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  1. #1
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    Bronson, Solo or Tallboy LT?

    I need help me on my decision with which of these 3 bikes (Bronson, Solo or Tallboy LT) I should go for but not sure which one would be best for me. I will like to demo these bikes but I live in Toronto, Ontario and it doesn't look like the demo tour is coming to Canada this year. There are a few stores that carry these bikes but so far none of them have stock, so nothing in the way of demo's.

    If I give you a run-down on my riding style, the trails I ride and a little detail on my sizing and geometry of my current bike, can you give me your suggestions as which of these bikes would be best for me? It is probably worth pointing out that I intend on buying just the frame and building the bike up with specific parts that can be handpicked to tweak the riding position and the cockpit feel.

    Sizing
    I am 6'1" and weigh around 155 lbs, so basically tall and lanky. My in-seam is around 34" and my reach is around 2'5" (shoulder to fingertips) so I figure I'll want a large frame with any of these 3.

    My current bike
    2007 Kona Cinder Cone 18", all stock parts have been replaced with XT, SLX and Saint components. I have a 120mm RS Revelation fork and a Thomson setback seat post, both of which change the geometry considerably. The geometry is as follows:

    Top Tube: 24
    Seat Tube: 18
    Seat Tube Angle: 70
    Head Tube: 5.5
    Head Tube Angle: 67
    Bottom Bracket Height: 12.5
    Wheel Base: 43.3
    Chain Stay: 16.5
    Stand Over: 30.9

    Riding style
    I currently ride mostly aggressive xc but I definitely have a persuasion towards bombing runs and hurling small obstacles and riding technical trails (rooty/rocky single-track). I like to climb but I definitely love the descents more. I think at the moment my riding style may lean a little more towards the xc side but only because I am limited by current hard-tail bike.
    I would like to go faster without feeling like I am rattling all the bones in my spine but not necessarily just steam rolling through everything. I would like to be able to take on the more technically challenging trails with rooty and rocky sections on both the climb and the descent. And I would like to be able to take drops that are bigger than 2-3 feet high.

    Trails
    I ride about 80% of the time in the Don Valley, a ravine near my house that has about 20 miles of short ups and fast downs with an elevation of around 300-400 feet. There is mostly technical single-track in the valley with a number of obstacles along the way (jumps, drop-offs, skinnies, bridges, etc.). There are a number of other trails in Ontario that I ride on occasion that have a much longer trail systems with a higher elevation. There are also a number of more technical trails that are very rocky and rooty on the climbs and descents that I would like to do but currently don't ride because of my hard-tail. And at some point I will like to make a trip out west, meaning Vancouver/Whistler and a trip to Sedona, Moab and Summit County.

    Apologies for the intense amount of detail but I could see that all of these would be factors to consider when deciding on a new (and expensive) bike.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    MountainGoat aka OldGoat
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    Don't think you would be unhappy with any of these three bikes. I've never been on the Solo so I will stick to the other two as I have both. My short answer would be TallBoy or TallBoy LT for you and your size and trails you ride most. Ok so now why would I say that. The TB's are just great bikes. The Bronson might be such a drastic jump from your current bike and you might not like such an all mountain slayer!! I've been on a 29er for for or five years and I LOVE THEM. My original TBc was the best bike I ever had and if I had not started jumping off of every trail feature on my trails, I would still own it. The TBLTc I'm on now is a very close second. Hope this helps...
    Vote with your feet.
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  3. #3
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    Any of those three bikes will be a drastic change from what you are used to. I own a Solo and have ridden a Bronson, but not a Tallboy LT. The Bronson is a great bike that falls squarely in the AM category. It is most at home blasting down rocky AM trails. The Solo falls squarely in the trail category, but will cover anything from XC to AM. The Solo gives up a little to the Bronson on rocky down hills, but is faster elsewhere. I found that the Solo climbs better, turns quicker and accelerates faster. It does have a lower BB than the Bronson (and LT), but that helps it rail corners better too. It is a very agile and fun bike to ride.

    Try to demo at least one of those three bikes just to get a point of reference. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys for the feedback. I did a bit of trawling through the Santa Cruz forums last night and I have found the following in summary:

    The Tallboy LT has great roll over ability and climbs and descends very well. However, when compared to the Bronson it is not as 'flickable' and not as confidence inspiring on bigger drops. I couldn't find any comparisons between the Tallboy LT and the Solo though. I wonder which is the better climber? I guess the 'flickability' on the Solo would be similar to or better than the Bronson?

