?
  • + 1
 @SteelCityMTBer: I'm gonna remember this all year and get one later this year!true words!
  • + 1
 @makripper: Just like the $10,000 bikes of today- unattainable to anyone but pros and rich people. Which is exactly my point. And the first ones were rigid, they added a suspension fork to later models.
  • + 2
 @doe222: Exactly! I bought my first bike in '94 (initial investment.) Been rollin' that money forward towards the next bike every year since.
  • + 4
 @ka-brap: That bike was only sold as a frame, no fork. I sold a few of those back then and you had to try pretty hard to build them to more than $4000 and that was using weird aftermarket sketchy light parts. Most full XTR bikes were under $2000 complete. My full XT Sworks Stumpy was just over $1000. Bikes are just a lot more expensive now, it isn't based on inflation.
  • + 1
 @makripper:
Yeah, that’s about the year I really got into riding and after saving for a year or two, I was able to purchase one of the nicest steel hardtails at my local shop for just under $1000. That was pretty much the best bike in the shop at the time.
  • + 1
 @Captain-Ron: long ago I worked at a bike shop AND had the “misfortune” to have my two nice shop-built bikes stolen. The insurance claim paid for two even nicer bikes which then got parlayed over time into more and more...unfortunately once out of the shop life and circle of contacts the sticker shock is staggering.
  • + 0
 @ka-brap: 10k isn't that much these days. I don't even think twice about spending that kind of money.
  • + 1
 @cycleddrs: that's mint! I bet it was a blast too! I loved hammering fire roads on mine and building little off shoots of trails behind my house
  • + 3
 @thejames: and unfortunately wages haven't kept up with inflatation and market changes while everything else has. I could afford a 10k bike but it doesn't make me any happier riding vs a 4k or less bike.
  • + 5
 @makripper: I don’t even think once about spending that kind of money.
  • + 5
 @ka-brap: not sure what hardtails you talk about, high end 2010's Nomad was $5000
www.whistlermountainbike.com/Reviews/071910-santa-cruz-nomad.html
  • + 1
 @PtDiddy: something for the house I won't think twice. A mountain bike. No way haha
  • + 1
 @mybaben: You are dead right! I just bought a 2019 5010cc frame and the shop looked at me like I was crazy for not ordering a whole build. Well I wanted a factory suspension but was not shelling out 10K for it. I did the math. I can do an x01 build now for the same price as MSRP on the whole bike. There is no advantage to buying the bike whole from santa cruz.
  • + 1
 "Great for days when you want to do big days in the back country"

What about when I want to do front country though @mikekazimer ??
  • + 1
 @conoat: so by your logic, the average cyclist should be earning $200k a year if they needed to work 2 weeks to buy this bike. You’re ridiculous. You sound like an out of touch trust fund baby.
  • + 39
 Great review. With a keen resurgence in top-end aluminium bike choices, it'll be great to have a real world, same spec, side-by-side comparison of carbon vs aluminium.
  • + 35
 Over $8k and no top of the line fork or dropper? Come on.
  • + 4
 @SlodownU: Completely agree
  • + 6
 NSMB did a head-to-head on the Knolly Warden carbon and Al and the differences weren't huge. But the debate rages on about which will be more durable since the review period wasn't super long.
  • + 4
 @DrPete: Knolly is different though, not many manufacturers make an Aluminum frame like a high end Knolly aluminum frame. Most don’t even come close... so a Santa Cruz cheap aluminum vs high end carbon or even their cheaper carbon... or all three, would be very interesting.
  • + 1
 Can’t get the same spec in Aluminum from them unless you buy frame only and spec yourself.
  • + 2
 @islandforlife: Agree it would be interesting and the PB comments section would eat it up... although I'm not sure it would be worth the C vs CC comparison since even SC says it's all about weight with the same ride characteristics.
  • + 3
 @SlodownU: Exactly! (see my response above). Santa Cruz is out of their minds this year in terms of build kit and pricing. So many other great bikes with awesome builds under $6500 US.
  • + 0
 @DrPete: material sciences have answered this question already.....it's carbon.
  • - 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Dec 31, 2018 at 14:42) (Below Threshold)
 Ride bikes people, ride them. Get a simple HT and practice on it, put some cones on fireroad, hit soubles on the pumptrack, do some sprints. Lift weights. The better , the stronger you get the less it matters. Love is the answer. Drops the mic
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Picks up the mic , Happy New Year Waki Smile
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: yes yes waki! Lift weights and practice skillz.. BUT the less it matters is not true... After all that hard working lifting, training and practicing skillz.. The stoke is amplified by being on a kick ass top of the line machine! Makes me want to ride that much more and train that much harder... New bike day is glorious!
  • + 1
 @DrPete: I am running my own long-term test on the Warden. Had an aluminum version for 3+ years and loved it. Now on a carbon version for the last 6 months and it's even better. I expect it to last at least as long.
  • + 1
 @mybaben: I agree with your opinion on their build kit pricing, but I would guess about 70% of the bikes I see on my local trails are all Carbon Santa Cruz bikes. So they are not having an issue selling them with the existing build kits. They are riding on their popularity right now.
  • + 32
 over 8k and it only gets 350 hubs.
  • + 3
 Exactly the same functionality as 240s, I’d feel ripped off paying for 240s and getting less somewhere else.
  • + 12
 @heinous: nope, the ratchet is different as standard. 18 v 36 on mine. 240s are lighter too. fact is 350's are cheaper and not as upmarket as 240s which would suit an 8k bike more.
  • + 1
 @poah: Well, my Nomad at least came with 36 ratchet.
Agree still with your expectation in regards to the big bill though...
  • + 1
 Gotta send some extra pennies back to Pon somehow.
  • + 10
 @poah: You're gonna end up installing the 54t engagement upgrade in either case and that will set you back another $125 USD. Why DT doesn't sell all their star ratchet hubs with the 54t kit already installed baffles me. If your gonna charge top shelf pricing for your hubs they should already come with the fastest engagement offered...just my opinion
  • + 5
 @Captain-Ron: because they wear out.
  • + 3
 @heinous: Given enough time everything either wears out and/or fails
  • + 12
 Nothing to complain about 350's. If I could choose, I'd pick those for any future bike. Well made, good design, few moving parts. Fit and forget. Only possible complaint is you can only get up to 54 POE, however personally I never had an issue with only 36 POE. (Dare I say I had a few -high praised- Hope's among buddies requiring annual bearing replacements)

