New bike thoughts: Bronson – Over hyped??

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  • New bike thoughts: Bronson – Over hyped??
  • Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    spending 500 quid on a cc db air is more of an issue!

    as for bronson, never ridden one but TT seems very short, on paper

    dirtyrider
    Member

    santa cruz frames are always short

    Rivett
    Member

    Got to say I’ve been very pleased with mine. First time on vpp and first time on a carbon mtb frame after owning 3 types of Heckler.

    I went down the frame, fork and wheel route bringing a fair amount of components over from the old bike. One thing that made me stick with Santa Cruz was the 5 year warranty.

    Whilst on holiday with a friend in 1998 we passed through Santa Cruz. As my original Heckler had developed a ‘rattle’ we looked up the factory in the phone directory. We cycled over and went in not knowing what response we would get. The guys were dead helpful and swapped the shock bushes out whilst we chatted about the local riding.

    Passing through Santa Cruz recently I e-mailed to see if we could have a look around the new factory. They were as friendly as they were over a decade ago and took the time to show us around the new set up. Although bigger it still seemed a cool set up. Skate boards in use to get around the place!

    Time will tell if I made the correct choice to swap off the Heckler but first impressions are good.

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear
    Subscriber

    Having had a carbon Zesty for nearly 5 years I think carbon is as bomb proof as anything. There is also a distinct difference in the ride between alu and carbon. I know which I prefer.

    neallyman
    Member

    Re the shock, now got a ccdb air on mine.
    For anybody looking to do the same I’d suggest trying a push tune on the fox first, or maybe a monarch. The ccdba is a marked improvement, but I’m not convinced a good tune on the original shock would have been any worse and it would save a wee but weight/££ over the cane creek.

    Carbon! No brainer. Lighter, stiffer, stronger.

    As for SC, they’re not for me. Too short in the top tube

    The Bronson does look the part though and the reviews read well. So if the sizing suits and you like how it rides then these are the important factors in making a buying decision.

    Does anyone else think SC have been very clever with their marketing/advertising though? They seem to sponsor everyman and his dog of late to get coverage of their bikes. From pro riders, to bike mag journalists to bearded West Yorkshire cyclists.

    Premier Icon darrenspink
    Subscriber

    In the UK its a Jungle products thing rather than SC themselves (I would think). And yes a grand here or there on people who are popular in the mtb world is great advertising.

    Might start a blog 😉

    GEDA
    Member

    I love biking but would never spend over £1500 on a bike, give me deore, thick thin cheapness everytime. I do admit I have a few bikes but one bike is never going to be a high mile cruncher and a downhill demon is it? There is no one perfect bike. Bike is 5% and rider is 95% so what is the point of spending your time working to pay for the bike instead of getting out there riding. Unless of course you are stinking rich.

    The best investment for improving my enjoyment skills and speed was by building some drops, gap jump and pump track in the backgarden.

    creamegg
    Member

    Re the shock, now got a ccdb air on mine.
    For anybody looking to do the same I’d suggest trying a push tune on the fox first, or maybe a monarch. The ccdba is a marked improvement, but I’m not convinced a good tune on the original shock would have been any worse and it would save a wee but weight/££ over the cane creek.

    I think your missing the point of the ccdb. It allows the rider to custom tune the shock by turning a few screws. If your the type of rider that keeps the same setting all the time your not making full use of the benefits of the ccdb

    maxtorque
    Member

    Thing is, what ever bike you buy, from a £150 BSO to a £7k wonder Enduro(tm) machine might always need slight mods to fit an individual and how they ride. Things like bars, stems, saddles and pedals and even crank lengths etc are very personal. So “having” to change those on an expensive bike is not an issue, especially if you can afford to drop several K on a wonder bike, you can stump up about £100 for some new bars! 😉

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I think your missing the point of the ccdb. It allows the rider to custom tune the shock by turning a few screws.

    or spend hours feeling like a pro by detailing how you just need one more click of high speed finesse for that bit…

    maxtorque
    Member

    ^^^ except for the fact that quality damping can be “set and forget”! In reality, there is a damping co-efficient that is primarily velocity dependent, and a shock like the DBair allows precise enough settings and excellent repeatability so you can set it once and pretty much forget it for what ever you are riding. I hardly ever touch mine, even when i make reasonably significant changes to air pressure to suit the days riding (ie hard to go fast, soft for a days bimbling the hills etc) So, get your setting right for your “max attack” riding and leave ’em be tbh 😉

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    There is no one perfect bike. Bike is 5% and rider is 95% so what is the point of spending your time working to pay for the bike instead of getting out there riding. Unless of course you are stinking rich.

