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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Tuning into the Bronson (long boring saga)

    Well after a glut of new models over the last few years, it is slim new model pickings from SC so far. Just makes what will be next even more highly anticipated.

    It's a tad quiet around here, I thought I should rabbit on about what we already have. What better way to procrastinate at work, grab a cuppa. MTBr has never been good for productivity.

    Sometimes tuning the bike to your needs and style can take it a step further. Here are a few back and forth steps I have taken.

    The Bronson and I didn't get on at first, with an ounce of regret, I turned it down. The bright side is that we are back on and we are having some serious make up sex at the moment.

    The first things that turned me away from the Bronson was the high BB and the long CS. Well, the blighter is growing on me and I am liking it more and more, admittedly I have tweaked it.

    How did I get to the Bronson, well it was a round trip. After a line of SC bikes, I had a Carbon TRc and that was the funnest thing around for a while.

    Along came 650B. I had to move and not get stuck with redundant wheels, fork etc. I sold the bike before the price dropped out of it too much. I tested a Bronson when it was first released and it simply did everything better than a Trc. Our first dalliance, but alas, my lustful eyes and hopes were on a Trc 650B, and along came the Solo weeks later. Great bike, light, efficient, capable and fast - but, missing some Trc agro for some inexplicable reason. After 800ks we separated, still friends of course.

    Leaving the SC stable, I then explored the forward geometry philosophy and there was something to learn from that. A valuable experience.

    Time to find the next ride. Tested Yeti Sb66c, Sb5c, Sb6c, ASR FS, Pivot M4, M6, Transition Scout, Lapierre, dated the ex, a Bronson, Nomad3. Liked the M6 and both SBs, however, it was like coming home to get back on the Bronson and the Nomad. Rode the XL Bronson and the XL Nomad on separate rides and then got them back together and rode them side by side. Also rode the Bronson L with a modified shock. Some serious time was spent going back and forth from the LBS, taxing their fleet.

    Tuning into the Bronson (long boring saga)-bronson-1.jpg

    Settled on the Bronson in XL. A lot of the success for me was getting the fit right for me and how I like to ride presently. Most of us evolve in our riding, whether that is from a fitness increase, experience, or skills improvement. And we will tend towards a riding style and favoured terrain. And I had changed in all departments from the my first SC FS, a medium AL with a 22.5" TT.

    Blissful ignorance. I was very happy on that bike. But I guess at any given time, we have a dose of bliss full ignorance and enjoy a moments delusion. I am now I suppose, until the next biking revelation I discover. I am just saying, it is good to explore, test and try from time to time.

    At 5' 11'', the XL is perfect for me. Fits the purpose. I like to move around and load up the front. And on ride trips, I often traverse steep and/or fast trails.

    The Bronson is without doubt one of the most sorted trail bikes out there. Back in the AL 26" days, a 140mm trail bike was consider big, big and heavy with the con of nearly too much travel for long days on the pedals. (having said that, I did see a guy riding a SC Bullet on pure XC trails one day - there's always someone bigger than you)

    And now we have it so good, a 150mm travel bike that has no right in going so well. The composure and capability were such a leap forward when it came out. After riding most of the current crop, the Bronson is the king of trail bikes in my eyes. All the others had stand out features, however the Bronson beats them all for versatility.

    So here is my beauty,

    Tuning into the Bronson (long boring saga)-bronson-4.jpg

    Here are my set ups:
    Away rides/ride trips
    A bunch of us do regular ride trips, mostly to New Zealand
    XL Bronson

    Tuning into the Bronson (long boring saga)-bronson-2.jpg

    150mm rear CCDBAcs
    150mm front (to keep BB down and utilise the best balance geo on the bike)
    780mm bar
    -1.5° Works headset

    Tuning into the Bronson (long boring saga)-bronson-3.jpg

    HA 65.5°
    BB 13.3"
    FOC 770mm

    Rides like a dream, very capable at high speeds, pedals better than a Nomad and noticeably more nimble to. It's a real attack pack. Engages with the trail.

    Local rides
    XL Bronson

    Tuning into the Bronson (long boring saga)-brolo-1.jpg

    Tuning into the Bronson (long boring saga)-brolo-3.jpg

    138mm rear reduced (Berserk) Kirk

    Tuning into the Bronson (long boring saga)-berserk-kirk.jpg

    150mm front
    760mm bar (more trees local)
    -1° Works headset
    HA 65°
    BB 13"

    Super super good at cornering. Pulling some amazing G forces in berms, ridiculous flat turns - just a bag of fun for trail riding. If it gets rowdy, slack enough to have a crack, at very high speeds the back will show signs of over work. Surprisingly good on jumps and drops.

    Tuning into the Bronson (long boring saga)-brolo-2.jpg

    Oh I do run 170mm cranks. Yes, I do get a few strikes here and there, but I strike pedals on a lot of bikes. The strikes are more glances and reminders of the bikes parameters - I mean, I still glance and odd tree with my bars from time to time. I am accustom to riding lower bikes and maybe this helps me to clear tech and rough stuff.

    Latest addition - a green dinner plate on the back. My big dog cog.

    Tuning into the Bronson (long boring saga)-big-dog-cog.jpg

    Well, I do have to climb some steep stuff in my rounds and after 2 hours on the trail, to be able to still climb stuff is rewarding - either that, or I should just man up. So far, changes gear well, I just wonder how well it will be once it gets more than 1/2 worn. Time will tell.

