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Take on any trail.
The Bronson Carbon CC X01 Eagle Reserve complete mountain bike represents one of Santa Cruz’s most beloved trail bikes at the top of its game. With 27.5-inch wheels, a generous 6in of VPP travel, and a build kit that’s equal parts lightweight and hard-hitting, this is a machine with very few limitations and an endless appetite for challenging trails.
From its inception, the Bronson has been a bike that’s defied convention. And just like its predecessor, the latest Bronson packs a wallop courtesy of its generous but measured suspension travel, as well as its nimble geometry and 27.5-inch wheels. Equally capable as an enduro racer or an extremely versatile trail bike, there’s very little that the Bronson doesn’t do exceptionally well.
A large part of the formula is, of course, the Bronson’s 6in of VPP suspension. As with all VPP bikes, the Bronson’s counter-rotating links are carefully arranged to resist activation by pedaling forces, all but eliminating unwanted bobbing under power. This being the latest iteration of VPP, it’s tuned to provide more midstroke support than previous generations of the VPP platform, giving the rider a better feel for the terrain, and a livelier ride feel. It’s a balance that Santa Cruz has mastered, allowing for the requisite efficiency for all-day rides, while still taking advantage of sufficient travel to tackle the hardest trails you could possibly hope to find.
When comparing the Bronson’s geometry to those of some of its noteworthy competitors, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Bronson appears conservative on paper. As is the case with much of Santa Cruz’s lineup, the goal with the Bronson is excellence, not extremity. The 66-degree head angle provides the necessary stability for charging full-bore into enduro race stages, while remaining quick enough to change direction to be forgiving should you mistakenly find yourself on a poorly-chosen line. At 17 inches, the chainstays strike a nice balance between being short enough to turn quickly, and long enough to maintain weight on the front wheel, especially when hanging off the back in steep chutes. At 13.4 inches, its bottom bracket height is plenty low to remain planted in huge berms and off camber corners, but it’s just high enough to minimize the risk of pedal strikes. While there are other bikes that are longer, slacker, and lower, the Bronson is all about balance, a trait that it has by the truckload. And the upshot is that the Bronson delivers just about anywhere you take it.
The Bronson is built using Santa Cruz’s top tier CC carbon fiber construction. By using some of the finest, and strongest, raw materials available, Santa Cruz is able to make its CC level frames extremely lightweight, while maintaining outstanding impact resistance, exceptional stiffness, and just the right amount of finely tuned flex to cancel out trail chatter. Of course, balancing these factors requires true mastery of carbon fiber, and the design team at Santa Cruz has proven time and time again that their command of carbon fiber construction is unsurpassed in the bike industry. The result is a frame that will hold up to years of hard riding, will provide a comfortable ride, and will do so at a very competitive weight.
This being one of the shinier Bronson builds, it’s to be expected that the components are similarly ready to tackle any trail you face. It begins with a class leading suspension from Fox: a 36 FLOAT FIT4 Performance Elite fork and the new FLOAT DPX2 Performance Elite air shock. This setup offers a supple stroke, on-the-fly adjustments at the flip of a lever, and easy tuning for both suspension gurus and those less experienced. SRAM’s phenomenal X01 Eagle 12 speed groupset provides the gear range necessary to take on big climbs and all-day rides, while the Guide brakes provide modulation and control in the face of unpredictable terrain. The Rockshox Reverb dropper post enables the necessary on-the-fly saddle height adjustment, while the Santa Cruz carbon fiber handlebar offers a perfectly tuned balance of stiffness and flex that simply surpasses many of the best aftermarket carbon fiber handelbars available.
This version of the Bronson is finished with Santa Cruz’s new Reserve carbon rims, which are laced to a DT Swiss 350 hubset. The Reserve rims showcase Santa Cruz’s carbon fiber expertise, with a highly refined profile and reinforced nipple beads that nearly eliminate any chance of failure. And should you defy those odds, the Reserve rims are backed by a no-nonsense lifetime warranty, just like Santa Cruz’s carbon fiber frames.
- Capable and versatile 27.5 trail bike to tackle any trail
- 6in of climb-happy, enduro-tuned VPP suspension
- Longer reach shifts weight forward for better traction
- 74-degree seat tube angle optimizes pedaling efficiency
- Carbon CC frame saves weight without sacrificing strength
- X01 Eagle drivetrain features the ultimate bailout gear
- Reserve carbon rims extend Santa Cruz's carbon genius beyond the frame
- Item #SNZ00DM
- Q & A
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- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Being able to ride nearly all the bikes we stock I can be very selective when choosing the bike I purchase. The Bronson has been my choice the last two years. This isn't by coincidence either, this bike does everything well.
Most of the riding I do is in Utah, but I venture to Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, and throughout the western states. Most of the riding I do consists of climbing around 1,500'-3,000' before descending. Because of this I need a bike that pedals efficiently, and the newest generation of VPP3 does exactly that. Traction is consistent when climbing and even better when descending. When riding rocky or technical sections of trail this bike shines. It has plenty of suspension to devour all but the roughest tracks, but still feels likely and playful. The supple rear end maintains traction over brake bumps and in loose scree or moon dust. Honestly, I haven't found a trail condition this bike doesn't handle with ease.
When comparing this bike to others that are similar to it, I found the Bronson to simply be more fun. It wants to pop off every feature in the trail, and loves pumping over rollers to gain more speed. This bike brings a smile to my face every time I ride it. Ultimately, this is why I chose this bike over the Santa Cruz Hightower LT, Yeti SB6 or SB5.5, Pivot Mach 5.5, and Ibis Mojo HD4.
The spec on this build is hard to beat. X01 Eagle is hands down the smoothest shifting, and best performing groupset on the market. Paired with a Rockshox Reverb Stealth with 1x lever, Sram Guide RSC brakes, and Santa Cruz carbon handlebar, this bike is spec'd with the best money can buy. On top of that, Santa Cruz now offers their own line of Reserve wheels. Typically, I am a fan of a good aluminum wheel as most carbon wheels are just too stiff. That's not the case here. The Reserve wheels have just enough compliance built into them while still being stiff and lightweight. Had I not ridden the Hightower LT with the Reserve wheels before buying this bike I likely would have chosen the alloy wheels. After riding the Reserve wheels, and knowing how well they track through rough sections of trail, I couldn't pass up the option to spec the Bronson with a pair.
You can call me a Santa Cruz fanboy, and admittedly I am. But smiles per mile are what I care about most, and I haven't found a bike we carry that offers more smiles per mile than the Bronson. If fun is what you value most the Bronson is worth a good hard look.