Santa Cruz Bronson: Review

Apr 1, 2016
by Mike Kazimer  

The Bronson was a runaway hit when it was released back in 2013, quickly becoming the most popular bike in Santa Cruz's lineup. It was originally touted as an enduro race bike, but that designation never really stuck, due to the fact that bikes with more travel and slacker geometry (including Santa Cruz's own Nomad) soon flooded the market in an attempt to get a piece of the enduro pie. Instead, it comfortably settled into place as a versatile all-arounder, a bike that could take on just about any trail short of a full-on DH run.

After three seasons in the lineup it was time to update the Bronson, and last fall the details of version 2.0 were announced. In keeping with the current geometry trends, the frame received a longer reach, a steeper seat tube angle, and a slacker head tube angle, nudging it closer to territory previously held by the Nomad. Other changes include a revised VPP suspension design and a switch to 12 x 148mm rear axle spacing.

Bronson Details

• Intended use: trail / all-mountain
• Rear wheel travel: 150mm
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Head angle: 66°
• 148mm rear axle spacing
• 73mm threaded bottom bracket
• Colors: Kalimotxo and yellow, matte carbon and grey
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Weight (as shown, size L w/o pedals): 28 pounds (12.7 kg)
• MSRP: $6,599 USD
Our Bronson CC test bike arrived with the X01 build kit, which includes a 150mm RockShox Pike RCT3 fork up front paired with a Fox Float X in the rear, a SRAM X01 1x11 drivetrain, and Guide RSC brakes. Easton's ARC 27 rims are shod with Maxxis Minion DHR II tires, and a 150mm RockShox Reverb dropper post keeps the saddle out of the way in the steeps. All of those goodies will set you back $6,599 USD, but Santa Cruz also offer a wide range of build kits and frame options, with complete bikes starting at $3,599 for a Bronson C, and going all the way up to $10,699 for the top-of-the-line ENVE and XTR equipped model.

Santa Cruz Bronson review
Pretty in pink. The Bronson is a good looking bike from any angle (and it's also available in a matte carbon color option).
Santa Cruz Bronson review
There's enough room to run up to a 2.4" tire in the rear.

Frame Details

We've seen Santa Cruz's frames undergo a transformation over the last couple of years, a change that began with the revision of the Nomad in 2014. A similar design aesthetic now ties all of their full suspension trail and all-mountain bikes together, with slight variations depending on wheel size and the amount of travel. Internal cable routing, threaded bottom brackets, and expanding collet pivot hardware are a few of the similarities, along with the welcome fact that there's room for mounting a water bottle inside the front triangle.

Santa Cruz Bronson review
The lower link has been tucked up further into the frame.
Santa Cruz Bronson review
Santa Cruz found that Fox's Float X shock worked best with the revised VPP suspension layout.

On the Bronson, the most visible change is the relocation of the upper shock link to the top tube rather than to the seat tube. Moving the link to that position allowed Santa Cruz's designers to improve the bike's standover clearance, and provides enough room for a 150mm (or larger) dropper post on medium, large, and XL frame sizes. An integrated chain slap guard helps keep the bike quiet in the rough, and ISCG-05 tabs make it easy to mount up a chain guide for a little extra peace of mind. There's even a tab for mounting a front derailleur, although personally I wouldn't mind if that little square on the seat tube disappeared altogether – it doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the frame's sleek looks.

Santa Cruz Bronson review

Suspension Design

The Bronson uses the third iteration of Santa Cruz's Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension design for its 150mm of travel, with the lower link now tucked up closer into the frame, away from menacing rocks and other immovable objects. The revisions to the pivot link locations allowed the Bronson's suspension curve to be tweaked as well. It still follows the digressive / linear / progressive formula that's the trademark of a VPP design, but the initial leverage rate has been increased in order to increase the bike's small bump sensitivity, and the curve on a whole has become slightly more linear in order to create a more consistent feel throughout the stroke. All of the bikes in the line now come equipped with FOX shocks, a spec choice that was facilitated by the introduction of the Extra Volume (EVOL) air sleeve. That air sleeve provides the initial sensitivity necessary for it to work well with the bike's VPP design, especially in the beginning of the stroke.


Bronson geometry


Price $6599
Travel 150mm
Rear Shock Fox Float X Factory EVOL
Fork Rock Shox Pike RCT3 150 Solo Air
Cassette Sram XG1180, 11sp, 10-42
Crankarms Raceface Turbine, 32t
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01
Chain SRAM PC1130
Shifter Pods Sram X01 1x11
Handlebar Santa Cruz Carbon 800mm Bar, 35mm clamp
Stem Raceface Turbine Basic 35mm clamp
Grips Santa Cruz Palmdale Lock-on
Brakes SRAM Guide RSC
Hubs DT Swiss 350
Spokes DT Swiss Competition Double-Butted
Rim Easton ARC 27
Tires Maxxis Minion DHR2, TR, 3c, 27.5x2.3
Seat WTB Silverado Team
Seatpost Rockshox Reverb Stealth, 150mm travel

Santa Cruz Bronson review


Equipped with a short stem and Santa Cruz's own 800mm wide carbon bars the Bronson is ready to rumble right out of the box. Of course, those bars can easily be cut down too if that span ends up being too wide, but I'd recommend at least trying them for a couple rides before busting out the hacksaw – you might be surprised by the level of control they provide. When it comes to setting up the rear suspension, Santa Cruz recommends running 15-17mm of sag, which equates to approximately 26 – 30% of the Fox Float X's stroke – pretty typical numbers for this style of bike. I went with 30% sag, and didn't have any reason to deviate from that number for the duration of the test.

Santa Cruz Bronson review


Out on the trail the Bronson has the crisp pedaling performance that's the hallmark of the VPP suspension design, and whether seated or standing the bike feels very efficient, with minimal bobbing even with the Float X in the fully open position. The revised suspension layout combined with the Float X's EVOL air sleeve makes a noticeable difference when it comes to climbing traction – the initial portion of the shock's stroke is more supple, which helps keep the rear wheel glued to the ground on technical climbs.

As modern bikes get longer and slacker their slow speed handling can suffer, but that simply isn't the case with the Bronson. Rather than hindering its uphill performance, the updated geometry makes for an even more comfortable climbing position thanks to the combination of a steeper seat tube angle and a longer reach. The Bronson has a very balanced feel, and whether I was trying to make my way through a tricky sequence of wet roots, or navigating an extra-tight uphill switchback that wasn't built with bikes in mind, it never felt awkward or unwieldy. There are plenty of bikes out there that can get up a hill without too much fuss, especially now that nearly every shock has some sort of low-speed compression lever, but the Bronson is in the upper echelon of bikes in this category when it comes to climbing performance. As it turns out, it's no slouch on the descents either....

Santa Cruz Bronson review
The Bronson can easily take on everything from flow trails to steep, rowdy lines without any trouble. Rider: Dr. Broberg.


My first rides aboard the Bronson took place in Downieville, California, where the trails are hardpacked, full of blisteringly fast sections interspersed with chunky rock gardens. The Bronson proved to be extremely capable in that type of terrain, but I was curious how it would handle the steeper and looser trails of the Pacific Northwest. The pink machine ended up taking it all in stride, and I found myself constantly impressed by its handling. From Squamish's long rock races to the rooty loam in my neck of the woods, no matter what trail I headed down I seemed to always end up at the bottom faster than I'd expected, a goofy grin plastered across my face.

Mixing suspension brands isn't the most common practice, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with it, and the Bronson's RockShox Pike and Fox Float X played well together out on the trail. The 150mm of rear travel is very well managed, with a sporty feel that makes it easy to pop from one side of the trail to the other - this is a bike that seems to encourage searching out those bonus features for even more chances to get airborne and sideways.