    The Bronson, as you have said, is at home blasting down rocky AM trails (I found quite a number of comments that agree with that). When compared to the Tallboy LT, a lot of people are saying it's a great bike for launching off of various obstacles in the trail and is generally a lot of fun to ride. It sounds like it's a decent climber as well, in fact one person believes that it climbs technical trails better than the Tallboy LT. The question is, is the Solo as playful a bike as the Bronson? It looks pretty playful from the promo video.

    The Solo is a strong trail climber and descends really well and fast. But as you have said, when compared to the Bronson, it is not as good at blasting down the rockier trails. It seems a number of people are comparing the Solo to the Blur TR, saying it has very similar riding characteristics. I have read that it is a very fun bike to ride, and that it holds it's own on the technical descents and (as you have said) the Solo corners really well. I didn't find too many comments specifically on how 'flickable' the Solo is, if it launches obstacles, jumps, drops, etc. with confidence? However, there's a lot of people saying that the Blur TR is very playful in this sense so maybe the Solo is comparable in this respect?

  5. #5
    Just Ride
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    Bronson, Solo or Tallboy LT?

    I own a TBc and a Bronson C, I really like both these bike for there intended use, that being said I am just finishing a two week travel that has included Moab, Durango and Crested Butte and have only brought the Bronson. The Bronson shined most in Moab, but has treated me right every where and does climb very well for a big bike. I got the Bronson because the trails I ride at home a re VERY ROCKY, and it suits that terrains great. I use my Tallboy mostly for XC racing type terrain. I had a Blur TRc before and found that bike to be an all around ripper. So if I were to have just one bike right now I would look hard at the Solo because I think it would over both ends is the spectrum well, good luck!

  6. #6
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    I rode a Tallboyc for 2 years and now 1 year on the TBLTc. I did a short ride on the Bronson but not enough to comment. If you like to xcrace or ride aggro then I would def. recc. the regular TBc with a 120mm fork which is whats popular now. The TBc is way more capable than it appears on paper. I live near Fruita and also rode Lunch Loops, and Moab on a regular basis with my TBc. It was very much at home on these trails. The LTc is a close second for me but I am used to 29's. The Solo would be interesting and could, not sure, but could cover all the basis. For one bike to do everything I would chose the TBLTc, can be built light, handles rocks/roots well, and can cover long distance rides.

  7. #7
    MountainGoat aka OldGoat
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    Well said FruitaFrank. I would add that now that I've ridden 29ers for so long going back to smaller wheels is hard. I LOVE my BronsonC at my local down hill bike park but its almost ALL downhill riding.
    Vote with your feet.
    No bike is perfect!

  8. #8
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    RegularBob, I forgot to add that IMO you are deff. a size XL. Santa Cruz frames run small compared to others and with the carbon there is very little diff. in weight. I am 5' 11" with a 32 inch inseam and the Large is perfect.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fruitafrank View Post
    RegularBob, I forgot to add that IMO you are deff. a size XL. Santa Cruz frames run small compared to others and with the carbon there is very little diff. in weight. I am 5' 11" with a 32 inch inseam and the Large is perfect.
    At 6 1 you are close to the threshold in sizing IMO. Im also 5 11 and my large LTc fits well, but at 6 1 an XL could very well be too big. At your height I would say test ride is certainly in order for any of the above bikes.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fruitafrank View Post
    RegularBob, I forgot to add that IMO you are deff. a size XL. Santa Cruz frames run small compared to others and with the carbon there is very little diff. in weight. I am 5' 11" with a 32 inch inseam and the Large is perfect.
    I agree. I am also 6.1" and had a large bronson on order. I managed to get a test ride on a large and found it way too cramped, unless I was going to run a long stem. I changed my order to an XL (so now waiting even longer for delivery!) - I think the slightly longer wheelbase and shorter stem will give both high speed stability and agility.
    You really need to try and test one, even if you have to travel a bit.

  11. #11
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    I completely agree with Frank, I have the Tallboy C with a 120mm and it is a great all around aggressive XC bike, gets after it on the climbs..and just handles everything. There has only been a couple cases where I felt the rear ran out of travel.

    That said, I think the Solo (though I haven't rode it) would probably be the alternative. The Bronson like others said is a lot bigger bike and so is the LT. Though great climbers for the bike that they are, they still don't get it done like a short travel XC bike...the geometries just lend to a more efficient bike.
    Santa Cruz Tallboy carbon
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  12. #12
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    I have a large superlight 29 and just got a solo. I'm 6' with a 30 in inseam ride a lot of rocks and think the solo fits like a glove. I like my super light and think its a good bike but I also think the solo does everything just a bit better. The superlight has the same geometry as the tall boy but the rear suspension is better on the talboy. The shorter chain stays and slacker head angle really make it handle better for me and the smaller wheels ride the rocks almost as well as the bigger hoops but also give a gearing advantage and spin up faster and easier so for anyone not in the greatest of shape is a real advantage, to say I love the solo is an understatement! I should add that I think the solo climbs better than my superlight also.
    Last edited by t0pcat; 08-15-2013 at 08:09 PM. Reason: Addition
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  13. #13
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    Interesting... I sent an email to Santa Cruz asking the same question about which of these 3 bikes I should go for. I also provided the same detail about my trails, current bike, etc. This is essentially what they said...

