Santa Cruz Bronson – 650B Enduro Racer in Carbon and Aluminum

April 14,2013


Natural carbon Bronsons will be offered in a number of color graphic options and if you pop for the Enve carbon wheel option, you can get them matched to your bike.

Santa Cruz has been busy this season and secretive about its plans – the first of which is the Bronson 650B line. The six-inch-travel VPP design will be offered in both carbon and aluminum in a wide number of build kits (Shimano and SRAM) that range in price from $4150 to $10,419, so there is a Bronson suitable for both thousandaire and millionaire Enduro pilots alike. Most of the release is about the top-line Enve/SRAM XXI build, which is quite stunning. The new carbon frame is updated with all of the bits that were developed for the Talboy LTC – co-molded aluminum pivot bosses, and the simplified swingarm design. The lower rocker is still sturdy aluminum and all the main suspension bearings are adjustable.

Black Bronson

Billed as an enduro racing bike, the Bronson should put the mid-size 27.5″ wheels (650b) to the ultimate test.

Bronson Details:
• 27.5″ (650b) wheels
• 142 mm rear axle spacing.
• New molded rubber swingarm and downtube protectors.
• 2 x bottle cage mounts.
• Forged upper link.
• Forged aluminum lower link with angled grease ports: offset for chainguide clearance.
• Collet axle pivots: lock in place without pinch bolts.
• Angular contact bearings: all pivots.
• Direct mount rear derailleur hanger option: standard hanger comes as stock.
• Full carbon dropouts and disk mounts.
• Co-molded aluminum hardware on frame pivots: no bonding.
• Carbon ISCG-05 tabs.
• Routing for Reverb Stealth dropper post.
• 73mm threaded BB.

The Bronson

The aluminum-frame version is pretty sweet looking too. Geometry is adjusted for 27.5 inch wheels, so the 67-degree head angle is going to feel closer to 66 on the trail.

Bronsons will reportedly be the spearhead for the Syndicate’s push into the European enduro racing scene, where the Santa Cruz sponsored team plans to do some damage. Rumors have it that Santa Cruz, which has been cautious to enter new markets, has been testing the Bronson for an extended period, lending credibility to the notion that the mid size wheel is much more than a fad. If you remember, SC was reluctant to offer up a 29er, but when they did, it was an instant hit. We expect the Bronson to follow suit. Is there a 650B V-10 hiding in the new Santa Cruz factory? Syndicate riders say nay, but I am thinking, yeah.


Bronson. Aluminum.

Bronson frames follow much of the new design improvements ushered in by the Tallboy LTC – a simplified swingarm design, sturdy aluminum rocker links, and adjustable angular contact bearings in the suspension pivots, but there are some new tricks, like internal dropper post routing and a direct-mount front derailleur (SC originally espoused that a clamp-type was best for those who ran and single chainring). Santa Cruz hinted that the Bronson was only the first of two big releases this spring. Sea Otter may hold another gem. we’ll keep you posted.

For more informaiton, you can check out this Pinkbike article here:

For more information straight from the source, please visit 

Tested: Giant Trance X 29er 0

November 14, 2012

Tested: Giant Trance X 29er 0
The smooth-handling trail bike is one of the most capable 29ers we’ve ridden

Before this new 29er was even available to purchase, it had already been ridden to victory at the 2012 Super D national championships—back in July, Adam Craig raced a prototype version in his quest for the title. And after a series of long test rides on my local trails, it was easy to understand his decision.

One of my frequent loops has a tough little wrinkle—a singletrack descent with a sharp 3-foot rise followed by a small bump. Over the years, I’ve only successfully doubled that feature on a handful of bikes. But I cleared it on my first ride aboard Giant’s Trance X 29 0, after only about an hour of saddle time. This piece of trail makes a good yardstick for measuring a bike’s performance. To hit it correctly, riders must first carry speed through a sweeping left-hand turn just before the jump. The suspension on some other frames has wallowed, killing momentum and altering my line. The Trance X 29er’s Maestro suspension, however, settled easily into the turn, allowing me to load it at the apex and spring forward with momentum and control. That predictable feeling carried over onto every other trail I pointed the bike down.

