There’s no guarantee that this bike will make you link rutted turns like some of the 50/01 crew, but the small rear wheel is undoubtedly easier to change direction. It might not have the same "bump eraser" feel of a full 29er, but this bike wants to party. I found myself looking for different ways to ride the same old trails, basically searching for any bank or bump to carve up or pop off.
The girthy downtube has a sturdy feel without rattling your teeth loose. The ride is definitely on the stiffer side of the spectrum, but that has its merits. Large G-outs are handled well. It tracks true and unwanted frame flex, keeping your body from wiggling left and right. Even with the carbon rims, I didn’t find myself getting bounced off line in rough, off-camber sections or feeling fatigued more than normal on extended descents.
The small bump traction is decent, and the bike remains composed in the mid-stroke, letting you push into turns and compressions in anticipation of the next trail feature. The bike can be ridden by any level of rider comfortably and confidently. As mentioned in the climbing section, the dynamic geometry doesn't change radically. The Bronson goes a good job of not dive too deep into its travel, but those smaller square edge hits do have a tendency to slow you down more than I anticipated.
It wasn't so much the smaller rear wheel getting hung up, but more the suspension taking a little bit of time to get into the mid-stroke. I did experiment with the air pressures and clickers to try and find a solution. I started out with the shock at 157 psi, for 27% sag, but quickly changed this to 150 psi. The firmer setup was a little too harsh over repetitive square edge hits. The bike never settled into the sweet spot, despite increasing the fork pressure to keep the balance front to back. Once the rear shock was sitting at 30% sag, the suspension performance improved overall. The dynamic geometry came to life and I could stay light over stutter bumps, but still get the support I needed to push the bike into a corner or pre-load a jump. I only found the very end of the travel on large hucks, even with two volume spacers, the stock configuration.
It did seem like the ideal window for shock pressure is relatively small; a few psi here or there can make a big difference in how this bike rides If I was spending more time on the Bronson, I would try jumping on the "trail bike with coil shock" bandwagon for their better break away compliance - I have a hunch that would have created the shock feel I was searching for.
Like the positive suspension traits, the 64.5º head tube angle has a role to play in this ability to move the bike around quickly. It's slack, but not that
slack, which will help the bike's geometry suit a wide variety of rider types and riding locations. It's worth mentioning that Santa Cruz chooses to mold integrated headset cups into all their frames, which optimizes construction. That's hard to fault, but it does take away the ability to install an angle adjusting headset for those riders who want to do some geometry modification.
Specialized Stumpjumper Evo
"my full alloy 50lb downhill bike was sick, screw carbon trail bikes"
So as far as I understand, the greatest factor in frame stiffness isn't the material (carbon, aluminum, titanium, steel, etc), but the tubing geometry. Steel frames are more compliant not because steel is a more flexible material than aluminum- the truth is the opposite. Its because steel allows for more compact tubing geometry.
So carbon can be made into pretty much any shape/local geometry you want, and you can even lay up the fibers to tune the flex of members independent of local geometry (the only way to do this in metal is with oval tubes). So why aren't more bike companies doing what Scott does and make compliant carbon frames? Seriously, just use smaller tubes with thicker sidewalls. Or does the impact susceptibility of unidirectional fibers require so much protection that you end up with too large tubes and too stiff bikes?
2018/19 second hand Nomads etc are being sold for the near same money it was a no brainer for me. It is expensive absolutely and I'm bankrupt but I'm f*cking stoked I got a new bike its a hoot to ride. Components are not the greatest but that doesn't bother me as Im going to trash them the same way I would if there was higher end it Im not going loose sleep over a broken NX mech.
They have a lot more freedom of design with carbon.
The Downtube on these new run of bikes is massive. It looks aggressive , plus that gold is fantastic in person
I take a lot of heat on here for saying their frame design is dated, bikes are under spec’d, overpriced and then throw in repurposed, repainted frames from year to year.
Santa Cruz is a total joke.
Really the big joke is that the reviewer calls this bike relatively light. Since when did 30+ lbs become light lol? Santa Cruz bikes are way heavier than they should be and way more expensive. Orbea is lighter and offers better value. My 2019 Scott Genius is only 26 lbs with good tires too--now that's light for a 150mm trail bike! Plus the remote lockout is great.
might've fallen on his head or something lol
A lot of my mountain biking heroes are really just that…
the he's my boy !!!!
Khmm.. That was a shit joke even for the first time, can we now just appreciate how good this thing looks?
Pretty sure all twin-links/mini-links and their variants have this weakness. Kind of comes with the territory.
Needs/wants and EXT.
Mezzer wouldn't fit on the back plus I have one already
why are you being so defensive about a shock lol
Santa Cruz is still over building their carbon, especially the C level frame. I guess you could see it as a good thing, but they are still too heavy.
It’s a fun bike, but I have a hard time putting down close to ten grand on one. Is this the future? Or an evolutionary dead end on the way to something else? Santa Cruz has to many dentist types they don’t want to piss of and won’t take any kind of great leap forward.
Good luck getting one anyways. By the time you actually get it something better will be out.
