Reviewed: Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 2018

Words by Harry Archer

on 14/11/2017 12:55:52

When we introduced Bronson, it took the market by storm, redefining what people expected from a 150mm trail bike. Equally at home in the Trans-Provence as it was on The Ridge, updating and improving it was going to be no small feat. The most visible upgrade is the completely new VPP� link arrangement. The lower link tucks neatly above the bottom bracket, fully-recessed and protected from impacts. Meanwhile the box-section upper link now mounts cleanly to the top tube and enhances lateral stiffness as a result. Shock rate's been refined in the process too, delivering greater small bump sensitivity and a more progressive mid-stroke. Geometry has also evolved subtly to meet demand from riders for a bike of this ilk. The seat tube angle's been steepened, placing the rider right above the cranks and perfectly in position to lay down the power. Meanwhile a one-degree slacker 66 degree head tube angle combines with a 20-25mm longer top tube and shorter chain-stay length to create an evermore rally-ready geometry than its predecessor.
Santa Cruz, 2018

Review by staff rider Luke Turner

Price: From £3299.99

Discipline: Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Usage: Downhill/Enduro

  • + 148mm Rear Axle Spacing
  • +150mm (6") VPP� suspension
  • + Full carbon frame,swingarm, dropouts and disk mounts


The Santa Cruz Bronson is available in 2 carbon options, and an aluminium option. They all share the same frame design and geometry, with it just being the weight that differentiates them. I was lucky enough to try the CC Bronson, with 150mm of suspension travel; it's perfect for racing Enduro and trail centre riding.

Whilst the Bronson CC X01 isn't the cheapest, it does fall in line with other competitors offering 150mm travel carbon bikes. The weight is definitely the first thing you notice when riding this bike, at just under 12.5Kg (nearly 1.5Kg lighter than the aluminium version!) you can climb with ease, with the bike constantly pushing you to do more thanks to the steepened head angle, placing you right above the cranks and in the perfect position to lay down the power.


One of the most noticeable new improved features on the 2018 Bronson is the VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) link arrangement, where they have moved the lower link into a recess above the bottom bracket to protect against impacts. The shock rates have also refined in the process too, delivering amazing small bump sensitivity and a more progressive mid-stroke, which was noticed out on my ride, making super light work of the UK's trail centres.

The Eagle group-sets from SRAM have made the front derailleur completely redundant. The Bronson CC X01 comes with a huge 10-50 range from the cassette, allowing you to climb for longer without draining your energy. The Eagle X01 is by far, the smoothest and best performing group-set on the market.


There are no weak points within the X01 build kit, with SRAM Guide RSC brakes, SRAM X1 Eagle Carbon Cranks, Santa Cruz 800mm carbon bar, KS Lev dropper and Fox suspension, there isn't anything at all to grumble at, with every piece playing their part in perfect harmony with each other, creating the one of the most balanced and fun bikes I have ever ridden.


The 2018 bike also comes with the option of Santa Cruz's Carbon Reserve rims (The model I had ridden came with the proven WTB i29's) which promise to be just as stiff and compliant as aluminium wheels, with a decent weight saving.



In summary, the Bronson CC is a beast of a bike that is capable of riding a local trail, to the most technical of Enduro course, sure it's on the pricey side of most bikes, but with the different frame options and build kits, there is definitely something for everyone from this bike. It rides extremely well with the updated VPP design, whether it's a climb or a descent and the Maxxis tyres really do grip into everything, perfect for UK riding conditions. The Bronson offers more smiles for miles than any other and comes in a stunning paintjob for 2018, the only problem is that it looks so nice that you won't want to get it dirty!


2018 Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01


The Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 27.5 Mountain Bike 2018 delivers a responsive, aggressive and nimble& agile riding through a new and improved 150mm VPP suspension system and a variety of other high end components.

  • SRAM X01 Eagle group-set
  • WTB ASYM TCS i29 wheels with Hope Pro 4 hubs
  • SRAM Guide RSC brakes
  • Fox 36 F150 Performance Elite fork

Browse the 2018 Mountain Bike Range >

Find your nearest Rutland Cycling store

You can browse the entire Santa Cruz CC X01 range online, or you can get your hands on it in your nearest Rutland Cycling store.