The bike climbs remarkably well, too. In the small, 24-tooth chainring, the Maestro suspension worked effectively, offering a stable pedaling platform yet remaining active enough to find traction on loose ascents, even in the Fox shock’s wide-open Descend setting. In the large 38-tooth ring, I often used the air spring’s Trail setting, which capably limited unwanted movement. I never felt the need to use the shock’s stiffest Climb position.

The Maestro suspension pedaled crisply, and found traction on loose, SoCal climbs. (Michael Darter)

Giant claims the hydroformed aluminum frame weighs 5.9 pounds with shock, and our test bike tipped the scales at 27.3 pounds. That’s surprisingly light for a mid-priced aluminum 29er with 5 inches of travel. The frame tubes have swoopy lines—some, like the downtube, mostly serve aesthetic purposes. But the sharp bend on the seattube creates extra room to tuck in the rear wheel, allowing Giant engineers to trim some length from the chainstays. To further shorten the rear end, Giant devised a new swingarm for the model. The new single-spar design eliminates the drive-side support found on the brand’s other Maestro bikes. Santa Cruz and Intense use similar designs on their VPP full-suspension models.

At 17.8 inches long, the Trance’s stays are about a half-inch shorter than the 26-inch Trance model, a bike renowned for its long rear end. Compared to its 29er competition, the 29er’s chainstays are pretty typical. For example, Yeti’s SB95 and the Intense Spider have 17.5-inch stays while Santa Cruz’s Tallboy LT has 17.9-inch stays. Giant has historically favored slightly longer stays because a longer wheelbase increases the bike’s stability.

A new single-spar swingarm is similar to the design used by Santa Cruz and Intense. (Michael Darter)

Although the bike’s seat angle looks extreme, it actually is just 73 degrees—pretty standard fare (and I measured to be sure). However, Giant’s Contact Switch dropper post has a 12mm offset and I often felt like my weight was positioned too far back. That feeling was accented by the Fizik Gobi saddle, which has a small sweet spot located toward the back of the seat. Swapping to Fizik’s Tundra saddle, which has a longer sweet spot, helped, but I still was forced to slide the saddle forward on its rails. Giant’s Contact Switch dropper post worked great, but I eventually switched to RockShox Reverb post, which has zero offset and offered me a better fit.

The Trance X 29er has ports to route all cables internally. (Michael Darter)

The Trance X 29er 0 comes with Fox suspension. The fork and shock use the company’s latest CTD (climb, trail, and descend) platform settings, though they lacked the slick gold Kashima coat and three-position trail-adjust feature on Fox’s high-end springs. Giant also runs Fox’s 32 Float instead of the stiffer, more adjustable 34 model. The move reduces weight and trims the bike’s final price, but I would have rather seen the 34. The 32, with its less-adjustable damper, felt harsh in rock gardens, so I rode with it mostly in the wide-open descend position. It felt soft and supple, but also dove under hard braking. For riders who can afford it, I’d recommend upgrading to the high-performance Fox 34.

A radical bend in the seat tube clears room for the rear wheel. (Michael Darter)

There were no surprises from the Shimano XT brakes and drivetrain. They delivered consistent, reliable performance. Giant did choose to run resin pads in the brakes, so riders who want more bite can upgrade to Shimano’s metal radiator-style pad. All of the bike’s cables, including the remote line for the dropper post, are routed internally through the front triangle. The rear brake hose comes externally routed along the downtube from the factory, but there are ports in the frame and non-drive chainstay to route the cable through the tubes.