Santa Cruz Bronson review
bigquotesFrom Squamish's long rock faces to the rooty loam in my neck of the woods, no matter what trail I headed down I seemed to always end up at the bottom faster than I'd expected, a goofy grin plastered across my face.

There are bikes with longer front centers out there, but the Bronson's 445mm reach (on a size large), 433mm chainstays, and 66° head angle is a recipe for a very balanced ride, a bike that feels just as at home ripping along on a smooth flow trail as it does dropping into steep chutes. The quick handling and excellent pedaling performance of the Bronson bear some similarities to the Ibis HD3, but the Bronson feels more stable and planted on steeper, rowdier sections of trail.

The Bronson also has a more energetic feel to it than its 165mm sibling, the Nomad, a liveliness that makes it even easier to whip it through tight turns and pop off of the lips of jumps. That extra pep is likely due to a combination of factors, including the Bronson's slightly steeper head angle and shorter wheelbase. When it comes to plowing straight down the fall line the Nomad retains the upper hand, but the Bronson isn't far behind. Choosing between the two is harder than ever, but for riders looking for a bike that climbs and descends remarkably well, the Bronson is hard to beat.

Santa Cruz Bronson review
You don't need to worry about startling hikers with these hubs.
Santa Cruz Bronson review
Santa Cruz's own 800mm carbon bars are a welcome sight.

Component Check

• Santa Cruz Carbon 800 bars: House brand components don't always have the best reputation due to the fact that some companies just slap their logo on heavy, run-of-the-mill bars and stems in order to save a few dollars. Luckily, Santa Cruz isn't one of those companies, and their Carbon 800 bar is one of my personal favorites. They have a very good on-trail feel, and even with the 35mm clamping diameter they avoid feeling overly stiff. Bar shape is a matter of personal preference, but for me, the 9 degrees of backsweep feels just right.

• Maxxis Minion DHR II Tires: A good portion of my time aboard the Bronson involved riding in the rain, or snow, or a combination of both, conditions that made me very glad that the bike came with a set of DHR II tires. They might not be quite as quick in the corners as a Minion DHF, but that's a tradeoff I'm willing to accept for the increased braking traction and control that they deliver in steep terrain.

• Industry 9 Torch hubs: Industry 9 was one of the first companies to have 12x148 hubs on the market, which is how our test bike ended up with the company's Torch hubs rather than the DT Swiss 350 hubs that typically come stock on the Bronson. Even after repeated mud baths the bearings are still spinning smoothly, and there wasn't even the slightest little skip or pop from the freehub body at any point during the test period. The freehub's six pawls mesh with the hub shell's 120 points to create a lightning quick 3 degrees of engagement, and create a satisfying buzzing noise while coasting.

Pinkbike ride test

Pinkbike's Take:

bigquotesWhen it comes to finding the ideal balance between geometry and the amount of suspension travel, the designers at Santa Cruz have hit the sweet spot with the Bronson. It's incredibly capable on both the climbs and the descents, a bike that remains unflinchingly composed in just about every possible scenario. There's no shortage of bikes that claim to be able to do it all, but with the Bronson those claims ring true. - Mike Kazimer

Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this review

About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 33 • Height: 5'11” • Inseam: 33" • Weight: 155lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Twenty years deep into a mountain biking addiction that began as a way to escape the suburban sprawl of Connecticut, Mike Kazimer is most at home deep the woods, carving his way down steep, technical trails. The decade he spent as a bike mechanic helped create a solid technical background to draw from when reviewing products, and his current location in the Pacific Northwest allows for easy access to the wettest, muddiest conditions imaginable.

Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,740 articles

  • 572 13
 Does anyone else read the first couple of sentences then just scroll down to the "pinkbike's take" section while glancing at pictures along the way?
  • 47 4
 Who doesn't!!??
  • 65 10
 @piersgritten: I don't, there's much information especially between the lines, and imho the reviews are nice to read
  • 80 1
 I start at "pinkbike's take": if OK, then I read the rest
  • 15 0
 I stop for the component check in between Smile
  • 19 33
flag woollahra (May 9, 2016 at 2:56) (Below Threshold)
 No , because I have the exact same bike on order .
  • 21 4
 I always read Pinkbike's take first. But I just bought a Bronson less than a month ago and for that reason I read every single word written!
  • 3 0
 @jts-nemo: Yep, component check for the win.
  • 5 3
 Is there any other way to read a review on PB?
  • 13 1
 I do a mental wager and say "yep I bet this bike is $5k" and then scroll straight to the price.
  • 13 2
 I go straight to the geo chart.
  • 19 1
 Title -> PB's take -> top comments -> below threshold -> price -> rest of the article
  • 49 1
 I read at work, so I mostly try to scroll past the pics so that it's less obvious that I'm slacking.
  • 18 1
 I read it all... I'm at work and getting paid by the hour. Why not?
  • 3 0
 Exactly what I did here... then to the comments.
  • 7 0
 I get to the price then realise it's not for me!
  • 2 0
 Straight to comments. If the article is being ripped a new one, then I read it. If it's all "I agree," "nice write-up," then I read Pinkbike's take.
  • 7 1
 @woollahra: Don't worry about the neg props. There a just a bunch of jealous little bitches on PB Smile
  • 2 0
 @preach: I go to the price, realize I'll never own this bike, go to the PB take. If it's something I'd consider buying, I'll read it through
  • 1 0
 @warehouse: yep yep amen sir
  • 5 0
 Official pinkbike review,,, all pun intended.
  • 3 13
flag Ryanrobinson1984 (May 9, 2016 at 17:51) (Below Threshold)
 @woollahra: I just ordered two of them, one of which is the Enve and XTR and the other being the lower end version
  • 1 0
 Exactly. It's not like I'm actually going to buy the vast majority of this stuff.
  • 6 0
 1. Read "Pinkbikes Take". 2. scroll through comments. 3. Comment in the comments. 4. Read the rest of the review
  • 3 20
flag Ryanrobinson1984 (May 10, 2016 at 6:37) (Below Threshold)
 Who ever down voted me, you're a real mother f*cker, you know that?
  • 1 0
 @santabill: What is it like , just ready to do the same and make a purchase..

Had a stumpy expert evo carbon 29r, took a test spin on a large Bronson even though I would be a medium and loved it for the hour I had it.....but would appreciate review after longer time from a real user ..

So , What did you have and how do you find this new bike ?
  • 4 1
  • 4 0
 @cuddyyuan: bruh... Deep thoughts. Feeling you homie
  • 1 0
 spot on
  • 240 1
 Pinkbike reviews a pink bike? The end is near, time to swim in beer.
  • 38 11
 You just need Pink Pike for the full house.
  • 4 2
 Don't Think Like that.
  • 11 1
  • 2 0
 They got us.
  • 74 14
 I'd love to see some more affordable bikes reviewed on PB, it feels like every other review is for some dream product that most people know will be great. I dont need to see the review of a santa cruz trailbike to know it will be good and if i were to spend that much on one id demo first anyway, A YT Capra AL on the other hand, is something i would rely on reviews for. Just my opinion.
  • 14 7
 True, I bought the original Bronson Frame in alloy back in 2013 I guess, it's a great bike. But when the Capra came out I was gutted, for £250 more I could have had had a complete bike. I don't doubt for one minute that the Capra is every bit as good, I regularly get smoked by them when I race
  • 26 3
 The third paragraphed states that you can get a complete Bronson (carbon too) for $3,599. That is only $700 more than the Capra AL.
  • 11 5
 In my very short experience with Capra, it is a limo, you sit in it, rather than on it. Very 29er like feeling and I mean it in a good way. I can only imagine how stable it must be on rough stuff at high speeds.
  • 7 0
 @bluumax Not sure if I get your logic that "I don't need to see the review of a Santa Cruz trailbike to know it'll be god...". Just because a bike is expensive doesn't mean it'll be good. We all know that the $3k version of this will be really similar feeling, just about 2lbs heavier. Every brand makes a $10k bike nowadays (sad as that is), but they're not all as good as this Bronson sounds.
  • 3 1
 When you can get a SantaCruz Bronson C spec for £3099 that does bring the better bikes to the wider market. It's like with anything.. the skys the limit.
  • 78 7
Bronson for 3599$ :
Rockshox Sektor Gold RL 150 Fork
Shimano XT M8000 GS Derailleur
Shimano Deore M615 Brakes
Shimano M627-B, 22/36 Cranks
No dropper seat post.
150 grams less then AL version of Capra.

