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Upon introduction in 2013, the Bronson defined the all-mountain segment with 150-millimeters of VPP travel paired with aggressive geometry that screamed of high-speed stability, yet never let you down when it was time to pedal back uphill for another grin-inducing decent. As good as the original Bronson was, it benefited from geometry updates in 2016 that pushed it to slacker, longer, and lower realms. Carrying over these second gen updates, the Santa Cruz Bronson 2.1 Carbon CC XO1 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike smashes across chunky rock gardens, rails around corners, and drops into steep alpine terrain with unflappable stability and long-travel composure.
The second gen Bronson features aggressive geometry, dropping the head tube to 66 degrees versus the original version's 67-degree head tube angle. This slacker geometry makes it all the more stable and confident pointing downhill at high speeds and dissecting chunky rock gardens. The bottom bracket is much lower as well, dropping down to 13.4 inches, which strikes the right balance between stability and confident cornering—all without being rock-strikingly low like much of the competition's bikes. Chainstays shrink down to 17 inches for snappier handling and cornering precision, as well as making it easier to lift the front over trail obstacles standing in your way. Another geometry update is the longer reach and wheelbase, both of which increase stability at high speeds while making the cockpit roomier, so you don't have to upsize or run a longer stem if you're on the upper end of the sizing chart.
Besides aggressive geometry updates, the big story with the Bronson 2.1 is the VPP suspension, which features Santa Cruz's upper box-style linkage inspired by the previous generation of Nomad. The upper link connects to the top tube, which creates a stiffer design with greater stand-over clearance for short riders. Additionally, the lower link neatly sits above the bottom bracket, tucked away from damaging strikes when you're rallying over chunder and rock gardens. These changes extend to the suspension's feel and performance, which is easier to initiate at the top of its stroke for a supple feel with better sensitivity to small bumps. Furthermore, it's more linear through the mid-stroke, meaning it's more supportive as you pusher deeper into the bike's travel. As you'd expect from this VPP suspension lay-out, you'll find it ramps up considerably at the end stroke to prevent you from harshly bottoming out on bigger hits.
Delving into this particular Bronson's frame, you'll reap the benefits of a Carbon CC frame for lightweight efficiency and spirited handling on the trail. This carbon is lighter, stronger, and more expensive than cheaper Carbon C frames, shaving approximately 280 grams without sacrificing one bit of strength or stiffness. As for the XO1 kit, it's one of the nicest build kits offered by Santa Cruz for lightning-quick shifts across a wide range of usable gears—all without dealing with a pesky front derailleur. Moreover, it benefits from the stiff 36-millimeter chassis of a Fox 36 Performance Elite fork, which tracks precisely across rugged terrain without the excess flex of cheaper forks.
- Rally-ready machine smashes every line on the mountain
- 150mm of VPP suspension smooths out big hits and rocky descents
- Carbon CC frame drops 280 grams for greater climbing efficiency
- Aggressive all-mountain geometry is slacker, lower, and longer
- Fox 36 Performance Elite fork with burly 36-millimeter chassis
- SRAM XO1 Eagle 12-speed drivetrain provides massive gear range
- SRAM Guide RSC disc brakes for powerful stopping force
- 800mm Santa Cruz AM Carbon bars for high-speed stability
- Item #SNZ00DL
- Q & A
2018 Bronson Carbon Frame
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I purchased this bike because it was on sale, and I wanted a fun long travel bike that I could afford. Honestly after building it up and having some time to ride on it I can't say enough good things about this bike, santa cruz, and VPP suspension. I have ridden hardtails and rigid bikes almost exclusively for the past 15 years. I haven't owned a full suspension bike or even ridden one until last season for a decade or more. So I was very wary about picking a bike manufacturer that had a good suspension design that rides high in its travel, and doesn't feel like your pedaling a trampoline. Santa cruz has knocked it out of the park. On the climbs, i dont even have to lock out the suspension, i just keep it in pedal mode the whole time and it climbs like a goat! This version of the bronson is the best if your a person that climbs to the top of your rowdy enduro flow trails. If you shuttle, or ride the lift parks, the new suspension design of the bronson is probably what you need. But I spend more time climbing, and this bike can climb! On the downs, i literally have a grin on my mouth so big I have to remind myself to close my mouth so i dont get dirt in it. It honestly rips and is so fun and playful, my heart rate is spiked on the descents because I'm using so much energy popping off every lip and launching off every rock I can find. It build up to just under 30 pounds with alloy wheels and sram gx, so it could definitely be build up sub 28 if you had high end components. Santa cruz is one of the few remaining bike companies that still uses threaded bottom brackets which is extremely important to me because i can't stand any kind of creaking on my bike. Also they have grease injection ports to keep the suspension noise free as well. Its just such a well built bike, room for up to 2.8" rubber, and i have a 160mm front fork a rockshox pike up front and it feels amazing. I would have preferred a fox 36 but ya i had to make some sacrifices for cost sake. Absolutely an amazing bike I would recommend it to anyone looking to have more fun on their rides and to get a little bit more rowdy then you can on a shorter travel bike.
Is it possible to upgrade this bike with a set of carbon wheels?