Santa Cruz Bicycles Bronson Carbon XTR ENVE Complete Mountain Bike $10,623.00
The height of mountain bike development.
What you're looking at is quite possibly one of the most expensive turn-key mountain bikes that we've ever carried. This is not only due to the 150mm-travel Bronson Carbon being the first meticulously designed, and expertly crafted mid-wheel from the house of Santa Cruz, but also due to its impeccable Shimano XTR/ENVE Complete Mountain Bike package. However, you'll gladly find that every detail of this build has been meticulously selected from mountain innovators like Shimano, FOX, and ENVE.
Furthermore, it's furnished with a RockShox Reverb Stealth for super-clean lines, an ultralight WTB Volt SLT Ti saddle, 711mm-wide Haven carbon bars, and Maxxis High Roller 2 EXO tires. With this kit, the Bronson Carbon represents the zenith of self-propelled locomotion for off-road adventures. And that exceptional title wouldn't be at all justified if Santa Cruz had taken the low road and simply modified a current chassis to accept 27.5 inch wheels.
Think of it this way, by changing a wheel size, a vehicle's geometry is drastically upset. Take a look at motor sport, where modifying vehicles for competition, whether it's for the track or off-road, involves different size wheels and major suspension changes. If we take a quick moment to look at the numbers that Santa Cruz settled on with the Bronson, and compare them to some of its stable mates, it becomes clear that Santa Cruz did its homework -- probably some extra credit, too.
For example, a Nomad, theoretically, riding on 27.5in wheels would have a ridiculously high 14.75 inch bottom bracket and a stand-over height exceeding 30 inches. Unless you're all legs, your boys are going to have a bad time, not to mention that it'd handle like a double-decker bus. The Bronson, on the other hand, has a 13.6 inch bottom bracket height. That's lower than the current carbon Nomad (14in), nearly matching the Blur LT (13.8in), and only a fraction of an inch higher than the Tallboy LT (13.4in).
This means that the Bronson places you nicely situated in relation to the rolling stock's axle height, and for handling characteristics that're happily removed from the top-heavy feeling of 26ers. All the while, this characteristic is encroaching on the inclusive sensation which put 29ers on the map. At 28.8 inches, its stand-over height is also lower than all of those bikes, and the sweetness doesn't stop there, either. Another key measurement is chainstay length, and the Bronson measures in at a highly respectable 17.3 inches.
This is slightly shorter than the Nomad, a half inch shorter than the Tallboy LT, and only a fraction of an inch longer than the Blur LT. When all of these geometry values are accounted for, it's pretty obvious why the Bronson is the Syndicate's first choice for the 2013 Enduro World Series. Geometry, however, is only half of the Bronson's picture. In fact, pulling it all together is Santa Cruz's carbon expertise and VPP suspension.
The Bronson uses a one-piece, continuous fiber lay-up, as opposed to assembling joints, which doesn't require bonding, wrapping, or rivets. And because this process allows continuous interlocking fibers to wrap between tubes, the resulting structure distributes loads and absorbs impact energy better than its counterparts. As a result, Santa Cruz has eliminated any excess material from the frame. And as you might imagine, this is a costly process, because each frame size requires dedicated tooling.
This allows Santa Cruz to control the outside shape, the inside shape, and to compact the fibers during lay-up for the individual requirements to each frame size. As pointed out previously, this isn't a chassis that's shared with any other carbon Santa Cruz. The VPP rear-suspension, on the other hand, is a common association.
The Bronson utilizes Santa Cruz's patented, counter-rotating shock links in order to allow for a variable feel throughout the suspension travel. When sag is set correctly, the Bronson is extremely responsive to small- and medium-sized bumps. And for larger hits that push it deeper into its travel, it becomes more stubborn -- a necessity to avoid harsh bottom-out. It's also a crisp, efficient pedaler, even in the small chainring.
Rear motion is handled by a lightweight, and custom-tuned, FOX FLOAT CTD with Kashima coating. Its three-position Climb, Trail, and Descend lever lets you select an appropriate amount of platform damping for the terrain that you're riding. Meanwhile, the front end of the Bronson complements that shock with a 150mm travel FOX 34 FLOAT CTD with Kashima as well. It's equipped with a 15mm through axle, and there's also a 142 x 12mm axle at the rear.
One of the biggest contributing factors to this bikes impressive price, and the drool factor, is ENVE's AM Wheelset. The wheels are comprised of DT Swiss 240 hubs with the ultralight, and unarguably stiff, ENVE AM carbon rims. This combination, along with a slew of patented production processes, allows ENVE wheels to boast the highest strength-to-weight ratio on the market. And to case the wheels, Santa Cruz employed the fast-rolling Maxxis High Roller 2 EXO Tubeless Tires with a meaty 2.3 inch width.
Turning the rear wheel is a Shimano XTR Trail crankset with 26 and 38 tooth chainrings. This joins an XTR 11-36 tooth cassette through a 10-speed CN-M980 chain. Controlling the XTR front and rear derailleurs is a set of XTR shifters. They share handlebar real estate with the powerful XTR trail brakes, which have been spec'd with a 180mm front and a 160mm rear IceTech rotors. Rounding out the cockpit are the Easton Haven Carbon handlebars, which are supported by a Thomson X4 stem.
The Santa Cruz Bronson Carbon XTR ENVE Complete Mountain Bike is available in four sizes from Small to X-Large and in the colors Gloss Black/Blue and Gloss Grey/Blue with a variety of options for the ENVE graphics.
Santa Cruz Bicycles
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What community has to say
Super fast, fun bike!
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Bought this bike December 2013, in anticipation of getting back into mountain biking after years on the road. Call it a birthday present to me.
I considered the various shapes and sizes. I've owned numerous mountain bikes over the years. From several years prior, I had memories of feeling like my Turner 29er felt like a cruise liner trying to navigate switchbacks, but i also remembered how it handled obstacles on the straightaway. I'm 6'4", so I knew it had to be 29" or 27.5".
I read about the Bronson on a couple review sites. It sounded intriguing. I bought one, and I have not been disappointed. First of all, the bike looks killer. I opted for the black and orange Halloween surprise. It gets plenty of attention (although not as much as the tennis ball special, no doubt). More importantly, the bike flies. The suspension is tight on the climbs and the descents. I don't bother making any adjustments. All in, I love it; this bike has made a mountain biker out of me once again. I'm leaning towards taking this bad boy to Leadville this year. I think it will do just fine.