Capra for 2800€ :
RS Lyrik 170mm
Sram GX
Sram Guide R
Race Face Atlas
Reverb Stealth

nuff said..
  • 42 1
 At least they didn't review the bike with ENVE wheels for a change.
  • 11 3
 I tested the 2013 Bronson at Crankworx Whistler. I was so pumped to finally get a chance to ride one. I was actually disappointed. The bike felt a bit sluggish. It reminded me of the first time I hopped on a 29er way back. I kept telling myself this is awesome until I realized it wasn't. Hopefully, the small changes in geometry on the new model will liven it up.
  • 10 12
 @pulDag: That is a horrendous build for what is meant to be such a high-end frame, its laughable that they have even put this together and is literally a tool to market the Bronson to low end trail riders just so they can have it with no interest in its performance.
  • 8 5
 Really? The model as tested was $6,600. The base model is $3,600. That's about what bikes cost these days, like it or not. I don't think there was anything the slightest bit unreasonable about the price.
  • 3 2
 @pulDag: that is like comparing 2 kinds of scotch and both are aged and taste great.
  • 8 2
 Everyone and their mother has a Bronson! Try taking a road trip along I-70 around Utah and Colorado, and you'll see what I'm talking about.
  • 37 8
 @pulDag: Your comparo is apples v. oranges. First, 2800 Euro is (at todays exchange rate) $3192 USD. So the dramatic $3600 v. 2800 is not a fair way to start the comparison.

OK, so now we are looking at a $400 differential.

I'm not stoked on the Sektor fork but the XT v. GX is an upgrade.
Brakes are personal - I have both Guides and XT and they certainly are different in feel but they are on equal footing for quality.
No dropper - Point YT.

BUT, and this is a big one - You are comparing an aluminum YT to a CARBON Bronson! Not even close! The base Carbon YT is 3600 Euro or......$4105 USD!!!

so no, not "nuff said".....
  • 6 0
 @AdustytrunkMonkey: True. On my trip to Moab last year, almost every person in our group, and almost everyone we encountered on the trails were riding an SC Bronson.
  • 4 7
 @Racer951: Its all good except for the Raceface crap. I just bought, and returned a rf turbine cinch crankset stuff is crap now. Got an XTR trail crankset for same price.
  • 9 1
 @Billjohn6: Only $700? *Runs off to check couch cushions.*
  • 3 1
 @rrolly: Funny you say that. I demo'ed the 2013 model as well, and had the exact same thought. I could not get it around a moderately tight turn to save my life. I demo'ed 10 very similar bikes that weekend (Outerbike) and the Bronson was the only one that I had that problem with. I am curious about the new model though. I've been riding an Intense Carbine for a few years, and some of the small details on the Intense are getting frustrating (press-fit BB, lower link getting bashed all the time, etc). This looks like a very similar bike, but they fixed a lot of those details.
  • 1 2
 Confused by your point? You didn't say anything...
  • 9 2
 @mikekazimer: I just wish the industry worked differently - i.e. that the bigger brands would feel that it was worth taking the chance sending a reasonably priced bike out for testing and reviewing instead of hedging the whole process by sending out bikes bathed in bling where they know whomever is reviewing it will love the experience.
It takes a really dialed butt-dyno to suss out major issues or even deliberate tradeoffs on $8000 bikes kitted up a full three pounds lighter than the entry level variant which doesn't cost more than most five year old used cars... pretty much every bike is going to be excellent, and missed upon boxing it up and shipping back after the review period.

I do agree that price capped comparison reviews are a direction to try for. The comparo of dropper posts here is one of the two de-facto benchmarks for that entire product sector, and is really brilliant. Impressively, the one other good comparo reached basically the exact same conclusions.

I really think the results would be impressive doing some round-up tests with specific price caps ($5000, $3500 in USD), because even in those cases there aren't winners and losers, just bikes that shine in different ways.
  • 3 1
 The least they could do is review the base models, there must have been some mistake with this review since the wheels arent ENVE.
  • 1 1
 @AdustytrunkMonkey: for good reason! Although I haven't seen another 2016 in NM...
  • 1 0
 You may not be able to afford what you want but afford what you need
  • 1 0
 @AdustytrunkMonkey: All about the dealers my friend. OTE Fruita, Guthries (SLC), Chili Pepper Moab, White Pine PC. You are surrounded by it... still more specialized/Trek though...
  • 1 1
 @Reignonme: I've never rode one, but I'm sure they're rad. I would definitely customize it to distinguish it from all the others. I'd rather see more SC's than Spesh in the end.
  • 1 1
 @Duc1098: thanks for clarification. a carbon Bronson for 3600$ is a great price but the fork would be replaced rather quickly.
Numbers look great on the bronson.
Who rides a Purple Plastic Bike? Not me Smile
  • 1 1
 World doesn't evolve around what only need bro
  • 1 0
 @EnduroManiac: Yeah it's pretty eye-rolling when there's an Enve upgrade.
  • 5 6
 So lets review a Base model Chinese Hatchback in the carmags. Yeah great !

How may poor people are going out to read a review on that car then ? none - they buy on price alone !

The bike is aspirational like a Porsche SUV is in the car world but for for a fraction of the folding. So sick of all the teenage whingers here who are not savvy enough to save a few $ for a decent bike.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer:@mikekazimer: Perhaps you should also tell us the readership of those reviews as well, compared to the $10k sled reviews. Everyone wants to dream.
  • 3 1
 @tehllama: For all that we hate/hated it, Mountain Bike Action used to do these sort of comparison. That kind of comparo has its own issues ("for 100bucks you missed X bike", "mag is a sold out, always brand X wins") but I agree... price bracket comparisons are more interesting.
  • 1 0
 My point was that bikes by brands such as Santa Cruz, Specialized, Trek, Yeti are quite a known quantity when it comes to reliability and long term use, a first ride report detailing ride characteristics is all thats required opposed to other less well known brands which are usually priced better, but leave questions of long term reliability and maintenance.
  • 7 1
 @Duc1098: I'll correct your misleading info:
It's a comparison of whole packages.. So carbon bike might seem cool on paper, but where's the advantage when the whole bike is only 150 grams lighter with so low end components and without dropper seat post, wich take the weight over 14 kilos? Yeah, it looks good Smile

Btw. XT on Bronson isn't whole drivetrain, just rear dérailleur, the rest is SLX/Deore.

I would rather shifting and braking on Deore/Alivio, than riding low end fork..
  • 3 1
 @pulDag: Carbon offers a really nice ride, so sometimes it's worth it. The carbon frame is also pretty upgrade-worthy, so you can always add new parts when they go on sale.

