Santa Cruz Bronson – No April Fool

Santa Cruz Bronson 27.5"

Santa Cruz Bronson 27.5″

In the tradition of Santa Cruz Bicycles April 1 launches details of the Bronson are available today.

The Santa Cruz Bronson platform sets the bar for factory supported all mountain 27.5” bicycles.  The Bronson wasn’t rushed into production like many of the competition’s 27.5” offerings, rather designed, diagnosed, and developed.  Santa Cruz’ attention to a singular initial platform will be appreciated by riders on single track everywhere.

Rider’s only need to look at the race course to realize something interesting is going on with the medium sized wheel.  Racers from DH to Enduro are demanding product development to give them the extra speed capacity from 27.5” wheels.   The Bronson’s 5.9” (150mm) of travel paired with the larger terrain capacity of 27.5” wheels produce an all mountain capable bike with significantly more downhill capacity than most 6.3” (160mm) 26” competitors.  Take the additional climbing and XC performance of the medium wheel into account and it’s hard not to appreciate the development of this bike.  Having a quicker bike uphill and through the flats, nearly all of your ride, that is equally as capable when descending is a magic combination.

The Bronson has all the top quality features riders have come to appreciate from the Santa Cruz brand.  Refined VPP suspension, unmatched carbon fiber technology, upgraded bearing design and application (along with an original owner’s lifetime warranty on bearings!), lifetime original owner crash replacement options, and new to the Santa Cruz lineup Reverb Stealth cable routing are some of the most notable.

The personality of an individual Bronson will be dependent on setup and tune.  As a dedicated 27.5” bike the frame will have a bit greater tire capacity than a conversion.  Investigate with your resource to determine what tire combination will provide you the greatest performance band for your individual riding needs.  The additional diameter affects the overall performance of your tires substantially.  A 26”x2.35” tire will not have the same characteristics as a 27.5”x2.35”.  Don’t let your new purchase disappoint you seeming sluggish out the door – wheel and tire technology are major influences on your bike’s overall performance.

Why did Santa Cruz offer the Bronson at 150mm?  The Bike Company ( has worked developing 27.5” technology with many companies over the past 24 months.   From XC race rigs, Enduro setups, pleasure bikes to park bikes we have tested and refined what works and what doesn’t in 27.5 (650b).  Some of our favorite 27.5 bikes for Southern California sit in the 5.7-6.2” travel range.  They offer enough downhill personality and confidence for aggressive, chunky, steep terrain and the XC pace to keep the transitional trails fun between your drops.  With appropriate cockpit setup, wheel/ tire personality, and suspension tune these bikes are capable all mountain rippers.  There likely is another reason tied to the expense of designing, developing and producing bicycle frames at this level – Santa Cruz has a very capable shorter travel 27.5 (650b) capable platform available already.  The Blur TRC.

If riders are interested in a svelte 27.5” option a custom tuned Blur TRC provides the larger diameter benefits on a more XC based platform.  The rider drawn to the Blur TRC is looking for ultimate XC performance – meaning they will be running narrower tires then the 150mm crowd – negating the clearance issue.  NOTE: it requires more than just shimming shock stroke to modify a 26” bicycle to carry 27.5” wheels. and other shops at this level will address many factors on rear suspension to protect frame, tires, and riders.  The addressed factors also maintain the designed chassis personality.  The reason you are looking at a refined VPP frame is the performance – don’t compromise it by taking suspension performance outside of its optimum working band.

A word to the wise – simply because a manufacturer produces a spec does not mean every resource is capable of competently consulting your buying experience.   The 27.5” technology, application, and trail performance are still new to the majority of the industry.  Until a greater public understanding is reached the internet, trails, and lower end retailers will buzz with the published numbers that they will interpret in any manner they wish.  Price, Weight, and Geometry.

Pricing on a high performance mountain bike frame is somewhat deceiving.  Frame to Frame the chassis that offer top tier performance are quite close on price.  The $200-$500 savings on a second tier manufacturer’s frame is quickly spent chasing performance with different cockpit setups, wheel and tire combos, etc.  By the time it is obvious that the frame itself is quirky you’re upside down on the purchase.  Comparing the price on the same frame between resources can be just as confusing.  Experienced sales staff will help you to define your build spec to optimize your on trail enjoyment.  At The Bike Company we feel for each individual rider’s needs there are likely 2-3 top tier frames that are appropriate.   Each of those frames represents approximately 5 different built themes (suspension, tires, wheels, cockpit, drivetrain) weaving in budget, rider size, riding aspirations, existing injuries, terrain size, etc.  Even in its most basic layout that means your 2 frame choices represent at least 10 different performance specs.  Does the webstore based out of a dorm room have the capacity to competently discuss these applications with you?  Does the online discounter selling derailleurs $10 above wholesale have the mechanical staff to build your dream bike for both initial performance and longevity?  We both know they do not.  Bicycles at this level are not point and click purchases.  Discuss your wants and needs with your resource.  Gain an understanding of what is out there and who it is applicable for.  By the way – the very best dealers will also work with you on price…

Weight is important to MTB performance.  Remember that where the weight is located affects performance.  Stiffness, build integrity and lifespan are all important factors on frame weight.  Top tier manufacturers all produce appropriately light frames.  Understand that lower end manufacturers will throw this number around to gain attention – but there is likely a substantial performance drop associated with an unrealistic weight.

Geometry of bike frames has been a discussion since the first frame was built.  I will refrain from producing a thesis on the subject but would like to touch on a handful of numbers that I hear discussions about.  Headtube angle – important yes – however it is also tied to trail, rake, axle to crown, tire height, suspension sag, front end grip vs push, etc.  There is not a magic headtube angle for every application.  Discuss your riding terrain and skill set with your resource to determine how to maximize performance on a particular frame.  Bottom Bracket height – again important but somewhat misunderstood.  Bottom bracket height is also tied with headtube angle, tire height, and suspension sag.  There is a range of ideal bottom bracket heights depending on rider, bike and use.  Bottom bracket height isn’t really an apples to apples comparison and is minutely controllable with minor spec modifications.  I feel that chain stay length and wheelbase are very important to performance personality without ever being part of the conversation.  Long and the short of it – unless you know the formula the numbers probably won’t add up!  BikeCo doesn’t do taxes, dentistry, etc – we build bikes and we do it well.  Work with a top tier resource and develop an understanding of which geometric factors are the most important for your riding goals.

Whether you are looking to spec anew (or update your existing 26” for conversion) 27.5” Santa Cruz Bronson, Blur TRC, Blur LT, Ibis HD, Ibis SL-R, Pivot 5.7 or Yeti SB66 The Bike Company is here to provide you the best possible on trail performance.  Don’t compromise performance – Demand More.

See you on the trails –




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