    You do know you can have a job and still go riding as well unless you’re some sort of psychotic, black and white thinking workaholic… Black and white thinking on STW, who’d have thunk it?

    nonk
    Member

    I have just swapped my blur ltc frame for a Bronson ( blur frame for sale if anyone is keen ) and I am very happy on it .
    The main thing that made me go for another sc is the robustness they seem to offer , finish on the frame stands up well and the collet system is the best I have used as far as the pivots are concerned .
    I think with the sizing most people don’t look at the numbers correctly I ride a large in a Bronson where as most other bikes I would go for a medium (about 5’10) it fits me great with plenty of room for a standard reverb and a 50 mm stem for the radness 🙂

    zerocool
    Member

    I had a go on a friend’s stock Alu Bronson, I liked how it rode, it seemed to suit my riding style. But I’ve got an Alpine so I won’t be swapping anytime soon.

    Nice bike though.
    Tom Kp

    rondo101
    Member

    Test rode one yesterday & was very impressed. Climbed well & handled steeper, technical downs excellently. It really likes to get off the ground & is easy to pop over stuff. I only had 2 hours around Bristol though, so no idea how it would handle bigger drops & jumps, but it would definitely need a more progressive rear shock tune as I blew through a lot of the travel with nothing more than 2ft drops. Would be interested to see if anyone’s used the Float X on it, as I wouldn’t use the CCDBA to it’s full potential.
    Oh and how good is the new Pike?!

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    I think with the sizing most people don’t look at the numbers correctly I ride a large in a Bronson where as most other bikes I would go for a medium (about 5’10)

    this is crazy though – my Turner is the same – I bought a medium originally but now ride a large, and I am 5ft 10.

    For many of my jackets, like my NF ones, I am a small, and even my underpants are small, so how come I am large on a bike, jumping up 2 sizes?

    Makes as much sense as womens sizing in M&S, or maybe not as they are trying to flatter all the fat women around nowadays…

    nonk
    Member

    Yup madness 🙂
    Just a sticker on the seat tube and nothing else

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear
    Subscriber

    Might want to check the SC site for guide line shok pressures I get the feeling shops are setting them on sag alone. For me the suggested starting pressure is 170psi. Quite high when I only run 135psi on the Zesty

    …I wouldn’t use the CCDBA to it’s full potential.
    Oh and how good is the new Pike?!

    One of the great things about the CCDBA is that on a good frame you can tune it to match the awesomeness of the Pike really well. Really impressive pairing. I think you’d have to be a competitive DH or enduro racer to use either item to their full potential – I know I’ll never manage it, but it’s a lot nicer than trying to compensate for lesser gear that you are pushing to its limits!

    daveh
    Member

    now got a ccdb air on mine.
    For anybody looking to do the same I’d suggest trying a push tune on the fox first

    That makes me happy. TFTuned advised the same, albeit for a Bandit 26, and I’ve been very impressed with the result. As for short TTs, I’d advise looking at ‘reach’ figures too, the Bandit 26 has a TT 20mm shorter than most of its contemporaries but the reach figures are far closer.

    philfive
    Member

    Well I’ve just watched Nial Oxley slay all in his class and register the 4th fastest time by anyone today at farmer johns on his Alu Bronson..

    Was impressive against some of the bigger bikes.

    Premier Icon Rick Draper
    Subscriber

    I have a carbon Bronson, it replaced a Mojo HD130. In comparison i’d take the Bronson every time. The Mojo just was not for me, I hated the feel of it and people say how stiff they are, well mine did not feel super stiff, in fact I could get so much flex from the BB area the front mech would rub on the chain when really cranking in big ring.