    They said that they would recommend the Solo due to my XC tendencies. This is a bike that can handle larger drops and more technical trails than what I currently own.

    They went on to say that the Bronson is also a brilliant bike. It feels great on 30+mile rides. They said that their terrain out there has slightly more elevation and they are rarely disappointed in the pedaling capabilities of the Bronson.

    Bottom line, they feel I will be happier at home with the Solo, however the Bronson will be better for my trips elsewhere.

    Either way they're sure I will be stoked

  14. #14
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    I just spent 2 days demoing a Bronson (on vacation). I ride a heavier built TRc at home. Also checked out some new Solos, but no real trail rides on one.
    I'd go with a Solo, the Bronson is great, crushes the rough stuff/downhills, pedals and climbs remarkably well for such a big hitter. But on a longer more trail/XC ride you better be strong. The Solo geo is very similar to a TRc, efficient climber, and a very fun/capable bike.

  15. #15
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    I found a bike store near me that has a large bronson c and they let me have a quick spin on it, no trails though, just road. I have to say I am really really impressed. I really like the feel and fit of the Bronson and it doesn't really feel how I would imagine a long travel bike to feel. I know my height and long legs & arms really call for an XL but I have actually gotten used to riding a smaller bike so I actually ended up liking the large. I would get a slightly longer stem though or use my current 90mm Thomson stem.

    So the ride... It's difficult to say as I was only allowed to ride on the road. However, there was a fairly long and steep hill near by that I did a couple of laps on. I bombed the hill as fast as I could with whipping the bike on and off of the curb and then I did the same going back up. Not sure if it was over enthusiasm or just being so excited to be on the bike but I gunned it up the hill faster than I think I would have (or even could have) with my commuter bike. My commuter has got a heavy internal gear hub so it's not really a fair comparison but it did show me, to some degree, the climbing capability of the Bronson. On the second time around I went up the hill faster than the first. The interesting thing I noticed the second time round is that normally with my current Kona bike, when it comes to strenuous bursts like this, I usually start to flail a tad when I get to the top. This normally results in sloppy pedaling and sloppy steering which can sometimes make the front of my bike lift ever so slightly. I presume that this is due to the 120mm fork and Pig Pro Dh headset creating a really slack headtube angle and seattube angle. The setback seat post probably doesn't help but I have had to use it to help with the force in my knees. Anyway so the point is the Bronson, with all it's travel, appears to be a better climber than my current bike. The descent down the hill was a lot of fun too but probably not anywhere near a true measure of what fun I could have on this bike. The demo wasn't massively insightful but did make me think why not go with the Bronson since there's already a gain on the climbing ability, then all the gain on the descending ability would open me up to so many more trails.

    I chatted a bit with the guys in the store about the local trails, specifically the Don Valley, and the other technical trails in Ontario. And the discussion reminded me that there are a lot of trails where I could benefit with the bomb-ability of the Bronson. In talking through it, I also realised that most of Ontario's trails don't really have long sustained climbs. It's mostly short ups and short downs connected with long mellower ups and downs. I can't think of anywhere that I know that has a long sustained climb like the one in the Solo promo video. And I'm not sure how much that appeals to me either. I think descending, ripping technical sections, and jumping random drops between shorter climbs definitely appeals to me more. Meaning, I should probably be wary to not weight my decision too heavily on climbing ability.

    So for now I am leaning towards the Bronson. There's another Santa Cruz dealer in Mississauga that I think I should visit. Apparently the guy who handles the SC ordering rides a Nomad. I am quite interested to chat with him and find out how his Nomad fairs in Ontario. There's probably trails that I am yet to learn of that are perfect for longer travel bikes.

  16. #16
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    Just took my Tallboy LTc for some gnarly trail riding in Moab Utah. I've got a short vid up of porcupine and slickrock.

    Moab - YouTube

  17. #17
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    Awesome video.. nice job! The Tallboy LTc looks like it handles really well. And it looks like a lot of fun on those Moab trails. I really need to plan a trip out there. Those cliff edge sections near the end of the vid look really hairy, must get the heart pumping nicely!

  18. #18
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    I wouldn't mind seeing some similar videos of Bronson or Solo owners on the trails. Particularly vids that show how they climb. All of the videos I've found have shown mostly just downhill. Here's some of the vids I've seen so far..

