The Bronson CC X01 has the toughest job of all. Generating the least amount of travel in the entire test field, Santa Cruz’s MX bruiser has to prove itself against the big boys of our “Best Enduro Bike of 2022” test field. Additionally, it’s the only bike in this test that was designed specifically around a mixed-wheel size concept! Does the mullet setup offer advantages and can the Bronson keep up with its opponents downhill?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike of 2022 – 11 models in review

Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS | 160/150 mm (f/r)
13.95 kg in size L | € 9,999 | Manufacturer’s website

With the new Bronson, Santa Cruz take it one step further, redesigning their popular all-rounder specifically for mixed wheel sizes, unlike other bike manufacturers like Orbea that let you switch between different wheel sizes via a flip chip or adapter.. Additionally, the Bronson CC X01 AXS has just 160 mm travel at the front and 150 mm at the rear. This also makes it the bike with the least amount of travel in the entire test field. Despite the significant changes, the new Bronson has retained Santa Cruz’s distinctive design language and VPP system, making it immediately recognisable as a Santa Cruz. The Californian brand also sticks to proven methods when it comes to frame material, offering the new Bronson in two different carbon layups called C and CC. The high-end CC frame relies on a larger proportion of higher strength fibres and allows Santa Cruz to achieve the same degree of stiffness at a lower weight. Burly seat and chainstay protectors prevent chainslap and protect the frame against stray rocks and flying debris while a chunky shuttle pad on the down tube prevents scratches and paint chips when you throw the Bronson on the back of a truck during epic shuttling expeditions. At the rear, a small mudguard shields the shock and suspension link from dirt and mud but also makes it hard to access the shock. Unfortunately, the frame of the Bronson doesn’t feature a storage compartment or a mounting point for a tool strap.

Anything but average – The spec of the Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01

Santa Cruz even set themselves apart from the competition with the spec of the € 9,999 Bronson CC X01 AXS. The Californian manufacturer is the only one to pair suspension components from different manufacturers, combining a FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 fork and RockShox shock. That’s because the kinematics are optimised specifically for the RockShox Super Deluxe shock. Santa Cruz also stand out from the crowd when it comes to the brakes – in a bad! While Santa Cruz spec the Bronson with powerful SRAM Code RSC four-piston brakes, they combine a 200 mm rotor at the front with a small 180 mm disc at the rear. Unfortunately, the latter doesn’t do justice to the potential of the bike, overheating quickly and resulting in a spongy and undefined bite point, and leading to painful arm pump on long descents.

Perfect match
The Bronson’s kinematics are tuned specifically for the RockShox Super Deluxe shock. The rear suspension provides great feedback from the trail and generates good traction.
After just a few meters, the small 180 mm brake rotor overheats and turns into a glowing fireball, resulting in a spongy and undefined bite point, poor braking performance and causing painful arm pump on long descents.
Thumb pampering
The remote of the RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post combines butter-smooth action, excellent ergonomics and pleasing haptics. That being said, we really struggle to understand why Santa Cruz haven’t specced the Bronson with a 200 mm dropper post.

Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS

€ 9,999


Fork FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 160 mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate 150 mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth 175 mm
Brakes SRAM CODE RSC 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle AXS 1x12
Stem Burgtec Enduro MK3 45 mm
Handlebar Santa Cruz 35 Carbon Bar 800 mm
Wheelset Santa Cruz Reserve V2 / Industry Nine 1/1 29/27.5
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF/MAXXIS Minion DHR II 2.5/2.4

Technical Data

Size XS S M L XL
Weight 13.95 kg

Flipping the chip
The shock mount and integrated flip chip hides under the small mudguard. This lets you adjust the head angle, seat tube angle and bottom bracket height.
As you can see, there’s nothing to see!
The hidden ISCG bracket can be used to install a chain guide with a bash guard. The Bronson could really do with one!
A sensitive issue
Puncture-prone tire casings with expensive carbon rims should be banned on such a powerful bike. This combination always requiresr compromise.

The choice of tires and wheels isn’t ideal either: here Santa Cruz combine MAXXIS tires with the puncture-prone EXO+ casing and hard MaxxTerra rubber compound, with their own Reserve V2 carbon wheelset. The weak tire casing is prone to pinch flats and could potentially destroy the expensive carbon rims. We recommend upgrading the stock 2.5” ASSEGAI front tire and 2.4” Minion DHR2 rear tire to a version with a more robust casing and softer rubber compound. At 13.9 kg, the Bronson CC X01 is the lightest bike in our “Best Enduro Bike of 2022” group test. While Santa Cruz rely on a fully-electronic SRAM X01 AXS drivetrain, they spec the Bronson with a conventional hydraulic RockShox dropper. The remote for the 175 mm Reverb Stealth post combines butter-smooth action with excellent ergonomics.

At its best
Only the Bronson makes cornering this fun and easy.
Own goal
Scandi-flicking into the next corner? The Bronson says yes! The one drawback: the trail turns back onto itself, and guess who eats a ton of dirt?

The geometry of the Santa Cruz Bronson

The new Bronson is available in five sizes from XS to XL. The great thing: the short seat tube, which measures 430 mm in size L, allows you to insert the dropper post all the way into the frame and to choose the frame size based on your desired reach and riding characteristics. We tested the Bronson in size L with 475 mm reach. Chainstay length is 438 mm in size L and grows with the frame size, providing consistent handling across all sizes. Stack height is 635 mm. A flip chip in the shock mount allows you to adjust the head angle by 0.2°, the seat tube angle by 0.6° and the bottom bracket height by 3 mm. Needless to say, at ENDURO we’re very fond of the low setting.

The Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 is the undisputed king of corners in our big “Best enduro bike of 2022” group test. It’s agile, extremely intuitive and carves through corners while providing sufficient feedback from the trail.

Size XS S M L XL
Seat tube 370 mm 380 mm 405 mm 430 mm 460 mm
Top tube 536 mm 570 mm 599 mm 623 mm 653 mm
Head tube 110 mm 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm 135 mm
Head angle 64.7° 64.7° 64.7° 64.7° 64.7°
Seat angle 77.6° 77.2° 77.1° 76.9° 76.7°
Chainstays 427 mm 431 mm 435 mm 438 mm 442 mm
BB Drop 10 mm 29/10 mm 29/10 mm 29/10 mm 29/10 mm
Wheelbase 1,149 mm 1,188 mm 1,221 mm 1,249 mm 1,284 mm
Reach 405 mm 430 mm 455 mm 475 mm 500 mm
Stack 594 mm 617 mm 626 mm 635 mm 649 mm
Helmet IXS Trigger AM | Jersey IXS Carve X | Shorts ION Scrub AMP
Kneepad IXS Carve EVO+ | Shoes PEARL iZUMi X-Alp Launch SPD

Smiles for miles and big clouds of dust – The Bronson CC X01 on the trail

The Bronson impresses with a comfortable and relaxed pedalling position that makes it suitable for long days in the saddle. The raised tail of the WTB saddle helps keep the front of the bike planted on steep ramps and ensures good comfort. During our test, we didn’t have to reach for the climb switch, because the Bronson delivers solid climbing performance even with the shock fully open, generating plenty of traction with negligible pedal bob.

Steep is awesome! However, the Bronson CC X01 lacks smoothness at high speeds.

Room to play wit
On steep descents, the Bronson instills plenty of confidence and offers sufficient freedom of movement.

Downhill, the Bronson comes to life in corners. While it may not be the fastest bike in the test field, it’s definitely the most fun to ride. With its lively character, which is comparable to the Pivot Firebird and YT Capra, the Bronson cranks up the fun factor to eleven! Its playful character is rounded off by its balanced weight distribution and intuitive handling. The supportive rear suspension provides plenty of feedback from the trail and offers sufficient reserves. Compared to the Firebird, the Bronson is more forgiving of mistakes and not as demanding when you’re tired. The FOX 36 fork is partly responsible for this: with its thinner stanchions, it has more lateral flex than the burly forks with 38 mm stanchions, and as a result provides a more comfortable ride. However, for heavy riders this comes at the expense of handling, which is slightly less accurate on rough terrain and through big compressions. On very steep descents, the short seat tube and small rear wheel ensure good freedom of movement. When the going gets fast, the Bronson lacks smoothness and makes you want to take the foot off the gas a lot sooner than the other bikes – only the GT feels more restless at high speeds. If you like to smash through berms with a fat grin on your face and have a jersey with the, “Good times, not fast times” slogan printed on it, the Bronson is your bike. It will be your fearless companion that doesn’t get fazed by tight switchbacks, big drops or steep trail sections, but it isn’t all that fond of high speeds.

Tuning tips: bigger rear brake rotor | tires with more robust casing i.e. MAXXIS DoubleDown

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. efficient


  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced


  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use










The Bronson CC X01 is all about fun! It’s the undisputed party king and master of corners, a playful riding companion that loves to jump from fast berms into tight switchbacks and inspires great amounts of confidence on steep terrain. When the going gets fast, the Bronson takes it down a notch while its spec requires a few upgrades to reduce fatigue and prevent expensive damage. The flimsy tires and small rear brake rotor don’t do justice to the potential of the bike.


  • intuitive handling
  • rear suspension offers tons of reserves
  • plenty of freedom of movement


  • spec doesn't do justice to the potential of the bike
  • lacks smoothness at high speed

You can find out more about at

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike of 2022 – 11 models in review

All bikes in test: Cannondale Jekyll 1 (Click for review) | Canyon Torque CF 8 (Click for review) | GT Force Carbon PRO LE (Click for review) | Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory (Click for review) | Orbea Rallon M-Team (Click for review) | Pivot Firebird Pro XT/XTR – Air (Click for review) | Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS | SIMPLON Rapcon 170/165 (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Kenevo SL (Click for review) | YT CAPRA UNCAGED 6 (Click for review)

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Words: Peter Walker Photos: Peter Walker

About the author

Peter Walker

As editor-in-chief, Peter is as much a man of action as he is of words. This expert, screw-driver-flexing two wheeled-whizz has many envy-inducing characteristics, including a background in motocross, several EWS race plates to his name, and more than 150 recorded days at Whistler Bike Park. However complex the bike and however steep the trail, he’s probably already nailed it, twice. Oh, and he can do it all on skinny tyres too. When it comes to guiding consumers, Peter cut his teeth at Vancouver’s oldest bike shop and now puts pen to paper on the daily translating this know-how into our editorial plan. When not tearing up Stuttgart’s local trails while testing bikes, he loves nothing more than loading up his self-renovated VW T5 and hitting the road. The fact that he’s a trained paramedic gives his colleagues reassurance out on the trails. So far we haven’t had to call him by his alias ‘Sani Peter’, so here’s hoping he keeps it right side up for the rest of his time here!