With that said, the value proposition has gotten out of control. You can often buy a frame + MSRP on the parts on the full build for cheaper… lol wut? They know people walk into the store and want a “SC bike” so they will bear the markup on the components as well. The other infuriating thing is they nickel and dime you on every component. A 200mm is $6 more than a 180… DT 370, but no ratchet LN…
Anyway, I would go SC again, but I would build up a frame and would need a discount on it as well. No way I’m paying $5k cad for a frame.
I've owned 4 SC bikes, but I bought them all as "frame only." I know exactly what I want, and many times I'll be moving some existing parts over.
Frames in the the $3500 range can be built up with high end parts for $6-7k... the same components the manufacturers are including in $9-10k offerings.
I also own a 5010 cc and am very happy with the bike. I just bought the frame and got a huge Rabatt on the price, but still the frame was so expensive. Frame my point of viel the bikes are war too overprieced. Well made indeed but too expensive.
Shame, because I was super excited about the bike.
However, when you look at the cost, you can either get a
-Carbon NX Bronson for $5050 USD, OR
-Aluminum XT, Factory Patrol for $5600 USD
It kinda becomes a no brainer.
Patrol XT build was a no brainer on value. Fox Factory, full XT build, XT 4-piston brakes. They don't screw around on spec, DT Swiss 350 w/ 36t ratchet, OneUp dropper and bash/guide, 165mm cranks, real Schwalbe tires etc.
Definitely heavier than the Bronson especially with aluminum frame but way better spec value.
I wish I could say the same about the UK... We can send you some rain if you like.
This wasn't entirely the experience of the testers when they tested this a couple years ago. No one mentioned the increase in nimbleness or ease of change of direction when talking about the handling.
@Matt how was the MX setup when jumping? Anything you liked/didn't like about mix wheels there? I think a lot has been made about the "speed" etc but I'm more interested in the fun factor of a MX setup (if its true) vs straight 29er
huh? right hand back brake and shifter enter on left side, left hand dropper enters on right side.
That change in head tube angle is so minuscule as to be completely negligible. I seriously doubt that anyone could, would or should notice the difference. Doesn't seem worth introducing a flip chip that offers almost no adjustability.
-3mm in BB height, -3mm in reach, +2mm in stack. Just grab a ruler and look at how insignificant 2-3mm is.
You're telling me that there are riders out there who care about a 0.2 degree HTA change and 3mm of BB height? Who are these people? I want answers.
Personally not a fan of all bikes looking like they have motors.
Also wow 150 psi in the superdeluxe - I run 190 in mine and weigh the same as Matt. I do like a bit stiffer suspension (and it doesn't feel great at low speed) - but the support it gives when pumping at high speed is nice. SC suggests 175 psi for 160 lbs / 195 psi for 180 lbs.
Also how are those i9 budget hubs? Weird that they only spec hydra on the highest built.
New Bronson suggestions from SC:
160lbs (72.6kg) 150 psi 16.5-19 mm
180lbs (81.8kg) 175 psi 16.5-19 mm
You convey a good understanding of the ride feel and the bike's foibles and character. Something your much-more experienced colleagues occasionally overlook.
Thanks for the kudos! I think all of our tech editors are great and have their own groove.
Good looking bike but must suck to climb anything steep
I tend to flip bikes every one or two years. Carbon always makes resale easier. ( even if it shouldn’t)
This bike would have been SICK with adjustable wheelbase like the megatower.
This bike rips. I love it. DHX incoming. They’re right about the rear getting hung up on repeated square edge. Solution: do push ups.
Also, I wish more bikes had bb height flip chips like stumpy evo!
They all look the same, the colors are all variants of vomit and just differ in what you ate before, the geo gets a tiny bit longer and slacker every iteration but still relatively conservative, and they’re overpriced as hell. The perfect dad bod vehicle.
Santa Cruz Minions: That villain form the movie Sin City has a nice skin color.
"The 42.5mm stem suited the Bronson well, but I preferred my usual 35mm length stem and 765mm wide bars for a faster response to steer the large 29" front wheel.""
New patrols look really nice bikes. Recently rode a friends giga 297 and have to say it rivals SC quality and ride feel for 1k less £
Seriously, I don't want to have to stock up on multiple tire sizes, have to buy two different backup rims, and different spoke lengths because SC thought they were being clever with a 29/27.5
things that are overly rigid and slow tend to be very hard to change...
Tire choice? What does that matter in this topic? You're buying different tires for the front and rear anyways so buying a different size is a non issue. Spokes and hoops... so be it. I get it but that only matters to like 2% of the people buying these bikes. I personally don't do spare parts. I do spare wheels.
As for the mullet thing... if it's so dumb then why are so many professional athletes WHO HAVE A CHOICE doing it? It really depends on the bike and the rider. That's why a lot of these bikes come with options now. You can buy them either way. What's so wrong with options?
My chameleon is a mullet. But I also have a 29in rear wheel if I'm riding more long pedally rollly trails. But the mullet is WAY more fun. Next full suspension will likely either be a 27.5 or a mullet. Chances of me going full 29 are relatively slim. I do have 2 bikes I'd like to get saddle time in before I decide though.
Fad, fad, faddy fad, fad wee wee fad time
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