Hot News: Santa Cruz launches more affordable carbon bikes, bars and grips

27.5 29er All Mountain Trail Components Cross Country News

Bronson, 5010 and Tallboy gain a little weight but drop big dollars

2015 Santa Cruz Bronson Green

Santa Cruz has announced both new colors and a new lower-priced carbon version of three of their most popular bikes—the Bronson, 5010 and Tallboy.

Responding to concerns over rising bike costs, Santa Cruz announced the release of less expensive but slightly heavier carbon versions of their Bronson, 5010 and Tallboy models today. Though an exact savings is hard to determine because the build levels differ, the new frames look to knock around $800 off the price of their higher-zoot brethren and add just over a half-pound in weight. A full-carbon Santa Cruz dual-suspension bike can now be had for a fairly reasonable $3600.

Each of the three models will now be available in three formats—aluminum, the new mid-level carbon—simply called “Carbon”—and the long-available premium carbon, now referred to as “Carbon C.” Santa Cruz has divided their builds on complete bikes to roughly equate the frame level with its parts mix. The Carbon gets mid-level build options while the Carbon C ships with high-end componentry only. Some combination of shock, fork, and wheel upgrades are available on all complete bikes, and for frame-only buyers, the aluminum and Carbon C are the only choices.

2015 Santa Cruz Pricing

“The whole idea of the (new) Carbon frame is to get lower carbon complete bike package pricing with a relatively small weight penalty,” said Santa Cruz Media and Communications Manager Scott Turner. “Getting more people on carbon without breaking the bank is the goal.”

Different flavors of carbon

So just what are the differences between Carbon and Carbon C? Santa Cruz says the grades of material are different, which likely means they use a higher modulus carbon on the Carbon C and a lower modulus material for Carbon models. In the latter case, they need to use more of it to achieve the same stiffness, resulting in the weight difference.

“Working with our exclusive manufacturing partner, we used the same proprietary processes to create lower cost carbon frames that retained the same legendary strength and stiffness Santa Cruz are known for,” says Santa Cruz Engineering & Quality Director Joe Graney. “We achieved this by using a different grade of carbon material that results in a minimal weight gain of approximately 250-280 grams (0.6 lbs).”

2015 Santa Cruz Tallboy

Color schemes for these models are the same no matter what the material—aluminum, Carbon or Carbon C. Santa Cruz has added a number of new options—including the handsome white/burgundy combo on the Tallboy—all of which are posted in our gallery below.

Advantage Santa Cruz and, perhaps, you

The new carbon level should help Santa Cruz better compete on price with larger, full-spectrum brands like Giant, Trek and Specialized. And while some riders can tell the difference between carbon levels on ultra-light road bikes, the distinctions are harder to define on mountain bikes with high-volume tires and gobs of suspension travel. Essentially, the choice between the carbon levels becomes a weight-for-dollars proposition. But because you can “only” get as high as Santa Cruz’s S-level build kit on the new frame platform, the componentry plays in to the equation as well. You can’t buy, for instance, a new Bronson Carbon with an XX1 build kit, so the weight differential will be more than solely the half-pound difference between frames.

Still, the new models offer comparable stiffness to their premium counterparts, which is a significant improvement over their lower-priced aluminum siblings. Spending the $400 to get a Carbon over aluminum, then upgrading to lighter parts over time seems like a pretty good strategy to us. While not cheap, the $4,700 Bronson Carbon S-build with a RockShox Pike fork and Reverb Stealth seatpost is a great value for the price-point.

No word yet on other models getting the mid price-point carbon—the new Nomad, Tallboy LT and Highball hardtail all appear on the Santa Cruz website as Carbon C models.

New Santa Cruz handlebars and grips

Santa Cruz Rob Roskopp

Santa Cruz Grand Poobah Rob Roskopp puts the new Santa Cruz carbon bars through their paces on his Nomad. Photo by Gary Perkin

Citing their growing materials expertise, Santa Cruz has ventured into production of their own line of carbon handlebars. Only original spec on some of their high-end complete bikes for now, Santa Cruz says the new bars will eventually be available in the aftermarket.

Santa Cruz Handlebar

Stealthy and light, the new Santa Cruz bars are currently only available on some of their complete bikes, but will be aftermarket items in the future.

The new bars come in four versions between 720 and 800mm with the two higher rise models sporting 35mm clamp diameters and the two flat bars sticking with traditional 31.8mm bulges.

