Review of Santa Cruz Bronson

Santa Cruz Bronson is a capable all-rounder that redefines what a 150mm trail bike can do. The third iteration is longer, slacker, and lower than ever before. 

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Jeff Balton |
Santa Cruz Bronson

Santa Cruz Bicycles Red Tide

Santa Cruz Bronson is a capable all-rounder that redefines what a 150mm trail bike can do. The third iteration is longer, slacker, and lower than ever before. 

If you can afford to buy just one bike but you have a burning desire to ride trails, bike parks, and an occasional excursion into the world of enduro, then you shouldn’t waste your money on anything else but Santa Cruz’s Bronson.

This is an ingenious 150mm trail bike that’s ready for action no matter what you have in mind.

Bronson is capable of such stunts thanks to its VPP™ suspension, wide 2.5″/2.4″ tires, and progressive but sensible geometry.

As a result, Santa Cruz has treated us with an all-out descender that’s capable of some day-long climbing as well.

 

Different Builds


The Bronson is available in six total variations built around carbon C or carbon CC frames. The prices start at $5,049 for the aluminum SRAM NX Eagle build and quickly reach $8,049 for the Carbon CC X01 Eagle model. Frame-only options are available as well, but this year it is only the Bronson CC frame which is available for $3,699.

 

R (Carbon C)

This is the cheapest and most basic build with a $5,049 price tag. It has a Carbon C frame coupled with SRAM NX Eagle components. This build also gets RockShox Lyrik Select front and FOX Float X Performance rear suspension. It stops with SRAM G2 R brakes and rolls on RaceFace AR offset 30 rims.

 

S (Carbon C)

This build has the same carbon frame but sports better components and costs $5,949. Its outfitted with a SRAM GX Eagle groupset coupled with SRAM Code R brakes. You’ll also get Fox 36 Float Performance front and RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ rear suspension. The rims are Race Face AR Offset 30, with Maxxis Minion tires.

 

Santqa cruz builds

 

XT (Carbon C)

This is the most expensive of the three Carbon C variations with a $6,949 price tag. It’s built around a carbon frame with Shimano XT components. This model includes a 203mm Shimano XT, Ice Tech front brake rotor, and the same RaceFace rims as the R and S models. However, you have the option of getting Reserve 30 carbon rims with the XT. The rear shock is identical to the S model, though the front suspension is an upgraded FOX 36 Float Performance Elite.

 

X01 (Carbon CC)

This spec features the high-end Carbon CC frame which costs significantly more than the previous models. The X01 costs $8,049 and boasts SRAM X01 Eagle components combined with SRAM Code RSC brakes. This model has Industry Nine 1/1 hubs with aluminum RaceFace AR Offset 30 rims. It also features a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post.

 

X01 AXS (Carbon CC)

If you want the mid-range Carbon CC build, $9,849 is what you’ll have to pay. For that much money, you’ll get a premium frameset equipped with SRAM X01 Eagle components, including the SRAM Code RSC brakes that are the same as the X01 model’s. This build rolls on carbon RaceFace rims, but comes with the same Maxxis Minion tires as the X01 and XT models.

 

XX1 AXS (Carbon CC)

A price tag of $11,399 will get you the best equipped Bronson build with a high-end Carbon CC frameset. It comes with a SRAM XX1 Eagle groupset, coupled with a Fox 36 Float Factory fork and a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate rear shock. You’ll also get SRAM Code RSC brakes and carbon handlebars.

 

Carbon C vs. Carbon CC?


As you can see above, the Bronson comes either with one of the two carbon frames. Carbon C is the “budget” version, whereas Carbon CC is Santa Cruz’s high-end frame option.

According to the company, the differences between Carbon C and Carbon CC are minuscule. The only difference is the weight, as Carbon CC frames are 250g lighter on average compared to Carbon C frames.

Santa Cruz Bronson trail bike

In terms of stiffness, strength, and performance, the two frames should feel completely the same. The added weight will not be a dealbreaker for most riders out there, with the exception of pro racers.

In addition, if you want high-end components, such as Shimano XT or SRAM X01 Eagle, you’ll need to buy the Carbon CC iteration. The lower-grade frames are only available with SRAM NX Eagle or GX Eagle builds.

 

Sizing


Santa Cruz Bronson comes in five frame sizes suitable for riders between 4’8″ and 6’5″ tall. Check out the size chart below to find the perfect fit:

  • X-Small: 4’8″ — 5’1″
  • Small: 5’1″ — 5’5″
  • Medium: 5’5″ — 5’9″
  • Large: 5’9″ — 6’1″
  • X-Large: 6’1″ — 6’5″

 

 

How Does Bronson Compare?