350=Solid hubs.
  • + 4
 @Captain-Ron: Not many people need 54t hubs. All of that extra buzzing is a symptom of friction, while 36t satisfies most trail ratchet needs. In my experience, 36t is the sweet spot for hubs.
  • + 8
 @poah: SC DT350s come stock with 36t ratchet.
  • - 2
 I've destroyed THREE rear 350 hubs in the last year. There is a toothed steel insert that screws into the aluminum body of the hub for the pawls to engage with. Just through torque I have stripped the thread on this insert three times this year, each time = new hub. I've had the wheels replaced on warranty, but I've now given up and bought a wheel with a 240 in it. Also, I've had 240s on previous bikes and the 54t ratchets have smaller teeth than the 36t and therefore strip easier. If you're a bigger/stronger rider, you probably want the 36t option.
  • + 6
 @mcgetskinny: 350 or 370?
  • + 0
 @Captain-Ron: not likely - they are not as reliable as the 36
  • + 8
 @Captain-Ron: DT specs the 350 with the 18t ratchet because most mountain bikers are lazy, don't take care of their stuff, and still expect it to work. The 18t ratchet is mega durable and we get tons through our shop that look like hell, they've never been greased or cleaned and they still work flawlessly. The type of rider that is seeking the benefit of a 54t ratchet is typically more inclined to take care of their stuff, still a mega stout system but does require more maintenance. If it's a huge concern to you on an 8k bike, talk to your sales dude at your local Santa Cruz shop, they'll happily include and install a 54t ratchet and probably some solid pedals if you're buying a bike like this from them. The demographic that can afford an 8k Bronson isn't always the demographic that knows how to maintain it, DT knows and probably doesn't want to have to warranty every dirt filled 54t hub that only stripped because it's owner didn't know you need to clean a freehubs.
  • + 3
 @nation: ^^ This all day long. High performance components usually require high performance maintenance. That goes for bikes, motos, autos, etc.
  • + 5
 @Captain-Ron: I had 350s from a stock Norco Sight build and they came with 36T. I upgraded wheels and got 350s again and opted for the 18 just to compare, but thought I'd swap in the 36 after trying the 18. Nope. At least where I live and ride, that faster engagement is a non-issue. And I like that the 18s are quieter.

@heinous: I've pulled apart my 350s about once a year for the last five years — not only is there no visible or tangible wear on the star ratchets, but the grease is usually super clean too. DT for the win for ease of service and durability.

I have 240s on my cross bike, but only because they were part of a crazy good deal on a wheelset. The upcharge to 240s seems unnecessary to me, but to each his own.
  • + 0
 @nation: so basically Santa Cruz isn’t pinching pennies here to bump up the profit margin, they know their customers are morons and are treating them as such to save a few bucks on warranty.

Still insulting that you have to upgrade an 8100$ bike but it all makes sense. Between this and the geometry it’s obvious they know their customers very, very well
  • + 4
 I love 350 hubs! I have 2 Santa Cruz's with them and 54 tooth star ratchets. One is going on 4 years with over 4000 miles on it and 5-6 enduro and xc races a year. Zero problems ever. And I'm 6'2" 185lbs.
  • - 2
 Santa Cruz is out of their minds with pricing and builds this year... very sad. Tons of other better bikes/builds for less than $6500 US.
  • - 2
 @poah: The big difference in my experience is the quality of the bearings. The bearings shipped with 240s are very long-lived, whereas you *will* need to replace the 350's bearing after not much mileage (less than a year in sunny California).
  • + 1
 @poah: This statement depends entirely on the individual as well as how often/well they maintain their equipment
  • + 1
 @nation: I work for the local S.C. dealer (18+ years.) Got the bike and put in the 54t upgrade just as I have with every other DT spec'd bike I've ever owned. All is well in my world
  • + 1
 @tripleultrasuperboostplusplus: and I'm just over here with 3 million point I9's like.......BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
  • + 2
 350 hubset weight: 464g
price: $400 usd

240 hubset weight: 381g
price: $767 usd

I would rather have the $367 into other components rather than 117g in non-rotational hub weight.