2015 Santa Cruz Handlebar Specs

To hang on to said new bars, Santa Cruz has come out with a grip they call Palmdale. The single lock-ring grips taper on the outer edge and feature a generous 125mm width. Like the bars, they’ll be black and Santa Cruz OEM-only initially. Eventually, the company plans to offer a variety of colors and sell them in the aftermarket as well.

Santa Cruz Palmdale Grip

Stealthy and light, the new Santa Cruz bars are currently only available on some of their complete bikes, but will be aftermarket items in the future.

For more information visit santacruzbicycles.com.

Hot News: Santa Cruz launches more affordable carbon bikes, bars and grips Gallery
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Santa Cruz Tallboy C R

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Santa Cruz Tallboy C S

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2015 Santa Cruz Tallboy

Color schemes for these models are the same no matter what the material—aluminum, Carbon or Carbon C. Santa Cruz has added a number of new options—including the handsome white/burgundy combo on the Tallboy—all of which are posted in our gallery below.
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2015 Santa Cruz Bronson Green

Santa Cruz has announced both new colors and a new lower-priced carbon version of three of their most popular bikes—the Bronson, 5010 and Tallboy.
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Santa Cruz Bronson C R

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Santa Cruz 5010 C R

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Santa Cruz 5010 C S

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Santa Cruz Rob Roskopp

Santa Cruz Grand Poobah Rob Roskopp puts the new Santa Cruz carbon bars through their paces on his Nomad. Photo by Gary Perkin
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Santa Cruz Handlebar

Stealthy and light, the new Santa Cruz bars are currently only available on some of their complete bikes, but will be aftermarket items in the future.
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Santa Cruz Carbon 720 Flat Bar

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Santa Cruz Carbon 760 Bar

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Santa Cruz Carbon 760 Flat Bar

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Santa Cruz Carbon 800 Bar

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Santa Cruz Palmdale Grip

Stealthy and light, the new Santa Cruz bars are currently only available on some of their complete bikes, but will be aftermarket items in the future.
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2015 Santa Cruz Handlebar Specs

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2015 Santa Cruz Pricing

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About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born editorial director Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area and pedaling for Mtbr, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.


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  • Mike Grelecki says:

    $3500 is not low price for anyone but it is a good price if you have a Rockshox Fork and a CTD Fox Shock. Remember, you still NEED pedals but you dont NEED a telescoping seat post though its nice.

  • r1Gel says:

    Wow, that Tallboy looks nice!
    Kudos to SC for venturing into handlebars.

  • Massimo Gross says:

    R.I.P. to the blur line, you have served us well, you will be missed.

    Is 26 really, actually, dead?

  • Paul Nadeau says:

    While I appreciate the price point they are trying to achieve, I think offering the option of the Fox fork would be great as an small upgrade over the RS Sektor.

  • Loll says:

    still waiting for aluminum nomad 3…when?

  • G says:

    The new 5010 with the pike looks magical, btw whose the schmo
    above killin the stoke on these new bikes?

  • RZ says:

    $3500 IS cheap for a premium MTN bike! No, its not cheap, of course you can get any bike to ride the trails for under a grand but if you are a real rider and this is an important hobby, $3500 isn’t that much… If you cant afford it, don’t cry, save your money and buy a used one! Why is this so hard???

  • CG says:

    What is the price of the cheaper carbon, frame only? esp Tallboy

  • Guy says:

    What is the price of the Bronson pictured? If that bike is 6,400 that is an amazing deal.

  • Andrea says:

    Very confusing. I undestand the market reasons but there is something wrong in the timing. They should have done this before!!! I have a 5010 carbon still named “Solo” and when I will sell the bike who will know, apart from the color, if is carbon or carbon c?
    It’s hard to believe that in the future Santa Cruz will continue to produce 3 frame options for each model.

  • Chris says:

    Who the hell is the graphic designer for Santa Cruz? The new Bronson colors are pathetic. Thank god I got mine in the matte black…

  • Risch says:

    All the arguments and chatter in this tread are pointless. You all are talking about the latest and greatest. If you can’t afford a particular bike, just buy a earlier year model or wait. All bikes are cheaper then, sometimes thousands cheaper. Who buys directly from the manufacture anyway, it will always be more expensive. A dealer can buy in bulk and pass the savings on to the consumer. If you can afford the latest and greatest, I doubt that you care about the price. Those guys are buying high end bikes no matter the price. Thanks MTB for the article whoever paid for it. It was informative and interesting. I love hearing about the latest news even if I can’t afford it now, in a year or two it will be affordable for me.

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