Do you find it hard to decide between two Santa Cruz bikes? We feel your pain, so here’s what we think how it compares to similar models.

Santa Cruz 5010 vs. Bronson

Santa Cruz 5010 and Bronson are similar bikes but differ in terms of geometry and the amount of travel. Both roll on 27.5″ wheels, yet Bronson has 150mm of travel versus 5010’s 130mm. Therefore, 5010 is a purebred trail bike, whereas Bronson is a better all-rounder.

Santa Cruz Nomad vs. Bronson

Looking at the two models, it appears that Santa Cruz has drawn inspiration for the Bronson from the Nomad. The two have an almost identical shape but differ in terms of travel. Nomad is a lot more capable with its 170mm of travel, whereas Bronson is more playful and versatile.

Santa Cruz Megatower vs. Bronson

Santa Cruz Megatower and Bronson appear to be twins at first glance. These two bikes have the same shape, similar geometry, and almost equal amounts of travel. However, Megatower rolls on 29″ wheels, contrasted to Bronson’s 27.5″. Get the Megatower if you’re into descending and the Bronson if you cherish versatility.

 

FAQ


Do you have any burning questions that require quick answers? Check them out below or ask us directly in the comments.

Santa Cruz Bronson is an all-around capable trail bike. It has playful and nimble 27.5″ wheels contrasted by wide 2.5″/2.4″ tires that can deal with rough terrain. The 160/150mm of front and right suspension make it a great contender for riding singletracks, bike parks, as well as for climbing and descending.

Santa Cruz Bronson is not an Enduro bike by design. However, due to its progressive geometry and capable components, it’s definitely capable of enduro adventures. This bike has 160mm of front and 150mm of rear travel, as well as wide Maxxis Minion tires, so it can deal with all-out descents.

Santa Cruz Bronson weighs between 33lb (15.35kg) for the cheapest Aluminum R build and 13.74kg for the high-end Carbon CC X01 build. However, if you get the Reserve 30 carbon rims with the X01 build, you can drop the weight down to (30lb) 13.67kg.

Santa Cruz Bronson costs between $5,049 and $11,399. The price depends on the build and the type of frame you choose. The cheapest model has a Carbon C frame and NX Eagle components, whereas the priciest Carbon CC build has SRAM XX1 AXS components.

Yes, Santa Cruz Bronson has tubeless wheels and tires. The bike ships with tubeless rim tape and valve stems already installed, so all you need to do is pour sealant into the tires and inflate them. Santa Cruz even ships Stan’s Sealant with their new bikes.

Santa Cruz Bronson is a mullet trail bike, which means that it is extremely versatile. It has 150/140mm of travel front and rear, so you can even use it for some enduro and all-mountain riding as well. It combines the best features of 29″ and 27.5″ mountain bikes.

 

Final Verdict


suggestedIn short, Santa Cruz did everything right with the new Bronson. They tweaked the old version just a bit to make the geometry more aggressive and the handling better. Yet, they didn’t overdo it so as to change Bronson’s recognizable playful nature.

 

As a result, off-road enthusiasts get an all-around capable trail bike that’s eager to test enduro waters as well. The frame gives you enough clearance for 2.8″ tires that can transform the ride, and you can do the same with the flip-chip setting.

Santa Cruz Bronson costs a lot but treats you with even more. Get it if you ride a different discipline every time you’re out there and you need one bike that can do it all.

 

Santa Cruz Bronson

From $3,849
8.6

Components

8.5/10

Frame

9.0/10

Weight

8.5/10

Geometry

9.0/10

Price

8.0/10

Pros

  • Aluminum and carbon frames available
  • Playful and versatile geometry
  • Six builds with great components
  • Lifetime frame warranty
  • Optional Santa Cruz carbon rims

Cons

  • Could be too long for some riders' taste

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2 thoughts on “Review of Santa Cruz Bronson

  1. Simple, concise summaries on the differences in models for Santa Cruz. I had to do quite a bit of digging and scrounging just to find the right bike for me, but since then it is getting more and more difficult in Canada to find these bikes. Can’t wait for my Bronson to arrive in 2 months!

    1. Hi Joe,
      Yes indeed bikes are difficult all over the world. I wish you the best of luck on your upcoming bike.

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