Video & Photo Story: A Custom Painted Santa Cruz Bronson Dream Build

May 1, 2020
by George Milner  


Words: Gee Milner

Since starting the Dream Build series on my YouTube channel over two years ago I've been fortunate to feature numerous special bikes but for this one I wanted to create something unique and totally different from anything else.

I'd seen the incredible designs and painted helmets/bikes which Image Design Custom has worked on over the last few years for a variety of special projects and I knew those guys were the people for the job.

Ultimate Dream Build

Taking inspiration from the Porsche 917 hypercar concept I worked with Image Design Custom to create a completely 1 of 1 design for the 2020 Santa Cruz Bronson based around four main colours. Incorporating the highly recognisable ‘Boxxer red' Rockshox Lyrik Ultimate forks into the overall bike design whilst also featuring flowing chrome pinstripes and logos to compliment the chrome decals on the forks.

Ultimate Dream Build

Watching a brand new frame being sanded down was a slightly unnerving sight to witness but is a crucial part of the paint preparation process to provide a smooth and even surface for the paint to be applied onto.

Ultimate Dream Build

Then it was time for the white base colour to be applied, rather than a flat white we chose to go with a pearlescent white which proved to be a great decision.

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

After the white coat it was time to start the pin stripe masking process, the attention to detail and craftsmanship was incredible to see

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

Masked and ready for the next layer of paint

Ultimate Dream Build

We wanted to replicate a very specific red in order the match the RockShox Lyrik forks which would be fitted to the bike

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

Who doesn't love a satisfying peel reveal?!

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

Time for the decal mask to be applied

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

Masked up and ready for the third colour to be applied

Ultimate Dream Build

I wanted the Santa Cruz logo and pin stripe details to be chrome but I never realised the complexity of 'painting' chrome and it was really interesting to see how Image Design Custom went about creating that chrome effect finish, first using a black base layer

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

After the layer of black was applied, time for a clear coat. The first time the frame appeared shiny!

Ultimate Dream Build

Once the clear coat had dried it was time to polish out any imperfections before the final paint phase

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

Time for the final mask

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

Final coat of paint to create that chrome effect, I wanted to replicate the chrome decals used on the Rockshox Lyrik forks for all the Bronson's decals and pinstripes

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

One of the most satisfying points of this painting process was watching the final layer of clear coat being applied, the whole frame started to shimmer and shine including the pearlescent white and chrome details

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

Seeing the finished frame was incredible, the level of detail and skill which Image Design Custom displayed throughout was amazing to witness and document

Ultimate Dream Build

The final touch before the Dream Build begins..

Ultimate Dream Build

With every component specifically chosen for both their performance characteristics and to match the colour scheme of the frame design, it was quite special to see the layout ready to be built!

Ultimate Dream Build

Before assembling the bike we decided to protect the incredible Image Design Custom paintwork with a Invisiframe frame protection kit, completely custom for the Santa Cruz Bronson frame

Ultimate Dream Build

Quick water misting of the frame to prepare it for the Invisiframe protection kit

Ultimate Dream Build

Time for application!

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

Wiping away the excess water ready to start the assembly

Ultimate Dream Build

One of the most exciting steps of the whole Dream Build project was installing the RockShox Lyrik forks, they had heavily influenced the colour choices for the frame design and it was amazing to see them together finally!

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

Acros have produced a custom headset stem cap to provide another custom finishing touch to the Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

Installation of the bottom bracket and Truvativ Descendent crankset as always with Muc-Off bio grease!

Ultimate Dream Build

Time to take a step back and the bike is really starting to come together

Ultimate Dream Build

Truvativ Descendent bars installed and correctly torqued

Ultimate Dream Build

Sram's finest for taking care of rear shifting duties, the XX1 mech

Ultimate Dream Build

Stopping power comes in the form of Sram G2 Ultimate 4 piston brakes with lovely rainbow bolts providing another special finishing touch

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

A dream build wouldn't be complete without a dream build set to match. I chose Industry Nine Hydra hubs Zipp 3Zero Moto MTB rims with bladed spokes for extra rigidity

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

The wheel building process begins.

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

Fine tuning

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

Dishing time!

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

Tubeless time using Muc-Off tape and silver valves in order to match the rest of the frame!

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

Pirelli Scorpion tyres, specific to front and back wheels

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

With rotors and cassette installed it was time to get the wheels into the frame, align the brakes ready for the next phase!

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

Chain cut to length and the Sram XX1 shifter installed, a Dream Build with non-electric gearing.. no you aren't seeing things!

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

'Where are the pedals?' we made a exception for this one, going with Crankbrothers ultimate pedals, the Stamp from their 11 series!

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

For the dropper post and saddle I chose a Rockshox Reverb alongside a unique red Fabric scoop saddle with carbon rails

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

Further finishing touches in the form of a Dream Build mudguard!

Ultimate Dream Build

A few extra detail shots because who doesn't love seeing some bike porn!

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build
Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

Ultimate Dream Build

And there we have it, after months of effort from everyone involved in making this idea become a reality it's incredible to take a step back and see the final bike sat there waiting to be ridden!

Ultimate Dream Build

This is the first time I've been able to showcase the build process through a photo article and I'd like to thank Pinkbike for giving me the opportunity! Hopefully you've enjoyed seeing a detailed view of the incredible work from Image Design Custom which goes into creating a custom painted frame and the passionate assembly which goes into every Dream Build.

The bike is specified with a variety of components which were all individually chosen for both their performance characteristics and to match the colour scheme of the frame design in order to create a bike which is just as stunning to look at as it is to ride.

Invisiframe provides essential frame protection to this stunning and unique paint design to keep things looking fresh for many years to come. Stealth black Truvative Descendent cranks, bars and stem provided the main contact points for the bike paired with equally subtle Sram XX1 gearing for faultless and precision shifting. Zipp 3zero Moto rims laced with bladed spokes onto Industry 9 red anodised hydra hubs created a enduro wheelset worthy of the Dream Build title when paired with Pirelli Scorpion front and rear specific tyres.

A RockShox Super Deluxe rear shock and Lyrik Ultimate fork alongside a Reverb 150mm dropper post make up the suspension and Sram G2 ultimate brakes with rainbow titanium bolts provide ample stopping power in a lightweight and visually striking package.

Finishing details are what make a bike into a true Dream Build, I worked with Acros to create a custom Dream Build top cap to compliment their headset. Silver Muc-Off tubeless valves mirror the chrome found elsewhere on the bike. A Fabric scoop saddle with carbon rails and a red underside continues the red theme and finishes off what is the most unique Dream Build I’ve ever created.

I'd like to thank Image Design Custom, Sram / Rockshox / Zipp, Industry Nine, Muc-Off, Pirelli, Fabric, Invisiframe, Crankbrothers, Acros Components, and Santa Cruz UK for their involvement in the project!

If you liked watching this Dream Build, please check out my YouTube channel!


155 Comments

  • 108 9
 after all that, a curved flap of plastic zip tied on to the fork.
  • 16 8
 It works..
  • 9 1
 hah makes me cringe
  • 48 0
 I suppose the original paint worked too.
  • 5 2
 Some people fvck with socks, some do that, and we can`t help it Smile
  • 17 1
 It does the job very nicely!
  • 7 4
 After all that, the least you could have done is find red zip ties to match the fork lowers.
  • 3 2
 @softsteel: And some people suck beavers ..who are you to judge.
  • 3 0
 The arch mudguards work great, wouldn't be without now, literally no weight and a lot less crap in your eyes. Why manufacturers haven't started fitting bolt on guards to the arch I do not know.
  • 3 2
 @melonhead1145: you need to get off the computer and go ride more, every single one of my DVO forks has bolt on guards.
  • 1 0
 imagen the cost of this whole bike. And then the did not use the wireless axs system without all the cables...
  • 54 2
 Does it only trigger my OCD that the valve hole in the rear wheel isn't even between two straight spokes. Let's not even bring up the valve hole discussion...
  • 48 5
 That was a good catch. No wheelbuilder worth his salt would build a wheel that way. Sorry, but that is a fact.
  • 56 8
 @chaserider: We were pushed for time to get this bike built before the Covid lockdown begun in the UK, the wheel building sequence you see here was filmed at around 1-2am. We were pretty tired and under pressure as we were trying to get a lot of builds filmed in the workshop beforehand.

