Bronson 2.1 Carbon C GX Eagle Complete Mountain Bike
The Bronson 2.1 Carbon C GX Eagle Complete Mountain Bike takes one of the most beloved trail bikes of the modern era and dresses it in components that offer nearly identical performance to the top level builds at a much more modest asking price. The combination of 27.5-inch wheels, a generous 6in of VPP travel, and a build kit that features a hard-charging Fox suspension package and SRAM's groundbreaking GX Eagle drivetrain makes for a truly potent mix in nearly any terrain.
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 and be forgiving should you find yourself on a poorly-chosen line. At 17-inches, 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.
The Bronson is built using Santa Cruz's Carbon C carbon fiber construction. Although it's not quite as lightweight as Santa Cruz's premium CC carbon fiber construction, the C level carbon fiber frames offer exactly the same amount of strength and stiffness as their CC counterparts, at a weight penalty of roughly 240g. The upshot is that you get the legendary durability and ride quality of Santa Cruz carbon frames, at a much more palatable price.
This value-packed workhorse build kit begins with a worthy suspension package from FOX: a Float 36 Factory fork and either a Fox Float Performance, Fox DPX2 Performance Elite, or Fox DPX2 Factory 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. The DPX2 rear shocks do a bit better at resisting heat build-up, helping to maintain sensitivity on long, multi-thousand foot descents. 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 Crank Brother's Highline dropper post has proven itself reliable, allowing you to adjust your saddle height on the fly to suit changing terrain and gradients. The whole package rolls on a hand built Mercury wheelset that's set up tubeless out of the box.
- Santa Cruz's carbon fiber 27.5in all-mountain ripper
- Geometry handles everything from trail riding to enduro racing
- Carbon C frame is stiff and dependable
- Responsive VPP suspension with 150mm of plush travel
- SRAM GX Eagle 1x12 drivetrain with massive gear range
- FOX 36 Factory fork is lightweight and tracks well
- FOX rear shock for superior bump absorption and traction
- Frame is backed by Santa Cruz's legendary lifetime warranty