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Santa Cruz Bicycles Bronson Carbon CC X01 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike - 2017 $6,799.00
When we look back over the past several years, it's clear that a few trends have come to define the mountain bike industry: long and slack geometries, Boost hubs, 1x drivetrains, and wide trail tires. This is largely because of the ride-enhancing benefits that each innovation brings when your rides consist of ripping flow trails and steep, shuttle-accessed descents. However, these innovations dropped fast, leaving a lot of manufacturers unable to include them all in a single bike. So we took matters into our own hands, building the Santa Cruz Bronson Carbon CC X01 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike to take advantage of every last innovation. It's an enduro sled that, thanks to SC's peerless Carbon CC layup and eminently pedal-able VPP suspensions, is almost as happy to climb as it is to shred down.
The Bronson went through an impressive list of changes while evolving to the second-generation model. While that list is long, the headline is definitely the head tube, which slacks out by an extra tick on the protractor, dropping from 67 to 66 degrees. This change is complemented with a corresponding increase in top tube length, 150mm of dropper range, a lower bottom bracket, and raised lower link—a combination that allows for snappy, direct handling and point-and-click confidence while traversing terrain that would cause the previous Bronson to hesitate. The Bronson 2.0 allows for lines that are bigger, steep descents that are rockier, and it effectively erases the rowdy terrain that shorter travel trail bikes have to pick through with delicate care.
The second-gen Bronson's (also known as the 2.0) seat tube moves in the opposite direction of the head tube, getting steeper by almost a full degree in order to position the engine (read: your hips) up over the cranks. The revised geometry keeps you on top of the pedal stroke, and relocated links allow for a shorter chainstay, which makes for more power transfer. The back end is finished with the new 12 x 148mm axle standard, ensuring that the extra watts produced by the improved pedaling position and shorter chainstays aren't lost to wheel flex. Despite its slacker head tube and longer geometry, the rear end changes help the Bronson 2.0 pop over cruxes and maintain speed across hard pack.
The Bronson 2.0's two triangles are connected by the latest update to Santa Cruz's classic VPP suspension. Where the old suspension curve described a deep "U," VPP's curve now resembles a flattened check mark, with less dramatic ramping on either end of the arc. The results are that, during the initial stroke, VPP now boasts increased small bump compliance to keep the tires glued for more traction across lumpy trails and root lattices. It also maintains its predecessor's firm feel during accelerations while jockeying for position in a mass start or a finishing sprint. When paired with RockShox's Monarch Plus RC3 air can, the ramp-up arc doesn't dramatically alter as the shock compresses, so the pedaling platform stays more consistent across travel, with less wallowing, bob, and bottom-outs, even while the axle's path turns rearward to absorb big hits as travel increases.
For all the changes to its shape, the Bronson 2.0 Carbon CC's construction remains unchanged. As with previous Carbon CC frames, it requires less material to hit Santa Cruz's stiffness targets without sacrificing any of the responsiveness of the less expensive, heavier Carbon C models. Both triangles are constructed as whole, monocoque pieces, which also contributes to keeping weight low because the carbon can be wrapped through junctures and around joints. This eliminates the artificial weak points of bonded frames and actually requires less material in the process. While it's being cured, the frame is compacted from inside and out. This final step virtually eliminates any excess material and resin pooling, resulting in more structural integrity and, of course, additional weight savings.
As for the build, we use a SRAM Eagle X01 base because it's futureproof and nigh indestructible. SRAM's mountain kit has a strong reputation for durability built on years spent eagerly gobbling up abuse, and the advent of 1x12 means that there's one less finnicky bit while maximizing your usable range of gears. In the front, we increase the travel just a touch with a 160mm RockShox Pike RCT3 Fork for greater compsosure when you're pointing and shooting down rocky terrain.
We round the build off with a Mercury Enduro alloy wheelset for reliable strength at an appropriate weight for this pedigree of all-mountain bike. This wheelset rolls on a wider 2.6in Maxxis Minion DHF front tire for steamrolling chunky terrain, paired with a 2.4in Maxxis Ardent rear tire that's lower in profile for reduced rolling resistance.
- Rally-ready machine equipped with a premium build kit
- 150mm of VPP suspension smooths out big hits and rocks
- Carbon CC frame saves 280 grams without reducing stiffness
- Aggressive all-mountain geometry is slacker, lower, and longer
- 160mm Rockshox Pike Fork adds composure on steep, rocky terrain
- SRAM XO1 Eagle 1x12 drivetrain provides wide range of usable gears
- SRAM Guide RSC Brakes for powerful stopping and greater modulation
- Mercury Enduro Alloy Wheelsets for reliable all-mountain strength
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Effective Top Tube
Head Tube Angle
Seat Tube Angle
Bottom Bracket Height