    I have a Float X on my bike with a push tune, it feels very nice. I’m sure the standard CTD would feel very good with a tune but as I picked a Float X up very cheap I went with that shock.

    wl
    Member

    New Orange Five will be so much better in so many ways.

    mtbscoop
    Member

    Got my Bronson C about 4 weeks ago, after riding a Heckler for last 9 years. Demo’d a lot of different bikes, but just loved the Bronson. It climbs and descends brilliantly, although its not as plush as my Heckler (which had DHX5 and Van32 forks, so not surprised). However, this may be down to my shock (FLoat CTD) setup, which I’m still tinkering with.

    I really treated myself with this bike, and went for XX1, Pikes, Enve DH Bars, but resisted the Enve wheels and went for Stans Arch instead on hope hubs. Very impressed with XX1, and the 800m wide bars are really good too, was going to cut them down, but tried them first and love them.

    I saved a fair bit by buying frame from LBS and then sourcing bits from other places where cheaper. The XX1 groupset was sourced from a German websites, saving nearly £300! I then built the bike myself.

    SBrock
    Member

    I couldn’t even afford a Bronson Alu !

    Instead I got a 650b Heckler with a 160mm Pikes, Flows etc and it rides a dream!

    Exactly the same geometry as the Bronosn too and built mine to a superb spec for £3124

    160 Pikes, Pro2s, Flows, High Roller TR, Hope Tech E3, X9, Thomson post/stem, Easton Carbon bars & SLX Dbl

    here : http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/650b-heckler

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    New Orange Five will be so much better in so many ways

    Well, thats me convinced.

    Premier Icon lawman91
    Subscriber

    Having ridden both the Solo and the Bronson, I came away disappointed with the Bronson. It felt sluggish and it took me a while to get the suspension feeling balanced, it had a pike up front and the basic CTD evo shock which could partially explain it, but even putting that to one side it didn’t impress me like I thought it would. It had the SPX built, XT 2×10, reverb, WTB/DT350 wheels and 2.3 High Roller 2’s, so with the carbon frame as well not a cheap bike and yet it weighed over 30lbs with my XT trail pedals which I was not expecting, it was a good 2-3lbs heavier than my Mojo HD140. I weighed the complete wheelset of the Bronson and it was a good 500g heavier than the superstar switch/Stan’s crest wheelset, which in turn are some 2-300g heavier than the wheels on the HD, so just in the wheels alone there was a huge difference between what I ride week in week out. Overall I came away really disappointed, it didn’t have that wow factor I felt with the HD or indeed the Solo. Sure the Bronson would be lighter if I’d specced it up how I’d want it, but even so I wasn’t blown away by it, the weight being one issue, the huge amount of pedal feedback through the VPP under power and the in-balanced suspension put me off it. In a nut shell I was disappointed, perhaps I was expecting too much from it. It wasn’t a bad bike, just not as good as I hoped it would be.

    A few weeks after I rode the Bronson I finally got a go on the Solo. Now it’s worth pointing out I rode a large Bronson and an XL Solo, which was a smidge big for me, but it did come fully ENVE’d, XX1/XTR’d up so it was blinged to the hilt, but straight away it felt far, far better than the Bronson, the suspension felt great off the bat, despite not having anything like the time I had to set up the Bronson and it felt like it railed corners with the lower BB and shorter chainstays, yet thanks to the length of the wheelbase on the XL it felt super stable too. If I had two minor niggles it would be the that the 130mm Fox 32 felt a little flexy, not as bad as my personal 150mm 32, but still more than I’d like, especially after riding Pikes and Fox 34’s on other bikes. I also felt the shock could have been a little more progressive as I bottomed it out once or twice, but thats an easy fix with some volume spacers, rather a full re-tune I felt would be needed on the Bronson.

    I’ve banged on about the Solo on other websites, but it really did blow me away. It’s exactly the kind of bike I look for, fun, agile yet it has the brawn to really take some abuse and it was fast as fark. Before I rode both I’d have leaned towards the Bronson as my next bike and indeed it was probably the one I’d gone for had I not had a chance to ride either. I’m sure glad I got to ride both though. Will most definitely be purchasing a Solo later in the year and I can’t wait!

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    Will most definitely be purchasing a Solo later in the year and I can’t wait!