I've seen EOM XT brakes on sale in the winter for like 50USD.
  • 5 2
 @sevensixtwo: in my humble opinion if we take a rational approach to pros and cons, in MTB Carbon rarely makes sense outside XCracing. There are many FS frame designs that totally benefit from the use of carbon because it is always God damn stiff, but SC is not one of them because in that solution swingarm is one stiff cage attached to main frame by short stiff links. Carbon shines where alu becomes too flexy and that is low weight applications. No matter whoever says whatever carbon frames and components do fail, much more often than price tag suggests. Carbon frames or rims is stiff and strong but not durable unless you bring them into alu weight territory. Those elements need wall thickness to be durable which minimizes weight gains. Price to weight gain ratio just does not look that good considering increase i durability is not really there and frames like hardtails are terribly stiff. Non XC/roadie Carbon rims and cranksets are a joke.

I do own a sweet carbon frame but I am 100% aware of the fact that I am luxuring myself, It's effect on my on-trail performance is impossible to measure.
  • 2 0
 @pulDag: @sevensixtwo is spot on - Carbon is about more than weight. Flex, compliance, stiffness, feel... all these things factor in. Carbon can be lighter but in this case it's not. But I would take the feel of carbon with 150 gram weight penalty over aluminum.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Any plans to do a full review of the Canfield Riot? That was one of the most intriguing bikes of 2015, IMO. I'm surprised it hasn't gotten more attention.
  • 4 3
 @Duc1098: Yeah, and when something goes wrong with the Bronson (unlikely as it may be), you can wheel it back into the shop where you bought it from and say 'please fix this'. With the YT, you send an e-mail and hope for the best - each day that goes by, your $400 savings becomes less and less of a real world saving. There's a reason they're cheaper, and it's not that they're no good (we know they're decent), it's that you don't get the same support/backup that you do from a 'regular' brand like SC or any other brand that is sold through bricks and mortar bike shops.
  • 1 0
 it's coming out in aluminum build late summer early fall....
  • 5 0
 @professed: Nobody said they wanted Pinkbike to start testing Walmart/department store bikes. So I think your "Chinese hatchback" argument is mostly lost.

There needs to be balance, it's nice to see 10gr bikes. It's nice to see lower end bikes that end up being worth a look. But MOSTLY I think bike tests should "try" to fall into the middle ground where PinkBike readers have already answered the Poll/reader survey of what they are looking to spend on a new bike.

However, in this case since I know Vital just tested the lower pricepoint version of this bike (twice since they also did the Julianna), that this wasn't SO bad since we FINALLY see a SC bike tested without ENVE's. BUT for sure it would have been even cooler if they could have ALSO got the low end build and did a head to head!!! Smile
  • 2 0
 Totally agreed. At least half the bikes should be in the affordable range. Or are we turning this into bikinis "top gear"?
  • 2 0
 @AdustytrunkMonkey: Ain't that the truth.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: exactly! my XC hardtail is carbon, my dual squish 6+6 trailbike is all alum. 21 and 27 lbs besides the sex appeal well made alum is very competitive.
  • 2 0
 @SteveDekker: I heard that. Shimano for it's lack of glitz, works. The 1x11 xtr drivetrain is sweet.
  • 58 4
 That awkward moment when the women's version of this bike has more masculine color options...
  • 9 5
 Good thing in comes in matte black, maybe they have to appeal to the gender neutral people that are all over the place these days!
  • 3 0
 and you are a proud member of a Pink organization.
  • 8 5
 @Beez177 - I am with Gender is a Social construct group. We need more of those people. The more weaklings the better for us born before this social justice wacko era.
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 Its the European colors that they are trying to throw out there. Maybe there is a slight influence from the dutch company that bought them out. But its just the euro stuff that they like. I actually saw a guy riding a Juliana and at first it looked a little odd. But then I just thought, fucking awesome matted color.
  • 2 0
 Aquablue and Kalimotxo are the best colours Santa Cruz has ever used.
  • 1 0
 The Juliana and Yeti Beti bikes have consistently had better paint colors since the outset of either sub brand. Totally agree... but I know I won't be able to get a pink Beti SB5.5c in extra large.
  • 27 0
 I own a bronson and have spent around 4 months on it and I think the review missed out on a few important things. First off the bike is stiff. Like really really stiff. Noticeably stiffer then the old Bronson and more so then any other modern trail bike I have ridden. The thing snaps out of hard corners like nobody's business and you know exactly whats happening in the rear end. Handling wise, Im not sure if the standard for "poppy and playful" is changing because trail bikes are becoming so aggressive but I wouldn't exactly describe the bronson as that. On tight, technical trails the thing is a handful and I have been having trouble weighting the front end in slow, drifty corners and have been getting a lot of under steer. However the slack head angle and long reach that make it a struggle on the tight technical stuff make it super stable and comfortable at speed. I would describe it more as a race bike instead of a fun playful trail bike like the stumpy. Lastly in mucky conditions the bottom linkage pretty much acts like giant mud scoop without the carbon bridge found on the nomad or hightower. Would have liked to see a little integrated fender or something like that because in the slop its a mess down there.
  • 3 1
 Shock quality and setup are making such a huge difference to suspension feel that I will never trust anyone saying that bike is poppy or plows through stuff. I have now Cane Creek Coil CS on Antidote Carbon Jack and this bike is almost as poppy as my previous Blur with Pushed Float CTD. Unlike Blur though it doesn't dive into mid travel despite being more supple on small chatter. Seems impossible but acceleration on that thing is ridiculous despite running a heavier tyre on the rear.
  • 1 0
 Run a fast-rolling tire on the back (WTB Breakout) to help with the understeer.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: are there water bottle mounts above the top tube on the Carbon Jack?
  • 1 1
 @graeme187: Yes there is one and Yes I know, No bike will ever sell in US without two mounts Smile I like water bottles lately so I will mount one to mine quite soon
  • 17 0
 its NOT PINK!! ITS ....(insert stupid ostentatious colour name here)
  • 110 1
 Aggressive Salmon....
  • 7 1
 Lightish red
  • 24 0
 Trail Piggy
  • 21 0
 Bell end burgundy
  • 22 0
  • 19 0
 Nuclear Fuschia
  • 27 0
  • 3 10
flag Earthmotherfu (May 9, 2016 at 5:18) (Below Threshold)
 @ecologist: embarrassing
  • 35 0
  • 1 0
  • 2 0
 ostentatious = Kalimotxo
  • 2 5
  • 4 0
 raspberry royale
  • 3 0
 Pepto pink! Because it's SO SICK! Pepti-bismal...
  • 7 0
 Khaleesi Vulva
  • 1 0
 Calimocho, red wine and coke.
  • 1 0
 Red-head's Nipple Mauve
  • 4 0
 Pepto Bismol
  • 17 1
 I would be interested in a more detailed comparison between the Bronson and the HD3.
  • 4 0
 or between the bronson and 5010 as the 5010 got great reviews everywhere
  • 15 1
 Review the updated Heckler. Do it. I love my 2012 version I'd like to see how the new one stacks up. Maximize Hecklin, Minimize Wrecklin
  • 2 0
 Great favourite bike I ever owned and gave away was my mid 2000 Gangreen Heckler with X-max sx and 36. That bike ripped the shit out of anything and nevervran out of my pushed travel.
  • 2 0
 @madmon: I tossed a cane creek DBAir CS and this bike is so planted and fun it's unbelievable.
  • 4 0
 I don't think they updated the least not since the Bronson V1 came out. If they made a Heckler with the new Geo. and it fit a bottle inside the front triangle, I'd buy out tomorrow.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: I never saw a review of the 650b version. But yeah it would be awesome to be able to run a bottle on the inside of my triangle.
  • 1 0
 @wizardbear: I see where PB has a "first look" listing. But I don't see their review, just the comments section...? Lots of 650B "version" reviews out there though. Great bike!