I do wish SC would not lace the 370 hubs to anything with carbon rims though.
  • + 1
 @mikeynets: I replaced my 18t with the 54t because I thought I need to, and surprise surprise it didn't make a difference for me besides being stupidly loud. went back to 18t(love how quick and easy it is to change/grease) and am much happier with a much quieter wheel
  • + 1
 @heinous: true, but for this price it shouldn't be OR but AND. 350's are great hubs with reasonable prices. This, however, is not a reasonably priced bike but a no compromise bike. It should therefore either be cheaper or have a no compromise build.
  • + 23
 I love that jeans comparison to sum it up. It perfectly describes the way I’ve always felt about Santa Cruz bikes. I’ve tried a lot of different bikes over the years, some where a little more playful, others more stable when descending, some just more inspired or “interesting”, but getting back on a Santa always felt like coming home for me, they somehow carried that feeling over different wheel sizes and geometries from my first Tazmon over the Bullit, Heckler etc. right to the 5010, and I recently tried the current Nomad, and it’s there again. Guess I’m a fanboy Big Grin
  • + 7
 Or they just make good bikes?
  • + 5
 The quality is the highest of any bike brand I've seen.
  • + 2
 Santa Cruz bikes have always felt like a pair of ill fitting army surplus wool underpants to me. But thats just me.
  • + 1
 You must like mongoose a lot then @acali:
  • + 6
 I know this guy with a mongoose and he uses it to do some impossible shit!
  • + 16
 Seems a real loss to not have made the shock tunnel a touch bigger so it can accept more shock options.
  • + 5
 I almost am starting to believe the rumor that they did it on purpose to get a deal on build kits from SRAM by making them the “exclusive shock”
  • + 6
 @wibblywobbly: I would imagine that a DPX2 would fix however.
  • + 2
 @neologisticzand: I guess CC DbInline air or coil would fit too
  • + 0
 @wibblywobbly: so no coil shock possibility?
  • + 4
 @kyytaM: I have a CC Dbinline on my Bronson. It's crazy tight. But it fits.
  • + 3
 @GypsyTears: seen a X2 air on FB
  • + 3
 You can fit the Ohlins TTX coil in that frame and some other shocks, so no it is not purpose built...
  • + 2
 @neologisticzand: DPX2 fits no problem. I am going to get one on mine. I think Luca Shaw had a FloatX2 on his Bronson, but the caption on the picture said "don't ask how I got the shock on". Probably some warranty voiding sanding hahah
  • + 5
 I suppose they are trying to stop people from using it like a Nomad. The lines between the two are quite blurred. This encourages people to buy both lol
  • + 7
 I don’t like how Santa Cruz are limiting rider customisation with built in headset cups (so no angle or reach headsets) and no real shock choice. There’s no need for it. They should give riders choice and flexibility.
  • + 2
 One of my riding buddies took a gamble and runs a float x2 on his size large Bronson. When sagged there is no clearance issue but topped out the air can is almost touching the frame. He loves it.
  • + 0
 @tsn73: Did he change the travel to 140 to do this? Maybe Luca did to avoid the can from hitting...
  • + 3
 @tbgd: So true, but they are SC... Anyway, personally I will only consider new bikes with ZS headset and non propriety shocks.
  • + 1
 You can fit a DVO Topaz in there no problem.
  • + 1
 I havr a dvo jade on mine. Install was a biznatch, its tight but it fits
  • + 11
 Lifetime free pivot bearing replacements?!?!? Am I reading that correctly?

Is Santacruz really prepared to send new pivot bearings to PNW / British riders regularly?
  • + 9
 They sure are - you can read the details here: www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/warranty.
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer: @jayacheess As for the British blokes - "Customers outside the United States or Canada: please contact your region's distributor to make a warranty claim."
  • + 3
 Well that shoots them to the top of my 'bike companies to consider' list. I'm still not wild on their component spec, but their alloy frame-only pricing isn't bad.
  • + 2
 bought my bike in April and replaced the bearings twice! They pay shipping of a full set to your door.
  • + 3
 It's been a thing for a long time. I got several sets for my 9yr old Nomad Mk2. No hassles or questions asked. Even with winter riding I didn't find the need to replace VPP bearings all that frequently.
  • + 8
 Can we all just accept that new bikes are expensive and filter out 98% of the whiny-posts? We know, they are expensive but we still choose to partake in the hobby. If you don't like it maybe try ping-pong but for the love of God can we stop making every comment section a cry-fest about bike prices?
  • + 7
 "I've been riding a bunch of extra-long and slack 29ers lately, and as much fun as that new-school geometry is, the Bronson's smaller wheels and slightly less sprawling dimensions give it a level of maneuverability that's very easy to get along with."

Who would've thought? Now imagine how a 26" would feel!
Wink
  • + 8
 @mikelevy
@mikekazimer

I would be very interested to know how you think it compares to the Ibis hd4?

(The geo is nearly identical and with the new linkage the Leverage curve is a lot closer as well.)
  • + 1
 I noticed that too. Very similar to the HD4. I just bought a used HD4. The v3 Bronson looked ideal to me on paper, but I wasn't able to demo one and a really good end of a season deal popped up on the HD4 so I pulled the trigger. So far it's awesome. A lot of the above review describes my experience so far with the HD4. Feels like a really nice balance of playful, gnar-plowing/forgiving and I really like the way the rear suspension feels while climbing (and descending).

