Santa Cruz Bronson V3 first look

Revamped suspension with modern geometry

27.5 All Mountain Trail News
In Primer Gray

In Primer Gray

What changed

The Bronson is slotted between the 5010 and Nomad and parallel to the Hightower. Thus it’s not really allowed to change travel and wheel size. So how did they improve it? The answer is suspension, geometry, tire size and details. The suspension is now a lower-link style like the Nomad to give it a more linear suspension curve. At this amount of rear travel, the dip in the outgoing Bronson’s travel was the source of wallow and ire from very astute riders. This bike is now smoother on the rough stuff and big hits. And it climbs tech stuff better as well.

Geometry was due for and updated and they answered the call.

Geometry was due for and updated and they answered the call.

Geometry discussion

Part of the climbing prowess can be attributed to a more supportive suspension at the sag point where it doesn’t wallow and the rider feels efficient powering up tame or tech trails.

The seat angle has been a Santa Cruz Achilles heel of late and this Bronson addresses that with a 75.3 or 75-degree seat angle depending on the adjustable geometry rear link setting chosen. One of the great mergers between dropper posts and geometries is the freedom to choose steeper seat angles which work very well for climbing, putting the rider in a forward, leg-driving position. It also unloads the suspension during climbing and properly loads it when the rider is dropped down in attack position. The key is the dropper post allows the rider to drop the saddle, neutralize that steep seat angle for descents and allow the rider to move around and attack the descents.

Long and slack bikes reward a very active riding style

Long and slack bikes reward a very active riding style

Reach has now been increased by 15mm over the outgoing model. It’s 436mm for a medium in High mode. This is not on the long end of today’s geometry envelope but a welcome change indeed.

Cable entry is clean and angled

Cable entry is clean and angled


And typical of Santa Cruz releases these days, everything seems dialed. From paint schemes to stem lengths, everything seems flawless. They learn on every iteration and all the frame protection, cable entry/exits seem just right. Their aim seems to be to supply the rider with a bike that needs no upgrades and parts swaps and they will be successful in this endeavor.


Bars are too wide for most at 800mm but they can be cut (by the motivated ones). The lower link now interrupts the seat tube so riders can’t push the dropper post envelope now. My 5’8″ stature can still do a 150mm dropper post but not 170mm. And the rear shock area is tight indeed, not allowing the beloved Fox X2 or the current Push Elevensix.

But we can’t wait to throw a leg over it, long-term.

Josh preserves and unleashes energy with his front wheel.

Josh preserves and unleashes energy with his front wheel.

150mm VPP® rear travel

– Lower-link mounted shock
– Linearly-progressive leverage ratio
– It’s still VPP® – two short, counter-rotating links that connect the front and rear triangle to make a stout frame. Easily serviceable, reliable, lifetime bearing replacement
– VPP® is a versatile design that allows us to fine-tune suspension to suit the character of any model of bicycle, from XC to downhill, and everything in-between. The upper- and lower-link VPP gives us even more options when designing the suspension to suit the intended purpose of a bicycle. Like all Santa Cruz VPP bikes, the mantra is squish good, pedal good, no breaky.

2.8 clearance is supported thus allowing very knobby 2.6 tires plenty of mud clearance.

2.8 clearance is supported thus allowing very knobby 2.6 tires plenty of mud clearance.

27.5 and 27.5 Plus wheel bikes

– The fun-sized wheel size
– Frame clearance up to 2.8-inch tires
– 2.6-inch tire options available on 35-37mm rim width
– 2.6-inch tires provide extra volume compared to traditional tires (2.1-2.5-inch) to get the benefits of fatter (Plus) tires but with the precision of smaller volume tires.
– Santa Cruz Reserve 30 and Reserve 37 carbon wheel option on S-kit and above
– Lifetime guarantee Reserve wheels
– All wheels (both aluminum and carbon Reserve built in-house)

Nice touch on the badging

Nice touch on the badging

Available in CC, C carbon and aluminum

– 5 sizes: from XS to XL
– Lifetime warranty on all frames

Spec general:

– Fox 160mm fork travel
– 200mm front, 180mm rear rotors
– Piggyback RockShox shock, bearing eyelets on all price points (RockShox Super Deluxe spec- fits Fox DPX2) – Dropper with internal routing
– Reserve wheel offered on S thru XX1
– Two color choices: Industry Blue and Primer Grey

Lower link suspension delivers a more linear curve

Lower link suspension delivers a more linear curve


– Dual uprights on rear triangle (stiff, stout, evenly distributes forces going through frame/suspension) – Internal cables (fully channeled on front triangle, guided on rear)
– threaded BB
– bolt-on shuttle guard
– rear shock cover
– ‘Chunnel’ for shock, still useable seat post insertion and internal routing for droppers
– Bottle cage inside the front triangle

Clearance for up to 2.8 tires

Clearance for up to 2.8 tires


– Reach grows by 15mm per size
– 10 mm lower standover
– 1-degree steeper and 1-inch shorter seat tube (longer droppers help) – 65.1-degree head angle in ‘Low’ setting, 65.4-degree in ‘High’
– 75-degree seat angle
– Weight:

Santa Cruz Bronson and Juliana Roubion Pricing

Frame Only
• AL $1999
• CC $3299

AL Bikes
• R $3499
• S $4199

C Bikes
• R $4399
• S $5199
• S Reserve $6399

CC Bikes
• X01 $6999
• X01 Reserve $8199
• XX1 Reserve $9499
• XTR Reserve $9899

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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