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  1. #1
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    HDR 650b Vs. SC Bronson

    So here's the situation:

    I've been riding my Large Mojo SL for the last 3 years, and loved it...but- after building up a niner this year and riding my buddy's XL Mojo SL, I realized i bought the wrong size. I'm 6ft exactly, and like my stem short and my bars wide.

    Even with a 70mm stem (as long as I like to go), I could not get as comfortable on the Mojo as I am on the niner. I think it comes down to a top tube length issue, as the head angle and seat tubes are almost the same. ANYWAYS

    I'm looking to upgrade to EITHER an XL HDR 650b (from bikeco w/ 147mm rear travel) OR the Santa Cruz Bronson.

    Now I havn't ridden the Bronson, but it looks DIALED, and has been garnering amazing reviews. I obviously have saddle time on a MOJO SL, but not the HDR. I've seen mixed reviews on the HDR, some LOVE it, some are disappointed with it, wishing there were more tire clearance and that the frame was more dedicated, rather than an "iteration" of the HDR.

    I know this is the IBIS forum, and I'd be lying if I didn't say I was leaning IBIS, heavily, but has anyone had saddle time on both? Can anyone give me some impressions? I don't want to get into a VPP vs DW discussion, I'm aware of the differences, but I've heard that with today's shocks, they both have the ability to be wonderful suspension setups.

  2. #2
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    I rode a Mojo SL for 3.5 yrs. I demoed an HD, HDR, Altitude, Ripley, Tallboy, and Bronson. Love Ibis but Bronson won out for me. Just felt better for me. Plus maybe mentally knowing I was going to less travel in the rear on HDR than my SL had something to do with it. If HDR was built from the ground up as a 150 maybe would have changed my mind. For the Bronson geo and dimensions were perfect for me. Not sure if u can but as always. Ride them. I was torn between the Altitude and the Bronson. Went Bronson. Carbon XT kit with upgrade to XX1 on drivetrain. Love it.

  3. #3
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    There's about a dozen threads already discussing this.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    There's about a dozen threads already discussing this.
    I havn't seen one that talks about the HDR 650b vs the bronson, only the 26" HD/R.

    Unless my search button is different than yours.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hackdan10 View Post
    I rode a Mojo SL for 3.5 yrs. I demoed an HD, HDR, Altitude, Ripley, Tallboy, and Bronson. Love Ibis but Bronson won out for me. Just felt better for me. Plus maybe mentally knowing I was going to less travel in the rear on HDR than my SL had something to do with it. If HDR was built from the ground up as a 150 maybe would have changed my mind. For the Bronson geo and dimensions were perfect for me. Not sure if u can but as always. Ride them. I was torn between the Altitude and the Bronson. Went Bronson. Carbon XT kit with upgrade to XX1 on drivetrain. Love it.
    Can I ask, when you say "felt better for me" do you mean geometry, pedaling, overall handling?

    I would love to demo them, but I live dead center in the middle of the midwest, where no demo trucks go, ever. ever.

    I had a chance to demo the Pivot Mach 6, and wasn't crazy about it. If and when I'm out west I'll try to demo, but the chances are slim.

  6. #6
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    Try these to start, search button:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/650b-27-5/ibi...-a-866085.html

    http://forums.mtbr.com/650b-27-5/hdr...on-869644.html

    After that you'll find that several HD-R threads compare to Bronson, and vice versa.

  7. #7
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    i have my hd converted. 160 mode shimmed. currently rp23 but my bikeco tuned roco is just around the corner . i have not demoed bronson so not sure if this would help but hd set up this way is just about perfect. i tried to go back to 26" wheel just to see how it would feel after riding 650b for a while and i can tell you that i felt like going back to 26" is more noticeable than going from 26" to 650b. it ensured me that 650b is the way to go for me. as far as clearance, i run neomoto 2.3 rear and currently trail taker 2.4 front and its plenty of tires for my often rocky and chunky trails in colorado front range.
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  8. #8
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    I guess it's really the sum of the geo felt better. But also I enjoyed the suspension better. Felt smoother. Climbing was solid. No pedal bob at all. Made switchbacks better for me and handling was perfect. I don't think there is a right or wrong bike. Plus maybe I was ready for a different feel on my bike than the ibis.