I also really like that on a small frame I can have a 150mm dropper (I'm 5'3") on the HD4. I wish that tech spec was better communicated in these reviews. They say the seat tubes have been shortened on the Bronson but that statement is pretty much meaningless. I think they could report the maximum insertion, but maybe there's more to it than I'm considering?
  • + 3
 I demo'd both. The Ibis handling feels like it has a shorter back-end and longer front end. I suspect this is because at sag the Bronson chainstay length is longer. Seated the cockpit felt longer on the Ibis. Both felt efficient climbing. It's hard for me to compare the suspension or some of the finer handling aspects as I wasn't digging the 2.6/35mm tire/rim combo on the Ibis which made it difficult to differentiate traits I didn't like between the suspension and wheel setup. Overall the geometry of the Bronson felt better to me, in fact the geometry matched my body more perfectly than any bike I've ridden in years and I wound up ordering one. YMMV.
  • + 1
 @djjohnr
@bronco5

Thanks for the input!

I guess I'll simply have to try them both Smile
  • + 7
 That is a very nice looking and probably handling bike for the majority of the riders, SC nailed specs and Geo for the avarage Joe/Jill so you can buy and rige shit out of the bike that covered with life time warranty.

I do love custom bikes and add so top notches to my, however 99 persent of the time I do not care, buy the best bike withiy you budget and ride shit out of it as long as it suits your needs!

Happy NY
  • + 7
 8000 $ with carbon hoops
7000$ will Al. Hoops
Option for Aluminum frame.
You could build up a Bronson for about 4K
It would be a bit heavier but would perform the same.
Cons. One day he will have to give back the test bike.
  • + 4
 Yuh, build it up with WTB Bronsons to get things name-coordinated...
  • + 6
 For anyone complaining about the price for the third review in a row, go test ride one. It won't cost you any money, and I doubt you'll be complaining about it afterwards. If you feel like you can still complain, think about lifetime warranty on the frame and wheels. Happy new year!
  • + 8
 Actually the AL version is reasonably priced. Less than a lot of aluminium frames + you have all the lifetime goodies of SC.
Why pay so much more just for the carbon when you can spend a lot less on the Al?
  • + 6
 @NotNamed: 2.5 pounds difference between aluminum and carbon c version.
  • + 10
 So it’s the perfect mountain bike. Nice.
  • + 2
 Not according to this, weird how they picked the process and not the SB to compare it to


m.pinkbike.com/news/field-test-stumpjumper-vs-remedy-vs-process-vs-bronson-vs-sb150-editors-choice.html
  • + 13
 @sewer-rat, I picked the Process 27.5 in order to keep the wheelsize the same between the two bikes.
  • + 4
 @mikekazimer: fair play
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer: And why not the remedy?
  • + 4
 I've bought this XO1 Bronson, minus the Reserve hoops.The lesser version gets a 370 hub, i didn't even know these existed.
The price hike to 240 and/or kashima ,means XX1 and is a hell of a lot more.
I felt this variant was the best buy for me, although it is still too much, but i hopefully won't need to upgrade a thing.
SC are crafty c*nts with their pricing.
  • + 1
 You were not able to upgrade to Fox 36 Kashima without going for xx1 build? I’ve bought nomad this year and there was possibity to get 36- Factory for 240 euro. Entire bike build on s-kit and best Suspension was 4800 euro for me here in Poland. This isnt bad in my opinion.
  • + 2
 @RFI123: No option for that in the UK, tbh i quite like the black,remember everyone raving about it when the Pike was re-released?
  • + 2
 I wonder it is possible for people from UK to buy SC bikes trough polish distributor since we have them 30% cheaper. Prices are listed in euros as well so it should be...
  • + 1
 @RFI123: this xo1 , non reserve is £6299, i've paid £5850 with a few freebies.
So 6511 Euro.
Do you have a link for a shop ?
  • + 1
 Not that much of a diferrence then since here Bronson V3 CC, Fox Factory, Superdelux RCT and X01 is 6300 euro @pigman65:
  • + 1
 @RFI123: I have heard that polish distributor has a ban on selling stuff outside Poland. Price list is interesting, because for years it was in USD, and for 2019 in EUR, that's strange. Also, distributor sells them directly, there are no shops involved, so maybe that's why it is cheaper. And it is not an online sell, you must come to Poland.
My take is that due to a new UE directive, he has to list prices in EUR and sell to every EU citizen for the same price. But, since he does not sell online to anyone, there is still no problem of canibalizing other EU distributors, not many will take a trip to Poland.
  • + 1
 So if you place your order by e-mail from out side of Poland. He wont be able to sell you any of these bikes ? @lkubica:
  • + 1
 Free trade within the eu would make that illegal. Manufacturers can’t tell shops who to sell to or for how much. @lkubica:
  • + 1
 having checked, the Polish place is only marginally cheaper, and the bike would need shipping as well, obviously i don't fancy driving there to pick it up
  • + 1
 @RFI123: IT seems he ships with DPD, so he should accept orders grom eu.
  • + 7
 I'll take that Performance Elite fork any day over the Factory and tacky gold stanchions .
  • + 4
 How about the aluminum ones of the same brand ,is it so difficult to try them ?,why not make a equal review on them cause I would like to know if it makes a real difference in ridding and all the rest of the differences of both of them even in weight of the frames alone ,and in the case of the shock if it is worth in the aluminum one or it’s better to buy the carbon CC with the “better “(I don’t know)one ,thanks and please try to understand that 1,200 euros is a lot
  • + 2
 Lets talk about the tunnel . . . WTF! This is a deal breaker for me and i'm sure others. While I trust SC to make a great decision on shock choice, WHY design a bike around a limitation of shock choice. They have ruled out many shocks that are run on existing gen2 Bronsons everywhere. Just seems odd . .
  • + 1
 For the sizing I have test rode the X01 built Large frame and with mine 182cm I was feeling I could use the XL frame, especially for going uphill. And that's what I am gonna get the XL X01 built and put the 35mm Atlas stem on her
  • + 1
 I bought my Bronson CC fully built with top spec from a lawyer for less than $4k. One year old. For everyone complaining about price, just wait a few months and check the used market. Be happy some rich guy is willing to pay the super high prices so you can get a sweet bike used.
  • + 5
 What's the RAD number on it?
  • + 5
 Could of sworn you guys already reviewed the v3 bronson.
  • + 1
 i know, i'm so confused by this review. same bike, second review a month later??
  • + 4
 @jamesbrant, it was included in the Field Test (which was filmed in August), but that wasn't a long term review.
  • + 1
 These bikes look a lot better in person IMO since the link doesn't stand out so much. Shame that it can't take a X2 or a DBAir since some of us like (or need) a shock with more adjustability. Props for still making an aluminum version and selling framesets, since that pricetag is eye-watering for a complete bike.
  • + 1
 Yes it could, sc dont recommend it but they fit. I have a dvo jade coil on mine
  • + 2
 Mntb can be an expensive sport...not for everyone though. Go buy old stuff and be happy.