    Bronson
    Neil Donoghue - Bronson Play on Vimeo
    The Trailhead Files Episode One: Bronson Shake Down. on Vimeo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwqD...e_gdata_player
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrMI...e_gdata_player

    Solo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoSp...e_gdata_player

    Bronson, Solo owners.. let's see some vids

  19. #19
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    Hey all. Anyone familiar with the Bronson, TBc and TBLTc? Most of my riding, 80%, consists of hard 45-60 min grinds with a relatively smooth, 10-15 min single track decent littered with 2-3 foot drops, burms and small rocks.(SLC: Quarry trail, Drycreek/Bobsled course, Dog Lake and Corner Canyon). Once a week we roll up to a resort like PC or Solitude to do some freeride trails or give in to a 3-4 hour ride with some of my die hard XC pals..and a few annual trips to Moab and Gooseberry Mesa.

    I love my recently purchased large TBc. At 180lbs 5'10" it takes care of biz on the 45 min ascents and 2-3 hour Spiro type rides in Park City. It rips through roots and small rocks like a cadilac on a dirt road. Not sure if i'm being too picky in trying to zero in on the perfect bike but I feel i'm on top of the 29" tires instead of the comfy "cockpit" feel on the decents. Almost bottoming out on the jumps too. Feels a bit "lanky" on the burms/whoops. I'm not an expert rider in any one area but like to do it all and seem to keep up ok with my die hard free ride and XC friends.(not into true downhill or racing) Is my LTc too specific for my type of riding? I have 30 days to swap the bike and would really appreciate any opinions. My thoughts are to keep the TLc and get a 150-160mm free ride like the Nomad or Bronson or return the TLc and throw down a few more buck tricking out a TBLTc or Bronson(all carbon,,top of the line componenets for less weight) I can't find a demo anywhere for the Bronson but the 27.5 wheels seem appealing where my 29ers seem a bit too much in the technical and tight turns/burms. I don't have to be the guy that beats everyone to the top of the hill but I def don't want to sacrafice for more bob going up with significantly more travel.

    Net: 1) keep TBc and add Bronson or Nomad..2 bikes
    2) let TBC go and build an ultra light Bronson or TBLTc


    I really like having just one bike. Based on my riding will the Bronson 27.5 accomplish this? Or is it time to start building the "quiver" like the powder/groomer ski set up!!? My budget for 2 bikes or one super tricked out is around 8k.

    Thanks in advance for any opinions on this or other bikes that you think might fit the bill.

  20. #20
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    Just got done with demoing 3 SC bikes. Solo c, Bronson c and TBLTc. This....

    'my 29ers seem a bit too much in the technical and tight turns/burms'

    I am currently riding a 29" carbon hardtail which I love. Recently though I have been looking at getting a FS bike and the 650b sounded ideal. I have done a lot of reading/research and all of that seemed to back up what I felt today.

    650b-rolls really well. Not quite the roll over capability that my 29 has but certainly doable. Tech and tight turns---sweeet!

    So, in regard to your final question I would say either the Solo built up a little beefier or the Bronson built up light. This is exactly the dilemma I am now facing. I would say that your preference might dictate your choice: If you want to climb a little faster/easier=Solo C. If you want to climb and then descend faster/easier-=Bronson C.

    Hope this helps.

    FWIW I did get on the TBLTc and tight corners turns/berms were not as quick and required more 'working' the bike.
    You gotta Get Up to Get Down!

  21. #21
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    quick vid of just 3rd person shots of the TBLTc

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    Cryde, thanks for the reply. I didn't even consider the Solo until I read your post. Do you see any issue putting 140mm travel on the front? In effect making it "beefier"? I noticed the spec called for 125mm. Does scaling back the Bronson mean downsizing travel from 150mm to 140mm? Can't seem to find local demos for either bikes. At 5'9" 180lbs 32inseam do you think a large is too big? Do you mind sharing your dimensions? I am finding my large TBc to be a bit too much but attributing it to the tires. I did demo a Medium TBc and it felt cramped. Thanks again! Half the fun is getting things figured out!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dustman View Post


    123
    Are all 51 of your posts spamming that same video on every thread that mentions TBLT?
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Are all 51 of your posts spamming that same video on every thread that mentions TBLT?
    Kind of. A year ago when I was jonesing for a tbltc I looked all over YouTube and couldn't find any vids of the bike. So when I got it I started making some vids. I think these threads wondering about TBLTcs specifically are a great place to "spam" those videos.

    I agree that it is shameless self promotion though. It's just fun to make these vids and see the views go up! Also after you ride the same trails 100s of times you start looking for ways to make it fun, e.g. Videoing it.

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