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Boasting a longer chassis, slacker head tube, and more aggressive seat tube angle, 2016's Bronson 2.0 release set the stage for a new definition of all-mountain capability. Santa Cruz carries these much-loved updates over into the new year with the Santa Cruz Bronson 2.0 Carbon CC X01 Eagle ENVE Complete Mountain Bike, which nudges firmly into the dream build category. It's top-tier CC frame gets dressed up with SRAM's groundbreaking X01 Eagle one-by 12-speed drivetrain, powerful Guide RSC hydraulic disc brakes, a dropper post, and dreamy ENVE M60/Forty carbon fiber hoops wrapped in Maxxis's renowned Minion knobbies.
Of those 2.0 updates, arguably the most notable alteration to the old Bronson's all-mountain pedigree is the head tube, which slacks out from the previous version's 67 degrees down to 66 degrees. A corresponding increase in top tube length, a lower bottom bracket, and a raised lower link complement the slackened head tube and allow for short-stemmed, strike-free, point-and-click confidence while picking lines and dropping steps that would cause even the previous Bronson to quake in its metaphorical boots. It also effectively erases moderate rock gutters and root lattices, letting you mash across terrain that trail, XC, and even other all-mountain bikes have to approach with delicate care.
Compared to the 1.0 version, the Bronson 2.0's seat tube is steeper by almost a full degree for better positioning 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 efficient power transfer. The back end is further stiffened with the 12 x 148mm Boost axle, 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 back end configuration helps the Bronson 2.0 pop over cruxes and maintain speed across hard pack.
The third generation VPP suspension system represents the latest update to Santa Cruz's classic VPP. Where the old suspension curve described a deep "U," the new VPP's curve resembles a flattened check mark, with less dramatic ramping on either end of the arc. The results are that, during the initial stroke, VPP boasts increased small bump compliance to keep the tires glued to the trail for more traction while climbing lumpy trails and root systems. It also maintains its predecessor's firm feel during accelerations. The ramp-up arc doesn't dramatically alter as the shock compresses, so the pedaling platform stays consistent across travel, with less wallowing, bob, and bottom-outs — even when the bottom link activates and the axle's path turns rearward to absorb big hits in the deep end of the travel pool.
For all those changes, the Bronson 2.0 Carbon CC's construction remains the same. As with previous Carbon CC frames, the Bronson 2.0 Carbon CC 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 eliminates excess material and resin pooling, resulting in more structural integrity and, of course, additional weight savings.
- Aggressive all-mountain machine with 150mm of VPP3 suspension
- Updated geometry is longer, lower, and slacker
- 150mm RockShox Pike RCT3 fork soaks up big hits with composure
- CC Carbon construction reduces weight and increases stiffness
- Boost thru-axles increases stiffness and improve tracking
- SRAM's X01 Eagle drivetrain adds the ultimate bailout cog to one-by setups
- Santa Cruz blends cutting-edge tech with classy style
- Item #SNZ00AJ
- Q & A
Swiss Army Knife Of Bikes
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Like the title says, this is the Swiss Army Knife of bikes - its can pretty much ride anything and everything that you can throw at it. No qualms about crushing an all day epic or saddling up for some park laps.
I'm 5'11" and rode a large. It fit me perfectly. I hadn't had any real experience with the original Bronson, but this rides like an absolute champ.
What I like:
-This rips anything and everything, but we'll start by talking about the climbing capabilities. It straight up feels snappy, especially for how much travel and how slack it actually is (66 degree headtube angle). A big portion of this may be the VPP3 suspension gobbling up that pedal bob, but either way its noticeably nimble underfoot. The X01 Eagle's 50t biggest cog pretty much lets you ride up a wall, seriously you can pedal up pretty much whatever. Requirements are you have to give out a big Eagle "CAWCAWWW!" whenever using that gear though.
- Absolutely traction. This may go hand in hand (or would it be pedal in pedal?) with the first point, but the combination of the Maxxis Minion DHR2's and open suspension made me feel like I constantly had traction up whatever. It climbed well enough that it would not be necessary to lock out unless on relatively smooth singletrack.
