Santa Cruz Bronson 27.5 Full Suspension

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Two decades of evolution at Santa Cruz brought us here. An entirely new frame, new wheel size and new perspective on what a 6" travel bike can conquer. Bronson is not some rehashed 27.5" tribute act to anything else in our range. It stands alone as testament to the years of designing and refining at our old Bronson Street facility. Locked up for months of secret testing, Bronson breaks straight onto the scene as the Syndicate's race bike for their Enduro World Series campaign.

User Reviews (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4  
wgrat   All Mountain Rider [Nov 29, 2016]
Strength:

everything, full XTR

Weakness:

couldn't drop the $ for a carbon frame

for me, one word, PERFECT!

Similar Products Used: vpfree,26" superlight, Specialized enduro
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
andersnt   All Mountain Rider [Oct 11, 2015]
Strength:

It pedals more efficiently than my old bike.

Weakness:

Low bottom bracket. I feel like I hit my pedals a lot trying to get through rocky sections. Also, when descending I fell like I bottom out the suspension often.

I like this bike OK. The set up fits well. The suspension pedals more efficiently than my old 2006 Turner RFX. The issues I have are the low bottom bracket and the suspension seems rickety. I ride in the Phoenix area and there are a lot of rocky areas that I just can not ride through that I could on my old bike because of pedal strikes. I get the whole low bottom bracket for handling, but I pedal through rocky sections more often than I have nice turns to rail.

I also feel like I bottom out the suspension on moderate drops. I have spent quite a bit of time tuning the suspension per manufacture guidelines and it still does not give me a lot of confidence. I don't think I ever felt like I bottomed out my old bike.

Similar Products Used: 2006 Turner RFX
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
lethaljd   All Mountain Rider [Oct 15, 2014]
Strength:

Descends like a beast
Surprisingly tight and efficient feeling for how much travel it has
Handles well on trails and in tight spots
Higher bottom bracket than previous SC offerings makes it easier to clear obstacles

Weakness:

Front end comes up easily when climbing steep sections (pro when you need to pop the wheel over a rock or log)
A little hard to find the right position when climbing

I've been riding a 26" Blur XC for about 5 years now and found that I my trail exploits were going a bit beyond what it was designed to handle. I was torn between the Tallboy LT, the Bronson, and the 5010, and ended up going with the Bronson because I wasn't sure I was going to love the 29" wheel size after a quick and underwhelming test of a gen 1 Tallboy in the past. As some other reviews have also mentioned, the Bronson carries almost no weight penalty compared to the 5010, shares similar geometry, yet carries more suspension. With the efficient VPP platform, you basically get extra travel for free vs. the 5010, so why not go bigger?

The Bronson has been great so far. I got the R AM build so it's entry level spec, but still pretty decently appointed. When I first took it out on the trail I was a little shocked at how rigid it felt. It took a few rides to get the suspension dialed in. Until that happened, I wasn't thrilled with it, but once the shock pressures are dialed and you play with the rebound a little bit, the magic happens.

This isn't the best climbing bike I've ridden and that should come as a shocker to no one. It's not terrible and it doesn't feel overly heavy, but the front wheel likes to come up very easily and it has been a bit of a challenge to find the sweet spot between keeping the front wheel down and keeping traction on the rear tire. The bike definitely favors seated climbing. When you get out of the saddle is when the rear wheel can lose traction a little bit. This is only really an issue on pretty steep/technical stuff (~10% grade). It might just be a new bike calibration issue on my part as I seem to get a bit better with it over time. Again, this could be viewed as a pro at times because it's actually very convenient to be able to pop it over roots/rocks/logs when climbing tech. So your thoughts on this trait may vary. I prefer to not use the climb setting on the rear shock and leave it in trail or descend. Mostly on descend. The climb setting can be good for fire road climbs but trail is usually perfect to maintain a little extra traction.

When doing general trail riding and more XC type stuff it is a lot of fun. I find myself looking for things to hit, jump off of, or tackle more aggressively than before. It is efficient enough and I find the pedaling platform is very good considering how much travel this has. If you put it in trail mode it behaves just like a low-travel full susp. bike very reminiscent of my Blur XC. The thing I notice most in this setting is how much I don't even think about the larger wheel size. It doesn't feel much different at all. Maybe a little easier going over some small stuff and definitely a little easier getting over some of the roots, logs, and rock piles, but it's not night and day. The biggest difference here is the extra inch of BB height that I'm not used to having. Areas I couldn't get over due to chain-ring bite, or areas where I had to be very careful about my approach and method are now cleared with ease. It's pretty amazing.

The best part is, of course, when the trail slants downward. It's hard to explain how it feels, but the second you start going downhill a little bit it feels like the bike has been transformed and is now totally in it's element. It wants to go down.....fast. It is incredibly stable and confidence inspiring, so much so that I have to remind myself that I'm not invincible on this thing. You will want to hit everything harder and faster, and it will let you do it with ease. I believe another review put it perfectly when they said, "I don't worry about what's on the trail anymore, I just worry about staying on the trail and not hitting the trees on the sides." That's about the truth. You go so fast you just need to keep it on course, who cares what root, rock, or anything else is in your way - it will be picked up without complaint.

All in all, it is a super fun bike to ride. It doesn't have the biggest wheels, the lightest weight, or the most travel, but it is a ton of fun, requires very little re-calibration from the rider....you just ride it and have fun. Exactly what I was looking for.

Buy it if you want more travel for exploring and you ride more than just XC trails. I would not buy this if you are primarily riding very non-technical trails and or "sanitized" cross-country flat and flowy stuff. This thing is meant for taking some hits, rock gardens, roots, logs, ups, downs, and everything in between, but a mild manner cross country bike it is not.

Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Blur XC, Cannondale Rush, Cannondale Prophet
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Available At:
RIVER29   All Mountain Rider [Aug 26, 2013]
Strength:

Pedals great and descends even better.

Weakness:

With the RAM kit it is heavy (33lbs).

People ask me what I like best about the bike and I tell them that it rides like a great 26" wheeled all-mountain setup with a slight mechanical advantage. I have never enjoyed a 29er when going airborne but this bike doesn't have any of that awkwardness. While it may not have all the advantages of a 29er if your goal is to have fun this bike is the best of both worlds.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-4 of 4  

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