    [shameless brag] Mine is being built on Thursday, after a month waiting. 😀 😀 😀 [/brag]

    Premier Icon lawman91
    Subscriber

    Will most definitely be purchasing a Solo later in the year and I can’t wait!

    [shameless brag] Mine is being built on Thursday, after a month waiting. [/brag][/quote]

    Still my Mojo HD to razz around on for a little while 😉 It’s a bit on the small side, hence me wanting something new, bought it during my gap year and I’ve grown out of it since, but still a bloody good bike, gonna be sad to see her go!

    Interesting that youfelt a lot of pedal feedback on a Bronson with XT 2×10, but the Solo with single ring felt good – lot of bikes are designed around that 32t middle ring – what were the ring sizes on the 2×10 setup? Very possible that neither ring size suits the VPP.

    Premier Icon lawman91
    Subscriber

    Interesting that youfelt a lot of pedal feedback on a Bronson with XT 2×10, but the Solo with single ring felt good – lot of bikes are designed around that 32t middle ring – what were the ring sizes on the 2×10 setup? Very possible that neither ring size suits the VPP.

    That was certainly my thought, even before I rode the Solo with XX1 I was a bit like, “I’m sure it shouldn’t be this bad” on the Bronson. It had an XT 38/26 chainset so it’s a way off the 32t of a standard middle chainring most bikes are designed around. The Solo had a 34t chainring, which is the same size I run on my Mojo, which I can feel zero pedal feedback from. I felt a tiny bit on the Solo, but no where near as bad as the Bronson, and I had to really concentrate to notice it. I think the chainring size could have a lot to do with what I was feeling, I certainly think both bikes were designed with 1x in mind.

    I think what excites me most about the Solo is how versatile it felt and the potential it has. Imo the Bronson’s geometry is on the conservative side of things, the chainstays are a bit longer than the Solo’s which I noticed and the BB a little higher and I don’t think it corners as well as the Solo because of that. Sure the Bronson can plough over the rough stuff as well as most 150mm bikes but I was hoping it would feel livelier than it did. Personally the liveliness of the Solo really appealed to me, you just get on the power and it goes like a rocket, but flexy fork aside I didn’t think it gave up a huge a mount to the Bronson over rough terrain.

    I plan to tweak my Solo a little bit, just to make it suit my style a little more. It needs a beefy fork, the 32 is just too weedy for it, so a Pike or 34 is a must. The XL I rode felt a tough stretched, but I loved the extra stability of the longer wheelbase, so like my HD140 I’m gonna stick a Works Components angleset on it so it sits around 66.5 degrees, so I get the cockpit of the Large but the wheelbase of the XL and a steering feel similar to my Ibis. The longer fork will raise the BB slightly, but the headset should bring it back down a touch so it shouldn’t be much higher either. What I should end up with is a bike with a smidge less travel than the Bronson, but more aggressive geometry, how it should be imo! 8)

    Obviously it’s going to be a very personal set up but thats the great thing about bikes like the Solo, you can go with a light, XC-orientated build and have a bike that can race XC events as well as be happy on the trails or build it a little burlier and it can handle any enduro events you throw at it.

    Of course it’s over hyped. It’s nothing special, nice and everything, but not exceptional. But it’s priced absolutely bat-shit mental. Santa Cruz have always been a bit up their own arses when it comes to pricing though.

    Premier Icon lawman91
    Subscriber

    The full builds are expensive, but you could build one yourself for much less than the RRP of those. There’s also the alloy bike for folks whose wallets don’t stretch as far and if that’s too much there’s the Heckler which has exactly the same geometry. Bikes are expensive these days, no matter which end of the market you look at. In comparison to the rest of the market, Santa Cruz are ball-park frame wise for their carbon frames and the only frames are very competitive.

    paulrockliffe – Member

    Of course it’s over hyped. It’s nothing special, nice and everything, but not exceptional. But it’s priced absolutely bat-shit mental. Santa Cruz have always been a bit up their own arses when it comes to pricing though

    They’re selling as many of them as they can make, though. Their prices are going up in response to demand, not down.

    Same with XX1 – despite the pricing, they’ve sold eight times as many of them as they expected.