The Trace X 29er 0 comes equipped with Giant’s new P-TRX 29er 1 wheelset. They proved to be stiff and resilient even under aggressive riding. Although designed in conjunction with Giant, DT Swiss makes all parts of the wheel. In fact, the freehub contains the proven 36 tooth Star Ratchet system with 10 degrees of engagement. The rim utilizes the same Torx nipple and insert technology as the DT Swiss Tricon for a solid, tubeless ready inner rim shape. A savvy owner will ditch the tube and redundant rim strip, install the included tubeless valve stems and throw in some sealant converting the Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires tubeless.

The Trance X 29er remained calm and controlled, even on aggressive descents. (Michael Darter)

The Trance X 29er is also available in two less-expensive models: The $2,775 Trance X 1 has a SRAM X-7/X-9 drivetrain, and Fox suspension; the $1,925 Trance X 2 features SRAM X-5/X-7 components, and RockShox suspension. The model is also sold as a $1,550 frameset. No matter what package you choose, the Trance X 29er is a superb all-around trail bike. Its efficient suspension and dialed geometry create well-balanced ride—no matter the terrain, I always felt comfortable and in control. Some riders may need to swap the saddle or seat post to dial in the fit, but that’s a relatively minor fix for a high-value, high-performance 29er.

MSRP: $4,250
WEIGHT: 27.3 lb.
SIZES: XS, S, M, L (tested), XL
FRAME: ALUXX SL aluminum, 5-inch Maestro suspension
FORK: Fox 32 Float 29 FIT CTD; 120mm travel
COMPONENT HIGHLIGHTS: Shimano XT shifters, Shadow Plus rear derailleur, crank (24-38), brakes; Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.25 in. tires; Giant P-TRX 29er 1 wheels, Contact TR bars, Contact stem, Contact Switch seatpost with remote; Fizik Gobi saddle


Posted by Chris B |

2013 Specialized Rime Shoe

I’m a long-time fan of Specialized clipless cycling shoes. I have a large, low-volume foot and they fit me very well. I’ve worn the Specialized S-Works XC mountain bike shoes for years but I’m not a huge fan of how stiff and unforgiving they are, especially when you have to get off the bike and push. I learned this the hard way in the Chilcotins a couple of years ago: the heels slip a hell of a lot and I ended up with major blisters. The lugs are also seriously hard, and tend to be very slippery if you walk on anything harder than loam. Rock slabs are downright treacherous with those kinds of shoes.

Fortunately, someone in the shoe department at Specialized had the same thoughts and decided to crank out a clipless shoe that was adequately stiff for long pedals but were more comfortable, had a sole that was actually designed for hike-a-bikes and had more protection for your foot. They called this new creation the Rime.


The Rime brings together all of the good stuff that I liked about Specialized shoes, namely fit and performance, with some real mountain biking functionality. That includes a Vibram rubber sole with a tread pattern that facilitates off-bike hiking, a relatively stiff midsole for pedalling efficiency without making it impossible to walk (it’s rated 7.0 on some sort of stiffness scale, compared to a 10.0 on the S-Works Evo race shoe) and two Velcro straps plus the S2 Boa lacing system for fit fine-tuning.

Other features include Specialized’s Body Geometry features in the outsole and footbed, ventilated synthetic uppers, welded reinforcement for durability, and rubber bumpers around the toe box and outside of the heel. They’re set up for two-bolt cleats, which means they should work with the major clipless systems out there.

Specialized says they weigh 425g for one size 42 shoe, but that doesn’t really mean shit. In real-world terms, they’re heavier than XC race shoes but considerably lighter than something like a Five Ten shoe. They come in sizes 36 to 50, which is a huge range. I’m a size 14 street shoe and wear a size 48 Rime.

I’ve got a few rides on the Rimes now, and I’ve been really happy with them so far. They’re comfortable out of the box (even with my orthotics), they play nicely with my Shimano XTR pedals, they’re sufficiently stiff for extended descents or long pedals and they’re great for hike-a-bikes, unrideable sections of trail and humping through the bush to take photos. Stay tuned for a full review a couple of months down the road.
Looking for that Happy Medium
Words by Stuart Kernaghan. Photos by Stuart Kernaghan.
Date: 2012-10-15

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