by Wil Barrett
September 23, 2016
For anyone on the outside, it would seem that lately, Californian brand Santa Cruz can seemingly do no wrong. Every new model that Santa Cruz releases stirs up a combined frenzy of intrigue and lust, whether it be a short travel trail bike like the Tallboy, or a long-travel enduro slayer like the new Bronson.
During Eurobike 2016, Santa Cruz had an enormous booth to show off their shiniest and blingiest of bikes, and several people they employed all day long to help mop up all of the drool from the surrounding floors. That said, they also had some value-oriented bikes on display, which are built around their new line of alloy framesets. All up, the range is expanding dramatically, and we suspect that has a bit to do with a cash-injection after Santa Cruz was bought out last year by Dutch giant Pon Holdings.
As we reported on back in July, Santa Cruz is indeed still making metal mountain bikes. Not everyone of us has the budget for a carbon superbike, and not everyone of us is entirely sold by owning a mountain bike built from carbon fibre. For those with a mandate for metal, Santa Cruz offers most of their mountain bike frames in an alloy alternative, such as the Bronson pictured here. You can get it as an individual frame for £1599, or as a complete bike from £2999.
Welding = not carbon. This is the alloy Bronson, and while it’s a bit heavier than the carbon version, it’s a lot more accessible price wise, and is likely to appeal to mountain bikers who are worried about scratching their blingy carbon superbike.
The alloy Bronson shares the same VPP suspension design as the carbon model, with 150mm of travel out back and slick locking collet pivot hardware tightening everything down.
Santa Cruz quietly introduced BOOST 148x12mm thru-axle spacing on their full suspension mountain bikes, which on the 27.5in models like the Bronson, has largely been done to keep up with the Jones’s. On the 29in models, it’s been used to shorten the chainstay lengths a bit.
Despite the VPP design being similar, there is a different lower linkage arrangement on the alloy frames to the carbon models. The alloy Bronson features a lower linkage that is more similar to the previous carbon Bronson, which we suspect is a manufacturing cost decision. The new carbon Bronson uses a much smaller link that tucks into the seat tube above the bottom bracket, which would have likely been quite difficult to achieve with alloy tubing.
The versatile Hightower that Barney reviewed not long ago is available in both 29in and 27.5in wheel options. Here it’s shown in its chubby configuration.
Another alloy option from Santa Cruz, this time the new Tallboy. Like the Hightower, you can setup the Tallboy with either 27.5+ or 29in wheels. This yellow canary was setup with 29in wheels, with a 120mm fork up front, Maxxis rubber and 110mm rear travel.
A popular trail bike for UK mountain bikers, the Santa Cruz 5010 has been re-released this year in an alloy tubeset. Like the Bronson, it shares the same geometry and suspension design as the carbon version, but offers that performance at a much more attainable price point.
The alloy frames feature a threaded bottom bracket shell, 2x compatibility and external cabling for the derailleurs and brakes. Along with the serviceable pivots, it should make for a highly durable mountain bike that’s easy to live with and easy to work on. We like.
Ok so back to the bling. Murdered-out carbon 5010 with RaceRace ARC rims and Fox Performance suspension front to back.
Yes, Santa Cruz are still making hardtails too. The Highball is available to fit either 27.5in or 29in wheel sizes, with both bikes being compatible with 100-120mm travel forks and up to 2.3in wide rubber.
The carbon model features integrated rubber armouring around the chainstay and slim seat stays to help smooth out the rubble on the trail. Santa Cruz has also used a 27.2mm diameter seatpost to help encourage some flex there, but it does mean you’re a bit limited if you want to run a dropper post.
All of the updates on the Santa Cruz range have been carried over to the Juliana brand too, which struck us as being the best looking bikes in the Santa Cruz booth. What do you think?
This is the Joplin. It’s compatible with 29in and 27.5+ wheels and offers 110mm of rear wheel travel via the VPP design. It’s essentially the ladies version of the Tallboy, and comes with a lighter suspension tune and specially selected cockpit items to better suit female riders. Otherwise, it’s the same frame underneath that gorgeous matte blue paint job.
The Furtado is the 5010’s sister, and features 130mm of travel out back, with the ability to take a 120-140mm travel fork. 67-degree head angle and shorter chainstays make the new Furtado a highly capable short-travel trail bike for those who aren’t quite XC and aren’t quite Enduro, but are somewhere in between.
One-piece carbon swingarm with BOOST 148x12mm thru-axle dropouts. Loving the look of that neat lower VPP linkage, and hows the mint paint job??
…to match that Gold SRAM Eagle chain. The 12-speed drivetrain was EVERYWHERE at Eurobike, with the gargantuan 10-50t cassette being called upon for many brands high-end build kits.
Oh and we could not walk past Steve Peat’s V-10 without snapping some photos of his one-off Fort William paint job.