Just like sprinter van can be over 50K...or an old Ford van for 3k...both still get you around right?
  • + 5
 Sounds like a lot of people are mad they can't afford Santa Cruz lol
  • + 1
 Hey @mikekazimer How does the Bronson compare to the SB150. In the Bronson field test, I got the impression the back end almost felt a little dead? I prefer a bike with a good platform to push off and be playful, so thinking the SB150 might be a better choice. Cheers for the wicked reviews!
  • + 2
 Well, you're talking about bike with two different wheel sizes, which I think makes a more significant handling difference. The SB150 does feel a little more supportive than the Bronson as it goes deeper into its travel, but the difference is pretty slight - neither bike will hold you back when it comes to standing up and sprinting.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer:
Does the shorter Chainstay and or steeper Headangle provide any positiv Moments on the Process CR ? Or is the Process Geo now just over the edge for the majority of Joeys and SC found the golden geometry finally ?
What would you say if you would downsize the Process to M (like in the Fieldtest ) so the toptube is onyl 5 mm different to the L Bronson ?

(2nd try - as my inital post had errors)
  • + 1
 i can´t see any bigger value here, when i´m comparing for example with Cube Stereo 140 HPC TM (price 3500Euro) - i know that there is lower travel, but this bike has a fox factory front (36) and rear shocks(DPX2), transfer kashima seat post, the same cransket, very good wheelset and carbon frame aswell...
  • + 1
 The stereo 150 is an incredibly high price/performance bike. Cube really stepped it up recently
  • + 1
 I rode one of these today (very, very kindly supplied by my LBS on loan / demo ) my Yeti SB5c was off the road with a damaged rear wheel rim, wasn't expecting too much from the brand new Bronson - all I can say is WOW! What a great bike. I have always been a big fan of Yeti and had 4 in row - but now starting to regret trying this Bronson - as it is soooo good. Hmmmmmmm......!
  • + 1
 Tested a V2 a while back. It blew my mind how well it rode, made mine feel like a tank in comparison. But was that down to carbon rims and top end spec? I would just buy an alloy frame and swap my bits over but would be bummed if it felt the same. Also I don't really want rockshox suspension as I have an X2 currently. Undecided.
  • + 2
 @mcozzy I have a 2017 v2 and upgrading it to Grip2 and X2 improved it hugely. I often think that new bike reviews don’t disintangle the improvements to the frame from those to the components. If the v2 blew your mind (as it does mine) wouldn’t it be better to buy a second hand one off someone upgrading to a v3? Then you can keep your (very nice) X2 and your warranty...
  • + 1
 @sbh071: You know what thats a really good idea! Im very much a newer so must be better mindset, but yes, I will strongly consider buying a v2 at the right price.
  • + 2
 It's a "Bromad"....Awesome ride I'm sure. I have the 2018 Bronson and love the feel. A bit more xc than the new version but it can still handle a great day at "The North Shore" where I am usually found.
  • + 1
 @ Mike Kazimer:
Does the shorter Chainstay and or steeper Headangle provide any positiv Moments on the Process CR ?
What would you say if you would downsize the Process to M (like in the Fieldtest ) so the toptube is onyl 5 mm different to the L Bronson ?
  • + 5
 Where the section : "Is This the Bike for You?"?
  • + 0
 So...basically, Jack Russell has taken his specs from his Kona Processes and transferred them to the new Santa Cruz. So...basically, you can get virtually the same bike from Kona Process 153 CR/DL, that IMO pedals better, for about 20% less money.
  • + 0
 Shame reach wasn’t 15mm longer and it would be perfect for me, but sadly at 6’1 I’ll be inbetween sizes again.

