Santa Cruz Bronson (v3) vs. new Santa Cruz Hightower (v2)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Santa Cruz Bronson (v3) vs. new Santa Cruz Hightower (v2)

    What do you guys think. I can't decide between the Bronson and the new Hightower. I tested the Bronson and it felt great and my heart is definitly beating for the Bronson, but I'm kind of sceptical because the whole industry is pushing towards 29er..
    I also tested the Hightower LT and it felt much more cumbersome and less fun than the Bronson.

    Do you think the new Hightower comes close to the nimble and fun bronson-feeling and will be as capable? Maybe someone could already get a hand on it.


    thanks!

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    If you read NSMB's review of the Highertower, they compare it pretty extensively to the Bronson. If I remember correctly, they found the Hightower quite nimble, but not quite as up for the truly heavy stuff as the Bronson. They had a somewhat large caveat though in that the rider had sized down from XL in the Bronson to L in the Hightower for bike availability reasons, and a lot of the differences are what people tend to note as the +/- to moving up and down a size on the same frame.

    Edit: forgot where I read the review.

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    Thank you for the hint. Found the article: https://nsmb.com/articles/introducin...ruz-hightower/

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    I've demo'ed the Bronson twice in the past three weeks. Once with 2.5/2.4 tires and once with the + set up. 2.6/2.6. This is not exactly what you asked but for the record, I found the 2.6+ setup really effected the Bronson's ability to climb. Either bike rolled over everything I rode but I could tell the difference climbing and would not go that route for the tight eastern trails I call home.

    I'm waiting to get hold of a new Hightower because that and the Bronson are the two bikes I'm most interested in. I've ridden the Megatower and wrote that off as too much bike for my riding.

    Knowing some of the changes coming in August to the Tallboy, it looks like it may be as close as you can get to a replacement for the original Hightower which I was always happy with no matter where I rode it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev Bubba View Post
    I've demo'ed the Bronson twice in the past three weeks. Once with 2.5/2.4 tires and once with the + set up. 2.6/2.6. This is not exactly what you asked but for the record, I found the 2.6+ setup really effected the Bronson's ability to climb. Either bike rolled over everything I rode but I could tell the difference climbing and would not go that route for the tight eastern trails I call home.
    ...
    I'm curious about your 2.5/2.4 vs 2.6 comparison. How did they climb differently? Also, how did they compare cornering? What kind of dirt conditions did you demo in?

  6. #6
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    Climbing the plus tires felt slower. It's almost like the bike gained a few pounds while, in reality, the weight difference between the standard tires and + is almost nil.

    Dirt was wet hard pack with mud in spots and lots of rocks and roots. Being in a large group, I didn't get up enough speed to say one size was better then the other in lower speed cornering.

    If not for the climbing, I would probably say the + tire was superior. If you spend most of your time going downhill, they would be a good choice. I was at my LBS yesterday and noticed that one of the best female riders had the plus tires on her Julianna version of the Bronson. A couple other guys in the shop praised the wider tires on the Bronson so maybe it is just my climbing ability that was really the issue.

    Two years ago I demo'ed a Hightower V1 with plus tires and loved it.

    When I rode the same trails I demo'ed the Bronson Plus on using my 5010 V1 with 2.3 tires, I crashed in a rock garden I rolled over with the Bronson and ended up with a trip to the ER.

    Soooo, maybe I should get the plus tires if I end up with the Bronson over the Hightower V2 which I won't demo for another two weeks and just suck it up on the climb.

    I'm old enough that I've turned into the guy you want to ride like when you reach my age which doesn't make me fast. - La Lanterne Rouge

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev Bubba View Post
    Climbing the plus tires felt slower. It's almost like the bike gained a few pounds while, in reality, the weight difference between the standard tires and + is almost nil.

    Dirt was wet hard pack with mud in spots and lots of rocks and roots. Being in a large group, I didn't get up enough speed to say one size was better then the other in lower speed cornering.

    If not for the climbing, I would probably say the + tire was superior. If you spend most of your time going downhill, they would be a good choice. I was at my LBS yesterday and noticed that one of the best female riders had the plus tires on her Julianna version of the Bronson. A couple other guys in the shop praised the wider tires on the Bronson so maybe it is just my climbing ability that was really the issue.

