Demolishing chunky rock lines and steep descents with unflappable poise, the Santa Cruz Bronson 2.1 Mountain Bike Frame conquers anything the mountain throws your way with 150-millimeters of VPP suspension paired with aggressive geometry that's long and slacked-out. For 2018, the Bronson retains the same dialed geometry of the second-generation model, which is a good thing considering its acclaimed status as Santa Cruz's go-to choice for all-mountain riding. This particular Bronson is made from aluminum for dependable strength without the higher cost of pricier carbon models. And despite being made from aluminum, you'll find it's still up to the task of withstanding all the punishment you can throw its way, as backed by its outstanding lifetime warranty.
When the Bronson was overhauled in 2016, it underwent an aggressive redesign that pushed its capabilities deeper into realms of all-mountain riding. The most notable differences in geometry are the 66-degree head tube angle in conjunction with longer reach and wheelbase figures. The 66-degree head tube maintains stability when you're dropping into steep descents at high speeds while the longer reach makes it all the more comfortable, seeing many riders found previous models a bit cramped in the cockpit. The chainstays are a bit shorter at 17 inches, giving the second-gen Bronson snappier handling around tight corners, as well as making the front end easier to lift up and over trail impediments. Furthermore, the steep seat tube angle of 74-degrees ensures an efficient pedaling platform, so you'll have no difficulty cleaning long, technical climbs.
The big story with the Bronson 2.0 is the VPP suspension, which features Santa Cruz's upper box-style linkage inspired by the previous generation of Nomad. The upper link connects to the top tube, which creates a stiffer design with greater stand-over clearance for short riders. Additionally, the lower link is neatly situated above the bottom bracket, tucked away from damaging rock strikes and flinging trail debris. These changes extend to the suspension's feel and performance, which is easier to initiate at the top of its stroke for a more supple feel with better sensitivity to small bumps. Furthermore, it's more linear through the mid-stroke, meaning it's more consistent and supportive as you push deeper into the bike's travel. As you'd expect from a VPP suspension, you'll find it ramps up considerably at the end-stroke to prevent it from bottoming out on bigger hits and gnarlier trail obstacles.
Please note, because the alloy version of the Bronson uses an integrated headset, the headtube measurement is 10 millimeters longer than what's indicated on the geometry chart, as to match the same headtube measurement as the carbon frame with its external lower cup and internal upper cup installed. Other than this headtube measurement, everything indicated on the geometry chart is accurate.
- Santa Cruz's go-to bike for aggressive all-mountain riding
- Geometry is longer and slacker than previous generation
- Aluminum frame offers proven strength at an affordable price
- Responsive VPP suspension with 150mm of plush travel
- Fox Float Performance DPS shock with EVOL for sensitivity
- Internal cable routing for derailleurs and dropper posts
- Bottle cage mount in front triangle clears piggyback shocks
- Threaded bottom bracket eliminates annoying creaks