Bronson Carbon CC 27.5+ XTR Reserve Complete Mountain Bike
We've long been fans of the Santa Cruz Bronson as it always felt like the right amount of bike for a mix of challenging terrain and flowy singletrack. It's more enjoyable to pedal than it's big brother the Nomad, but handles steep descents with better composure than the shorter travel 5010—truly hitting that sweet spot in all-mountain versatility. When we got word of a complete redesign, we were a bit apprehensive at first thinking it might take away from the bike's amazing versatility. But after spending some time on the bike, the third-generation Bronson already has us and critics giving Santa Cruz a nod of approval for revisions that ultimately make it a better bike than ever before, with absolutely nothing being lost to the previous model. Plus, this Bronson Carbon CC 27.5+ XTR Reserve Complete Mountain Bike comes with Shimano's highly-anticipated 12-speed XTR group, as well as Santa Cruz's Reserve 37 carbon wheels that are guaranteed for life—providing an unbeatable setup to rip the trails season after season.
The most noticeable change to the latest Bronson is the 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, a design that's inspired by the latest Nomad. This lower-link driven VPP suspension platform is something that's reserved exclusively for the Bronson, Nomad, and V10, seeing the need for increased bump compliance, better support, and higher levels of traction for all-mountain, freeride, and downhill disciplines. 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.
Another big change is the move to longer, slacker geometry that pushes the Bronson 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 still having fun on trail systems with big climbs and flowy 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 one centimeter lower standover height for a better fit for riders with shorter inseams. The longer reach is balanced with a steeper 75-degree seat tube angle to give the rider a more efficient position for pedaling and climbing. 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.
The last major change implemented on the third-gen Bronson is the introduction of Santa Cruz's "new" plus-sized tire, which is simply adding a slightly larger 2.6-inch tire for all the benefits in traction, bump compliance, and support afforded by plus-sized rubber, but without the major downsides of running wider 2.8 and 3.0-inch tires. By redefining the usability of plus-sized tires, Santa Cruz offers levels of plow-anything confidence to the masses without the negative attributes of traditional plus-sized tires, namely being the added rotational weight on climbs, overly vague handling feel, and tendency to squirm while cornering and braking hard. If you'd like to run a true plus-sized tire, the newest version of the Bronson will gladly accept 2.8-inch tires with the geometry flip-chip in the High position.
- Santa Cruz's esteemed all-mountain bike is better than ever
- Lower-link driven shock improves bump compliance and support
- Longer and slacker geometry for better footing on gravity trails
- 6in of VPP travel smooths out jumps, drops, and rock gardens
- Flip-chip slackens the head tube angle from 65.4° to 65.1°
- Carbon CC frame reduces weight without sacrificing stiffness
- 12-speed XTR group for uncompromising performance and low weight
- Reserve 37 Carbon Wheels for precise handling and strength