    Two years ago I demo'ed a Hightower V1 with plus tires and loved it.

    When I rode the same trails I demo'ed the Bronson Plus on using my 5010 V1 with 2.3 tires, I crashed in a rock garden I rolled over with the Bronson and ended up with a trip to the ER.

    Soooo, maybe I should get the plus tires if I end up with the Bronson over the Hightower V2 which I won't demo for another two weeks and just suck it up on the climb.

    I'm old enough that I've turned into the guy you want to ride like when you reach my age which doesn't make me fast. - La Lanterne Rouge
    Haha, right on, thanks for the details. It sounds like I should stick with my 2.6 tires on my Bronson-like bike. My problem is washing my front tire on descents, and I don't want to go back to the hospital any time soon either. No issue with the climbs, I just go my pace.

  8. #8
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    If your heart wants it and it felt good buy it! who cares what the industry us doing.


    That said your internal battle is not hightower, bronson. Its 27.5 v 29.

    If you want more nible through the turns, better down steep and tight tech go the bronson.

    If you prefer fast straighter bombing stability at speed, better rolling over stuff then high tower.

  9. #9
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    Hey guys

    In the end there was no way to make this decision without test riding the new hightower. Last weekend I got the chance to ride it on my local trails and I immediately fell in love. In my opinion there was a huge difference in the feeling how it rides compared to the hightower LT. It felt much more nimble and playful and it took way less efford to throw it into corners. An absolute fun bike to ride which is supportive but doesn't fell to plush. I don't know what is exactly happening inside this Rockshox Super Deluxe damper but I would describe it as sorcery. Overall the ride feeling is in my opinion very much compareable with the Bronson, but each of them have still its own characteristics.

    The Bronson reacts still quicker also due its smaller wheel size. It kind of screams at you in every corner to push it and go faster. Its an absoulte fun bike to experience lines and trail feautres which you would probably not on another bike. ;-)

    The Hightower on the other hand has similar characteristics but is a little bit less the ultimate fun bike due its bigger wheel size, but if you want a playful 29er this is the way to go. The long reach and wheel size makes this bike very stable through rough stuff and you will find grip almost everywhere. I am still trying to find out if this is caused by the magic damper or the SC VPP Design. Might be both. ^^

    In the end it comes down to the own preference and you will have to test ride both models to make a decision. They are pretty close in the feeling of how they ride but still remain their own personalities. Both are absolut dream bikes and in my opinion there is no winner.

    Yesterday I just ordered the new Hightower and can't wait to shred this thing.

    Hope this short Review helps. If you have questions feel free to ask.

  10. #10
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    Good luck with your new Hightower. I get to demo one on my home trail the end of July. Can't wait. Actually, I can wait since I'm still healing from my ER visit last week Ö..

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    Thank you! Whish you a fast recovery.

  12. #12
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    Yeah, thats the best way is to demo demo demo. I'm not sold on the superdelux rear shock. I have super delux and a fox x2. The X2 can be more closely tuning to how i like. The superdelux still works sweet. But not quite as good.

    So.... I think you are feeling the diference in wheel size and suspension designs. Sc do have a very good vpp platform not matter what model you settle on.

  13. #13
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    Also correct me if I'm wrong but if you're liking the idea of plus tires but aren't 100% convinced, I'd go with a 30mm rim instead of the 35mm because the 30 is a bit more flexible to go standard tire size of mid/plus. I don't think a 35mm does well with the smaller tires so you wouldn't have that flexibility. That said, I still don't know what bike I want! Going to try and demo a Bronson this week but that Hightower....I'd have to wait a while to get on one.
    2020 Ripmo AF

  14. #14
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    I love my High Tower LT. Coming from a 20 BMX bike to a 29 inch full suspension bike after 18 years of not having a mountain bike, it's been great. I have no problems jumping, climbing, dropping, pumping or anything else on this bike. At 6'2" I am on a XL and am very happy that I was talked into getting this bike.