No excuse, of course but I'm just explaining why certain mistakes were made. The wheels have since been re-built. Everyone makes mistakes and I hope you enjoyed the build.
  • 13 1
 Tire logos aren't aligned with rim stickers too. Those obessions are really weird when you think abut it
  • 2 4
 @chaserider: sick neck tat
  • 2 0
 @gee-milner: I can imagine, and yes, I enjoyed the build anyways. It's a sick looking ride.
  • 1 0
 @pargolf8: well, thanks. Weird side topic though! :-)
  • 3 0
 @gee-milner: the dream build series is spectacular! Props to you for owning the mistake and explaining the reasons for missing the OCD detail!
  • 4 0
 @Whipperman: Those weird obsessions have logic behind them beyond ocd though.

The tire logo being aligned with the valve makes it easier to find the valve in a hurry when you have to fix a flat under pressure.

The valve being placed between parallel spokes is more important, because otherwise the spokes can obstruct fitting a pump head into the valve.

Both are an indication of attention to detail and taking pride in your work as a mechanic.

Any experienced mechanic would be lying if they said they've never bodged it and had to start over.
  • 29 3
 Looks like an...S-Works Enduro?
  • 3 0
 or a Lapierre/Canyon color scheme.
  • 2 1
 Candy cane
  • 3 3
 Not a trek?
  • 6 1
 "I've got this Santa Cruz, but i'd like to have a Canyon. Can you do that for me?" - "One moment pls.."
  • 2 1
 Looks like a Minion
  • 5 0
 No, it looks exactly like a Canyon Strive CFR - a lot of trouble to duplicate that paint job and build Wink
  • 1 1
 Looks like a session...? Smile
  • 25 0
 Beautiful bike!!! The first scratch is going to draw tears.
  • 1 0
 I'd be scared to even get it dirty. Not so much the expense but the amount of time that went into the paint.
  • 5 4
 Thats why we gave it as much protection as possible with the invisiframe kit
  • 13 0
 Anyone commenting that the original colour looked better or comparing it to another bike (sarcastic or otherwise) is kinda missing the point. Look up the Porsche 917 hypercar, that is the inspiration for the project and once you see it you will understand the whole theme. If you prefer the blue don't worry, there are 1000's of blue Bronson's out there. The point here is a 1 of 1 completely custom bike.

