Check out the first ride review on the Santa Cruz Bronson C form the guys at Vital MTB.
Climbing and Pedaling the Bronson
The initial climb up to the trail network was first a paved road and bike path followed by singletrack of varying steepness and technical difficulty. On the road with the Fox Float CTD rear shock set to the softest “Descend” position, a very slight amount of movement (2-3mm) at the shock was detectable while pedaling. This movement was easily cancelled out by flipping the CTD lever to “Climb” mode.
Once the pavement turned to dirt and roots and rocks replaced the paved bike path, I set the shock to the softest “Descend” position to see how well the bike climbed. Relying solely on VPP’s anti-squat characteristics and the shock tune, even in the softest CTD setting, the bike pedaled efficiently up anything I encountered. The larger wheels and revised geometry helped maintain traction on the climbs, over roots and rocks and slippery terrain. While pedaling through bumps I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of noticeable pedal feedback.
The Bronson seems to have hit the nail on the head as far as pedaling characteristics. I spent the rest of the ride in the “Descend” position and never once felt the need to touch the lever. The 13.5-inch (measured) bottom bracket height required a slight amount of conscious effort to avoid pedal strikes over roots and rocks, but in no way seemed too low.
When the climbs got especially steep, the 73-degree seat tube angle combined with the 17.3-inch chainstay length helped maintain proper weight bias while pedaling seated. The front end only wandered slightly on steep, seated climbs when the fork encountered a sizable bump. Overall, the Bronson handled steep climbs well whether seated or standing.
Pointing the Bronson Downhill
Once we arrived at the top and dropped in to our first trail of many it became very obvious what the Bronson’s intended purpose is…it’s meant to be ridden hard and fast! Cornering traction was impressive on the stock 2.3-inch Maxxis High Roller II tires, despite some rather dry trail conditions. The bike inspires confidence in the corners and rewards riders with an aggressive, more-forward riding style.
Transitioning from corner to corner was very good. The Bronson has no hiccups in its handling while changing lines last minute. It’s a very playful yet stable bike. For me, there was no real learning curve with the Bronson and its 27.5-inch wheels. The speeds the bike could handle felt much higher than my comparably-traveled 26-inch wheeled bike, and the harder you push this bike, the better it works, which is a great feeling.
What’s The Bottom Line?
Whether you’re racing competitively or just riding and having fun, the Bronson is an excellent bike that inspires you to push the limits. It’s definitely a bike I wouldn’t mind owning because of how much fun it is to ride! It truly is the Santa Cruz bike that was “20 years in the making,” and represents decades of refinement and the best advancements in their craft since the company’s beginning on Bronson Street.
As for the star rating, I’m going to have to go ahead and give it 5 stars, especially since my personal bike (the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO) just recently got a 5 star rating from the Vital MTB Test Sessions. I, without a doubt, like the Bronson more. It’s encouraging to see progress like this from year to year.
For more information on the all-new Bronson call the shop on 01694 781515 or click here.
We have our Santa Cruz Bronson C demo bike coming soon! Watch the cool video below to see why you need to ride it!