Bronson 27.5+ S Complete Mountain Bike
Over the years the Santa Cruz Bronson has become one of our favorite bikes around the office, a trusty steed that's known far and wide for its outstanding versatility that allows it to excel on everything from big backcountry rides to enduro racing and even some fast laps at the bike park. Now in it's third generation, the Bronson 27.5+ S Complete Mountain Bike is more capable than ever thanks to several changes that improve performance across the board. First is the reconfigured VPP suspension platform that's now driven by the lower link, much like the Nomad and V10. This improves small-bump sensitivity, mid-stroke support, and bottom out resistance. The bike also gets a slacker 65-degree head tube angle that improves stability without sacrificing the agile handling this bike is known for. Tire clearance is also improved with enough room for up to 2.8in rubber if you please, though this model comes equipped with 2.6in tires that give you gobs of traction without the squirmy feel of plus tires.
Diving deeper into the Bronson V3, the most noticeable difference is the transition to a lower-link VPP design like the one found on the Nomad and V10. The bike maintains the same 150mm rear travel as previous generations, but the lower-link VPP allows a more linear suspension curve for better sensitivity throughout the stroke, resulting in better small-bump absorption while retaining good mid-stroke support and smooth bottom out progression. The revised suspension maintains the same efficient pedaling and climbing performance of previous generations, but increases traction on rough trails and descents, letting you push your limits with more confidence than ever.
The Bronson also sees some significant changes to geometry that push it further into the enduro spectrum. The reach and wheelbase are longer and the head tube is slacker, providing more stability during high speed sections of trail and long, technical descents. The geometry is also adjustable via a flip chip in the linkage, allowing you to tune the handling to suit the trail at hand. Of course, Santa Cruz understands that pedaling prowess matters on an all-mountain bike, so they balanced the long and slack geo by steepening the seat tube angle to 75.3-degrees in the high geometry position and 75-degrees in the low position. This puts the rider in a better position for putting power down to the pedals and combined with the inherent efficiency of the VPP platform, the bike tackles tough climbs very well for a bike with six inches of travel.
The last major change is the increased tire clearance on the frame. The new Bronson can accept up to a 2.8in tire with the flip-chip in the high position. This version comes with 2.6in tires on 35mm internal width rims, which finds a good balance between the precise handling and lower rolling resistance of 2.3 - 2.5in tires and the rock-crawling traction of meaty plus tires. Should you want to throw some 2.8in rubber on there, these rims are wide enough to support it with a good tread profile.
This particular bike comes with a bombproof aluminum frame backed by Santa Cruz's renowned lifetime warranty, as well as components that leave nothing to be desired for the pragmatic rider. The GX Eagle drivetrain has a seriously wide gear range capable of tackling steep terrain both up and down the mountain, with a 50t bailout gear for exceptionally tough climbs—all while delivering quiet operation, infallible chain retention, and precise shifts for quick accelerations. When you have to keep your momentum in check, DH-worthy SRAM Code R brakes do it well with plenty of stopping power and modulation. The burly RockShox Lyrik 160mm fork is torsionally stiff and works well with the Rockshox Super Deluxe Select+ rear shock to damp rough trails while delivering uncompromising traction. Lastly, proven Maxxis rubber keeps the bike glued to the ground on everything from fast hardpack straightaways to super loose silty corners, and comes set up tubeless for self-sealing peace of mind out on the trail.
- Santa Cruz's all-mountain masterpiece is more refined than ever
- 6in of smooth VPP travel is ready to conquer any trail
- Lower-link suspension design improves sensitivity and support
- Longer, slacker geometry for better stability on speedy descents
- Steeper seat tube angle boosts comfort and pedaling efficiency
- Flip chip lets you adjust the geometry to suit the terrain
- Clearance for up to 27.5 x 2.8in plus tires
- Comes with a sturdy aluminum frame and a workhorse build kit