I prefer a pair of well fitted jeans too - ie not too small and not too big. Sadly I’ll have to buy Diesel instead of these Levis.
  • + 10
 I wear my jeans really tight and I ride a Bronson II.
  • + 3
 i'm 6'1 too and riding the new nomad in L with a 40mm stem. sometimes i'm thinking that maybe an XL would have been the better choice, but the jump in size would have been too drastic. only thing i'm gonna change now is the switch to a 50mm stem to get 10mm extra reach. other than that i'm happy a went with the L as an overall bike.
  • + 1
 With 20mm between sizes the large with a fiddy would be 2mm shorter than an xl with a 32
  • + 3
 I feel for you guys. 6'1" is no man's land for bike sizing across most models. At 6'2", I'm BARELY good with XL. I don't know what I'd do if I had a tad less reach because I'd be cramping my frog legs with size L.
  • + 4
 Buy an XL. Run a 32mm stem. Wear your tracksuit bottoms.
  • + 1
 @jaame: true, but with the XL you also get a longer wheelbase and less standover with the second one being less desirable IMO. plus the difference between L and XL is 30mm.
  • + 1
 @striveCF15: 30mm? In that case, i'll shut my mouth
  • + 1
 @bikegreece: pleased for you being mr average! ;-)
  • + 1
 @striveCF15: actually the xl has a slightly lower standover than both the large and the medium. On the bronson that is.
  • + 0
 Get XL and put a shorter stem on her. Problem solved...
  • + 1
 @travieso429: That must be a typo in the geo chart. The xl has 145mm of headtube, so i doubt that the standover is lower on the largest size.
  • + 1
 Eh, I'm 6-4 and riding about 487mm of reach in 29er. I enjoy it. That extra reach comes with extra wheelbase which might be fine on a 27.5 but these xls with huge reach and the 1250mm wheelbase are rather long.
  • + 1
 @striveCF15: Santa Cruz sizing makes no sense. It's an American brand, and American are in average taller and fatter than euros. I'm 5'10 /178 and I mostly wear M size clothing except for pants and with few American brands for which I sometimes have to wear S. Now if I look at Santa Cruz bike sizing, I should get a L. What is the logic behind that ?
  • + 1
 @zede: The Dutch are the tallest people in the world!

Some clothing brands have different sizes for different markets, all written in a list inside the garments. I think it is to do with fashion as much as anything. Americans like to wear baggier clothes than Europeans so as to not look gay. Europeans are perhaps more interested in looking stylish than worrying if a stranger thinks they are gay.

As for bike sizing yes, it is a strange one. Especially when you consider a lot of brands have just one (1) length of back end across the entire range!
  • + 1
 Im 6'1+.. I bought the XL Bronson v2 and it fits perfect. Unfortunately with the new reach increase I think the Large would still be too small and the XL too long for my liking.
  • + 2
 @melodymaker:
Exactly. I used to ride Santa Cruz XL bikes but now they are too big and the L is still too small...

My mk1 Solo was perfect!
  • + 2
 SC fan boy here, take my money! Been waiting for SC to do this suspension setup to Bronson, wish granted! Thank you SC, my money is on your way!’
  • + 0
 Working doing uplift service this 2018,SC bikes where low in general,hard to find. Is just now people is buying the tan Nomad v4 cos "is cheaper" with the new colors out. 2-4 years ago Nomad v3 were everywhere but those owners buy another kind of bike or another brand not the new model. There are so many options, is harder to justify the overpriced brand thing in SC bikes. You can buy two good bikes with the money SC ask for middle range bike. Bikes are good,but not double good as many "cheap bikes".
  • + 0
 Pinkbike is so out of touch with their base. They've been posting 8k+ bike reviews for years, I can guarantee less than 10% buy these higher tiered options. I bought a Ibis mojo hd3 for 4k!!! I just paid 7k for a KTM 500 exc with 57 horsepower!! You know, a bike with an engine, ecu, 50 mpg. wAkE uP pInKbIkE?!?!
  • + 4
 ok, this will be my next bike.

