BikesCam Baker

Santa Cruz Bronson x Shimano XT Build

BikesCam Baker
Santa Cruz Bronson x Shimano XT Build

One of the greatest things I’ve come to realise, through working in the cycling industry, is that you don’t need a spec’d-out bike to have fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love a blinged-out bike with all the latest and greatest, but with high-end gear comes high-end wear and tear. It’s tough to enjoy a ride in the wet knowing that each time you roll through a puddle more dirt gets sucked into, and chewed up by, your $800 cassette. With that said, welcome to Round Two of our build series.

It’s funny, to get our last top-end build off the ground I ended up spending the bike’s total value on coffees to convince people to give us the parts we wanted. This time round, Shimano released their new XT groupset just as I was starting to think about this project, and practically threw one at me – can’t complain! Our distributors must have been stoked with our last project, because the difficult part this time around was talking them into giving us components that weren’t top end. It can be tricky finding a balance; often times our clients want to showcase their top-flight components, but for most these aren’t always attainable, so we’re making an effort to get our hands on more parts and accessories that are in line with the typical consumer. Based on what you’ve told us, most of you plan on spending about $8,000 on your next bike, so with that in mind, my goal was to bring this build in at around that price. I’ll be honest, it was nice to operate with a budget restraint in place! With that said, here’s the build breakdown.

FRAME

Carbon’s nice; stiff, light and expensive. Right from the start I knew we’d need an aluminium frame, not only because they’re cheaper, but also because they’re more durable and fit the ‘thrash and forget’ theme of this build. So, the hunt began. The hunt didn’t amount to much and ended up being pretty brief, with our friends at Santa Cruz coming to the party with an aluminium Bronson, paired with a Rockshox Super Deluxe R. The Bronson proved to be the perfect platform for the build, with no strange standards (that said, are there really ‘standards’ nowadays, with the plethora of hub spacings and so many bottom bracket standards that not even Wheels MFG’s double-sided A2 bottom bracket poster can cover all of them?) and with 150mm of travel it’s about right for what most of you, our readers, ride.

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"It basically comes with the perfect balance of performance, cost and no-nonsense reliability."

Want to know how the rest of the build turned out, and how it rode? Issue #96 is on sale now and in it you’ll find a full breakdown of this build, and more.


Words: Cam Baker

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