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  1. #1
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    As Requested HD vs Bronson

    Since I got a couple of requests to compare the Bronson to my HD I borrowed my buddies ride for this afternoon. This is by no means an indepth review, but a few things were very apparent. First off the bike is a large Bronson built almost exactly as I would do it. Full XX1, XT Trail brakes, Chinese carbon rims with I9 hubs, KS Lev, etc. A few pics including the weight which was 27.1 lbs.





    Luckily I am generous with my friends so they don't mind when I ask to take their Super Bling bikes out. One thing that was off from my build was the bars. He runs 711 and I run 750's. That felt a little weird, but didn't slow me down too much. Suspension was setup similar to mine with a RS Monarch Plus RC3 at 30% sag and a Pike with 51 PSI. Yes, I run my setup really plush, but on to the ride.

    First thing I noticed right off the bat is that it is much stiffer than my HD, E29 or even the Carbine 275 that I rode for a while in terms of the rear suspension. Not nearly the same small bump compliance as the HD even though they are running the same rear shock at the same sag. Related to this setup was the fact that it accelerated RIGHT NOW when out of the saddle. It is definitely a better out of the saddle sprinter than the HD. I rode a shortened version of my local loop because my legs are blown out. I did give it my all during the 60 minute loop and when I uploaded my Strava data 275 once again proved that it is the best wheel size for me. I was over 30 seconds faster up the climb which is about 2.1 miles and 800' of vertical. On the downs it handled well and I was within 5 seconds of my PR's which I set last week. It held corners well and there was no noticable flex in my brief ride. It did feel pretty harsh going down and nothing like the magic carpet ride I get with my HD or E29. Overall it is a very solid choice, but not something I would choose over my HD on a regular basis. It will be more telling once I get my Mach 6 in so that I can compare VPP to HD with similar travel and setups. The question is whether my uphill speed is from the 275 wheels or VPP since both VPP bikes I have ridden have been faster on the climbs than my HD, but both were 275. Let me know if you have any questions or want clarification on anything. I will get another run on this bike later where I can get several rides in over a week or so.

  2. #2
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    Thanks Salespunk! I love the bike comparisons. Even though I'm not looking for a new ride, it's good to read them.
    MTB4Her.com: mountain bike site for women, by women

  3. #3
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    Awesome buddy!

    When you say stiffer are you referring to shock feel or frame stiffness?

    VPP do seem to go up fire roads very quick very anti squat feel which always put me off the Nomad, always felt like a very flat cockpit as if too much weight was always pushed fwd, hence why they go uphill very efficiently, an old VP Free I had did that always climbed way beyond what a bike of that weight 40lbs had a right to do back in the day with 66s and coil shock.

    Still pretty impressive to be that close to your PBs on a quick ride, look fwd to hearing more, now get your hands on that M6, also just for kicks throw a Pike on the HDR and re compare I reckon you might reset though PBs and be very interesting to see how big a diff uphill PBs are.

  4. #4
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    It was the suspension that felt harsh. Surprised me too since the Carbine was so plush.

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  5. #5
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    As Requested HD vs Bronson

    I wonder how much shock tune has to do with the feel. If it's a stock Monarch Plus I believe it only comes in M/M tune? And like DW doesn't VPP work best with low compression and quick rebound?

    Maybe the CCDBA and other more adjustable shocks feel nicer on the Bronson?

  6. #6
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    It is a M/M tune on the Bronson. It could factor into it, but it would be difficult for me to get an exact comparison since my the Monarch on my HD is Pushed as well.

  7. #7
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    I run my Bronson with a Float X and it has great small bump compliance but still controlled when hitting bigger chunk. The stock CTD was a little harsh but I think that's expected unless when you're running a shock with a piggyback. I agree a LM tune would probably better.

    I can throw my 2 cents in since I was on an HD for 3 years and on my Bronson now for almost 9 months. Using Strava also I am definitely quicker up and down than my HD. I smoked all my PR's on my local trails. As for climbing not sure if I attribute it to the 27.5 or having a lighter bike. My Bronson is just a little over 27lbs and my HD was almost 30lbs. I think it's a little of both.

    On the downs I am definitely a lot quicker on the Bronson. The biggest difference for me is the extra traction. It has been so dry here in SoCal since 2010 that the bigger tires just let you push it harder in loose conditions. The bike is still plenty nimble and easy to toss around also. VPP and DW both feel great to me. The Bronson doesn't have any more bob than my HD did climbing. The steeper seat angle took some getting used to but I love it now. It's better for me climbing and descending.

    Both bikes ride great but the Bronson to me hit some of the things I was looking for when I was looking to switch it up. (At least 150mm travel, sub 6lb frame, bottle cage inside front triangle). Wasn't really looking for a 27.5 bike but I am believer in the benefits since I am faster all around. I loved my Ibis and wouldn't hesitate owning another. It would just have to check some of the boxes the Bronson filled in over the HD.

  8. #8
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    Speed aside, which one is more playful and fun?

  9. #9
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    HD would be my call there

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