TMB Review: 2022 Santa Cruz Bronson MX

TMB Review: 2022 Santa Cruz Bronson MX

The Santa Cruz Bronson got a new haircut, and we are excited to have them here at Thunder Mountain Bikes! The Bronson has always been a game-changer bike. Looking back years ago, the Bronson was first introduced as one of the first bikes sporting the new-at-the-time 27.5” wheel size. That first Bronson was a huge hit, receiving more hype and buzz than any bike we’ve ever seen. The Bronson set the trend for 27.5” trail / enduro bikes, and officially killed 26” wheels being used on trail bikes. Now, the Bronson is finally back at it, trying to set a new trend with the “MX” model. MX stands for Mixed Wheel, referring to the 29” front wheel and 27.5” rear wheel. In slang, we refer to this as a “mullet” wheel setup. Will the Bronson once again be the bike to officially kill off a wheel size? Here at Thunder Mountain Bikes, we will have all sizes of this new Bronson available as demo rental bikes (size Medium already available), as well as new bikes for sale. We highly encourage you to give this bike a ride!  

2022 santa cruz bronson 3 full view

What makes the Mixed Wheel size so special? Bike companies are always searching to offer the most “do-it-all” bike possible. How can a bike offer supreme stability combined with optimal fun-inducing maneuverability? It’s an eternal quest for that magical unicorn bike. Having a 29” front wheel and 27.5” rear wheel has been experimented with for years now, most notably on the Downhill World Cup circuit, with some of the top racers in the world taking mullet bikes to big wins. The MX setup offers the roll-over and cornering stability upfront, and the quick feeling - easy to turn - smaller wheel in the back. Makes sense, right? It’s the best of both worlds! 

Other than the mixed wheel size, the Bronson MX geometry is right in line with the general geometry that most bike companies are using these days. Nothing groundbreaking here. Over the past few years, Santa Cruz has updated their rear suspension layout and gave their bikes the lower-longer-slacker geometry treatment - as seen with the latest 5010, Hightower, and Megatower. This new Bronson carries all those same updates, which have all been proven to work amazingly, and lives up to Santa Cruz’s high standards. 

Our initial feel riding this new Bronson lives up to the bill. It’s super easy to change directions, yet you can still weigh the front end like a 29er. It carves like a snowboard and makes leaning into a corner feel more natural. The biggest takeaway is just how fun it is to ride the mixed wheels. You can’t help but pop off every trail feature or put more body english into every corner. It may not carry the overall speed and stability that a full 29er does, but the fun factor is undeniable. An unexpected bonus with the MX is the climbing, as the smaller rear wheel affects your overall gear ratio, thus giving the feeling of an “easier gear” while climbing. 

Overall, we are very excited for the future of mullet bikes and excited to continue offering the latest and greatest mountain bike rentals. The Santa Cruz Bronson MX is the first true mullet bike we have in our fleet, and it’s going to be a fun one! Come check one out and feel free to hit us up with any questions. 

2022 Santa Cruz Bronson MX First Ride Video Review

2022 Santa Cruz Bronson MX Build Video