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  1. #1
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    Bronson C SPX AM 2x10 build and first ride thoughts

    After demoing a Bronson built with XTR/Enve kit on unfamiliar trails, I pulled the trigger on the Bronson C SPX AM 2x10 complete bike. It arrived yesterday, and I got it built and enjoyed my first (short) ride this morning. Lots of tuning and optimizing ahead, but here are some thoughts on the build and ride. For reference, I've been on a Tallboy LTc with XTR and Mavic wheels for the last ~8 months.

    Build:
    --It came with High Roller II 2.4 EXO tires (not the 2.3s listed on the SC site.) These are MONSTERS. 940g each on my scale, very firm casings; they feel like moto tires.

    --Not sure of the need for a chainguide given the Shadow+ RD. I love the ethirteen bash guard, but wouldn't mind removing the rest of the unit.

    --Shimano XT is awesome. Great brakes, precise shifting, no complaints.

    --Stock Reverb control is right handed; I wish it were left. Reverb control doesn't play that well with XT shift/brake in terms of handlebar real estate, no surprise I guess. But it all can be made to work.


    Ride:

    --Stock wheel/tire combo is HEAVY and very burly. A very noticeable difference compared to the Enve/Nobby Nic combo on the bike I tested. Not a totally bad thing; the wheels are very stiff and the tires grip like mad. But there's definitely some rolling resistance from those thick casings, and climbing is a bit sluggish. I'll probably replace the rear with a Nobby Nic but keep the front for now; I do love the traction.

    --I rode this morning at a local freeride/skills park where I've ridden many times on the Tallboy LTc. WOW. I'd noticed some obvious differences between these bikes during my earlier test on trails, but in a park-type setting the Bronson is just so much more fun. Skinnies, tight switchbacks, tabletops, jumps... the bike is just way stiffer, more compliant and snappier than the TBLTc. The smaller wheels are much easier to push around through low-speed obstacles, and they don't flex and chatter on tight turns like the 29ers. Doing longer drops to flat off skinnies and boardwalks, it's SO much easier to get the front wheel up (short stays and smaller wheels). There's a touch more flop in the front end due to the shallower HT angle, but any sluggishness at low speed is compensated by the smaller wheels.

    Bottom line: This bike a ton of fun. Very stoked!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewBird View Post
    --Stock Reverb control is right handed; I wish it were left. Reverb control doesn't play that well with XT shift/brake in terms of handlebar real estate, no surprise I guess. But it all can be made to work.
    Run it like a pro with it upside down beneath the bar on the left. It puts the button in a far better position than on top and it less likely to get damaged when you yard sale it.
    the going won't get good 'til I'm good and gone

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by HELLBELLY View Post
    Run it like a pro with it upside down beneath the bar on the left. It puts the button in a far better position than on top and it less likely to get damaged when you yard sale it.
    +1 on this advice -- been running the reverb on my old bike this way for a while after my buddy's snapped off when his dog knocked his bike over.

    See you at Duthie -- I'll be the other guy on the yellow bronson.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by HELLBELLY View Post
    Run it like a pro with it upside down beneath the bar on the left. It puts the button in a far better position than on top and it less likely to get damaged when you yard sale it.
    I did mess around with this a bit when setting it up, but couldn't get the Reverb remote in a position I liked on the left 'cause the shifters are in the way. If I put it inboard of the shifters it's too far to reach quickly. Maybe I can squeeze it between shifter & brake.... if anyone has a photo of how they swung this setup with XT I'd love to see it.

  5. #5
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    DrewBird, interested in how the Bronson climbs up rocky tech stuff. I think the TBLTc scrambles up chunk very well, doesn't lift the front wheel which can really throw off your climbing. Are you using stock wheels on the Bronson and did you on the TBLTc as well?

  6. #6
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    Hey Frank,

    Depends what you mean by "tech stuff". The Bronson is way, way better on really technical climbs IMHO; I can cleanly ride stuff on the Bronson that I couldn't on the TBLTc. The smaller wheels are easier to power over obstacles, and the whole bike just feels much more laterally stiff and composed at very low speeds. Mind you, I'm talking about very tricky stuff, where you come to a virtual halt and have to place the front wheel just so, balance weight carefully etc. I will say that I've had no issues with the bike wheely-ing out or front wheel wander on steep climbs, unlike 26ers I've ridden; the rear end is really a 'just right' length.

    I think the TBLTc might have a small advantage on rough-but-pedalable climbs, and the advantage grow as the climbs get smoother and faster; if you can maintain some speed, those big wheels will get you up most anything. But, if you hit an unexpected ledge or obstacle and lose speed, it's much harder to torque the big wheels over it.

    Caveat: wheels and tires. I'm on stock DT/WTB wheels w/ stock heavy-duty HRII front and Nobby Nic rear on the Bronson, and Mavic Crossmax STs with Nobby Nics front & rear on the TBLTc. TBLTc setup is lighter even in the bigger size, but probably also less stiff; that might contribute to the unsure low-speed feel of the TBLTc, and also make it feel faster on more pedalable climbs.

  7. #7
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    Drew- I agree that large wheels and tires roll well but don't change speed both up or down as well as the smaller wheels. You have light tires so the wheel is the issue . I went to carbon/ light wheels on my TBc and now TBLTc and it made a big diff. in my ability to accelerate up rock lifts which are everywhere in Fruita and Moab. Many rides have 2' to 3' rock ledges with 2 pedal strokes to run up to them. In add. I think my wheels may be stiffer laterally than your stockers. This would also hold true on the Bronson with the same wheels. Nothing we ride is smooth and fast though its all about quick energy and power bursts. Thanks for answering. Frank

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewBird View Post
    if anyone has a photo of how they swung this setup with XT I'd love to see it.
    +1 I played around with the positioning and just couldn't get it to fit right. I've seen pics of shift levers being cut for it to fit, but I'd prefer to keep everything intact. Thanks in advance!

  9. #9
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    +2 not sure I can unlearn a left side button.

  10. #10
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    I did end up going left/under bar with the button. I just jammed it up against the shifter, as close as I could manage. I have big hands and I can reach it pretty easily in a comfy riding position, though I do have to slightly shift my hand. Easy to do by feel though. That was the best I could do after messing around with various configurations; I tried putting the reverb between shifter & brake, or outboard of both, and it interferes with the shift levers (you can make it fit but it's effing hard to hit when you want to, and you risk downshifting when you mean to drop or vice versa.)

  11. #11
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    demoed bronson recently, got a large and a medium between 2 guys, we are both on the SC sizing crease @ 5'9" & a little change. Medium won hands down. Build was very heavy slx with no dropper. got some good downhilling and some moderately technical singletrack climb descend. was looking to replace aging nomad and think I found the ticket. bike really flew up climbs that reward momentum (versus sit and spin) a lot better then the old nomad. ordered it up yesterday, now the 2 month wait begins. : my buddy's snapped off when his dog knocked his bike over : bad dog
    Go that way really fast......if anything gets in your way turn.

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