2022 Santa Cruz Bronson / Juliana Roubion
- 27.5’’ for size XS
- 29’’ front, 27.5’’ rear for sizes S–XL
Travel: 150 mm rear / 160 mm front
Frame Material: Carbon fiber
- Carbon CC Frame with RockShox SuperDeluxe Ultimate Shock: $3,699
- Complete bikes: $5,049 to $11,399 (see below for details)
The Bronson has been in Santa Cruz’s lineup for quite some time as the 27.5’’-wheeled bike with a bit less travel than the Nomad, and today they’ve released a new “version 4.0” — with a twist: the Bronson has grown a mullet. The Juliana Roubion — the women-specific model from Santa Cruz’s sister brand — gets all the same updates, and actually shares its frame with the Bronson. Suspension travel still sits at 150 mm rear, 160 mm front (and the XS size keeps the 27.5’’ front wheel) but the Bronson / Roubion is now designed expressly to be run with mixed wheel sizes. But what else is new, besides the bigger front wheel?
The Bronson carries over the design language that has been common in Santa Cruz’s Trail / Enduro bikes for quite some time now. The familiar VPP suspension with a lower-link-driven shock is still there, and the overall lines of the bike share a strong family resemblance as well. From far away, most of Santa Cruz’s current bikes look strikingly similar to one another. The Juliana Roubion still shares its frame with the Bronson but gets different paint, and complete versions come with women-specific grips and seats.
The Bronson and Roubion are offered in carbon only, but as per usual for Santa Cruz, there are two versions of the carbon layup on offer: the more basic, heavier Carbon C, and the lighter, more expensive carbon CC. Santa Cruz claims that the Carbon CC frame simply cuts a bit of weight without any loss of strength or stiffness, but don’t state exactly how much lighter the Carbon CC version is for the new Bronson / Roubion. Past bikes have been stated to shave about 280 g with the fancier layup, and we’d expect the Bronson to be similar.
As with the last-gen Bronson, the new one gets 150 mm of rear-wheel travel, paired with a 160mm-travel fork.
The Bronson frame features fully internal cable routing, room for a water bottle inside the front triangle on all sizes, ISCG-05 chain guide tabs at the (threaded) bottom bracket shell, and abundant armor in key areas on the frame. Molded rubber chainstay and seatstay guards are included, along with additional protection on the downtube near the bottom bracket, and below the headtube to protect from shuttle damage. A small bolt-on fender covers the rear shock to protect it from dirt thrown off the rear wheel. Tire clearance is stated at 2.6’’, and there’s a flip chip to (subtly) toggle between two geometry settings — more on that below. Apart from the XS size, the new Bronson / Roubion are meant to be run as a mullet only. There’s not enough variation in the flip chip to make that a viable option for changing the wheel sizes up.
Both the Bronson and the Roubion are available as a Carbon CC frame with a RockShox SuperDeluxe Ultimate rear shock for $3,699. The Bronson is available in six different complete builds, ranging from $5,049 to an eye-watering $11,399; the Roubion drops the top-spec XX1 AXS build from the Bronson, but the other five builds are on offer at the same pricing, and only differ in the grips and seat. The full details of the builds are as follows (click each to expand):
- Drivetrain: SRAM NX Eagle
- Brakes: SRAM G2 R
- Fork: RockShox Lyrik Select
- Shock: Fox Float X Performance
- Wheels: RaceFace AR 30 with SRAM MTH hubs
- Dropper Post: SDG Tellis
- Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle
- Brakes: SRAM Code R
- Fork: Fox 36 Performance
- Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+
- Wheels: RaceFace AR 30 with DT Swiss 370 Hubs
- Dropper Post: RockShox Reverb
Fit & Geometry
As we mentioned up top, the Bronson and Juliana Roubion share the same frame, but the Roubion is offered in a narrower range of sizes. The Bronson can be had in sizes ranging from XS through XL; the Roubion drops the L and XL options. Reach on the XS frame starts at a very short 405 mm, and Santa Cruz / Juliana recommend it for riders as short as 4’8’’ / 142 cm. The XS size gets a 27.5’’ front wheel, to keep the bar height manageable for the shorter riders out there, and it’s great to see such a small size on offer. The Medium bike gets 455 mm reach, which grows to 500 mm on the XL — with all numbers stated in the high geometry position. The low one shortens the reach by a modest 3 mm.
The headtube angle sits at 64.5° in the low position, and the high one steepens it by just 0.2° — we’re talking subtle changes here. Santa Cruz only states an effective seat tube angle for the Bronson / Roubion, but it’s around 77°, varying slightly by size. The chainstay length also changes across the frame sizes — starting at a quite short 427 mm on the XS, and increasing by 3 to 4 mm per size, to a still-not-that huge 442 mm on the XL. All of this adds up to wheelbases that range from 1149 mm on the XS through 1284 mm on the XL, with the Medium falling in at 1221 mm. You can see the full geometry chart below:
Santa Cruz are clearly positioning the Bronson / Roubion to be an extremely versatile option — their demo department is apparently fond of saying “when in doubt, take a Bronson out” — and the geometry looks like it should make for a well-rounded offering that we’d expect to be relatively stable and capable, but far from some ultra-long-wheelbase sled that’s only at home at high speeds in gnarly terrain. And again, it’s really nice to see such a wide range of sizes on offer, especially for a bike that comes in both men’s/unisex and women-specific versions.
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) Mixed wheel / mullet setups are undeniably trendy, but who will be best suited by that arrangement on the Bronson / Roubion, and who will be better off with a 27.5’’ or 29’’ bike?
(2) What kind of blend of stability and quickness does the Bronson / Roubion bring to the table, between their mixed wheel size and modern, but somewhat moderate geometry? And how does it compare to the longer-travel Santa Cruz Nomad and shorter-travel 5010?
Blister Members can read our Flash Review of the Bronson for our initial on-trail impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on gear, and personalized gear recommendations from us.
The Bottom Line (For Now)
The new Bronson and Roubion are very interesting new offerings from Santa Cruz and Juliana, and bring a mullet wheel configuration to a shorter-travel, more Trail-oriented configuration than we’ve seen on most mixed-wheel bikes to date — which have predominantly been DH bikes and a few Enduro / Freeride bikes, like the new Transition Patrol. We’re very interested to throw a leg over one to see how it stacks up on the trail, and hope to have a full review to come.