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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here I am.. trying to purchase my first 650b bike and I am stuck between these 2 bikes.

It's not within my budget to go Carbon so these are my top 2 choices...

The Trance has better components, but the Bronson has more travel and in my mind seems like it offers everything for the type of riding I want to do. I basically want a do-it-all bike. I'll be riding some XC but mainly looking for trails that have a rewarding descent after the brutal climb ;).

I feel like all of the awesome reviews I've found on the Bronson here on MTBR are of the carbon.. I saw one thread where people seemed very happy with their alloy, but most of them seemed to upgrade components.

What worries me at this price point and with the components offered the Trance out favor the Bronson.

Unfortunately I can't demo a Bronson around here, but I demo'd a Trance 3 the other day and the Trance definitely seemed like a very capable platform.. I just don't want to regret not getting the Bronson down the road.

I feel like my Uncle (who I mostly ride with) and the LBS (not sure if they get better incentives selling bigger brands?) are really pushing the Trance based on the components, "better bang for the buck"..

Also what worries me about the Bronson is the sizing...

I demo'd the Trance 3 in Large the other day.. I'd say I am just under 6'2'' and the Large seemed a little cramped, but not too bad.. I felt like I keep trying to scoot my butt back on the saddle if that makes any sense. I believe it had a 70mm stem on it..

As for the Bronson it seems like the best fit for someone my size would be the XL with a 50mm stem from all the research I've done, but it's just hard to order a bike with out getting a chance to ride it :(

:madman::madman:
 

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I can't compare the two since I only have the aluminum Bronson, but I can at least offer my thoughts on half of your question. I bought the bike with the standard Fox 34 R-AM kit back in December (lightly used, not new). I typically build my own bikes from the frame-up, but this case was different because I got such a good deal on the bike. Since then, I've upgraded the wheels (to DT Swiss Spline Ones), brakes (to XTs), converted the bike to 1x10 with a RF narrow-wide 30t ring, and put on a KindShock eTen seatpost dropper. None of those upgrades were necessary, they're all just personal preference. As the bike is now, it's easily the most fun bike I've ever ridden (which includes most of Santa Cruz' lineup as well as a handful of others).

The Bronson climbs very, very well for an all-mountain 150mm bike. I live in Colorado where most of my rides consist of 1500+ feet up, and then 1500+ feet down. To me, the Bronson is more than adequate on the ups, and excels on the downs- exactly the type of bike I wanted. When I bought the bike it was probably 31-32 lbs, and with the upgrades I've done (and will do, I'm putting a new Revelation RCT3 on it next week) I'll probably have it down to 28-29 lbs. I'm 185 lbs and not super hard on my bikes, so it's a perfect compromise for me.

Oh, and I'm 5'11" with a 31" inseam and ride a large with a 60mm stem comfortably. At 6'2" I'd go with the XL for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am pretty sure my inseam is at 34'', so from everything I've seen, I am thinking the XL is the way to go.. thank you for your input!

Anymore input from aluminum Bronson or Trance 1 riders would be awesome..

I am definitely leaning more toward the Bronson, it's just so hard without being able to demo it and knowing I am getting lesser components versus the Trance 1...
 

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Compared to the standard Trance 27.5 1? Where are the lesser components? The only thing I see is the XT Shadow+ rear derailleur (which is really a negligible upgrade over the SLX Shadow+), and possibly the wheelset and brakes depending on your personal preference. The Fox 34 that comes on the Bronson is a better fork than the Fox 32 TALAS that comes on the Trance. I would say they're very similarly spec'ed overall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The brakes, derailleur (like you mentioned) -- I guess the Trance fork has adjustable travel? But I agree otherwise.. the Trance also had the seat dropper... all in all you're helping me realize the "upgraded components" aren't that big of a deal and I think I am going to go with my gut on the Bronson unless someone else can come here and tell me I am making a mistake lol.

Am I right in assuming the LBS possibly gets better deals/kickbacks in pushing a bigger brand? It's just annoying to have your heart set on a bike and my LBS and Uncle seem to all be pointing to the Giant, haha.

Originally I was in the market for a Yeti SB-66 -- I was out of the MTB scene for a couple of years and discovered Yeti is no longer making them and I also decided I wanted to go the 650b route... the SB-75 didn't live up to the standards the 66 originally set and that's when I discovered the Bronson =)
 

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This came up about 5 days ago.

My advice is still the same - I would buy for the long-term, based on frame and fit/feel rather than components. You can always upgrade your components later.

For what it's worth, I'm on a large Bronson with the stock (70mm? haven't checked) stem. 6ft tall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ah wow.. thanks for the link.. I've been lurking the 650b forums mainly, didn't think to check the All Mountain section... (stupid me..)

How do you feel on the large? I probably have ~1.5-1.75'' on you... I was leaning towards XL, but not 100% sure..
 

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to throw even more a wrench in the system, make sure you check out the Kona Process 153 and Norco Sight and Range. You get a lot of bike for the money with these bikes
 

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My coworker just got the base aluminum Bronson model and he loves it. I know he negotiated XT brakes in the purchase and got a dropper post, all the other components are stock. So far he hasn't had any problems and has nothing but good things to say about his Bronson. It may be worth asking the bike shop if you can work out some deal to upgrade those components you see yourself upgrading in the near future for a discounted rate. Personally I would go with the frame I wanted and worry about upgrading the components down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Personally I would go with the frame I wanted and worry about upgrading the components down the road.
Yea that will be my approach. I'll upgrade what I need to, over time.. it's just the initial shock of dropping the $3500 or so on the bike, haha.
 

