Santa Cruz promises to provide something fast, exclusive, and special. With an as-tested price of 7570 €, the latter two attributes go without saying for the Bronson. But can the bike’s performance also deliver on the promise?
As the most expensive bike in the benchmark test, the Bronson plays center field with its 12.9 kg. Instead of XX1, we “only” find aluminum cranks, but we do get a fine carbon frame, which surprisingly – despite the current trend – does not allow internal cable routing.
On the trail, the Santa Cruz pleases with its compact and centered seating position. On ascents, slight pedal feedback is present and inevitable but it still climbs impeccably – not least because of its low front and the sensitive chassis, offering excellent traction. On the trail the bike has a low (standover and height of the handle bar), agile, and feisty feel. These characteristics originate from the relatively low seat angle (73°) and compact top tube (585 mm).These numbers create a position that transfers rider weight further forwards when standing, especially compared to bikes with steeper seat angles and longer reach.
The Bronson almost begs you to ‘play with me!’ With its chassis offering a lot of traction, the bike has a close connection to the trail, aided by the predictable HighRoller 2 tires.. Acceleration and rapid direction changes are among the Bronson’s pros – however in long fast corners, the Bronson can feel slightly nervous. With a characteristic suspension curve that is quite linear in its action, the chassis feels very forgiving.
To sum up, the Santa Cruz is a damn fast and agile enduro bike, and looks good on any terrain. In very steep terrain the low front end was unpopular, so we would appreciate a slightly elevated front for more aggressive riding in these scenarios. Also, at a wallet-busting 7570 Euros, it is definitely not a bargain!
Go back to the article: “Tested: Six Fast Enduro Racing Bikes”