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.
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.
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.
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.
After the white coat it was time to start the pin stripe masking process, the attention to detail and craftsmanship was incredible to see
Masked and ready for the next layer of paint
We wanted to replicate a very specific red in order the match the RockShox Lyrik forks which would be fitted to the bike
Who doesn't love a satisfying peel reveal?!
Time for the decal mask to be applied
Masked up and ready for the third colour to be applied
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
After the layer of black was applied, time for a clear coat. The first time the frame appeared shiny!
Once the clear coat had dried it was time to polish out any imperfections before the final paint phase
Time for the final mask
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
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
Seeing the finished frame was incredible, the level of detail and skill which Image Design Custom displayed throughout was amazing to witness and document
The final touch before the Dream Build begins..
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!
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
Quick water misting of the frame to prepare it for the Invisiframe protection kit
Time for application!
Wiping away the excess water ready to start the assembly
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!
Acros have produced a custom headset stem cap to provide another custom finishing touch to the Dream Build
Installation of the bottom bracket and Truvativ Descendent crankset as always with Muc-Off bio grease!
Time to take a step back and the bike is really starting to come together
Truvativ Descendent bars installed and correctly torqued
Sram's finest for taking care of rear shifting duties, the XX1 mech
Stopping power comes in the form of Sram G2 Ultimate 4 piston brakes with lovely rainbow bolts providing another special finishing touch
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
The wheel building process begins.
Tubeless time using Muc-Off tape and silver valves in order to match the rest of the frame!
Pirelli Scorpion tyres, specific to front and back wheels
With rotors and cassette installed it was time to get the wheels into the frame, align the brakes ready for the next phase!
Chain cut to length and the Sram XX1 shifter installed, a Dream Build with non-electric gearing.. no you aren't seeing things!
'Where are the pedals?' we made a exception for this one, going with Crankbrothers ultimate pedals, the Stamp from their 11 series!
For the dropper post and saddle I chose a Rockshox Reverb alongside a unique red Fabric scoop saddle with carbon rails
Further finishing touches in the form of a Dream Build mudguard!
A few extra detail shots because who doesn't love seeing some bike porn!
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!
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