Santa Cruz Bicycles Bronson Carbon Mountain Bike Frame $2,899.00
Santa Cruz generated some serious buzz with the Bronson Carbon Mountain Bike Frame. The 27.5-inch wheeled, FOX FLOAT CTD equipped show-stopper has already proven its worth under the Santa Cruz Syndicate race team, so you know it's has what you need to push your limits. And whether you're racing Enduro or just looking to slay your local trails, the Bronson's ready whenever you are.
At the heart of the Bronson's handling is a highly refined VPP suspension platform that's been optimized for mid-sized wheels. It's a suspension platform that's widely beloved among riders in-the-know for its blend of pedaling efficiency and trail-erasing smoothness. VPP employs two aluminum counter-rotating links to achieve this balance. But, you may be wondering how it works? Well, the upper-link provides most of the rotation as the bike compresses into the sag point. This yields a vertical wheel path, which you'll notice in the form of a firm feel during acceleration. As the bike compresses deeper into the suspension, the lower-link activates, moving the axle path rearward. The rearward axle path enables the rear wheel to travel out of the way of impacts. So, the ride remains smooth, not jarring. You'll also find the same collet-style pivot hardware that's become standard for Santa Cruz's suspension bikes. This means that your pivots stay tight and are easily serviceable by home mechanics.
Santa Cruz's industry-leading carbon fiber construction is on display here as well. Both the front and rear triangles are constructed as a whole, rather than bonding them together from sub-assemblies. Not only does this save weight, but it also means that the Bronson is as strong as possible. This is because the fibers remain uninterrupted by seams. In fact, if you were to cut the Bronson in half, you'd find that the inside of the tubes have the same perfectly smooth finish as the outside. This is a result of a construction technique that maximizes the compaction of the layers. The benefit is that it's lighter, because any excess epoxy is squeezed from the frame prior to curing. Accordingly, Santa Cruz finds that this provides the ideal degree of compaction, further enhancing frame strength.
The rear shock is FOX's FLOAT CTD unit features the ultra-durable Kashima coating. While the distinctive gold color is eye catching, the Kashima coating's true benefit is that it's both harder and smoother than standard slider coatings. This equates to a longer wear life, as well as smoother suspension action. FOX's CTD adjustment scheme makes it easy to find your perfect setting, whether you change settings dozens of times a ride, or just set it and forget it. With a nearly locked-out feel, Climb mode provides the most damping. However, it still provides a bit of cushion for unexpected hard hits. Meanwhile, click the damper into the Trail mode, and there's ample low-speed compression in order to keep the bike riding high in the travel. And lastly, Descend mode provides the lightest compression damping for a plush ride.
The Bronson utilizes a 44/56mm headset for compatibility with tapered forks. The rear dropouts accept a 142x12mm thru-axle rear hub, which keeps the frame stiff under power. The 73mm English threaded bottom bracket shell ensures a creak-free crankset and easy service. The frame requires a 30.9mm seatpost and a 34.9 front derailleur, and it's only compatible with 27.5-inch (650b) wheels.
The Santa Cruz Bronson Carbon Mountain Bike Frame is available in four sizes from Small to X-Large and in the colors Gloss Yellow/black/blue and Matte Carbon/orange/blue.
Santa Cruz Bicycles
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What community has to say
Bronson - Sea Otter Classic 2013
Bike Magazine's Exclusive "Blueprint"
By TheBikemag. Titled "Santa Cruz Bronson: Bike Magazine's Exclusive "Blueprint" Story on the New 650b Bike". This is the cool back story. There is some language in the video.
My favorite bike of 2013.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
The Bronson isn't for everyone. Designed for the Syndicate's Enduro World Series campaign, it's built to as a precision tool for riding as fast as possible in challenging terrain. It's more composed at speed than the shorter travel 5010, but it lacks the trail-erasing feel of the Nomad. Instead, there's sufficient feedback to feel your tires gripping, and it takes the work out of boosting trail features. It's fast and responsive, and handles best when ridden with conviction. Of all the bikes I rode in 2013, the Bronson is my favorite, with its closest competition being Yeti's stellar SB66c. Many (most?) riders will be better served by the more conservative 5010, but if you climb fast so you can race back down, the Bronson is a cool, calculated trail killer with very few equals.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
This bike was the first 27.5 that I was able to ride, to say I was excited would have been an understatement. After riding it, I wasn't quite sure I still had that same excitement. Before you think I didn't enjoy it, I did, the thing I found was that it wasn't that much different from what I was use to and the bike didn't get any rise in emotion from me. At first I was confused, but then determined that it's just that this bike is a good move from the longer travel 26" bikes I have been used to. The larger wheels didn't feel like I was steamrolling down the trail and still felt nimble. Everything was super composed when getting into rough sections or coming into a corner with too much speed. While I think I set my expectations high, for something over and above, the Bronson did exactly what I wanted. The larger wheels did track better through choppy bits, but like I mentioned it wasn’t some euphoric experience like I had anticipated.
In terms of suspension, Santa Cruz has their VPP dialed and works really well. Shock pressure can really change the bikes handling characteristics though and was welcomed. I could set up the suspension softer for more small bump compliance or a bit stiffer (~20% sag) for a bike that seemed to be a bit snappier and stay higher in its travel. I preferred the latter. In terms of suspension travel, I found the Bronson difficult to use all 150mm travel to my liking. Coming from a 160mm Ibis Mojo HD, I have the feeling of endless travel which really helped when riding shuttles or lift assisted riding, and the Bronson didn’t seem to give me the confidence in this type of riding. In my opinion, the Bronson seemed to fit more into the aggressive trail category of riding compared to all-mountain that I expected.