After riding my Specialized StumpJumper for almost 5 years it was finally time to upgrade the old girl and get a chance to celebrate new bike day.
Being my first full suspension mountain bike the Stumpy had served me well but after a tumultuous year in 2021, when I suffered a number of broken bones, I started to reassess both my ability and that of the bike.
Back at the end of 2021, or it may have been the start of 2022, Vlad and Liam from Cycle Works said they’d ordered me a new bike. Not sure what they meant I asked what bike it was they ordered. Turns out it was a Santa Cruz Bronson, a mullet no less!
But because of the pandemic, getting bikes – or bike part for that matter – into the country had become nigh on impossible and delivery wasn’t expected until around June, giving me plenty of time to warm up to the idea. Because of the uncertainty of supply they weren’t sure which colour or build specs they were going to get.
Then in February I again broke my collarbone. The same one I broke back in July of 2021! It didn’t feel as bad but still required time to heal which meant time off the bike.
Although I kept my shoulder still – an advantage of having a desk job – I didn’t listen to my doctor and avoided wearing a sling and tried to keep the shoulder mobile with gentle exercises and avoided lifting anything heavy. I was back in the pool much sooner and although warned against riding I managed to get out on bike paths and trails a few times.
I recovered in time for a trip to Pineapple Express with the Trailhead Riders in May. On the way up a few of us stopped by at Eildon MTB Park and spent part of the day self-shuttling up Karalika Express. This is where I got to ride Dan’s Trek Slash 8.0 and came to the realisation that my bike was probably holding me back.
Dan followed me down on my Stumpy and said he struggled to keep up. The only time he managed to catch me was on the straight lines saying he was amazed at how fast I manage to ride my bike. This was the moment I realised it might be time to upgrade.
We had a brilliant weekend at Bright and with still no ETA on the Bronson I seriously started eyeing off the Trek Slash, which Cycle Works recently became resellers for. Having had a few brake problems with the Stumpy at Bright I decided to drop her off for a service.
With the bike still at the shops I received a call asking to come in to take a look at what the problem was with the brakes. Turns out it was an excuse to get me in because they just got delivery of the Bronson!! It was love at first sight.
It wasn’t the ‘pay dirt gold and grey’ colour scheme I’d expected but the ‘gloss moss and blue’. Although I really like the gold the accent of bright blue on the green frame are superb.
The build specs were pretty awesome, too. Out of six build options (other than a custom build) this was the third and only option featuring Shimano components instead of SRAM. To keep costs down Vlad also offered to swap the optional Reserve wheel set to the standard one but I figured, YOLO!
Here’s a breakdown of what you get on the Santa Cruz Bronson C, XT build:
- 14.68kg / 32.36lbs
- Carbon C
- FOX 36 Float Performance Elite, 160mm
- RockShox Super Deluxe Select+
- Rear Derailleur; Shimano XT M8100, 12spd
- Shifter; Shimano XT M8100, 12spd
- Crankset; Shimano XT M8120 32t
- Cassette; Shimano XT M8100, 12spd, 10-51t
- Chain; Shimano XT, 12spd
- Brakes; Shimano XT 8120
- Rotors; Shimano XT RT86, Ice Tech, 203mm/180mm
- Cane Creek 40 IS Integrated Headset
- Santa Cruz 35 Carbon Bar, 800mm, 35mm Rise
- Burgtec Enduro MK3 Stem
- Santa Cruz House Grips
- Front and rear hub; DT Swiss 350
- Reserve 30 V2 Carbon Rim
- Sapim Race Spokes
- Maxxis Minion DHF 29″x2.5, 3C, Maxx- Grip, EXO, TR
- Maxxis Minion DHR II 27.5″x2.4″, 3C, EXO, TR
- RockShox Reverb Stealth, 31.6
- WTB Volt saddle
For a breakdown of geometry take a look at the full specs here.
If you’d like to see how she rides, check out the video at the top of this post or head to my YouTube channel and find all the action of the big ‘new bike day’ reveal with the Trailhead Riders.
If the reveal video is too long there’s always the shorter #bikeporn video available: