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Bronson 27.5+ S Complete Mountain Bike
The Santa Cruz Bronson is a longtime favorite around the office, being regarded as one of the pack leaders in the all-mountain category ever since the initial release in 2013. Excelling on everything from all-day missions on rugged backcountry singletrack, to hot laps at the bike park, or even a bit of enduro racing, the Bronson is a jack of all trades that's equally confident taking the straight line through a chunky rock garden as it is airing over it entirely. The newest version of the Bronson (now in its third generation) receives a new lower-link VPP design inspired by the Nomad, longer and slacker geometry that's also adjustable, and compatibility with up to 2.8in wide plus tires in order to meet the increasing versatility riders demand from a modern mountain bike. With these cumulative changes, the Bronson 27.5+ S Complete Mountain Bike is ready to tackle aggressive terrain with even more speed, fun, and confidence.
The most noticeable difference with the new Bronson is the transition to a lower-link VPP design like the one found on the Nomad and V10. The bike maintains the same 150mm rear travel as previous generations, but the lower-link VPP allows a more linear suspension curve for better sensitivity throughout the stroke, resulting in better small-bump absorption while retaining good mid-stroke support and smooth bottom out progression. The revised suspension maintains the same efficient pedaling and climbing performance of previous generations, but increases traction on rough trails and descents, letting you push your limits with more confidence than ever.
The Bronson also sees some significant changes to geometry that push it further into the enduro spectrum. The reach and wheelbase are longer and the head tube is slacker, providing more stability during high speed sections of trail and long, technical descents. The geometry is also adjustable via a flip chip in the linkage, allowing you to tune the handling to suit the trail at hand. Of course, Santa Cruz understands that pedaling prowess matters on an all-mountain bike, so they balanced the long and slack geo by steepening the seat tube angle to 75.3-degrees in the high geometry position and 75-degrees in the low position. This puts the rider in a better position for putting power down to the pedals and combined with the inherent efficiency of the VPP platform, the bike tackles tough climbs very well for a bike with six inches of travel.
The last major change is the increased tire clearance on the frame. The new Bronson can accept up to a 2.8in tire with the flip-chip in the high position. This version comes with 2.6in tires on 35mm internal width rims, which finds a good balance between the precise handling and lower rolling resistance of 2.3 - 2.5in tires and the rock-crawling traction of meaty plus tires. Should you want to throw some 2.8in rubber on there, these rims are wide enough to support it with a good tread profile.
This particular bike comes with a bombproof aluminum frame backed by Santa Cruz's renowned lifetime warranty, as well as components that leave nothing to be desired for the pragmatic rider. The GX Eagle drivetrain has a seriously wide gear range capable of tackling steep terrain both up and down the mountain, with a 50t bailout gear for exceptionally tough climbs—all while delivering quiet operation, infallible chain retention, and precise shifts for quick accelerations. When you have to keep your momentum in check, DH-worthy SRAM Code R brakes do it well with plenty of stopping power and modulation. The 160mm Fox fork with burly 36mm stanchions is torsionally stiff and works well with the Rockshox Super Deluxe R rear shock to damp rough trails while delivering uncompromising traction. Lastly, proven Maxxis rubber keeps the bike glued to the ground on everything from fast hardpack straightaways to super loose silty corners, and comes set up tubeless for self-sealing peace of mind out on the trail.
- Santa Cruz manages to improve their all-mountain masterpiece
- 6in of smooth yet efficient travel confidently conquers any trail
- Lower-link VPP suspension improves plushness and sensitivity
- Longer, slacker geometry for improved stability on speedy descents
- Steeper seat tube angle keeps things pedal-friendly on the climbs
- Adjustable geometry via flip chip suits a wide range of terrain
- Clearance for up to 27.5 x 2.8in "plus" tires
- Comes with a sturdy aluminum frame and a workhorse build kit
- Item #SNZ00JH
- Q & A
27.5's get it done
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
27.5's get it done
Right from the start let's get this straight, I'm going to be comparing the Bronson to my Ibis HD4. These two 27's crush the dowhills and work really well in the turns. The main difference in my opinion is the rear linkage. The VPP linkage for the Bronson is nice and subtle over the small bumps, but I feel when climbing it simple runs into a ledge then decides it wants climb up and over. The DW link on the HD4 feels like it will climb over the edges better. If you are to ride both bikes down the road and pedal over a bunch of 2x4's the Bronson will feel a bit smoother if you like to stay seated in the saddle and just smash over it.
Overall this is a great ride, that you can spend the day pedaling around just keep in mind that it's more suited for pointing it down the mountain rather than up it.
Lifetime frame warranty
Crushes the downhill
While standing in the climb it feels like it sacks out the rear end
Limited aftermarket shock options
Pedal efficiency climbing square edges and rocks
5'9"32" inseam / 172 lbs
Size Ridden Large