Bronson Carbon CC Mountain Bike Frame
Beefy gravity bikes are fun — that is until we've got to pedal them up tedious fire roads to earn the descents, and while we'll argue they've gotten much more pedal-friendly than in years past, it's hard to compete with the versatility of Santa Cruz's all-mountain bruiser — the Bronson Carbon CC Mountain Bike Frame. With its head held high, the Bronson struts its stuff walking the coveted line between the big-hitting Nomad and the playful trail 5010, offering a bit more travel than its trail compadre, and pedalability that blows past the Nomad when its time to earn it. Ask any rider who's thrown a leg over a Bronson and pedaled it on the trail and you'll get almost universal praise on how versatile the bike is, pedaling efficiently on epic backwoods rides while still capable on enduro race courses and even handling bike park laps. This third-generation of Bronson takes hits the trail with geometry tweaks that follow the longer-slacker trends, but beyond the numbers, it also receives a lower-link driven shock, inspired by the latest gen Nomad, that's sure to keep this bike at the top of the trail heap and further solidify its aggressive, all-mountain status.
A quick glance at the geo chart on this third-gen Bronson reveals longer and slacker numbers that will help keep the bike more composed as it's put through its paces on rougher and steeper terrain. It's not enough to detract from its all-around versatility, so it's still a great option for riders that desire a plush, slack, long-travel bike that won't be a handful on days with big climbing, and you'll be glad you're on one when the trail points down. Santa Cruz lengthened the reach by approximately 15mm across the board for more confidence at higher speeds and better rider balance between the wheels, along with a centimeter lower standover height for a better fit with shorter riders and the ability to run longer dropper posts. The head tube angle kicks back from the previous generation's 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 DH-friendly 65.1 degrees. These numbers mirror what you'd see on a freeride or mini-DH bike just a few years ago, translating to a ton of confidence while bombing technical descents littered with drops and nasty root and rocky sections.
The other significant change to the latest Bronson lies in its reconfigured VPP suspension platform. Instead of relying on its outgoing upper-link driven design, this third generation Bronson receives increased small bump compliance and glued-to-the-trail traction appreciated by this VPP configuration, driven by a lower-link mounted shock, also seen on the latest Nomad and V10. This lower-link design appears on the heavier-hitting, gravity-fueled sleds as the need for increased bump compliance, more support, and higher levels of traction are all key for speed and control for all-mountain, freeride, and downhill riding and racing. To better match the increased performance capabilities of this lower-link driven VPP, Santa Cruz spec'd a RockShox metric Super Deluxe shock complete with bearing at the rear eyelet for an even more supple feel that tracks to the ground noticeably better and resists heating up on those extended descents over thousands of vertical feet. Additionally, the metric length affords more internal bushing overlap for a more reliable shock that stiffens up the rear end.
The final major change worth a mention on the third-gen Bronson is its ability to clear plus tires up to 2.8 inches wide, thanks to increased clearance in the rear triangle and the Boost spacing. Build it up in this configuration if you're looking for the ultimate in traction and a smooth ride, or, flip the chip and spec modern 2.4-2.6in rubber and still get that grippy, plow over anything confidence without gaining weight or losing rolling efficiency when climbing or ripping around on buff, hard packed singletrack. Running traditional plus-sized tires at low pressures does offer appreciable levels of grip with the side effect of some added weight, as well as having a tendency to feel bouncy and squirmy under hard braking and cornering.
Finally, the carbon CC construction remains the hallmark of Santa Cruz's carbon frames and its kept intact with the latest Bronson. You'll still note its legendary strength and ride tuned stiffness that only comes from the experience and mastery of carbon layups and materials. This particular Bronson benefits from the Carbon CC layup, which builds up an unflappably stiff frame for sure tracking on demanding terrain and positive power transfer. It's backed by Santa Cruz's excellent lifetime warranty, so you won't hesitate to stay on the gas a little longer to nab that PR on your favorite stretch of trail or catch a little more air on that next lip.
- Santa Cruz's all-mountain thrasher is updated and ready for action
- Progressive geometry is slacker and longer than before
- Flip-chip slackens the head tube angle from 65.4° to 65.1°
- 6in of VPP travel gobbles up steep, rocky descents and big hits
- Lower-link driven shock increases traction and support
- Carbon CC frame is lighter, stiff, and durable
- One inch shorter seat tube offers a better fit for smaller riders and for running longer dropper posts