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I'd go with the frame you like rather than stressing over the minor differences between components. Besides, it doesn't sound like the Giant is really a better bang for the buck.

What it has over the Bronson:

XT rear der -- this is better, but people say it makes no discernible difference other than weight. You tend to feel more of a difference in the shifter, and here, both use SLX.

SLX brakes -- again, slightly better and lighter, but I couldn't feel a difference.

Giant dropper post -- people complain about this; it's pretty low quality. For about $130, you can get a KS eten that weighs the same and performs better.


What it does not:

135mm rear hub -- the standard is 142 now, so it may limit future choices

Press-fit BB sucks

Lots of house brands on cockpit and wheels -- doesn't sound like upgrade over the WTB, RF, etc. on Bronson.

Bronson has better tires -- those High Roller IIs are very good and come as standard on their $10k carbon rigs as well.

32mm Talas fork is heavier, unnecessary (the Talas part), and not as stiff as 34

Less front and rear travel, if that's what you value
 

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Admitted Devinci fanboy here, so keep that in mind. Devinci Troy Carbon XP MSRPs for $3500. 140mm Kashima coated Factory CTD rear, 150mm Pike Solo Air in the front; carbon frame, X7 drivetrain, Hans Dampf tires. If you're considering a bike that you can't locally test( from what it sounds like is the case for you with the Bronson); might be worth looking at. It's a heck of a deal. I love mine. Again, I'm biased. The Alloy XP has the Pike and a monarch with all the same package.

The Norco Sight Carbon 7.2 is a couple hundred bucks cheaper($3200ish). It's not quite as strong of a spec(has a dropper, the Troy doesn't) as far as suspension, and nearly impossible to find. If you can find one, it might be another option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Admitted Devinci fanboy here, so keep that in mind. Devinci Troy Carbon XP MSRPs for $3500. 140mm Kashima coated Factory CTD rear, 150mm Pike Solo Air in the front; carbon frame, X7 drivetrain, Hans Dampf tires. If you're considering a bike that you can't locally test( from what it sounds like is the case for you with the Bronson); might be worth looking at. It's a heck of a deal. I love mine. Again, I'm biased.
Man.. yea the Troy XP looks sweet.. However, the closest Devinici dealer is hours away :( I'd like to order through a LBS and have their support as well. Gonna read up on the Troy still :)
 

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Any questions, PM me. I'm happy to help. My closest dealer is 4 hrs away. I figure that if there are dealers that work on DW link, Split Pivot( which is less complex) shouldn't be a problem. Hopefully I'm not wrong.

Regardless, if you end up with the Bronson or Trance, you'll get a great bike for sure.
 

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So here I am.. trying to purchase my first 650b bike and I am stuck between these 2 bikes.

The Trance has better components, but the Bronson has more travel and in my mind seems like it offers everything for the type of riding I want to do. I basically want a do-it-all bike. I'll be riding some XC but mainly looking for trails that have a rewarding descent after the brutal climb ;).
Fame wiise a couple of things to note.
On paper Bronson only has 145mm travel and is more linear. In my experience linear travel bikes feel like they have less travel but more support mid stroke.So they may feel simialr in travel.?
Both have simialr antisquat so should climb equaly as well.
Bronson frame is heavier by about 3/4 lb so will be stiffer.
Bronson you can reach the shock easier if needed.
Trance has same head angle for lower AC fork so has greater potential to slacken out with longer travel fork.
Trance has more potentail to be built lighter with 32mm fork.
So with these two points in mind it makes it more versatile if you want to swap out wheels and fork for marathon race one day and enduro the next.
Trance has longer wheelbase so potentially slightly different handling.
 

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I'm looking for a new bike too for around 3.000 I've rode the Bronson and the Giant as well as the SC 5010 and Norco Sight 7.1 .. All of them are great bikes. So far I like the Bronson and Norco best. The Norco has a sticker price of 3.150 and 3,400 for the Bronson. Norco has the best parts for the price by far. Great red color too. I'm 5,11 and ride a SC large and a Med Norco. Don't think too much, It will give you a headache :) Just buy, ride and enjoy.
 

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My 2 cents: I just bought a Giant Trance 1 27.5 and "I'm loving it" (no, I don't eat at McD's). However, for my terrain here is S FL, I lost the dropper because it's an unnecessary luxury item and just adds weight. Since I already ran Stans ZTR Flow Ex 650b wheels on my Reign, I ditched the stock Giant P-XC2 27.5 wheels because those are more geared for XC and I tend to ride rather clumsy and aggressive. Since I don't have any steady descents and big jumps, the rear axle size is a moot point for me. With all that being said and what others have noted, go for the FRAME you like most. The rear axle alone is a deal breaker for those who need 145mm. The Fox 34 is obviously a stiffer fork. It all depends on your terrain and riding style. You can't go wrong with any of the three mentioned though...
 
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