I hate how they "hold back" the Heckler compared to everything else they sell because they only give it low end build options. (sure, you can buy the frame and build. But unless you take the TIME to pick and choose to get good prices, (which is time your NOT riding your new bike), you usually get the best price the fastest by buying as much bike you can afford right off the bat!) Heck, just the options for fork, shock and dropper post upgrades at least...?

The thing that's so frustrating about it is they could just offer the same "S" build as they do on the Bronson. Same parts. It's not like they have to stock anything different...? I can only assume the reason they don't is because they don't want to eat into the sales of their better bikes. But when I was shopping and saving and going back and forth on what to buy, to keep saving, use credit cards, new/used, etc. There was a time there I would have bought an "S" model Heckler in a heartbeat!!! Smile

ALSO, a 1x set up on a high leverage single pivot can be made really good because they can optimize for the front chaining spec'd!!! Totally worth it with a higher end shock...

I wouldn't be surprised to see an updated PLUS version of the Heckler and Chameleon... be cool if it was sort of like the updated Ibis Mojo. Boost to take 2.8's with a bit higher BB, but also sets up fine with 2.35's, etc.
  • 1 0
 I've always wondered why they kept and even updated the heckler but killed off the Butcher along with APP.
  • 1 0
 @NormanPerez: The suspension on my nickel with a pushed shock was so good. Unfortunately, the geometry wasn't ideal.
  • 18 8
 Good review, but please stop perpetuating the idea that head angle alone dictates a bike's whole nature. It's not even the most important number of a geometry chart
  • 7 0
 What is the most important number of geometry? Chain stay length? Reach? Top Tube length? I'm not attacking, I'm just curious.
  • 8 1
 It depends.
  • 7 0
 @BullMooose: most people would suggest that HA is the most important. I now ride a mojo nicolai geometron and can safely say that it's a combination of all numbers which makes up the character. HA is a crucial ingredient though
  • 4 0
 While its not on the geometry chart the key factor for me is where does the centre of mass feel. If it is centred and low that's good, if its high and forward than that's bad. However the only way to figure out this to ride the bike, hits some corners and put the bike into the air.
  • 10 1
 IMO the most important numbers are HA, reach and chainstay length. A combination of those three tends to dictate how the bike will feel, along with a nice long look at the leverage ratio and suspension path
  • 14 0
 just like a surfboard. it can feel good on the parking lot and be a piece of shit when you ride it and viceversa. is the sum of the parts not each detail by itself. I'll walk myself out
  • 2 1
 Is their a "most important" number?
  • 1 0
 Seriously, does anyone really believe there is a "most important" number? @donpinpon29 is right on! It can look good on paper and feel good on the side walk outside your LBS, but it may still suck as you pass through 6/10's riding.

So to @IllestT, if HA is not the most important number, what is?

I would say that @Evo360 is correct.
  • 8 3
 While I agree that nice geometry is about a whole recipe, no other number than head angle changes so much on a bike. Changing it by one degree can lengthen or shorte the wheelbase by 1,5" or more, consequently changing weight distribution and fork trail. Same goes for swapping fork to a longer one, everything changes. I rode Lyrik U-Turn for 3 years, using different settings and all I can tell is that one can adjust his riding style to anything. Only a loser starts watching numbers and say what you can or can't do better on which setup. I just started riding with my new long, low and slack bike and sorry, just because it allows you to go super fast on straight doesn't make you a hero on two wheels. You can or you can't, bike is just a tool, and talking with too much seriousness about sht like geo is just a mean of finding excuses to buy new sht. Which is perfectly fine as long as you are aware of it. Geo matters, just not as much as ability to corner, read terrain, brake etc.
  • 19 0
 @BDKR: everyone knows saddle rail length is the most important number, followed by bar end angle (BEA).
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Go on WAKI You know I have your back!

That said, that first post makes it sound like "there is" a single most important number, as opposed to how they all work together. I agree that HA has a huge effect, but making a bike with a real tall stack height and BB slacker is still not going to solve all of it's problems.
  • 1 0
 @bishopsmike: Of course. ;-)
  • 6 0
 @IllesT, I'm not sure what part of the review made you think I'm 'perpetuating' the idea that head angle determines a bikes handling - you'll notice I also mentioned the reach and chainstay length, two other factors that play a role. Head angle does make a noticeable difference in the way a bike behaves, though, and is certainly something to consider when trying to decide between two bikes with similar amounts of travel.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: unless you're paying 10k. then it kind of matters.
  • 5 1
 @haljohnson: when you are paying 10k for a bike, there is a high risk you are under the influence of post purchase rationalization. It's so hard to justify such expenditure that you must be protective of it no matter what, to stay sane. I know one dude who owns several high end bikes but he could also easily buy himself a Porsche GT3, so for him a 10k bike is like 2k for me. He also rips.
  • 2 0
 @HardtailsAreGnarly: This is exactly right.

Waki is right in that adjustments to the HTA are going to make the largest immediate impacts in terms of handling and chunky downhill performance, but the Reach and CSL measurements effectively dictate where the rider's center of mass is relative to the contact patches, and the overall picture form that is what matters.
I would add bottom bracket height in there - it also affects weight distribution, especially considering dynamic riding (braking, acceleration, turning, direction changes, etc.).

The top three contact points can all be adjusted different ways - different bar/stem setups and seatpost/seat configurations are comparatively cheap and easy to make changes to (and also possible to utterly screw up), so they're a secondary consideration.
  • 1 0
 What I mean by "perpetuating the idea" that HA is the be all and end all of a bike review is that it's often (and in this case) the only geometry number quoted next to price, sizes available and intended use, suggesting that it's the only number you should pay any attention to. As people here seem to agree, it's a combination of the whole chart of numbers. 

