December 9, 2019 at 18:51 #292690
OK let me keep this simple. Looking at 2 bikes. The Santa Cruz Bronson 2.1 and the Giant Trance advanced 2, or the advanced? I will not be doing 5 ft. drop INS that I know of. I also don’t want to get to that point and wish I saved to get a better bike. My riding style as to what I think I will be doing is enjoying downhill as we all do and to eventually not case jumps and clear them regularly. This may take a moment to due to my biking stamina is not there and probably my experience from years past has taken a hit with age. I hope to get this back pretty quickly once I start hitting the trails again. I do not want to be the one that gets a bike and quickly get to that point and thinks I should have gotten the better bike. My LBS has deals on a 2018 Santa Cruz 2.1 Bronson and the Giant Trance family. It is the holiday season and they are willing to deal. Can someone that has had one or the other give me their riding experience on each what you like/ what you dislike, and maybe changes you made? The Giant have the Maestro Suspension Technology and the Santa Cruz Bronson 2.0 has the VPP suspension. Is there anything I should know about these two different suspension types? The 2.1 Santa Cruz does the .1 let me know it’s an upgrade from the 2.0? Any education to help me make a better buying decision would be greatly appreciated? The prices are in the same field since the Santa Cruz is last year’s model. They are all under 3K or close to that area. Some say these two bike basically ride the same and it really comes down to components is that correct? Thanks for any information.
December 11, 2019 at 14:10 #292883
The Bronson and the Trance definitely do not ride the same. The geometry is similar-ish on paper, but the Bronson is a little slacker in the head angle. Neither are particularly modern beasts by today’s standards, though for your average rider they’re both great bikes. I much prefer VPP to Maestro, this is where the biggest difference lies. Maestro is quite active all the time, meaning it doesn’t pedal well, but it works well all the time. VPP is much more pedal-efficient. Uphill you’ll find it to be much better. It does have a little brake jack though, meaning it’s less active under braking – my Nomad is the same and I’ve simply gotten used to it, and I love riding it.
Add to this the fact that Santa Cruz frames are far superior to anything Giant make, they last forever, have a great warranty and Santa Cruz provide the original owner with replacement pivots bearings (for free) for the life of the bike. By contrast the original Giant pivot bearings are the lowest quality they can get and will likely need replacing in under a year.
Also I’m not sure what you mean by Bronson 2.1. They did change the bearings in the linkage from angular contact to radial so maybe that’s it? Honestly it doesn’t make a lot of difference though.
I’d 100% go for the Santa Cruz.
December 25, 2019 at 11:04 #293678
I’ll never buy a bike I haven’t ridden. I recommend you don’t either. Demos are way better than tooling around the bike shop parking lot, but even a couple of minutes can enable you to identify deal-breaking issues and preferences.
Many shops will credit the cost of a demo to the purchase of a bike. Take advantage.
When I can’t get a demo, my local shops have curbs, rocks, and short but steep grassy climbs to build opinions with. I take advantage – this is much better than only reading about a bike.
In either case, ask them to spend a few minutes setting up the bikes to maximize your learning – seat height, suspension air pressures and sag, etc. This will enable a fair comparison. If they’re unwilling, I’d walk.
December 25, 2019 at 20:24 #293679
@DanK NoCo, that’s not really good advice.
If you’re a halfway good rider, you likely know what geometry works best for you, what size is most comfortable, what kind of suspension works best for your style of riding, etc. Demo days are great, but the world has moved on from the olden days. Not buy a bike you haven’t ridden? That cuts out half of the awesome bikes out there, maybe more. Canyon, Bulls, Fezzari, Commencal, Airborne, YT, etc. are great bicycles. All are sold direct-to-consumer. And unless you live in a huge metropolis, the few bike shops near you won’t carry all the bike brands that sell through LBS’s.
Bemgolf – if you haven’t bought already, go for the Bronson 🙂
December 26, 2019 at 11:11 #293707
ziphead, please re-read the original post.
If the poster is moving on from a mid-90’s Trek 930, he probably hasn’t ridden a dozen different bike models in the last 3 years, to build the base of knowledge about modern mtbs that you have. I know that when I upgraded from my 930 in 2009, I would have bought the wrong bike if all I had was marketing blather to guide a decision. I know I bought the right bike, and I figured it out by riding the candidates.
Both bikes the poster asked about can be test ridden, and possibly demo’d too, in the medium sized town that I live in. The poster also states a concern that he doesn’t want to feel like he bought the wrong bike. There is no reason to not gather more info, especially if it’s easily available.
Bemgolf, ziphead’s methods might be right for you, if you’re buying a bike every couple years, and riding lots of bikes other than your own in the period between purchases (and probably have multiple bikes in the garage at all times, so a bad purchase doesn’t hurt so much). If you’re buying a new bike every 5-7yrs, or more, then you should ride bikes and but the right one.
I suspect ziphead and I would disagree about purchasing methods for many high $$ items. I will never buy any of those mail-order bike, if I have not ridden them before. No testimonial would be enough, especially if I can easily test ride other candidates.
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