New year can only mean one thing right – New bike! Yep, I’ve started the year with some new wheels .. After testing both the Santa Cruz 5010 and the Bronson, I made a difficult decision to go for the Bronson .. After exploring the range I narrowed it down to two bikes. Both bikes rode amazingly and both differed in their own way, which left me feeling a bit confused as to which model to go for. After sitting down and thinking about what I needed from a bike, I decided to go for the Bronson for this reason..
I need a bike that is versatile, a bike that can do anything! As it’s my job to ride a bike I need something that I coach on, running beginner courses all the way up to working with fast XC racers, I need a bike which is going to be comfortable at the lower end speeds but can hold it’s own when I’m coaching young riders that have speed and youth on their side! As well as using it for my everyday coaching horse, I also need a bike which I can race Enduros, cope with the alps, bike parks, everyday riding.. But most importantly, something that suited my riding style, which was fun and playful!
You could say any of the Santa Cruz range is going to be fun and playful, which you’re right .. But the Bronson was the bike that stood out for me, everything from looks to performance – The bike has it all! When I first received the Bronson I was concerned at what the pedalling was going to be like as I was moving from a 29er onto the 27.5, so my main two cons were rolling speeds and climbing. I use to race a 27.5 carbon XC hardtail so I knew the bike would be quick from a standing start but would lose out on the top end rolling speeds. Also I was surprised that the demo bike that arrived didn’t have a lock out of the rear suspension. On my previous bike (160mm travel 29er) I was often locking the rear shock out when doing race efforts with clients, so I was pretty sceptical with not having a lock out.
My concerns soon got blown out of the water after the first small climb leaving the shop, hands down I have never ridden a bike that is so planted and composed as the Bronson, in my opinion it climbed better than the 5010! A different style of peddling; a more progressive seated effort, but hugs the tarmac/trails better than any bike I’ve ever ridden, and I’ve ridden and owned some awesome bikes! The demo bike I rode had the Santa Cruz Reserve wheels on and of course .. Rode superbly, from a standing start they were quick off the mark but were also very capable on the road – top end speed. This was clear to see within the first 200m leaving the shop.
I then took the bike into a local wood, where some lads from the shop had been doing some digging and was great to see what they’d been up to! It’s only a small section of woodland but it’s compacted with everything from climbs; progressive and aggressive. Jumps, drops, corners .. Everything you would wish for and would see on any trails. The bike once again impressed me, quick, sharp on the steering, super playful, goes through it’s travel amazingly! Although you’re using a lot of travel it doesn’t feel that way, that’s down to the linkage.. I’m not even sure if it’s possible to bottom out the rear shock, or I may have done but not felt it with it being so smooth through it’s stroke!
After my first test ride, just riding a fairly chilled mellow loop but hitting every drop, jump, creating lines anywhere and everywhere I realised that the Bronson still have that play factor but will tackle bigger drops and jumps more easily than the 5010. Giving you more confidence when riding the bigger, steeper trails. The Bronson was the bike for me!
I’ve now had the bike for just over 1 month and it just keeps on giving! I went for the Bronson C frame, with the S + Kit, Fox 36 Float performance fork up front and a Rochshox Super Deluxe R rear shock, running SRAM GX Eagle groupset rolling on reserve carbon wheels, decided to go for the 2.6mm tyres, wider rim for the fact that the bike would be able to do anything! Also it’s a demo bike so going to build some standard 30mm rims with some 2.4mm tyres on so clients have the option, also the 35mm rims will take 2.4mm tyres.
After riding the bike, getting a proper feel for it, I feel I have made the perfect decision.. The Bronson’s the bike for me. I have ridden the bike everywhere locally and it’s been mint, also taking it to Leeds Urban bike park where once again it was in it’s element. Shouting at me all day “go higher”, “go faster” .. It just gives you so much confidence on the jumps and speed throughout the trails, hugs every corner.. Although I did find with the wider tyres you’ve got to bank it over a lot more and bring your weight further into the bike, lowering your centre of gravity.. That obviously comes with speed.. Still making small adjustments but feel I have got the bike pretty dialled. And of course finished it off with Burgtec goodness – Ride Wide Enduro Carbon handlebars, penthouse MK4 pedals, Enduro Mk2 stem 35mm reach, bartender grips and my favourite saddle: Burgtec cloud!
That’s my dream bike and the new love in my life!! If you are looking for your dream bike, get in touch with myself Ben at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the shop on: 01653 692548
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed my ride review on the Santa Cruz Bronson!
Ben (Owner of No Limits Cycling)