If I were pushed to say which single number is the most important, I'd probably say reach as it dictates the "fit" of a bike. 
  • 8 0
 I can't be the only one tired of some "premium" US brands that use to tout American craftsmanship that now just crank out carbon frames in some monster sized factory over seas, and still charge (above) premium price. How about at least offering 1 model made of manly metal manufactured in the US for a reasonable price (not including the niche DJ or Cross market) - or is that not enduro enough.
  • 1 0
 I hear you, but the bottom line is those overseas factories are just better than american factories right now... Check out the problems BD has had with American made v Overseas...
  • 1 0
 @dhx42: I do agree to a point, ex, the welds coming out of Asia are just as good if not better than here - now's the time for the US to start getting our shit together and lead manufacturing again
  • 13 5
 Nice, I'm so tired of all the carbon bling bikes, when will people realize it's a complete waste of money? I'm not dissing SC, I own one, but the biggest performance improvement I've had is by riding it more !
  • 11 5
 It's good that Santa Cruz revised the pivot location on their latest bikes. No I don't mean some migrating instant center black magic, rather the fact that most of their bikes in last 5 years had the lower pivot in the swingarm hanging in the way of rocks. Fine on alu, not so much for carbon. I smashed mine until it cracked. You either had to run 38t bash/taco or use fantastic Santa Cruz warranty support.
  • 4 1
 ha!my buddys on his 5th SC carbon broken frame a year.
  • 22 0
 "The lower link has been tucked up further into the frame." Along with half of the forest floor caked in there.
  • 11 1
 @nug12182: pic or didnt happen
  • 2 1
 I believe Intense's lower links still hang down there. Won't be buying another unless they get that fixed.
  • 1 0
 @richierocket: in muddy conditions its a mess down there, thats one of my few complaints with the v2 bronson
  • 1 0
 @ukli: sorry dude.i don't take pictures of my friends bike.not my thing.
  • 2 0
 @funkzander: Im still on my 2014 Nomad C and she gets a little shitty down there but I would imagine nothing like the Bronson.
  • 7 1
 I pulled the trigger and built my own Bronson 2014 (Not newer pivot shown here) without a test ride. I am 5'8" and run 50mm stem with 800mm bars. Vary aggressive riding style. Wanders a little on steep climbs and sometimes struggle to find the front/rear balance that I bet is corrected with longer TT and steeper ST. All in all, If you want speed this bike is insane. If you like to stand up and pump/pedal most of the time this bike goes forward, not squish. Only quibble is when pedaling through chunder it's harsh. Gotta lay of pedals and pick and choose where to put the hammer down. If you have to earn your turns this is a great bike and American company. Super light and great warranty (this is important). Stiff and strong as sin. Ridden at many bike parks and no damage to lower link ever. Mountain creek, Burke, Blue mt, Swain multiple times. I crash ALL THE TIME and this thing doesn't even show a scratch! Easy maintenance and bearing service. If you don't know yet, you will at some point know how big this is. Great resale value too. Got insane deal on frame at end of year.
  • 5 0
 Interesting range of comments about how the bike rides from the posts here. I demoed one and personally think it's too close to a Nomad, which is way more bike than I need for the terrain I ride. I also wasn't a fan of the rear end easily coming around, but maybe I'm too used to how my v1 Bronson rides. I still felt reach was on the short side, although i did like the improved pedaling dynamics and the Float X is a Fox shock that finally feels good.
  • 9 0
 I love that SC has stuck with the threaded bottom bracket.
  • 5 0
 73 mm threaded BB for the win!
  • 1 0
 @caesarleigh: The T47 looks promising too for running bigger bearings and larger spindles. You'd get the advantages of BB92 without the creaking.
  • 5 1
 I have this bike with this exact build kit! Clicked on the link all hesitantly in case they butchered it Wink . I had the old Tennis Yellow Bronson 1 and this pink rocket is an improvement for sure. All the things and capability I liked about the last bike, but with more fun/capable geo. Loving it!
  • 5 1
 I have ridden several high end bikes at various demos throughout the last 3 years and I currently own a Pivot Mach 6. The Bronson is hands down the best bike I have ever ridden.
  • 1 0
 Any drawbacks to the Mach 6 when compared to the Bronson?
  • 6 0
 Wait, so why's you buy a Pivot?
  • 2 0
 maybe he bought the pivot before testing the other bikes
  • 5 2
"There's even a tab for mounting a front derailleur, although personally I wouldn't mind if that little square on the seat tube disappeared altogether – it doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the frame's sleek looks. "

They offer the Bronson C with a front mech so they had to mount it somehow. I don't think it looks disturbing without the front mech and the mount exposed. I do think it would look really cool if the downtube would have been in a straight line between the bb and the headtube. But they wanted the option to mount a bottle cage inside the frame and went for that curve instead. Not everyone wants a bottle cage, but some do. Not everyone wants a front mech, but some do. This way they managed to develop a bike for a wider audience, which is wise considering the costs of the molds.
  • 2 1
 Check out how the front der mount is configured on the new Tallboy. Much better design.
  • 1 0
 @ReXTless: That's sleek indeed. I'd expect they would have gone for that option with the Bronson as well if it were possible. I can only guess. Maybe the seat tube is too thin or it is simply because the lower specced Bronson C with the R build kit doesn't come with a dropper post so the riders need enough room in the seattube to lower the supplied 400mm seatpost with the qr-seatpostclamp.
  • 3 0
 I bought a 2015 cc frameset a year ago and built it to my own spec.
hope hubs with spank rims , full X01 drivetraian with hope cranks , KS dropper , hope tech3 brakes , renthal carbon bars.
pike rt3 solo air 160 fork , monarch + rc3 shock.
I just wanted to build a bike how I wanted, (not take stuff off a bike and replce it), and honestly its the nicest bike i have ever ridden , very fast , climbs very well
is very very stable and light , it has a very high high smile/fun factor!
compared to my mates 2015 nomad which feels longer and slacker and it noticably harder to ride uphill my bronson
has a very balanced neutral feel.
after riding a weekend around the brecon beacons in the snow on a CC solo, which is very similar to the bronson
i decided to get one straight away.
by the way this was coming off the back of riding a Canyon nerve AM for 2 years which was always being repaired......
since owning the bronson and riding it at least twice a week in all conditions , i am in no hurry to change , it actually puts a smile on my face each time i get ready to ride as it is a pure joy to spend my valued spare time on!
  • 4 1
 Great review. I have the current version (v2) of the 5010 and it is a blast. Climbs great - as it should. But it is so amazingly capable on the descents.

I can only imagine how good the Bronson would be.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer It looks like you've got the seat slammed forward, and you have some spacers under the stem which brings the reach in a little bit more. If you could get the same contact points on a medium --- and it looks like you could --- which would be a better ride? Do you just like the steeper seat tube angle for climbing?

(FWIW I'm 5'9" and in the market but it's hard to ride a bunch of M and L frames back to back and control for things like stem length, bar width, etc)
  • 2 1
 @dhstreip - The bronson isnt a long bike by many standards, like you say by running the saddle forward on a larger frame (which still has decent standover) will give you a longer reach when standing and an efficient position while seated.

On the medium you may have the saddle back on the rails (with you sitting right over the back wheel rather than centrally on the bike) and a potentially longer stem with a shorter standing reach.

Go for the large if you are riding to a decent standard, if you are pootling about then get the medium as it wont matter anyway.....
  • 4 0
 @dhstreip - A large is definitely the correct size for me. I'm 5'11", with longer legs compared to my torso length - that's why I usually run my seats pretty far forward. Don't forget, in the photo the 150mm dropper post is only partially extended - the seat would be a good deal higher in full climbing position. At 5'9" I'd imagine that a medium would be a good fit for you, but I'd recommend looking at the reach number of the bike you're currently on, as well as test riding one if at all possible.
  • 2 0
 I rode a large, then a medium immediately after. I'm 5 11" and found the large longer than I would like in reach even with a 50mm stem and climbing was great, just not on my lower back with the large. The medium was soooooo much fun, I popped every little thing, cornered like a bat out of hell, wheelies/manuals were easy even for a guy who can barely do them on pavement and my lower back was happy. Descending the rowdy dh was a little choppy, but I feel getting familiar with the characteristics of the responsive Bronson V2 with some invested seat time, I would adapt quickly.

Demo the large and then a medium, you'll find out what I'm talking about in my height range since 5 11" is at the cusp of med/lrg according to SCB sizing. Though it does come down to rider preference, I have ridden every model of the Nomad made and the Bronson V2 has made a lasting impression to me as far as an all mountain bike goes. Fun, snappy, happy!