- Last time I rode a Bronson, suspension wasn't quite dialed and in all honestly, I think I didn't have the Float X spot on. The suspension here (Pike & Monarch Plus) was totally dialed and had a blast on it.
-Descending is confidence inspiring due to 150mm of travel, a long reach, and slacked out bike. The shortened chainstays allow it to get railed around berms. The bike ripped and whipped its way down and with a bit more tinkering the suspension would be perfect. For as nimble as the bike feels, it also is pretty happy pointin'er down some rowdy lines without feeling like you're even remotely out of control.
-Components as a whole on this are totally on point. Guide RSC, XO1 Eagle Drivetrain, Enve Wheels, the RockShox Pike 150mm & Monarch Plus combo is solid along with stiff 35mm Santa Cruz Bars.
-Though the Reverb is usually not my favorite dropper post (issues with needing to be rebled often & not working in colder weather come to mind), this worked great and like that its 150mm of drop. The right hand version mounted upside down the left side makes it feel much more ergonomically correct. I was a fan in this case, but still would prefer the lever style action.
What I Would Improve:
-Bump up to a 34t chainring. The 32t did fine, but a 34t allows for you to lay the hammer down a bit harder on the downhill, and with the Eagle 50t you would have plenty of room for pedaling gears uphill still.
For those riders who want to pedal efficiently up to the top in order to smash on back down some burly trails, the Bronson is here for you. It's just as happy spending all day on flowy singletrack as it is getting throw in the back of a shuttle, this ain't no one-trick-pony. If you have any questions about the Bronson, don't hesitate reaching out! I'm more than happy to talk shop with you and would be stoked to get you on a build spec'd exactly how you'd like! Reach me at 801.204.4547 or firstname.lastname@example.org, cheers!
A Goat for the Mountains
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Is pedaling a means to an end? Do you find yourself dreaming of the descent while climbing to the summit? If this sounds like you the Bronson is the tool missing from your shed.
The VPP3 is vastly improved over the last generation and offers significantly better pedaling characteristics. It still offers incredible damping on the descents and soaks up even the worst brake bumps. I also find the VPP3 suspension likes to be pushed extremely hard in corners and will reward you with rapid exit speeds.
If you prefer a bike that is playful and loves to manual and jump then this bike is right up your alley. The short chainstays make the bike ultra flick-able and easy to control in the air. This is one of the most playful bikes I've ever ridden.
Looking to soar up the climbs? Well, this bike tackles them with Sram's Eagle X01 group. Now with a 50T cog out back you can tackle the steepest grades without breaking a sweat. I didn't think I needed a 50T cog on the cassette but now I find I can run a larger front ring to achieve higher speeds without sacrificing climbing performance.
The RockShox Pike RCT3 and Monrach RC3 work extremely well. Small bumps go unnoticed and large obstacles are soaked up with nary an afterthought. Paired with the wider hub shell found on the front and rear hub this bike will tackle anything you throw at it.
Bottom line: If you love climbing to access the terrain you ride but don't want to give up downhill performance this bike is one to consider.
Smokin' MTB; made for the Wasatch!
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Got last year's bike (hot pink) but I understand the 2017 model hasn't really changed (other than colors). I spent three solid days with this bike in Park City, Payson, and BCC (basically, the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains). I stand 6'0" tall and weigh 175-lbs and the large is perfect. I do need to cut the handlebars down a bit finding the front drifts a bit when climbing. Otherwise, it climbs like a goat --back stays planted and just flies up with purpose. Now, who really cares about going uphill, if there isn't downhill? For a bike this slack --going uphill this well, it is surprising the DH ability! I descended from the Wasatch Crest to Mid-Mtn from Guradsman's Pass, and covered in snow, mud, and puddles, this thing is a scalpel DH. I cut btw trees, jumps, and turns at speeds approaching 30-mph with complete confidence --I've never had that much trust in the gear to DH with near total reckless abandon! It's a dizzying bike and if the budget allows for it, go ahead and buy it. Personally, I've never had this much fun going DH without boards strapped to my feet!