  9. #9
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    Can't we talk DW vs VPP? Even a little?

    Quote Originally Posted by mwandrusz View Post
    I don't want to get into a VPP vs DW discussion, I'm aware of the differences, but I've heard that with today's shocks, they both have the ability to be wonderful suspension setups.
    Yes, they DO both have the ability to be wonderful suspension setups... But they also DO ride differently.

    As I've posted elsewhere, I spent years on VPP and thought I had found the be-all and end-all of rear suspension setups. Once I tried the Ibis flavor of DW on my SL, my perspective changed.

    I get to ride a lot of different bikes. My current feeling is that for rear suspension, I like:

    #1 Ibis DW - It's the most dialed that I've ridden, for all-around "trail" and "AM" riding. Even when my shocks weren't quite set right, I still preferred the ride. After dialing my shocks, it's just my favorite riding bike ever (HD/HDR). It does everything well for me.

    #2 Pivot DW - I've liked the Pivots I've ridden, but their DW setup feels a bit more dead. Less lively. This has been consistent across several bike on lengthy rides. Riding aside, I hate the aesthetics of the bike and how thick the marketing is from them.

    #3 SC VPP - I've owned quite a few SC bikes over the years, Blurs/BLTs/Nomads and I've liked them, until I went DW. I don't like how VPP climbs over square-edge technical stuff. I know it's gotten better, and I've ridden the newer stuff (not Bronson however), but for someone who climbs everything to go down, I really like the Ibis DW feel the best.

    Aside from all that, I just prefer Ibis as a company. They make great bikes and look after their riders. That means a ton to me.
    - -benja- -

  10. #10
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    Didn't SC firm up their VPP for the Bronson?? Seem to remember that in a review that it pedaled better/firmer than previous versions.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwandrusz View Post
    I don't want to get into a VPP vs DW discussion, I'm aware of the differences
    ahem

  12. #12
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    You sure that you are aware?

    Quote Originally Posted by mwandrusz View Post
    I don't want to get into a VPP vs DW discussion, I'm aware of the differences, but I've heard that with today's shocks, they both have the ability to be wonderful suspension setups.
    You SHOULD care! I thought I knew the differences until I spent some time riding VPP.

    I own an Ibis HD currently, and still ride Ellsworth Truth occasionally. I spent seven days riding my brothers Nomad carbon while visiting him on vacation. The Nomad was plush when descending...but climbing? Ouch! Climbing with VPP is a disaster....severe pedal feedback that felt like the life was being sucked out of every pedal stroke. I really dont care how fast I get up the hill, but the way VPP acts when climbing! Totally sucks (literally and figuratively).....a huge deal breaker for me for even considering a VPP or VPP-like rear suspension.

  13. #13
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    I received my BikeCo HDR yesterday. It is a size large with 650b wheels front and rear and the BikeCo rear shock putting it at 147mm. Fronk fork is a 150mm Fox.
    Total weight is 28.9 lbs with a KS Lev dropper seatpost.
    Rode at lunch the trail I ahve ridden 1000 times on my 2008 Mojo C (with a 650b front wheel only) and the bike felt awesome. Stiff in all directions, especially lateral as the old Mojo C was getting tired. The rear shock from BikeCo is amazing. Tuned perfect and ready for anything. The fronk Fork is stock and will get the ProTune from BikeCo soon. Stock it is a bit notchy, but worthy. The bike was crisp and flickable. Rolled through my rock gardens with ease and straight line stability. Big hits we solid and the stepups made easy from the new suspension. Climbign felt tight and I left all suspension is the full on trail modes. I was able to get out of the sadle with not much bob or shall I say, no more than the old Mojo. I noticed the rake a bit more lax which will be good on fast downhills and will take a slight adjustment period.
    I did demo a Bronson and it felt very good also. No complainst really and almost went that way, but figured I would stick with Ibis as I really like the company and truly loved my last bike from them.
    so, you cannot go wrong. Both are fantastic. Keep your eye on the new Pivot Mach 6 to be released also. For now, I am very satisfied with my decision.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwandrusz View Post
    Can I ask, when you say "felt better for me" do you mean geometry, pedaling, overall handling?