I currently ride the 2014 large Nomad with a 35mm stem. When the new SCB frame geometry flooded the trend market of the 27.5 platform, the old larges basically became the new mediums from the 26 platforms. So in hind sight for me, I should have got the medium to begin with and took the time to demo the two sizes to decide my sweet spot size. I now want to build the Bronson V2 and will be getting the medium, it's the perfect all mountain machine for me. I may just put a FOX 40 on the Nomad...
  • 4 2
 I think the Intense Tracer T275c is a better all around bike given it has a bit more travel and you can change the rear travel between 145 and 160. I feel the tracer is the ultimate in balance and can do it all and imo looks better.
  • 3 0
 I wonder how the ride of the Stumpy FSR Expert would compare with the Bronson. I assume the Stumpy is more of a 'trail' bike despite the similarities (on paper) between the two.
  • 2 0
 I got this the Bronson V2 last September and I must say the bike continues to grow on me. It's a very fast, light bike that handles very well and seems to climb well too! I will say that i certainly use my CTD feature on my fox shock though as the bike is not as efficient when in the decent mode. When in the Trail mode it climbs similar to my previous bike (2006 Blur 4x with DHX air). One thing I have noticed is that the bike is a little noisy. The noise seems to be related to the drivetrain. Although it comes with a clutch mech is seems to be noticeable. Not a bad noise but not exactly a whisper quiet bike while descending. I ordered the hardware necessary to take the stock pike to 160mm however starting to feel as though it won't be necessary.
  • 2 0
 @Ryanrobinson1984: I dont get why ppl give negative props, there must be a lot of negative & green ppl on here.
I cant see myself buying a santa cruz but i'm not gonna hate on ppl who do...i often vote negative prop posts up after reading if not a total dickhead post which most are not.

Also why cant i reply to below threshold posts...gosh.
  • 2 0
 I have a 2016 Bronson. Did a custom build NOX Wheels, Next Cranks, Saint Brakes, Fox X2, Fox 36 fork, Chris King headset, Easton Stem, Race Face Bars. custom tuned suspension from BikeCo, Lake Forest. Like Push. Bike is insane down hill. Coming from an Ibis HD it's a bit more playful. HD was playful too, but seemed more point and shoot. Climbing with VPP is different. You don't get over small rocks and lips as easy as the DW Link. Have to pedal a bit harder into it to get over things. If you wait youll get stuck. DW just kept an even pace and could roll stuff. It still is a bit of a pig up hill with full carbon everything. Really had to play with suspension setting in the rear, spacers and such. Also with the cockpit. Stem length, head spacer height. etc.
  • 9 5
 Hell yeah looks like a beast , I'm out looking for someone to rob right now so I can buy one
  • 9 13
flag JoseBravo (May 9, 2016 at 7:23) (Below Threshold)
 find a job you piece of shit
  • 4 0
 Sell an organ, you'll have money left over for a set of ENVE wheels!
  • 1 10
flag jrocksdh (May 9, 2016 at 9:52) (Below Threshold)
 Come try that in the usa where were packing heat...ill gladly help rid of ur dna. Plz don't have kids
  • 2 1
 Sometimes I feel like the only person in the world that had a really difficult time on short/steep climbs on this bike. Keeping the front wheel planted was really difficult and required pushing my weight REALLY far forward, uncomfortably so.

It was fun on the descents, though. The frame also felt stiffer than my gen1 Bronson.
  • 5 0
 Don't own a Bronson, but do own a nomad. Have never had any front issues on steep techy climbs.
  • 2 1
 @nvranka: I own a v1 Bronson, same story as you, no problems. The v2, on the other hand, I had a lot of issues with and it felt I had to really keep my weight a lot further forward to keep the front wheel down and from wandering.
  • 4 1
 I have both a v2 Bronson and a v3 Nomad. It is definitely harder to keep the front end down on the Bronson vs the Nomad, but it is not horrible for me. I get up everything fine on it.
  • 1 0
 Maybe you need to run more pressure in your rear shock?
  • 3 2
 Its great that you guys do reviews on bikes, but they are always the most expensive and top of the line models. Would it be possible to review the same models, but do the entry level ones, the ones that the average guy rides and can kinda afford?
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer thanks for the review! Quick question: if you would use the new Bronson as your only bike (all mountain to enduro) and could build it yourself starting from the frame set, would you chose a 160 mm fork or would you go for the 150 mm frok? Thanks in advance!
  • 3 0
 @whattis, I'd probably toss the 160mm fork on there, especially if it was going to be my only bike. It won't affect the geometry too drastically, but that extra 10mm can come in handy every once in a while.
  • 2 0
 I wish some one would make a travel adjust 150-170 fork. For this bike i think would make it absolutely pefect. Truly a trailbike at 150, but I think 170 with a little more sag in the back would be amazing...
  • 1 0
 Had a heckler, butcher and sold my blur ltc so as you can tell I've liked Santa Cruz. Was going to get the new Bronson but tested one along with a reign and a Mach 6. Surprised by the Giamt Reign and went that route. Found the suspension smoother and crushes on the dh.
  • 2 1
 Having had a demo on a Bronson a few weeks back, I think the review is pretty spot on. Having owned a few and ridden many more bikes of different shapes, sizes and geometries, Santa Cruz bikes really are THAT good. Perhaps they suit the kind of riding and style I prefer, who knows, but the hype is valid.

In terms of sizing, at 5'9" I rode a medium but felt I could have sized up to a large (although my current bike, a medium, has the geometry numbers of a large Bronson). What the medium did offer though was a playful riot of a ride. It didn't pedal quite as well as a 5010 (V2) but that's no news really, and nothing more time playing with suspension settings couldn't cure.

If you are on the fence, get a demo on one and make a call from there. Yes, they are expensive but they do a lot of things good enough to justify the cost (and there are plenty of bikes that are less money that also do a lot of things very well).

I've never been, and never will be, an avid fan / defender to the death of a specific brand. Life is just too short to ride the same bike for ages.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer Do you think the Bronson is lively enough for the USA mid-Atlantic where 20mi rides only yield about 2000ft vertical? I'm really torn between this and the Tallboy3. Just moved from California. Out in VA/MD it's all flat with roots and jumps. Wondering if Bronson is overkill. Thoughts?
  • 14 12
 Sorry I read the huge "Promo" last week and I would rather spend $8k on an aluminum frame Knolly with Carbon bits....wait what?
  • 9 15
flag niccolope (May 9, 2016 at 1:17) (Below Threshold)
 if you want to be a value nazi then go buy a yt, get sponsored, or harass your lbs until they give you a deal to leave them alone. and in case you're wondering.. buying a bike for 6k instead of 8 isn't an impressive feat
  • 12 1
 Clearly NORCAL wasn't stoked on his Knolly but it's time to let it go....Plenty of happy folks
  • 2 1
 Thanks loads Santa Cruz as I am ordering one asap and will be single upon it's arrival when the wifey sees the billl. My new gf. Faking ell that is the sweetest bike I have ever seen.
  • 5 1
 Another review that sounds exactly like every other
  • 2 1
 well it's an awesome bike, what else do you want to hear...? Smile
  • 1 0
 its always most interesting to read those comments that are "below threshold", those comments ommited by pinkbike after being trolled over by industry employees trying to cover up unfavorable comments
  • 1 0
 Nice review! Sounds like Santa Cruz did a great job with the updated version. I love my first gen a lot and couldn't be any happier after adding a set of Offset Bushings to slacken the head tube a bit Big Grin
  • 1 0
 "The lower link has been tucked up..." - at a first glance I read "*ucked up"! Anyway, this is a damn sexy good looking and a proper all mountain rounder.
  • 3 0
 Haha same here! I guess that just speaks to the parts of the internet I hang out on...
  • 2 0
 yesterday I spent 3 hours on a cc Bronson with enve rims, im seriously contemplating buying one now
  • 3 0
 Wish they'd make some "cheap" ones out of old fashioned aluminum.
  • 2 1
 That new lower link design is now a dumptruck for dirt and mud. Last time I did an OH for someone, there was almost a pound of debris in there!
  • 2 0
 It's fine if you look after the bike and wash it. 5010 owner in Scotland where mud is the norm.
  • 7 4
 I'm waiting on the review on the 26"!
  • 3 0
 Whoops, this is actually a Juliana. Sorry we got our stickers messed up.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer I've had pretty poor luck with the RF 30mm bottom brackets, how have yours held up for long-term testing?
  • 2 0
 My results have been mixed - some have lasted through super wet and muddy conditions without needing any attention, and then a couple have required removing the seals for a clean and regrease to extend their lifespan. I'd say the longevity is about average.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Okay, thanks. I'm probably not as good about maintaining some of the smaller parts on my bikes as I should be. I found the 24mm Shimano BBs to be really reliable, then I switched to RF and at the current rate, seems like I'll need a new BB every season. I will try more cleaning and greasing though to extend lifespan, I ride in some really awful conditions at times but I'm sure it's nothing worse than you in the PNW.
  • 2 0
 @shankes3: My experience with RF 30mm bottom bracket is bad. I had to replace mine (on a bronson 2.0) after 4 months of heavy riding. I replaced it with the enduro version -- too early to give a good review on that one though. i hope i get more than 4 months on those bearings...
  • 1 0
 @bambooshoot: Thanks dude, I've heard mostly good things about the enduro bearings, think I'll try one of those next as well!
  • 1 0
 why is the mighty ratboy always be seen on his 5010 besides the madeira advertisment video with the bronson? danny mac now also on 5010.
  • 2 0
 cuz it's way more fun all around.... pedals better and does everything the bronson can do....more enjoyable ride...just my 2 cents
  • 2 0
 Does it come in alloy for us poor folk?
  • 6 1
 Not yet, they keep pushing the availability date up on it. Last I heard, it was going to be July (When announced, I think they said January, then April, now July). I'd be surprised if they follow through and release an alloy version, the cost of the C builds compared to alloy, in the past, have not been significant.

