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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I'm looking for a new 27.5 trail bike, and my budget is in the $3-3.5K range. I live on the Colorado Front Range, and my regular riding has a lot of big climbs and downhills, both windy singletrack, and rocky technical riding. I'm going to demo a few bikes, which will probably make the decision more clear, but the two that look the best to me on paper are the Trance 27.5 1, and the Bronson alloy. They appear to have similar geometry, with the Bronson having a bit more travel (150 vs 140), but the Trance has an edge on components at my price-point. I'm leaning towards the Trance because of all the great things I've heard about the Maestro suspension, and the better components, but I'm wondering if there are any compelling reasons to choose the Bronson instead. If anyone has experience on either/both, I'd love to hear about it.

Trance 27.5 1 (2014) | Giant Bicycles | United States

Santa Cruz Bicycles Bronson Aluminum
 

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It's true that the Santa Cruz parts spec is lacking at the lower price range.
My advice is just ride as many as you can.
When I was shopping recently, some bikes just felt right for me and others did not, regardless of what I would have predicted from the specs. Also, the fit can be quite different from what you would expect from looking at top tube lengths etc.

Those are both good bikes. I would recommend also testing the Norco Sight and the Trek Remedy. I tested all those bikes and ended up with a Tallboy LTc. It just felt the best for me.

I also spent way more than my initial budget. Good luck avoiding that temptation!
 

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Several friends bought Bronsons and love them. I've had a SC Nomad for more than 5yrs and have lots of great stuff to say about VPP.

The 5yr warranty, lifetime free bearings, grease fittings on the lower link + free grease gun and lifetime no fault crash replacement is hard to beat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all for the feedback! I didn't know about the bearing deal from SC, that would be a good thing. GQOSE, the Trance SX is just a bit out of my range, but it appears close to the same bike, just with a 160 mm fork and 1x10. I'm already pushing the wife at $3K, so the highest priority is to get a frame /geometry that I'm happy with and then upgrade parts later, so that it's not such a hit up front. The good thing is that anything I end up getting will be a huge upgrade over my 2000 Stumpy FSR with 80 mm fork.
 

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Smilinsteve, thanks for the other recoomdations... I like the looks of the Norco sight. I'll add that to the demo list, and possibly the Remedy.
Yes the Norco is a really beautiful bike. I had made up my mind to buy one, drove to the bike shop, and they had sold their last medium, with anticipated long wait time for the next shipment. So, I drove around to a couple of other shops and ended up with the TBLT.
The guys at C3 bike shop in the Highlands part of Denver will work with you and let you test ride the Norco, and they are cool about customizing or upgrading whatever parts you want over the stock build. I don't know how the inventory is right now.

For Santa Cruz, I bought mine at Mojo Wheels near Littleton. Talk to Bob. He was very cool to work with, and gave me an offer I couldn't refuse!

I never really had an attraction to the Remedy, but when I rode it, it felt really nice, more responsive and more plush suspension than the Bronson. It was very tempting, and they are good looking bikes these days too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the local shop tips, Steve, I'll keep these I'm mind... I've been stuck on the shops in Golden just because it will make demoing multiple bikes in a single day easier, but I suppose I shouldn't limit myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So I demo'd a carbon Bronson yesterday, and honestly, I was expecting to love it so much that I'd end up buying it when I got back to the lbs. It was an awesome DH'ing machine as expected, but I really didn't like how it climbed over larger obstacles, rocks, logs and such. It just felt like the rear suspension sucked up all my pedaling energy (even on climb setting), and I was having a hard time shifting my weight to use my body's momentum to pop the rear tire up over stuff. I'm used to riding my 14 yr old Stumpy FSR with 80mm travel and the rear locked out going uphill. I know it's a drastic change, but now I'm not sure if I just didn't give it enough time, or if I should be looking at a lower travel bike, or even a HT 29er. Anyone else run into this situation?
 

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I posted this the other day on the 27.5 forum about basically the same topic. Also, +1 on checking out Mojo Wheels. Bob is the friggin man! I guarantee you won't find a better LBS and a better price anywhere else in CO.

"Demoed all the bikes mentioned above and decided on the Trance 1. All great bikes, definitely can't go wrong with any of them.

Would've went with the Norco Sight but my LBS doesn't carry them (prefer to purchase from them as they ALWAYS take care of their customers) and the one LBS that does couldn't give me an ETA on when he would get a new shipment (been on his waiting list for over 6 weeks). Also, he kind of had a take it or leave it attitude because he knows that it's a high demand product.

Very close to pulling trigger on Bronson C but the sizing was off. Medium was too cramped and the large was a tad too big. My LBS didn't feel good about selling me a large and I couldn't overcome the cramped feeling of the medium. The Bronson alloy felt/looked kind of cheap. Not a diss because I'm an SC fanboy and own a Tallboy.

The Troy Carbon with XP build was attractive mainly because it comes with a Pike. Cockpit was cramped and I'm not a fan of the SRAM X7/AVID 3 component spec. Have had 3 AVID trail 7 and 2 SRAM X9 rear derailleur replacements in the last year and a half."
 

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So I demo'd a carbon Bronson yesterday, and honestly, I was expecting to love it so much that I'd end up buying it when I got back to the lbs. It was an awesome DH'ing machine as expected, but I really didn't like how it climbed over larger obstacles, rocks, logs and such. It just felt like the rear suspension sucked up all my pedaling energy (even on climb setting), and I was having a hard time shifting my weight to use my body's momentum to pop the rear tire up over stuff.
I learned from doing a few test rides that suspension set up is almost never correct on a test bike and unfortunately, that will make a huge difference in how you perceive the bike.
I have 2 VPP bikes and I know they can be very efficient climbers when set up correctly.

I'm used to riding my 14 yr old Stumpy FSR with 80mm travel and the rear locked out going uphill. I know it's a drastic change, but now I'm not sure if I just didn't give it enough time, or if I should be looking at a lower travel bike, or even a HT 29er. Anyone else run into this situation?
I went through kind of a similar dilemma, in that I was convinced I wanted to "upgrade" from my usual XC type bikes to more of an all mountain bike. But as I tested them, I found that I was looking for something that felt more like an XC bike. For me, despite all the latest trends and hype about what a great bike is, too slack just sucks, and too heavy just sucks.
And the Bronson, for me, felt too slack and too heavy. (again, I am talking about for me!)
I ended up with a TBLT because it seemed like the best of both worlds. The 29" wheels, light weight (relatively, since I forked over the cash for carbon) and slightly steeper head angle gives it a lot of nice XC type characteristics, while the long travel and dropper post make it pretty damn fun on the rough stuff and downhills.

I thought the Turner Burner was really cool too, but rode similar to the Bronson. If I had to do it over I would probably look a little closer at the Flux instead of the Burner, and the 5010 instead of the Bronson.
 

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I rode the Trance SX at Mountain Bike Oregon and it is a sweet ride. The Enduro build 1x10 with a 36 tooth chainring is for strong men only! Great until you have to climb. My old legs like easy gears. Switch it to 2x10 and it's a keeper.
 
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