    I would love to demo them, but I live dead center in the middle of the midwest, where no demo trucks go, ever. ever.

    I had a chance to demo the Pivot Mach 6, and wasn't crazy about it. If and when I'm out west I'll try to demo, but the chances are slim.
    Where-abouts are you located? It's hard to get closer to the middle of the MidWest than here in Kansas (although KS is not considered MidWest by MTBR)!

    I just got my 650b 147mm HDR from BikeCo the other day and I know of a guy in KC who recently picked up a Bronson. Maybe we can arrange a demo day in exchange for beer ; )

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by benja55 View Post
    Yes, they DO both have the ability to be wonderful suspension setups... But they also DO ride differently.

    As I've posted elsewhere, I spent years on VPP and thought I had found the be-all and end-all of rear suspension setups. Once I tried the Ibis flavor of DW on my SL, my perspective changed.

    I get to ride a lot of different bikes. My current feeling is that for rear suspension, I like:

    #1 Ibis DW - It's the most dialed that I've ridden, for all-around "trail" and "AM" riding. Even when my shocks weren't quite set right, I still preferred the ride. After dialing my shocks, it's just my favorite riding bike ever (HD/HDR). It does everything well for me.

    #2 Pivot DW - I've liked the Pivots I've ridden, but their DW setup feels a bit more dead. Less lively. This has been consistent across several bike on lengthy rides. Riding aside, I hate the aesthetics of the bike and how thick the marketing is from them.

    #3 SC VPP - I've owned quite a few SC bikes over the years, Blurs/BLTs/Nomads and I've liked them, until I went DW. I don't like how VPP climbs over square-edge technical stuff. I know it's gotten better, and I've ridden the newer stuff (not Bronson however), but for someone who climbs everything to go down, I really like the Ibis DW feel the best.

    Aside from all that, I just prefer Ibis as a company. They make great bikes and look after their riders. That means a ton to me.
    Worth pointing out that the SC VPP setups seem to have changed somewhat starting with the Tallboy LTc. The Bronson is supposed to be the best yet. I've done a parking lot test only on a Bronson (and I own a TB LTc). I think the small bump compliance is significantly better on these bikes, with equal or better pedaling characteristics. The fact that the regular Tallboy suspension linkages were tweaked is evidence that their philosophy has evolved, even in the past 4 years or so.

    Edit: Wanted to clarify that I am comparing the newest VPP bikes to "older" VPP bikes, not to DW Link designs. Just want to point out that a Nomad (or BLT, etc.) and a Bronson are likely to have significantly different suspension characteristics.

  16. #16
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    Mojo HD pedals better, and IMO has a better feel to the bike. Bronson is kinda a plow king, where the HD likes to dance. Look at the geo, the bronson is over an inch longer. HD is a bit cheaper I think as well. Santa Cruz is an awesome company but nowhere near as awesome as Ibis is. That alone keeps me from ever buying a Santa Cruz because if anything ever happens to your bike, you're coming out of pocket. As well, SC seems to be giving a lot of Bro hookups and then screwing average Joe's (from what I have seen). While Ibis pretty much treats everyone equally and goes waaaaay beyond to help us out. The HD does have less tire clearance and a lil higher BB height, if you can live with that I think you will be better off on a HD. You will be stoked on it, I promise (oh and the XL will fit you just right). If you've been on a SL for awhile you are in for the biggest treat when you first get on a HDR. The thing is sooooo much stiffer, responsive, and lively. It blows the SL away.

    You know you want the Ibis, set it to 145mm mode and be done with it. Everyone has Bronsons and nobody cares. You already know when you have a Ibis its like being part of a family. Don't let online reviewers get you hung up on little details, drive yourself crazy losing sleep over little stuff. Get yourself that HD and go ride!

