Need to know

  • Geometry updates include shorter chainstays, slacker head angles and steeper seat angles
  • Reach measurements grow by, on average, 25mm per frame size
  • Third generation VPP suspension easier to set-up with a more conventional feel
  • Shorter seat tubes allow wider choice of frame sizes
  • Equivalent Juliana women’s models also get a refresh

Santa Cruz has announced updates for two of its most popular bikes – the Bronson and 5010 – with plenty of trickle down from the new Nomad that was launched last year.

So, the Bronson has moved closer to the Nomad?

That’s right. Both in form and function the Bronson has cosied-up with its big brother. The head angle has been raked out a degree to 66°, so combined with the longer reach measurement, the front centre has grown considerably.

>>> Read our complete guide to mountain bike geometry here

This has been allied to a 6mm shorter chainstay – made possible by spreading the dropout width to 148mm – and a 5mm lower bottom bracket.

Bronson side on pink 2016

Seat tubes have become the best part of a degree steeper too, to improve seated climbing, and shorter, to accommodate longer 150mm dropper posts and add some flexibility to sizing choices. Santa Cruz has achieved this by moving to the third iteration of its VPP system, brought to the Nomad last year.

So the suspension has changed too?

Yes, the old VPP characteristics have been toned down, taking away its tendency to settle into the mid-stroke. The new bike is less sensitive to set-up, and feels more supportive in the meat of the travel. There’s a more consistent progression now and, helped by the Fox EVOL air can, small bump sensitivity is improved.

Cronson 3-4 black 2016

It looks really similar to the Nomad now as well.

Indeed, by moving the elongated shock link up and forward, and anchoring it to the top tube rather than the seat tube, it now shares a very similar silhouette to the Nomad. Santa Cruz has also cleaned up the lower link, neutering the old dangly bits and tucking it neatly into a recess above the bottom bracket. We think it looks a lot more aggressive as a result.

Have these changes made their way onto the 5010 too?

For the most part, yes, and it’s probably simplest just to think of the 5010 as a shorter travel Bronson. But while the Bronson’s travel holds fast at 150mm, Santa Cruz have boosted the 5010 to 130mm front and rear. It still feels tight as a drum, though, and a much sharper proposition than the versatile Bronson.

5010 side on black 2016

What about the details?

Both bikes can run either single-ring or multi-ring drivetrains, but the front mech mount is a bit of an eyesore for anyone going one-by. Threaded bottom brackets remain, as do the handy lower link grease ports.

There’s a single bottle cage mount, two colour ways per bike – a mild and a wild – and four frame sizes on offer. Carbon frames come in the lighter (pricier) CC guise and slightly less eye-watering and heavier C version. Aluminium frames will also be available.

5010 blue 3-4 2016

What’s this Juliana thing you mentioned?

Juliana is Santa Cruz’s women’s brand, although the frames are actually popped from the same moulds as the men’s bikes, it’s just that there’s no XL frame size offered and the colours and contact points are more ‘feminine’.

OK, I’m sitting down, hit me with the prices…

A top of the line XTR build Santa Cruz Bronson or 5010 with Enve carbon wheel upgrade will deplete your bank balance by £7,699. Alternative builds and alloy wheels bring this down to £4,999. Complete builds using the heavier C frames save a further £1,900. All of the new bikes should be hitting the shops right about now.