Santa Cruz had revamped it's popular 5010 and Bronson trail bikes, with the former getting some light geometry and detail tweaks and the latter being totally overhauled using the Nomad style suspension layout. There will be both carbon and alloy options, plus Juliana-branded women's versions of either bike.
As ever, they all use the longstanding multi-link VPP suspension system, with the 5010 now getting 130mm at either end and the Bronson sprouting a bit more travel at the front for a 160mm/150mm front to rear split, all using Metric sized shocks.
Both bikes are now single-ring only, which means they're much stiffer at the back end, and they're compatible with 27.5" Plus tyres up to 2.8" or plain old 27.5" rubber, with geometry being tweaked to keep things even between the two with a flip chip at the shock. Obviously, you can also use that to make the bike slightly lower and slacker with the 27.5" wheels should you wish, but they're pretty low slung as is. Santa Cruz reckons that 2.6" rubber on a 38mm rim is the sweet spot between traditional full-on Plus and normal rubber, however, and it's this size tyre that comes on their '+' builds.
Cable routing on both bikes is now internal on the main triangle, but mechanics everywhere will rejoice to learn that it's got fully in-moulded guides so there will be no need for fishing about in the frame for an errant cable or hose. There are five sizes ranging from XS to XL in both bikes, so you're pretty well covered no matter how tall or small you might be.
Santa Cruz 5010/Juliana Furtado
The 5010 has always been the light'n'fast trail bike in the Santa Cruz range and travel has stayed the same for 2019, as has the general layout of the bike, which is identical to the Juliana Furtado save for finishing kit. The devil is in the detail, however, with a much stiffer back end due to a wider stance lower link thanks to the space gained from ditching front derailleur compatibility.
The head angle is now slacker at 66.5º in the high setting with an increased reach of 460mm for a large frame. The bottom bracket is pretty slammed at 335mm while seat angle has been steepened up to 75.2º, while chainstays are a tight 425mm across all sizes.
There are a stunning array of build kits on offer, with 2.3" or 2.6" rubber an option on all. There are three aluminium complete bikes starting at £2,699 for the D build and topping out with the £4,099 S.
As with all composite Santa Cruz bikes, you have a choice of a lightweight but more expensive CC carbon frame or the more affordable C frame, with the difference in weight and cost coming down to the quality of carbon fibre used.
The three C framed bikes start with a £3,999 R build and top out at the £5,999 Reserve, while the four bike CC range opens with the £6,099 X01 bike, with the tippy top end XTR Reserve bike costing a mere £8,099.
Santa Cruz Bronson/Juliana Roubion
The Bronson has undergone a much more radical transformation, using the same low slung shock design as the harder hitting 170mm Nomad. While the rear end keeps the same amount of travel as the previous generation at 150mm, it now comes with a 160mm fork as standard. Much like the Nomad, the bike's rear suspension is drastically more progressive for better hard hitting control.
Again, the move to this layout and a single-ring only frame has boosted rear end stiffness, while the long and slacker geometry has also been applied to this bike. Head angle is now 65.4º in the high setting, while reach is now 459mm for a large. The seat angle has steepened up to 75.3º with 430mm chainstays.
The complete bikes on offer follow the rough pattern laid down by the 5010, with two alloy bikes ranging from £3,499 to £4,299, three carbon C machines from £4,399 to £6,299 and four high-zoot CC bikes on offer from £6,499 to £8,398.
How do they ride?
We pottered up to Santa Cruz UK headquarters in North Yorkshire to sample some uncharacteristically dry and dusty conditions and took a spin on the high-end versions of both the 5010 and Bronson. We'll have some complete first rides of both coming shortly, but first impressions are that the 5010 has sharpened up considerably and the Bronson is now the sort of longer travel trail machine that's just about spot on for all-around UK riding for people that like to give it equal amounts of effort whether going uphill or trying to hit the techiest descents they can find. Keep tuned...
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