New 2022 Santa Cruz Bronson – An all-rounder for guaranteed fun?

Santa Cruz introduce a new, playful Bronson! According to Santa Cruz, the new Bronson 2022 is the all-rounder in the line-up. Thanks to the updated VPP rear triangle and mullet wheels, the latest version promises to be more fun than ever! The chainstays also grow depending on the frame size. Does this change the entire concept of the Bronson?

The Santa Cruz Bronson is amongst the most capable all-rounders in the Californian brand’s portfolio. It really delivers on the trails yet has enough reserves for the occasional trip to the bike park. The new Bronson seems like it would have been a perfect fit for our current mountain bike group test of this season’s 22 hottest bikes. Unfortunately, Santa Cruz didn’t have a test bike available at the time!

What’s new on the 2022 Santa Cruz Bronson?

The new Bronson has remained true to Santa Cruz’s typical design. With 160- and 150-mm travel (f/r), it should have enough reserves for the occasional trip to the bike park. The VPP rear end is designed to offer a good balance between pedalling efficiency and rear end performance, and it’s been updated on the new Bronson. The shock length has been decreased to 230 mm, which should reduce the leverage and thus offer a more sensitive response. The anti-squat together with a lower instant centre are supposed to reduce pedal kickback. The 2022 Bronson now comes with MX wheels: 29″ up front and 27.5″ in the rear. This setup promises the best of both worlds, giving you the grip and rolling characteristics of a large wheel at the front while maintaining the fun and agile handling of a smaller wheel in the rear. However, as we have learned in the past, it’s not just about the size of the wheels but rather about their implementation and integration into the overall concept of the bike! We’ve previously tried explaining the advantages and disadvantages of this trend in a separate article.

The Bronson is available in a wide range of frame sizes, from XS–XL with the XS coming equipped with 27.5-inch wheels front and rear. Regardless of frame size, the Bronson can accommodate tires up to 2.6″ wide. A cool new feature is SRAM’s universal UDH derailleur hanger. As with all of Santa Cruz’s products, this frame also comes with a lifetime guarantee!

The geometry of the new Bronson

With the latest model from Santa Cruz, the chainstays grow in proportion to the frame size. As such, a tall rider on an XL frame should get the same handling as a smaller rider on an XS frame. Brilliant! In contrast to the previous iteration, the new Bronson is now 15 mm longer in reach with a 20 mm increased stack height and 0.9° slacker angles. Thanks to the proven flip chip, the geometry can be adapted to suit the terrain or personal preference.

Sizes XS (low/high) S (low/high) M (low/high) L (low/high) XL (low/high)
Top tube 542/536 mm 575/570 mm 604/599 mm 627/623 mm 657/653 mm
Seat tube 370 mm 480 mm 405 mm 430 mm 460 mm
Head tube 110 mm 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm 135 mm
Head angle (Low) 64.5/64.7° 64.5/64.7° 64.5/64.7° 64.5/64.7° 64.5/64.7°
Seat angle (Low) 76.9/77.6° 76.7/77.2° 76.6/77.1° 76.5/76.9° 76.4/76.7°
BB Drop (R) 13/10 mm 13/10 mm  13/10 mm  13/10 mm  13/10 mm
chainstay 432/427 mm 432/431 mm 436/435 mm 439/438 mm 443/442 mm
wheelbase 1154/1149 mm 1189/1188 mm 1222/1221 mm 1249/438 mm 1285/1284 mm
Reach 402/405 mm 427/430 mm 452/455 mm 472/475 mm 497/500 mm
Stack 595/594 mm 619/617 mm 628/626 mm 637/635 mm 651/649 mm

The builds of the 2022 Santa Cruz Bronson

The new Bronson frame is available in Santa Cruz’s two carbon grades, C and CC, and a total of 7 different build variants. We’ll introduce you to the four most interesting ones below. All models are offered in two different colour combinations. Santa Cruz haven’t yet presented an aluminium version of the new Bronson.

Bronson C S | 4.999 € | Fox 36 Performance | RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ | SRAM GX

At € 5,999, the Santa Cruz Branson CS is the second best-priced variant and a sensible entry-level model. It relies on a carbon frame and, compared to the most affordable model (Bronson CR – € 4999), comes with a SRAM GX drivetrain instead of NX. In terms of shifting performance, the GX groupset can keep up with SRAM’s high-end X01 range. Additionally, the RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ shock and FOX 36 Performance fork are higher quality than the entry-level RockShox Lyrik Select on the Bronson C R.

Bronson C XT | 6.699 € | FOX 36 Performance Elite | RockShox Super Deluxe Select + | Shimano XT

For around € 800 more, all Shimano fans can get the Bronson C XT, equipped with Shimano components. Coming in at a total of € 6700, you can rely on the stopping power of 4 piston brakes. The FOX 36 Performance Elite fork is also included in the package.

Bronson CC X01 | 7.999 € | FOX 36 Factory | RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate | SRAM X01 Eagle

We think the Bronson CC X01 for € 7,999 offers the best value for money as it features the high-quality CC frame, giving you a lower weight as well as higher quality and stiffness. The suspension also matches the high-quality frame, consisting of a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock and a FOX 36 Factory fork. The SRAM X01 groupset ensures the best in shifting performance.

Bronson CC AXS RSV | 9.999 € | FOX 36 Factory | RS Super Deluxe Ultimate | SRAM X01 AXS | Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon-Laufräder

The € 9999 Bronson CC X01 AXS is based on the CC X01, though featuring the latest tech such as SRAM’s wireless AXS groupset. As such, it can do away with the shifter cable, ensuring lightning quick shifting and a super tidy cockpit. This build also comes with Santa Cruz’s proven in-house Reserve carbon wheels. It’s a much more sensible choice than the € 1500 more expensive XX1 AXS build since experience has shown the shifting performance to be almost identical, so all you’re paying for is a slight reduction in weight.

Lastly, you’ll also be able to buy a frameset of the CC version. This will include a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock, though Santa Cruz are yet to give us a price.


The new Bronson promises to be even more fun on the trails thanks to the mullet wheel setup and improved VPP rear triangle. We should have received a test bike for the launch, but we’re still waiting because of the current shortages and long delivery times. We’re all the more excited to test the new Bronson for you as soon as it arrives!

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Words: Nils Mai Photos: Santa Cruz

About the author

Nils Mai

Nils does not just belong on a list of the most stylish MTBers on the ground and off the jumps, he’s also a bona fide tech geek. A former enduro and 4X racer, Nils studied construction mechanics before joining our team, where this young gun is proving himself to be true all-rounder. Given that he can weld a bike frame with skill, it’s no surprise that alongside editor, he’s also got the keys to our workshop. If all this wasn’t enough, his former positions as outdoor editor at komoot and bike guide on Mallorca have mapped out a virtually unrivalled trail atlas in his head and taught him the intricacies of understanding riders of all abilities. Nowadays you’ll find him tearing up his new home trails around Stuttgart or pulling up at Europe’s best riding locations in his self-built van.