Bronson Carbon 27.5 S Complete Mountain Bike
Ever since its initial release, the Santa Cruz Bronson has consistently been one of our favorite mountain bikes. Excelling at everything from all-day missions on rugged singletrack, to lift-assisted bike park days, and even a bit of enduro racing, the Bronson is the first model we think of when we're asked what makes a true all-mountain bike. Its well-balanced geometry, 6-inches of smooth VPP suspension, and stout carbon frame make for a bike that's just as happy plowing through chunky rock gardens as it is jumping over them entirely—boosting your confidence and the fun factor to level 11. Now in its third generation, the Bronson is more refined than ever, ensuring this bike remains among the top of the pack when it comes to aggressive trail machines.
One of the biggest changes to the third-gen Bronson lies in a longer, slacker geometry that pushes it deeper into the gravity end of the riding spectrum. However, this redesign doesn't significantly alter its all-around versatility, meaning it's still great for the rider that desires the monster truck plushness of a slack, long-travel rig while having fun on trail systems with big climbs and high-speed descents. To be specific, Santa Cruz lengthened the reach by approximately 15 millimeters per size for a more confident, comfortable feel at higher speeds, plus a centimeter lower standover height for a better fit with shorter riders. The head tube angle drops from the previous generation's already slack 66 degrees to an even slacker 65.4 degrees in its highest setting, complete with a flip-chip that slackens it out even further to a bike park-friendly 65.1 degrees. These were numbers that you'd only see on a freeride or mini-DH bike just a few years ago, meaning you'll have tons of confidence bombing those technical descents littered with steep drop-offs and nasty rock sections.
Another significant change to the latest Bronson lies in a reconfigured VPP suspension platform. Instead of relying on upper-link driven design, the third generation Bronson enjoys the increased bump compliance and glued-to-the-trail traction you'll experience with a VPP suspension driven by a lower-link mounted shock that's inspired by the latest Nomad. This lower-link driven VPP suspension platform is something that's been steadily trickling down through Santa Cruz's entire lineup, seeing the need for increased bump compliance, better support, and higher levels of traction that are demanded by modern mountain bikers. To best match the increased performance capabilities of this lower-link driven VPP, Santa Cruz spec'd a Super Deluxe shock for a more supple feel that tracks to the ground noticeably better and resists heating up on those scintillating descents over thousands of vertical feet.
The last major change implemented on the third-gen Bronson is the ability to clear tires up to a whopping 2.8 inches wide, thanks to increased space in the rear triangle for the needs of modern wide trail tires. We've personally found the newly spec'd 2.5-inch Minion DHF up front and 2.4-inch Minion DHR II out back provide the best balance of all-out grip and plow-anything confidence, all without losing much in terms of rolling efficiency when you have to climb back uphill or accelerate from a dead stop. Running traditional plus-sized tires in the realm of 2.8 inches tends to have a negative effect with all the added weight, as well as having a tendency to feel squirmish under hard braking and cornering. If you're looking for even more traction than the stock setup, we'd recommend going for a set of 2.6's.
Lucky for all of us, one thing that hasn't changed is Santa Cruz's carbon frames, which is a good thing if you're after the legendary strength and unwavering stiffness of their renowned carbon layups. This particular Bronson benefits from the Carbon C layup, which makes for a resoundingly stiff frame for swift acceleration and unflappable poise while pummeling across rough terrain. It's backed by Santa Cruz's excellent lifetime warranty, so you'll have extra peace of mind while riding particularly fast on your favorite stretch of trail and shuttling downhill laps on the mountain pass.
- Let no trail hold you back with Santa Cruz's all-mountain bike
- Aggressive geometry is longer and slacker than before
- 6in of VPP travel tames steep, rocky descents and big hits
- Lower-link driven shock provides better traction and support
- Carbon C frame is impressively stiff and decidedly strong
- Flip-chip slackens the head tube angle from 65.4° to 65.1°
- One inch shorter seat tube for running longer dropper posts
- SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain offers massive range of usable gears