    Stage 3

    I will be getting a 11-6 when available and probably a Lyric for an even more bomber set up. A bit worried about the Lyric being too high (at 160mm), but we reckon we can make it 150mm so I will be set.
    Oh, and I have a -2° Works headset to try out to. Can't wait.

    The bike is working so well in my low setting at 65° HA that I just have to try it this slack with all of the travel and with the front fork and shock upgraded further.


    Short set up is fun for sure. The cons in handling are noticeable, the pedaling is better more efficient and snappy but not by the margin I thought it would be. Worthwhile? Final decision will be made when I change back again soon as I have another bike trip coming up.

    Setting short is fine, but you feel limited a fraction because sure enough, you get set and then your riding buddies decide we should all do some shuttle runs on downhill courses. Grrr.

    I am hoping my Stage 3 proposal will solve the problem. I will be able to have all my travel on call. With a -2° headset, I will get a little lower than the 13.3" and reap some ripping reward, and with the 11-6 I can have a DH setting and a snappy sprinting pop setting.


    Lose the old school seat post and have new style seat posts on B2, ie a fraction steeper and shorter like the Nomad. A recessed VPP point wouldn't be deal breaker either.

    Presently I can only run a slammed 5" dropper post. After riding a 6" version for so long, and coming back to 5" you can feel the seat sometimes on difficult steeps and drops when you didn't before. Also milking that last bit height (and length) out of a bunny hop or off a trail feature to make an adventurous transition point, sometimes I feel the seat and of course blame it for coming up short.

    And for the pragmatic out there, yes, if I could I would have a Nomad 3 and a dedicated smaller bike, like the new SC XC 650b. That would be a sorted selection, totally agree. Give to me now. But I only have one FS and one hardtail, so I play with what I have got for now.

    In any event I thought my games might be of interest to someone, so best to share my experiences for the common good. Not all of us can be bothered to experiment.

    Likewise, not all of us can be bother to read this. Cheers and ride on.

  2. #2
    Ride On
    Reputation: geraldooka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Looks awesome. I feel I have to mention it, I'd apply significant frame protection where the syntace stem hits the top tube. I have damaged a frame with their drop stem on a bail when the bars rotated hard and the bottom of it slammed into the frame.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

    Ride on!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    How's that BOS Kirk......?.....

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Interesting read. I have a similar range of set ups with my mojo HD.
    When you said you take regular trips to NZ I thought maybe you are in Australia. Then lo and behold the commodore in the background of the photos. Haha.
    You've done well to get that many demo rides mate. Pretty hard to come by where I'm from.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Thanks geraldooka.

    Yep agree, TT is in danger. Tend to run pretty slammed, so I have damaged TTs in the past. Hate dinging the TT, but not much I can do about it. So far we're clear.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    The Bos is good. Put it on the SC new and we couldn't slow it down enough. Bos took it back to France and gave it a tweak. It suits the SC now, thanks and props to BOS for being proactive about there product.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Hi Nutta, yes I am in Brisbane to mate. I'm always on the look out for cheap flights to NZ. Regular deals = regular visits. I was last there in March, heading to Tassie in October, for a change. Cheers W

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: kdiff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamK View Post
    Blissful ignorance. I was very happy on that bike. But I guess at any given time, we have a dose of bliss full ignorance and enjoy a moments delusion. I am now I suppose, until the next biking revelation I discover. I am just saying, it is good to explore, test and try from time to time.
    The whole post was very well written and appropriate timing for me, especially the section quoted above and the pieces around it. I moved about 65 miles (1-2 hours depending on traffic) from where I was previously living 1.5 years ago. I now have a number of trails with varying degrees of smoothness and rockiness 5-30 minutes from where I live. My riding has evolved tremendously because of my new found comfort, skill, and increased saddle time. I'm now questioning my whole idea of smaller size bike is better in most situations and thinking there is something better for my new style. For some reason, perhaps the perceived cost, frame size experimentation was something that I would never do. Thanks for sharing! It really struck me given all of the thoughts and questions I've had lately.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: riiz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Nice build and write-up, but are you sure a XL is right for you? You have the shortest possible stem on it and the dropper's collar is slammed into the bike.

    Also those On-One cogs last a long time, even with a bit if wear they work perfectly. On the other hand, the 16 toothed cog that is supplied with the 10 speed systems, it wears out fast and I eventually toss them and go back to the stock cogs and deal with the larger gear jump.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Thanks. Nice read.

    I left my Bronson and regret it a bit too. That bike is under rated. I'm on a 5010 now and yeah, it's a bit sharper in the single track, but the Bronson is 90% there and IMO pedals (accellerates) better than the 5010 (both w/ cane creek shocks & similar settings). BB on 5010 limits sag for trail riding (had it super progressive at 35% sag and it was really good - but drug pedals too much).

    Good to hear the experience though.

  11. #11
    Let's ride SuperModerator
    Reputation: rensho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Damn, that's an incredible amount of work put into dailing your setup! Way cool.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    WilliamK, Just curious . What was the reason you dropped the Foxy XR? I've got a TBltc. Can't say I'm a VPP fan[ ridiculously hard to get set up right without a tune-able shock] and looking to drop it and concentrate on 27.5.Foxy XR carbon was on my short list.

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