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Santa Cruz Bicycles Bronson 2.1 S Complete Mountain Bike - 2018 $3,999.00
Ready to rally.
The Bronson 2.1 S complete mountain bike is a finely tuned piece of no-nonsense machinery that's ready to take on just about any trail you'd ever hope to ride. Its versatility comes courtesy of 27.5in wheels, a generous 6in of VPP travel, a durable aluminum frame, and a build kit that features SRAM's groundbreaking, range-enhancing GX Eagle drivetrain.
From its inception, the Bronson has been a bike that’s defied convention. And just like its predecessor, the latest Bronson packs a wallop courtesy of its generous but measured suspension travel, as well as its nimble geometry and 27.5in wheels. Equally capable as an enduro racer or an extremely versatile trail bike, there’s very little that the Bronson doesn’t do exceptionally well.
A large part of the formula is, of course, the Bronson’s 6in of VPP suspension. As with all VPP bikes, the Bronson’s counter-rotating links are carefully arranged to resist activation by pedaling forces, all but eliminating unwanted bobbing under power. This being the latest iteration of VPP, it’s tuned to provide more midstroke support than previous generations, giving the rider a better feel for the terrain, and a livelier ride feel. It’s a balance that Santa Cruz has mastered, allowing for the requisite efficiency for all-day rides while still taking advantage of sufficient travel to tackle the hardest trails you could possibly hope to find.
When comparing the Bronson’s geometry to those of some of its noteworthy competitors, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Bronson appears conservative on paper. As is the case with much of Santa Cruz’s lineup, the goal with the Bronson is excellence, not extremity. The 66-degree head angle provides the necessary stability for charging full-bore into enduro race stages, while remaining quick enough to change direction to be forgiving should you find yourself on a poorly-chosen line. At 17in, the chainstays strike a nice balance between being short enough to turn quickly, and long enough to maintain weight on the front wheel, especially when hanging off the back in steep chutes. A bottom bracket height of 13.4 inches is plenty low to remain planted in huge berms and off camber corners, but it’s just high enough to minimize the risk of pedal strikes. While there are other bikes that are longer, slacker, and lower, the Bronson is all about balance, a trait that it has by the truckload. Unlike bikes like the Nomad or the Hightower LT, which are tailored for specific applications, the Bronson delivers just about anywhere you take it.
As befits an overachieving utilitarian steed, this version of the Bronson is built from aluminum, which is both impervious to rust and highly resistant to impact damage. This choice of materials also results in a more modest asking price, which makes it both an enviable starting point for new riders, and an unimpeachable choice for seasoned riders as well.
The value-packed S build begins with a worthy suspension package from FOX: a 36 Performance fork and the Float Performance air shock. This setup offers a supple stroke, on-the-fly adjustments at the flip of a lever, and easy tuning for both suspension gurus and those less experienced. SRAM’s exceptional GX Eagle 12 speed groupset provides the enormous gear range required for grueling climbs, while the Guide R brakes provide modulation and control in the face of unpredictable terrain. The Rockshox Reverb dropper post enables the necessary on-the-fly saddle height adjustment for taking advantage of Eagle's superlative bailout gear on the climbs or the confidence of SRAM's latest stopping system on rowdy descents. The whole package rolls on a hand built wheelset comprising tubeless-ready Race Face AR 27 rims laced to Novatec hubs.
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