My first alloy Bronson MSRPd for 3,200 USD. When they released the C versions later, the same build in C carbon (not CC, so 1/2lb heavier) carbon was ~$400 more. I expect that they are having a difficult time justifying a business case for supporting alloy bikes with such a small price difference, considering most people would opt for carbon (remember that they have to do more than just sell the bikes, they have to design them around the material differences, support the supply, offer warranties, etc. They have to be able to justify those expenses with sales). IMO, I would expect them to keep the Heckler and Bantam in the alloy range, which provides a much larger price difference, and only offer their VPP bikes in carbon.
  • 4 1
 @Adodero: I recently demo'd the bronson. The SC demo guy made it sound like an Alu. version may not fact, he made it sound like Alu. SC overall may be a thing of the past, kind of like Yeti, I guess.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: It would surprise me if we saw them eliminate alloy altogether, though.

I also just noticed that they changed the pricing structure and builds on their alloy bikes, mainly the Heckler and Superlight. The base model Superlight is $1999 now and the top end Heckler build is $2500. I remember before the top end Heckler build was $3100 (had a Pike though). The Bantam is MIA, but it's been off their lineup a little while now.
  • 1 0
 Btw, put offset bushings in to slack out a little and wow! Carves like never before.
  • 8 10
 The thing that I always find funny about the Santa Cruz lineup is that even if they were garbage everybody would say they were brilliant - Owners seem to get so defensive that they have just dropped $8K US on a bike that they couldnt possibly imagine it not being the best thing in the world.

People I know that were previously invited to Santa Cruz bike launch thingys (cycling press) have always felt them to be a bit mediocre with a ride that flatters the slower rider but does not have enough support for those that are faster / harder on the bike, they also found the geometry very 'safe', again something that would suit riders a the lower end spectrum.

The SC range is always completely absent from the Dirt top 100 or any of the magazines bikes of the year too.

Im sure this new Bronson is rather good at what it does, better than bikes like the Whyte, Mondraker, Canyon etc with more progressive geometry though? I am not so sure.....
  • 6 0
 lol at the dirt100 being an effective measure of bike and component quality.
  • 1 0
 @woodchuuk: Steve Jones didn't seem to care for the latest Nomad, while the rest of the bike media world seems to have loved it.
I cannot recall another SC review in DIRT prior to that one. Not sure what the deal there might be.
  • 2 0
 @ReformedRoadie: yeah I don't know, dirt reviews these days have a decidedly bought and sold feel to them.
  • 2 0
 @Racer951, I can assure you that if the Bronson were garbage I would say so, but it's not. Very, very far from it. And I can also assure you that it's plenty of bike for riders of all abilities - it's definitely not just for 'the slower rider' as you imply. But, in the words of LeVar Burton, "you don't have to take my word for it." I'd encourage you to take a test ride and decide for yourself.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: indeed, hard to imagine why bryceland would be rolling a machine for "slower" riders.
  • 1 0
 bahaha, its better because its new and it cost more.
  • 1 0
 and i think the debate between bronson versus hightower just comes down to riding style and personal preference.
  • 2 0
 And here I am with $500 in my bank account.
  • 1 0
 So the long top tube style of geometry these days makes you shift the saddle all the way forward. Makes no sense.
  • 2 0
 @mfsobitch - Of course it makes sense - Where you position your saddle is for seated pedalling efficiency / comfort.

You then have to think about your position on the bike when standing, unless you ride your mountainbike like a road bike and stay seated all of the time?

This allows you to have a good seat position and decent reach when standing.

Its not so much that the top tube is long on this bike either - its not that long at all, more that the seat tube angle is quite slack, it could be steeper which would solve the problem of pushing the saddle forward.
  • 1 0
 Damn those increasingly longer reaches to hell. Where's the love for us short folk?
  • 1 0
 What an ugly color wouldn't be caught dead on it even if they gave it to me
  • 1 1
 only thing that bug me about this bike is upper shock mount's bolt which is silver.. while rest of bike is black...
  • 6 5
 frame sizing is still on the small side even with these changes.
  • 4 2
 Dont know why the comment about sizing has been negative @downhere67 has a valid point.

At 5"8 I shouldnt be needing a size large and still wanting a bit more reach!
  • 1 0
 Been waiting on this review for a while now.
  • 2 1
 OMFG... the price tag!!!

  • 1 0
 Buildmy own. Run what I bring.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 The colors look super Gluten Free #skinny
  • 1 0
 Hot cock candy pink
  • 2 3
 Looks like the frame is made of the same stuff the holds your chocolates in place in a chocolate box!!
  • 5 2
 Your chocolates come surrounded by carbon fiber? How much are you spending on candy?
  • 2 1
 @mikekazimer: lol £2.99 max .
  • 1 1
 This is going to be my next bike realy soon.
  • 5 7
 Obviously it's going to be a very good bike.the colour scheme is vile.fork decals look tacky,why do it?
  • 1 0
 it's different. SC like to make a mark. afterall, you're not going to forget something like this when you see it on the trails. i would rock one, they are nice bikes. there are other colour schemes, but at the end of the day it's not boring, like many colour schemes out there. also, i like the RS fork stickers a lot more than how they used to do it, look nice in person. at the end of the day you don't have to get that colour, but it stands out
  • 1 2
 @oli99: And 'standing out' is of course the most important thing when mincing about the trail centre....

SC started this hideous kid coloured bike fashion, no class.
  • 1 0
 @Racer951: OK course it isn't, but at least they are different, like NS Bikes... Better than some of the boring bikes out there
  • 5 5
 Very expensive
  • 5 1
 welcome to santa cruz bicycles
  • 3 1
 the top end build with enve wheels isn't cheap, but 3.6k for a carbon frame complete SC... that's right in the mix with everyone else....
  • 1 2
 Rolls Royce of mountain bikes
  • 1 1
 Nomad v4 will be bonkers
  • 1 1
 Worth it.
  • 7 8
 one word: SEXY
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