I thought the paint, the build and the video are all amazing, thanks for keeping the dream builds coming.
  • 20 4
 ......and you put a Reverb on it?
  • 6 6
 That would appear to be true!
  • 5 0
 Haha...I was thinking the same. I thought people only had them as OEM.
  • 2 0
 Got to keep SRAM happy if they are paying
  • 7 0
 Who remembers when Santa Cruz used to offer custom paint schemes from factory?
  • 4 0
 This reminds me of the 2 custom Hightower’s that were made for Northern California fire relief. backontrail.givingfuel.com/back-on-trail
I’m pretty sure that red one is hanging up inside Trail House in Santa Rosa
  • 8 2
 I was floating in total happiness during the whole video.... Until he put this orange saddle.
  • 2 2
 Orangey red..? haha
  • 4 1
 Watching this, drinking my morning coffee, a state of Zen washed over me. Until he started bleeding the Sram brakes, the flashbacks threw me back into reality ;-) Awesome video, cool build.
  • 2 0
 Beautiful bike! Congrats! Now, please show us your riding kit. After all that art, it´s like you can´t go riding wearing the first shorts or jerseys you find in your closet, right?
  • 1 0
 Contemplating getting my carbon Aurum custom painted. But the bike's only worth £1200 odd and a paint job is gonna cost me £600. Might just have a crack at it myself with some rattle cans as it's probably not worth investing that amount of cash into a battered 2016 dh bike. I'm gonna keep that bike for the rest of my life though, so maybe it's worth it... decisions....
  • 2 0
 You can get surprisingly good results with rattle cans but the paint will probably wear quicker.
  • 2 0
 The funny thing about the way bikes look is you can't see them when you're riding Wink
  • 1 0
 @JamesGTi If you're DIYing try Spray Bike
  • 1 0
 This guy has so much talent! Building an MTB is not as easy as someone would say, there are so many rules and it took me almost 6 years to learn how to do it properly, but custom paintjob? thats whole new level of skill, everytime i try to make something like that its always a disaster! Keep up the good work! i am watching every build and i love your chanell.
  • 5 1
 this paintjob screams specialized
  • 5 2
 Personally I thought it was a trek
  • 1 0
 @gee-milner are you allowed to share the boxxer red colour code (in whatever method you used to mix it)? I've seen the question come up a bunch of times so probably a few people interested...
Cheers
  • 4 0
 A good portion of Muc-Off's products are a bloody rip off.
  • 2 0
 You know how many times someone has been like “what are you doing?” And my reply is “watching this guy build ridiculous bikes on youtube” thanks Gee!
  • 1 0
 Well done video and bike! I do wonder how much weight was left on since all the blue wasn't taken off (I read you guys were in a rush and totally understand how much a pain it is to sand that down).
  • 1 0
 Overall sweet but IMO should have went with full set of I9 enduro305. Best wheels around and they look even better! Their custom alum spokes r awesome and come in multi colors
  • 1 0
 Had to come from SRAM as they were paying
  • 3 0
 @chrismac70: They were paying? I've not had any money yet haha
  • 1 0
 @chrismac70: yeah, where did you hear that lol.
  • 1 0
 I wonder how much that paint job cost! Great work though. I wonder how it will look after a few months of use and a few paint chips here and there considering he didn’t sand the original color.
  • 1 0
 result is not worth the effort. Sure sanding is the right way to remove the paint? never mix paint and anodizing in the "same" color, red is not red in this case.... it Looks still like mass production
  • 2 0
 Sweet, I really like the original colour but the final result is pretty awesome, more stuff like this please pink bike.
  • 4 1
 Yeah the original colour is awesome and it was a bit weird to get rid of it but once seeing the final result.. I was happy with our choices
  • 2 0
 What happens to all Gee’s builds once completed? Are they all his, or commissions for folk/marketing departments?
  • 14 0
 The bikes are all different with some being sent back to the brands donating components, some are raffled off for charity, some being built for individuals and occasionally for myself. My bike personal bike at the moment is a Evil offering, I did also have a Scott road bike but I'm currently raffling that off for NHS charities together.
  • 4 1
 in the originals color it was a bit better
  • 5 0
 I love the original colours but I just wanted to create something a bit different!
  • 2 0
 Very nice build fella, I think the paint job would look even better in the flesh, I like the retro look of it.
  • 2 0
 Truly beautiful work on the frame; attention to detail is magnificent. A true artisan - I really enjoyed the video.
  • 2 2
 Gee - What a beautiful bike and thanks for sharing the process. If I had the $$$$ I would have you paint a Union Jack theme on my bike.

