From the moment we started stocking Santa Cruz Bikes this year, we’ve heard story after story about how great someone’s old Santa Cruz was at… everything. The brand has nearly reached cult status, and they’ve managed to do so recently on the backs of two bikes: the Bronson and the 5010. Each successive generation has become a better climber, lighter, and bikes that continue to be among the very best out there. The all-new 2019 Santa Cruz Bronson and Santa Cruz 5010 trail bikes continue their march toward cult status, with plus tire compatibility, improved performance, and even better value for the money. A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to get to preview and ride the bikes in our own backyard of Park City. Here’s the skinny.
Santa Cruz Bronson
The original Bronson seriously benefited from being the right bike at the right time. 150mm suspension travel, high quality, and the ability to climb nearly as well as it descended made the Bronson one of the best all-mountain bikes in its class. The all-new Bronson is built with the same goal in mind: get up the hill but have plenty of energy to huck it off of every jump you’d like, and do everything on the mountain. The competition may have caught up to the outgoing model, but this new 2019 Santa Cruz Bronson is sure to be at the top once again.
Here’s the big news: a lower-link mounted VPP suspension design, similar to what’s found on the Santa Cruz Nomad. With a 33 percent leverage ratio (compared to the 45 of the Nomad), the Bronson is designed to offer a barely-noticeable bottom out, improved mid-stroke support, and an improvement on the Bronson’s strong pedaling performance. Pro tip: coil shocks ARE possible, but the bike was absolutely designed with air in mind. More on that later.
160mm/150mm fork/shock travel is slightly bumped up from before, and space for up to 27.5 x 2.8” tires despite receiving stubby 430mm chainstays is a substantial update that makes the bike much more versatile. This third generation bike receives a RockShox Super Deluxe shock in every model, an increase of 10-15mm of additional reach in each size (dependent upon the frame’s flip chip location), and an inch lower seatpost collar for lower standover height across all sizes as well as greater dropper seatpost compatibility. Perhaps the biggest change of all? The addition of an XS size, which means riders 4’8” and up can enjoy the exploits of the newest Bronson.
The lower link shock offers greater stability by offering a more linear shock rate, as well as a stiffer rear triangle. Combined with the new one-piece rear triangle design (1x only!), big bump performance is more predictable, the rear shock feels smoother across the range. A 65 degree headtube angle makes it even more predictable on descents. It’s pedaling platform is firmer and higher up in the travel, again putting the rider in a better climbing position. Call it your Deer Valley bike, or maybe your Moab bike; either way, it’s designed to be your evermore confidence-inspiring all-mountain epic bike that is livelier and better balanced than it’s sibling, the Nomad.
Santa Cruz 5010
Danny MacAskill’s full suspension bike of choice is updated as well in its third generation. It’s always been a bit of a backyard shredder, a bike that always made riders feel stronger than they really are. This third-generation 2019 Santa Cruz 5010 trail bike follows in line with the bike’s legacy: keep the bike poppy and playful, but make the bike’s laser-sharp handling more accessible to everyone. With the changes Santa Cruz have made, it looks like they’ve done it right once again.
Just like before, the bike features an upper-link driven VPP Suspension Design with 130mm travel front and rear. This pairs a lowered bottom bracket (in it’s low position), shorter chainstays, a slacker 66.2 degree headtube angle, and a 15mm increase in reach across all sizes. Just like the Bronson, the 5010 manages to achieve a lower standover across all sizes, as well as greater dropper compatibility. The bike receives ample space for 27.5 x 2.8” tires and requisite mud, as well as an XS size for those with a shorter stature.
The new 5010 is all about balance and poise, and the whole package has it in spades. The third-gen VPP suspension is still an efficient climber, and one that gets riders up the mountain faster than most. The bike becomes 1x only, but the swingarm is now stiffer, lighter, and offers more precise handling. The rest of the package is the perfect confidence-booster: wide bars, shorter reach, and the slacker headtube ensure the bike doesn’t feel twitchy. It’s a bike designed for those with a strong skillset to have something to jam into corners hard and have fun. Now more than ever, however, it’s also an excellent bike for someone who isn’t as confident to have a grippy setup with it’s plus tire option.
Built for a Ever-Changing Future
While the two bikes are built for entirely different styles of riding, there is a lot in common that Santa Cruz has imbued the bikes with in order to make them more versatile. Perhaps the biggest news is the addition of a plus tire size; while both bikes can fit a 2.8” tire with space, the plus option comes with a 2.6” tire. It’s not plus per say, but Santa Cruz claims that it’s an excellent option that provides the traction of a 2.8” tire, and the precision and support of a 2.25” tire. We’re inclined to agree. Additionally, both the 2019 Bronson and 2019 5010 move to a one-piece swingarm (like the new Santa Cruz Blur).
Santa Cruz is well-known for their smart component spec, and it continues with these newest models. The Bronson moves to SRAM Code brakes from SRAM Guide for improved stopping power and modulation. It also receives the 2019 Rockshox Super Deluxe rear shocks across the range as well, which offers similar quick/repetitive hit recovery to a coil spring setup. Both of these upgrades in spec push the bike toward greater enduro and all-mountain capability, and in line with what Bronson riders love to do.
Besides that, both the Bronson and 5010 receive upgrades across the range. R spec bikes receive SRAM NX Eagle, Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheels are now available on the C-grade carbon frame, and plus models with carbon wheels come spec’d with the new Santa Cruz Reserve 37 carbon wheelset. CC carbon models now offer Shimano XTR M9100 drivetrains as well. The Santa Cruz Bronson and Santa Cruz 5010 are available in aluminum and carbon-spec’d models (A, C, and CC grades). Both come with a threaded bottom bracket for greater durability and reliability, as well as Santa Cruz’s lifetime warranty. Prices start at $3500 for the Bronson A “R”, and $2700 for the 5010 A “D”. The 2019 Santa Cruz Bronson and 5010 mountain bikes will be in stock at the shop July 6th.
Your favorite mountain bike rider’s favorite mountain bikes are usefully updated. We have both here at the shop right now, come on down and find out what makes them so popular. The all-new Bronson and the 5010 are different bikes for different uses, but both continue to carry on everything that makes Santa Cruz the cult brand that it is today.