2019 Santa Cruz Bronson First Impressions Review!

I spent the summer of 2014 in Santa Cruz, California. When I wasn’t working I spent my time in the woods on my All City Macho Man. I thought it couldn’t get any better and then my buddy set me up on a Bronson. My mind was blown! 

I eventually sold that Bronson and picked up a 5010. I loved the 5010 so much that I’ve owned two of them! The 5010 loves to jump and jib around but I’ve always found it let me down on the fast and rough stuff. So when Santa Cruz dropped the new Bronson I knew it was time to try a big bike again.

So I picked up a Bronson CC with the X01 build package and Reserve Wheel-set. My 5010s were spec’d out the same way but I’ve never ever splurged on the carbon wheels. With that said this is definitely the nicest bike I’ve ever owned. 

It took me a few days to build up the bike and I was able to take it out one solid ride this past weekend. Here are my thoughts on it so far. 

The build. 

- Building up the Bronson was tricky! Generally the cable routing on Santa Cruz bikes are pretty good but I found the brake line to be extra tricky! I had to cut the brake line to get it to route through which was a trick that took me day to figure out. Other wise the routing through the frame was pretty simple. 

- I upgraded the ratchet in the DT Swiss hubs for better engagement. Why does DT even make a shitty ratchet in the first place?

- I ditched the Rochshox Reverb for my trusty Fox Transfer post. The new Reverb looked pretty nice but I couldn’t fit a 150mm so that will go on the 5010 which I still need to sell. 

- I used to be able to fit a water bottle and strap a tube to my 5010 but unfortunately there is only room for one in the Bronson. Hopefully I can figure out another solution for the tube. 


The ride. 

- It was pissing rain during my first ride. Hell of a way to break in a new bike. This is why we can’t have nice things in the PNW!

- The Bronson feels big. The top tube sits high and generally I felt higher off the ground. The Bronson does have a flip chip but I am not sure if that raises or lowers the Bottom Bracket. If it lowers it I’ll probably check that out because I grew to love the low BB on the 5010. 

- My goal was to try and dial in the suspension. I followed Fox and Rockshox Air Pressure guide but found them to be too soft. Maybe I am fatter than I think? I also tend to ride with more air because I like that pop. I added about 10 extra psi front and back. I followed Foxes guide for rebound and went and rode! 

- Right off the bat the bike just plowed through rocks and roots and felt super smooth. Night and day when compared to the 130mm of the 5010. In return the bike felt heavier and harder to throw around. 

- Back at the parking lot I added another 10psi of air and climbed back up to the jump trails. Now the Bronson felt really really poppy. Too much pop I would say. I think for my next ride I’ll meet in the middle and go from there. 

All in all I am pretty stoked on the new Bronson. It’s definitely a different riding experience than I am used to but I think it’s a step in the right direction. 


Learn more about the Bronson here and check back in a bit for a full review once I put some miles on this beast.