In keeping with PB comments I will say it looks like Session.
  • 1 0
 Pretty sweet build, personally, to break up that stunning red, I would have gone for silver hubs as the i9 red doesn't compliment the build, that aside, stunning work.
  • 1 1
 i just don't understand why people spend so much time on paint and stickers for a bike, it is a tool and it gets messed up quickly......but to each his own and it does look nice.
  • 4 1
 Why have a hot girlfriend? It all feels the same in the dark. But looking at a nice bike in the shed gets me amped for a ride even if I don’t see it while I’m riding.
  • 2 0
 As a fellow American, I challenge you to seek solace in not judging other people for their personal choices. That shit leads to unessasary bias and ultimately being jaded. Let people live. And they shall do the same. I do understand the hypocrisy in what I am presenting to you, but merely trying to present a different perspective.
  • 1 0
 Just the most beautiful build. You know me mate I love a Porsche and also happen to like mountain bikes. What’s not to like. Great article.
  • 1 0
 If you're going through that much trouble already, why not spend the extra time and get all of the original paint off instead of painting over it?
  • 1 0
 Why are companies not sending a raw frame straight to Gee? It's not like his dream builds are something they haven't heard about
  • 1 0
 Mad respect. I think I would stare at it more than I would ride it. My personal dream. YT jeffsy. Exposed carbon. Matte gloss. Chrome accents.
  • 1 0
 These videos should be played in loop in spa centers. Just imagine relaxing with eucalyptus smell and watching custom build bike videos lol
  • 6 3
 Looks like a specialized
  • 3 6
 Trek?
  • 1 1
 The devil is in the details! Love the component choice but that wheelset with (hopefully) bladed Sapim CX Ray spokes would be a personal selection.
  • 2 0
 Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for taking time to comment! Yes they were indeed!
  • 1 0
 Cx rays can break after getting a scratch from a rock. 1.8 for less maintenance. ????
  • 3 0
 But he knew it was being run on a Lyrik and did not order the torque end caps with the front hub - if you are going to talk about "the details" then hit the details.
  • 1 0
 @fussylou: Have had good luck I guess with my Sapim CX Ray and Sapim Secure Lock nipples on my Race Face Next R wheels. Have snapped/bent Pillar, DT Swiss and Wheelsmith spokes somewhat regularly on this and other wheelsets. To each their own but really do appreciate wheel builds!
  • 3 1
 Yeah my Stumpy from 2010 had that paint job I'm pretty sure.
  • 4 0
 Similar to the Demo DH bike, I remember! My friend had that bike from 2010
  • 1 0
 Beautiful paint job. Retro feel. Complimented by the fork. The curtains match the carpet!
  • 1 0
 Glad you enjoyed it!
  • 1 0
 Fucking awesome that Gee!! Nice work, bet it was exciting watching the paint scheme come together!
  • 1 0
 Great video for a slow Saturday morning and a cup of Joe. Nice paint and great build.
  • 1 0
 Great job @gee-milner I'm always looking forward to watch your videos. That bike shop looks awesome too.
  • 1 0
 Awesome video as always but I am left feeling jealous as hell. The bronson is my dream bike I one day hope to own.
  • 1 0
 Losing sleep on that rear wheel? I would be. I wouldn't let a beach cruiser go out like that. Nice paint.
  • 3 1
 Amazing content here!!!
  • 3 0
 Thanks for viewing Chris.
  • 1 0
 Is that the ultimate bike workshop
  • 1 0
 Potentially....
  • 1 0
 Those are the colours of Commencal Meta 29 team! Nice bike tho
  • 1 0
 Thanks!
  • 1 0
 beautiful work, but not using X01 in red was a missed opportunity IMO Smile
  • 3 0
 I did consider those, especially the TLD limited edition design components but I figured it might be a overload of red. I chose black components to bring things back into check
  • 2 4
 I didn't know pirelli tyres were a thing. Regardless my bronson 3 was the worst bike I've ever owned, just couldn't get on with it and sold after 6 months for a massive loss. They do look good though.
  • 2 1
 They are indeed! I guess bikes are down to personal preference, just gotta find one you like to ride!
  • 3 0
 Out of curiosity, what didn't you like about it?
  • 2 1
 @4thflowkage: he doesn't know. Anyone that talks in hyperbole and top notch bikes probably blames their "equipment" everyone they have a bad ride. You know the type. Only a real man can admit when their skills don't match their tools capabilities.
  • 1 0
 reminds me of my old spesh demo 8
  • 1 0
 Somebody liked too much their 2011 Demo
  • 1 0
 I didn't know Action Bronson painted bikes
  • 1 0
 No wonder bikes are expensive, they give so many away. Enjoyed the film
  • 1 0
 Perfect except all the sram/rockshox and crank bros stuff.
  • 1 0
 What does a custom paint job like that run?
  • 1 2
 Love watching these videos but honestly the music is like listening to a migraine. Fancy using something a little less likely to put you in a coma?
  • 1 0
 Those tires look really rough.
  • 1 0
 It’s a 2019 bronson just saying and I know there like no difference
  • 1 0
 PIN STRIPE RUINED WHOLE THING. yup.
  • 1 0
 Im not a fan of the paint job, but the skill of the painter is superb
  • 2 0
 Lost me at reverb.
  • 1 0
 is it just me or would it look better with a black fork..
  • 1 0
 Might be one of the best bikes we've ever painted!!
  • 1 0
 austrian champs coming up?
  • 1 0
 Sick bike expect for those brakes could use an upgrade
  • 7 7
 Meh, I preferred the blue
  • 4 2
 I really like the blue also, I'm a huge fan of that shade of blue bikes but I wanted to create something a bit different!
  • 1 2
 At least it wasn't painted with one of those weird mustard or brown colors that Santa Cruz sometimes choose...
  • 3 0
 @PabloMoll: I was hoping it started with one of those colors.
  • 2 2
 Looks like a good way to void your warranty?
  • 1 3
 Nope!
  • 3 1
 @gee-milner: WOULD not expect to get a warranty on a bike I took a sander too?
  • 1 0
 More articles like this.
  • 1 1
 Looks like a candy cane.
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