2nd hand, in 2022.
...ally, of course Smile
  • + 0
 I stop caring about these reviews as soon as they mention the build. You’re talking about a bike that’s pretty far out of reach for most people. Hell, most bike shops can’t even afford to have that bike on the floor! Anything with that build would be a solid performer. Also, Santa Cruz has some of the worst entry & mid level build kits out there. So all these lengthy reviews mean nothing, other than you guys rubbing our noses in the fact you get to play with bikes the rest of us only get to read reviews of.
  • + 2
 Talk about a YAWWWWWNNNNNN review. God forbid for this website to print something bad about a “Santacruz” Don’t BITE the hand that feeds you kids.
  • + 3
 Bike at $8k- Frame at $3k = $5k in fork, wheels, and kit. Uh, where did this $5k go?
  • + 9
 Carbon wheels, grip2 fork, carbon bars, rsc brakes, X01 Drivetrain.
  • + 1
 Fork 1k
Drivetrain 1k
Carbon wheels 1K
+Brakes, bars, headset, stem and all the other little things...
But you can go to walmart and grab sweet bike for $299
  • + 1
 @spaceofades: Ok but what is the point of buying a whole bike if you can spec a similar one for a bit less with the specific components you want?
  • + 1
 @JohanG: convenience. Currently speccing out my trail bike for next season, and it's a pain in the ass convincing myself I don't need a titanium handlebar. This way you just put money down and get a sweet build, no second guesses.
  • + 2
 @epideme: great, so instead of getting a better value by buying the whole bike thanks to the parts they buy bulk to the manufacturer, now bike's price is the sum of all the parts at full retail; the deal is to save you the inconvenience of having to build it yourself...
  • + 0
 Dear Santa... put this on the 29" wheels, make the reach a bit longer and seat tube angle a bit steeper and add those flip chip rear dropouts á la new V10. And pretty please, release it ASAP. Thanks!
  • + 3
 $2000 for aluminum frame only, woof.
  • + 3
 Bread goes in the toaster and toast comes out, but where did the bread go?
  • + 3
 You were a boy, hit puberty, and now you are a man. Where is that boy now? He ran off with the bread!
  • + 3
 maybe i read over it, but what size was the testbike?
  • + 1
 I missed it too. But, based on the SC Bronson size chart and he's 5'11", I'd guess a Large. ?????
  • + 1
 @jddallager: L would be me guess too since he switched for a shorter stem. would be nice to have these infos added to the reviews @pinkbike Wink
and thanks like always!!
  • + 5
 @striveCF15, it was a size large (we always try to include the size in the little "Details" box).
  • - 1
 SC is slowly becoming the brand that’s bought by rich people who have very little knowledge about riding and components that’s why they are chancing it with the cheaper build kits at ridiculous prices. People are buying SC because they can, not because they know how good they are. Full POC head to toe, dripping gold xx1 build and struggling to do a wheelie. ????
  • + 3
 So what’s your point? That your jealous of their perceived wealth?
Personally I see a lot of SC bikes, but I’m in Northern California, near their hq. I also see a lot of ibis and specialized (also local brands), along with evil and yeti. Hell I see a lot of brands. And I see a lot of new riders, because the sport is definitely growing by leaps and bounds now, at least that’s my perception over the last 15-25 years (I’m 52 and still have my original Bridgestone mb-5 from the early 90’s). And yeah some of the new riders may not be as adept or knowledgeable, but that’s not a sin, nor is having the means to buy a great bike one either. But I also see a lot of awesome riders on SC bikes, along with a lot of other brands (I’m not that good, I’m old and relatively slow, but I do ride SC; and I’ve ridden a number of other bikes). SC make really good bikes, they’re high quality and are backed by an awesome warranty.
As far as “value” or bang for the buck, I think it’s better to compare frame prices - because a lot of us, if a complete bike deal at an lbs or online isn’t available, would rather customize the drivetrain brakes wheels and suspension anyway. And the frame pricing across the industry is pretty competitive and in a relatively narrow price range, and SC is right there versus the competition. Plus I give the brand kudos for offering aluminum versions on many of their bikes at very favorable pricing. I just don’t get the hate lobbed at Santa Cruz (or any other bike company) for their pricing of complete bikes, or for some anecdotal connotation of the type of rider that rides a certain brand.
  • + 1
 I reckon anyones a winner with this - buy the alloy frame and build it up as tight or as dentist as you like. Wonder what this would feel like as a 29/27.5?
  • - 1
 Btw. what is happening with everybody craving the 29er so much. The marketing and hype is strong with this fad... In two years time the same people will be calling for 27 3/4 or whatever size the marketeers will tell them to love...
  • + 1
 I would like to see more headsets like saracen on bikes of this category. so you can decide the reach easier. This bronson looks mint
  • + 2
 I will eat your shorts if Santa Cruz doesn't apply this frame design to the next version of the HT LT.
  • + 3
 *Screen-capped*
  • + 2
 Also to the 5010!
  • + 2
 @drivereight: Probably not the 5010. They already redesigned it for 2018 like the Bronson but said that a lower link driven shock didn't work as well in the 130mm bike so it stayed with the high link style.
  • + 1
 I’m wondering what the new Hightower LT is gonna look like, but I never rode a 27.5+ bike maybe the Bronson I’ll try that out in a demo one day
  • + 2
 $3300 for a carbon frame. I think I’ll stick with aluminum for 2k, eat less, ride more.
  • - 2
 It would have been nice to see how it compares with the Yeti SB130 and Hightower/LT. I know they are 29ers but when spending this much dough those are the most likely bikes people will be cross shopping. Overall great review.
  • + 1
 How are you supposed to actually read your shock SAG? Looks tricky as hell!
  • + 1
 Can you carry this bike in a thule pro ride roof cycle carrier that clamps the downtube?
  • + 2
 This! Two ???? sir for you, nowadays I would be really happy to see bike mounted to some Thule (whatever bike brand ) to see how it will fit
  • + 1
 Geometry in the database for comparison... geometrygeeks.bike/bike/santa-cruz-bronson-hi-2019
  • + 2
 Bronson AL in Large or Banshee Spitfire in XL with an angleset?
  • + 2
 Bronson has a 6cm shorter seat tube. AL S+ with a wide bar for snowy cornering madness in Trondheim.
  • + 2
 Very different handling. I've demo'd and ordered the Bronson and rode a Spitfire last year. The sagged chainstay length of the Spitfire is much longer than the Bronson. On the Spitfire I had to consciously keep my weight rearward. The Altitude I've been riding this year has much shorter stays sagged, to the point where I need to shift weight forward going into steep corners. The Bronson feels like it splits the difference between the two, I was able to stay centered the whole time I was riding it. This may be different for you based on how you're built, but it's good to keep in mind the differences fc/rc sagged ratio differences.
  • + 1
 Gotta love that ST length of only 460mm on the size XL. Nothing annoys me as much as an XL frame w/ a 520mm ST.
  • + 1
 8199US$ is cheap for a bike nowadays, isn`t it?