    JCL
    Member

    Very possible that neither ring size suits the VPP.

    It’s also possible that Santa Cruz’s VPP is nowhere near as good as the DW Link on the Mojo.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    It’s also possible that Santa Cruz’s VPP is nowhere near as good as the DW Link on the Mojo

    The kinematics are all wrong, I presume?

    Premier Icon lawman91
    Subscriber

    Very possible that neither ring size suits the VPP.

    It’s also possible that Santa Cruz’s VPP is nowhere near as good as the DW Link on the Mojo.[/quote]

    They’re comparable in performance, obviously I’ve spent a lot longer on DW-Link than I have on VPP but performance wise they seem similar. They both pedal incredibly well, are very efficient and I think the traction when climbing on both is great as well. DW-link is perhaps a little more supple over-small bumps, but that’s very much down to shock tunes rather than the inherent characteristics of the designs themselves. I don’t think the pedal feedback I felt was not detrimental to performance, it was just a bit of a weird feeling, feeling the chain tighten as you pedalled hard to counter the pedal bob, which you don’t feel on DW-Link, but I have to say it was much better on the Solo and back to back I’d say there were negligible differences performance wise between the two systems. Both are certainly better imo than the likes of FSR and Treks ABP designs.

    JCL
    Member

    Yeah far too much anti squat to negate the flaws of counter rotating links.

    Premier Icon Rick Draper
    Subscriber

    Shop around and you can build a bike for a lot less than RRP. Mine has XX1/Next SL/Enve/Float X/34 Talas and came in considerably under UK RRP.

    Gilles
    Member

    SC bikes are also so easy to service, that’s why I think it’s worth paying that extra.

    The Bronson is a great bike and I would hazard a guess that *most* people who have ridden one would agree. It attracted a lot of hype early on because it was the first 650b bike released by a high-profile brand (please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here!) …and it had great geometry! I think the hype is probably less deserved now with other brands releasing comparable bikes. I bought one because of the bomber stiff carbon frame, great warranty, ease of maintenance and great fit/geo (for me). I also got a good discount from my LBS on the frame and sourced other components elsewhere. I agree with others that the standard shock is the weakest link but that can be improved dramatically (according to others and TF Tuned) with a relatively inexpensive PUSH tune (about £40 on top of a standard service cost). I can testify that there is a dramatic improvement with a CCDB Air bolted to the back …but that does come at a cost :-/ …TF Tuned reckon that the PUSH tuned Factory shock is almost as good!

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear
    Subscriber

    The solo was also great bike but the I needed more bb clearance and travel. I wasn’t convinced that the Solo would tackle Alpine riding as confidently as the Bronson. UK riding I think it would be superb.

    mindmap3
    Member

    Going off on a tangent…

    philfive – Member

    Chiefgroove just waiting on my Banshee Rune to arrive

    Good choice – I love mine. Did you go with the CCDBa? I demo’d one with the CTD shock and didn’t like it so paid the extra for the upgrade. The thing that has impressed me with the Rune is how well it climbs…for a 160mm bike it’s amazing. I knew it was going to be good descending (and it is).

    Back on track, I like the Bronson. I think the carbon one is a great looking bike but it’s expensive (like pretty much every other bike) and I don’t get on with their sizing. They’re too short. Past experience of them is that the finish is not great either.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    SC bikes are also so easy to service, that’s why I think it’s worth paying that extra.

    Which is lucky, because various models have had serious problems with eating linkages and pivots!

    I don’t buy into the ’boutique’ brand thing being better. You’re paying for exclusivity and not benefiting from economies of scale. Nothing wrong with that, but that’s about the size of it!

    The bike I’ve had most problems with was a Titus (from when they were a proper standalone brand, rather than part of P-X). It kept snapping linkages, in the end it went back to the US, who refused to accept any problems with it, charged me for a new swingarm and took 3 months to return it. Perhaps unsurprising they then went out of business! 😕

    Things like ‘easy to service’ are massively clutching at straws, and their warranty is less good (on paper and in real life IME) than many of the mainstream brands. Needing a shock tune out of the box is proper shit IMO, if there’s unanimous agreement on that, why don’t they change the stock setup?

    Sorry, that’s probably heresy on here!

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