First Look: 2016 Santa Cruz Bronson

The 150mm travel do it all bike has been made more capable

27.5 All Mountain Trail
Slacker head angle, longer top tube, shorter chainstays are some of the updates to this newest Bronson.

Slacker head angle, longer top tube, shorter chainstays are some of the updates to this newest Bronson. All photos by Gary Perkin (click to enlarge).

The Santa Cruz Bronson took the world by storm when it was introduced a couple years ago. Here was a full carbon early adopter bike perched on the 27.5 wheel size. It was a 150mm travel bike that seemed outgunned by bigger bikes and out maneuvered by smaller travel bikes. But what the Bronson revealed was a massive sweet spot. It could do it all it seemed, from trail rides to all day adventures or Enduro World Series events.

The lower pivot has been above the bottom bracket to tidy up the underside of the bike significantly.

The lower pivot has been above the bottom bracket to tidy up the underside of the bike significantly (click to enlarge).

So updating it so soon in its product cycle seemed like a risky proposition. At first glance it seemed like a just an eye-catching color treatment. But digging deeper, one realizes that they touched just about every part of this frame. Changes are subtle but sweeping at the same time. They made the bike more capable in all aspects of All Mountain aggressive riding. And they seemed to expand the already broad sweet spot of the bike.

What Changed?

The changes though subtle, are extensive. Travel has been been maintained at 150mm but the quality of travel has been changed quite a bit. Geometry, cosmetics, routing and other details were changed as well.

The upper link now hangs from the top tube instead of the seat tube. This allows the top tube to be lowered.

The upper link now hangs from the top tube instead of the seat tube. This allows the top tube to be lowered (click to enlarge).

Revised Suspension Tune

This bike has learned a lot from its big brother the 165mm travel Nomad. The travel has been improved to be more plush and more responsive. Just like the 5010 and the new Juliana bikes, the Bronson is more active and controlled at the limits

Key Suspension Changes
  • Higher Initial Leverage
  • Increased small-bump sensitivity + Better traction
  • Flatter Overall Curve
  • Consistent feel throughout travel + FOX EVOL air can for less wallow
  • Progressive Curve
  • Appropriately tuned to travel + Resists excessive bottom out
Frame Evolution

This photo sequence shows the Version 1 frame, the mule and the finished Version 2 Bronson frame.

Version 1 frame

Version 1 frame (click to enlarge).

Version 2 mule

Version 2 mule (click to enlarge).

Version 2 frame

Version 2 frame (click to enlarge).

Continue to page 2 for more of what changed and a full photo gallery ยป

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • bryan says:

    I’m sorry I didn’t read the article, I couldn’t get past the ghey as a 3 dollar bill paint and graphic schemes stolen from a skittles bag.

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