  17. #17
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yody View Post
    While Ibis pretty much treats everyone equally and goes waaaaay beyond to help us out. You already know when you have a Ibis its like being part of a family. Don't let online reviewers get you hung up on little details, drive yourself crazy losing sleep over little stuff. Get yourself that HD and go ride!
    +1.
    They even stretch their help to riders in asia.
    I can attest to that.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yody View Post
    Mojo HD pedals better, and IMO has a better feel to the bike. Bronson is kinda a plow king, where the HD likes to dance. Look at the geo, the bronson is over an inch longer. HD is a bit cheaper I think as well. Santa Cruz is an awesome company but nowhere near as awesome as Ibis is. That alone keeps me from ever buying a Santa Cruz because if anything ever happens to your bike, you're coming out of pocket. As well, SC seems to be giving a lot of Bro hookups and then screwing average Joe's (from what I have seen). While Ibis pretty much treats everyone equally and goes waaaaay beyond to help us out. The HD does have less tire clearance and a lil higher BB height, if you can live with that I think you will be better off on a HD. You will be stoked on it, I promise (oh and the XL will fit you just right). If you've been on a SL for awhile you are in for the biggest treat when you first get on a HDR. The thing is sooooo much stiffer, responsive, and lively. It blows the SL away.

    You know you want the Ibis, set it to 145mm mode and be done with it. Everyone has Bronsons and nobody cares. You already know when you have a Ibis its like being part of a family. Don't let online reviewers get you hung up on little details, drive yourself crazy losing sleep over little stuff. Get yourself that HD and go ride!

    I like the way you talk.

    Its easy to get pulled in to all the marketing and whatnot. I honestly don't know what Ibis customer service is like, because in 3.5 years, I've never had an issue with my SL. I actually had OTE sports in fruita do a full pivot and bearing inpection, and asked them to try to find anything that needed doing, because I felt a bit behind on maintenance. I was SHOCKED that the pivot bearings didn't even need replacement. after THREE YEARS of this 245 lb. Pollack beating the piss out of it LOL.

    Yeah, you're right. Ibis is the right choice. Proof is in the pudding.

    Thanks for your help guys. I'll be calling bike co today. 30th bday present to myself. LOL.

  19. #19
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    I owned a Bronson, I now own a BikeCo built Ibis 147 HDR 650B (Got my SC from competitive, not a BikeCo SC). My choice came down to the suspension, I like DW better then VPP so that is why I'm back on a Ibis. To me one is not superior to the other it just depends on 1) which suspension you like better and 2) which company do you like better. They both will get the job done and get it done very, very well, it just comes down to personal preference. I like being able to call up Ibis and talk to someone on the phone, I never got that with SC.

    When you get ready to buy I do recommend the BikeCo. This is my second Ibis built up from them and Joe and Nate are the best period and they can get SC as well so that is a win, win for you.

  20. #20
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    I'm up in Chicago, so it would be a haul, but thanks for the offer!!

  21. #21
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    Has anyone paired a 160mm fork with the 147mm rear end? Or you reckon that will raise the BB to high for comfort?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillharman View Post
    Worth pointing out that the SC VPP setups seem to have changed somewhat starting with the Tallboy LTc.
    I think you're correct and like I said in my post "I've ridden the newer stuff" and actually a recent Tallboy LTc was the last SC bike I spent significant real ride time on. And it's totally true, the newer VPP (VPP2?) stuff is better.

    But I still feel it. It's most apparent to me in low speed, high-torque climbs over technical, chunky, hard-edged stuff. I feel like VPP wants to go rearward, while DW just goes up and over.
    - -benja- -

  23. #23
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    i have mine set up this way. actually like little higher bb for trails here in front range to avoid pedal strikes.
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  24. #24
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    Re: HDR 650b Vs. SC Bronson

    It seems to me that there is a lot of people who liked the dw-link better after switching from vpp...
    I would like to hear from someone who did not like the switch and will most likely go (or went) back to vpp.
    Of course, what are the main reasons?

  25. #25
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    DCPP--What tires and size are you running? Clearance issues?
    You gotta Get Up to Get Down!

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