Hum.... let me think....
  • + 1
 Another $8k+ bicycle yawn...
  • + 1
 But 8k + bikes are so hot right now! ????
  • + 1
 Another great review Mike.
  • - 3
 Pinkbike is driven by ad revenue, so clicks means money. I would imagine that they have the ability to analyse which content and copy drives the most clicks. I would suspect any Santa Cruz article does pretty well. Hence why they seem to post quite a few.

The reviews for bikes all read the same though, largely positive and very little, if any, criticism. If they are the genuine findings from the review (not influenced by advertiser relationships) then it's time for a different approach.

However clicks dictate content, so unless pinkbike see a drop off, it'll be more of the same.
  • + 6
 Maybe its just good bikes?
  • + 7
 @ganicuk, this is an excellent bike, hence the lack of negatives. Believe me, if any issues had come up they would have been mentioned. I’m not going to go back through the past year’s reviews and find instances where we had criticisms, but there are plenty of examples out there.
  • + 3
 It was very recently reviewed by Bikeradars Guy Kesteven for MBUK, scored 4,5 out of 5 stars.
Also tested by german Bike Magazin and the bike got excellent score there as well, and they test stiffness in a lab among a dozen other parameters out on the trail. They are a bit ocd on the parameters perhaps but for a statistic geek it’s great.

I’m not saying we should trust these reviews blindly but for some reason the Bronson does well wherever it’s been tested. I tend to trust professional reviews more than subjective owner reviews, which can be completely made up for profit (i.e. paid influencers).
  • + 0
 "Cons

- Taller riders may want even more reach"

Buy bigger size or/and add longer stem... Smile
  • + 10
 A longer what now?
  • + 6
 When you are anything over 6'3" finding a bike that fits properly can be a pain
  • - 5
flag cxfahrer (Dec 31, 2018 at 4:45) (Below Threshold)
 @zyoungson:
bikes with proper size for 6´7" are easy to find, question only is, are those the bikes that one is looking for? YT Capra is big enough, BTW. Or Transition Sentinel. Or Nukeproof Mega.
  • + 2
 Bikes for the 6'7"crowd means XXL. Oh well. I don't have to get up in arms about pedal bob and stroke length. If it's big enough and the wheels are round it's worth every penny!
The Hightower comes in XXL. For all you tall folks ( and everyone else)might I recommend a Lenz Behemoth? XXL and room for Minion 3.0. ( spare me the metric rant. It says 3.0 on the tire ).
  • + 1
 Bring back short reach, 130mm stems and 26" for life.
  • + 1
 Am I the only one who sees a tan bike, in the headline picture?
  • + 3
 Grey bike photographed without compensating for the colour temperature of the lighting, which make it looks 'warmed'.
  • + 1
 Nice dose of Kona bashing you did there
  • + 0
 Well it's Kona it really doesn't need any bashing Big Grin
  • + 2
 So 27.5 = Fun? lol
  • + 1
 What no Supreme decal!? At $8k+ I'd expect a Supreme sticker job.
  • + 0
 still waiting on that Jamis 3VO in-depth review #1
  • - 1
 Let's make sure Pon Holdings makes mad cash off you suckers. Ten grand CDN for a bicycle? Yawn...
  • + 3
 You can blame weak Canadian economy for that. It is not SCs fault that one Canadian dollar is worth 74c US...
  • + 1
 @epideme: I am not blaming the Canadian economy. You missed my point. SC is not longer SantaCruz. It's Pon. Get it? Whatever. Start an internet fight with someone who gives a shit.
  • + 3
 @freakonomics: Dont mean to fight, I am not stoked about bikes that cost 10 grand either. Back in 2014 I got my Enduro Expert Evo for 5800CAD. Factory 36 fork, Ohlins TTX on X01 drivetrain.
For comparable bike I'd pay around 9k nowadays. But back in 2014 USD to CAD was pretty much 1:1. Minimum wage back then was $9.50 now it's $15 add inflation to it, and it is not that huge difference.
And if you lookup similarly spec bikes, the price will +/- the same, depending on brand of course.

Pon owns SC since 2015, so what? Rob Roskopp is still the CEO I don't get what's your point. Or you trying to say that before that SC was making bikes for fun and after 2015 they started doing it for money?
  • + 1
 Wow what a cool bike
  • - 1
 Ok what’s the actual reach on this bike? I read three different numbers for size large. 455, 460, 459.
  • + 5
 It's 455mm in the low setting, and 459mm in the high setting.
  • + 2
 Got it, thanks @mikekazimer:
  • - 1
 Taller riders just want a longer seattube, not 500+ reach
  • + 1
 Seat tube and a taller head tube. It's like the taller you are the more aero they expect you to be.
  • + 1
 @Lugers: at 6’5” I’d prefer more reach, more stack and a longer seat tube. Keep the STA the same because it is perfect (not steep but not slack).

On the other hand, I’m super happy with my XXL Hightoer LT!
  • + 0
 Speak for yourself
  • - 3
 all that and not even factory fork. #disappointed.
  • + 5
 Literally just doesn't have Kashima. The rest of the fork is the exact same as a factory one.
  • + 1
 @leon-forfar: but but Ka$hima makes me feel all blinged out!
  • - 3
 This review got slightly confusing when all of a sudden it was about a Kona.
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