Slacker head angle, longer top tube, shorter chainstays are some of the updates to this newest Bronson. All photos by Gary Perkin (click to enlarge).
The Santa Cruz Bronson took the world by storm when it was introduced a couple years ago. Here was a full carbon early adopter bike perched on the 27.5 wheel size. It was a 150mm travel bike that seemed outgunned by bigger bikes and out maneuvered by smaller travel bikes. But what the Bronson revealed was a massive sweet spot. It could do it all it seemed, from trail rides to all day adventures or Enduro World Series events.
The lower pivot has been above the bottom bracket to tidy up the underside of the bike significantly (click to enlarge).
So updating it so soon in its product cycle seemed like a risky proposition. At first glance it seemed like a just an eye-catching color treatment. But digging deeper, one realizes that they touched just about every part of this frame. Changes are subtle but sweeping at the same time. They made the bike more capable in all aspects of All Mountain aggressive riding. And they seemed to expand the already broad sweet spot of the bike.
The changes though subtle, are extensive. Travel has been been maintained at 150mm but the quality of travel has been changed quite a bit. Geometry, cosmetics, routing and other details were changed as well.
The upper link now hangs from the top tube instead of the seat tube. This allows the top tube to be lowered (click to enlarge).
Revised Suspension Tune
This bike has learned a lot from its big brother the 165mm travel Nomad. The travel has been improved to be more plush and more responsive. Just like the 5010 and the new Juliana bikes, the Bronson is more active and controlled at the limits
Key Suspension Changes
- Higher Initial Leverage
- Increased small-bump sensitivity + Better traction
- Flatter Overall Curve
- Consistent feel throughout travel + FOX EVOL air can for less wallow
- Progressive Curve
- Appropriately tuned to travel + Resists excessive bottom out
This photo sequence shows the Version 1 frame, the mule and the finished Version 2 Bronson frame.
Continue to page 2 for more of what changed and a full photo gallery »
31.6mm Seat Post, Shorter Seat tube
Dropper posts used to be fine with 100mm of drop. Now 125mm has become the norm. But on the horizon is the need and want for 150mm dropper posts. It is just that much better for pumping terrain and separating the body from the bike during cornering or technical maneuvers. But the 30.9mm diameter have thus far been unreliable or flexy with 150mm droppers so Santa Cruz went with the bigger 31.6mm. This allows for 150mm Reverb compatibility and 125mm on small frames due to more top tube clearance.
Side Swing Front Derailleur
Front derailleurs are not dead, they were just waiting to be improved. The latest crop of front derailleurs is quite an advancement from previous generations and performance is really quite incredible now due to cleaner, minimal routing and more dialed derailleur mounting.
Internal Cable Routing
The Nomad set a good standard with internal cables that are easy to install and maintain. Plus they stay quiet during the rowdiest descents. The new Bronson has cable tunnels like the Nomad, and the front derailleur cable runs double with rear.
Slacker Head Angle
Head angles are getting slacker and this one is no exception as it's able to now tackle more challenging terrain. It's one degree over prior version at 67-degrees. The new design also employs longer reach, with a roomy top tube facilitating the steeper seat tube, wider bars and shorter stem.
This is always a plus as it allows for quicker handling and better climbing performance. Plus it balances out some of the wheelbase gained by slacker head angles. The new Bronson is 8mm shorter than its predecessor.
Steeper Seat Tube Angle
Steeper seat tube angles are the key to slack head angles and good climbing performance. The rider is put in a very good pedaling position with the post extended. The key to this is the use of a dropper post as the forward pedaling position is not ideal for descending technical terrain. Dropping the post puts the rider down and back for the ideal descending position. In this case it 0.8-degrees steeper.
- Use: Trail, all-around
- Frame: Carbon CC, C
- Rear Travel: 150mm/6-inches VPP3 Wheels: 27.5-inch
- Head Tube: 66 degrees
- BB Height: 13.4-inches
- CS Length: 17.1-inches
- Fork: 150mm