  15. #15
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    I'm right here with you now. I've demo'd an '18 Enduro, '16 Tracer, '19 Stumpy 27.5, '19 Ripmo, '19 Instinct BC, and a '19 Bronson. Bronson was by my favorite for Tahoe riding by a good margin so far. Loved it! Maybe it was just a good day, but it climbed better than any of the above bikes. Extremely quiet, climbed amazing, railed turns, tracks the best, felt super solid, and just had this great supple but supportive feel. Felt like the suspension was almost perfectly balanced and tuned compared to the others. No wallow, weird compression curve or anything. That said, a few things that held me back were the matte grey paint (would look hammered in no time) and the crappy Reverb dropper. Other small things I didn't like were the longest cables I've ever seen over the front of a bike, I'd rather have Shimano brakes, a DPX2, probably a 29er and the latest geometry. The dealer offered to sell me the carbon S build reg $5199 for $4500 or $4400, almost the price of an alloy S build. To me, it's still a lot of money and for that price, I think it should be closer to exactly what I want.

    That leads me to the new Hightower like you. I'd still be left with the Reverb as my main gripe but could probably live with it. That Hightower just might have all the right things. I kinda wish it had just a tad more travel like 150r/150f but maybe it's fine as is. I might demo a RM Altitude carbon this weekend. Last bike. It has the DPX2, Shimano brakes, Fox dropper, and gorgeous paint. Solves most of my issues except for not having the latest geo and not a 29er. Ugh.... Any other feeback on the new Hightower would be appreciated. I'd probably have to go with an alloy S build to keep the price where I want to be.
    2020 Ripmo AF

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by reeemod View Post
    What do you guys think. I can't decide between the Bronson and the new Hightower. I tested the Bronson and it felt great and my heart is definitly beating for the Bronson, but I'm kind of sceptical because the whole industry is pushing towards 29er..
    I also tested the Hightower LT and it felt much more cumbersome and less fun than the Bronson.

    Do you think the new Hightower comes close to the nimble and fun bronson-feeling and will be as capable? Maybe someone could already get a hand on it.


    thanks!
    hey anybody - nobody has an answer? I'm also interested in both of them - how are your experience?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gfelix View Post
    hey anybody - nobody has an answer? I'm also interested in both of them - how are your experience?
    reeemod gives you his answer after demoing both in post #9.

  18. #18
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    Steep climbs difference

    Hi Reemod did you get to do any super steep granny gear climbing to compare the Bronson vs the Hightower. I love the Bronson and have demoed it. I agree industry moving towards 29er and over chunky downs assume the Hightower will be better but still have the nice feel like Bronson in the newest version. What holds me back is the Hightower may be hard to climb in the super steep 3-4 mph granny gear type climbs as can't get the big wheel around? I live in Tahoe with super steep climbs and bid descents is what I ride.

    Thanks!


    Quote Originally Posted by reeemod View Post
    Hey guys

    In the end there was no way to make this decision without test riding the new hightower. Last weekend I got the chance to ride it on my local trails and I immediately fell in love. In my opinion there was a huge difference in the feeling how it rides compared to the hightower LT. It felt much more nimble and playful and it took way less efford to throw it into corners. An absolute fun bike to ride which is supportive but doesn't fell to plush. I don't know what is exactly happening inside this Rockshox Super Deluxe damper but I would describe it as sorcery. Overall the ride feeling is in my opinion very much compareable with the Bronson, but each of them have still its own characteristics.

    The Bronson reacts still quicker also due its smaller wheel size. It kind of screams at you in every corner to push it and go faster. Its an absoulte fun bike to experience lines and trail feautres which you would probably not on another bike. ;-)

    The Hightower on the other hand has similar characteristics but is a little bit less the ultimate fun bike due its bigger wheel size, but if you want a playful 29er this is the way to go. The long reach and wheel size makes this bike very stable through rough stuff and you will find grip almost everywhere. I am still trying to find out if this is caused by the magic damper or the SC VPP Design. Might be both. ^^

    In the end it comes down to the own preference and you will have to test ride both models to make a decision. They are pretty close in the feeling of how they ride but still remain their own personalities. Both are absolut dream bikes and in my opinion there is no winner.

    Yesterday I just ordered the new Hightower and can't wait to shred this thing.

    Hope this short Review helps. If you have questions feel free to ask.

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