If you haven't been on one our courses since April you wont have seen the new whip!
Im not a "Bike Tester" thats a full time job in its self, if you want to test bikes you have to be able to relate things you feel through the bike to individual design features such as key geometry angles and axel paths etc. If this was not enough you then have to relate this to your body of experience riding different bikes to gain some kind of reference point. So when I talk about the Bronson its just my experience as a rider.
I have made a couple of tweeks, I have gone single ring on the front (Northshore Billet think thin - worked a treat), put on a set of RockShox Pikes (They are that good) and a Carbon ENVE 800mm DH handle bar (considered overkill on this bike but I love it).
My last bike was the Trek Slash which I loved but it is a different breed to the Bronson, a different size (the trek was too small on hind sight) and as such it doesn't really feel right to draw to many comparisons.
Having said that....
I occasionally felt over biked on the Slash and never felt I really reached its limits, I can feel the bronson twitch and flex a little and want to apologise for being so rough. The Slash was a unit to hump up hills, the Bronson not so much.
First impressions were mixed but good over all. At first I didn't like the layback on the seat tube which puts you behind the bottom bracket slightly and I think it does have an effect on power transfer. I also was aware of the flex in back end which made me nervous of riding it hard in demanding terrain. I was unsure about the VPP suspention platform which felt like it hung up at really slow speeds and at high speeds rebounded into impacts on rock gardens etc (why do we call them Gardens?).
Then I went to the alps for two weeks and I realised I had underestimated this beast.
I didant want to take it on the bike parks because I might wreck it and I would feel bad for not hitting stuff I would on my DH bike but we where doing the Pass Portes Du Soleil, so I took it as it came and I was not disappointed. I ended up spending the next two weeks - yep you guessed it on the bike park.
I forgot about the flexi back end and plowed the rough stuff, glad of a little lateral suspension, I sent 90% of the features I would have sent on my DH bike. The bike felt stable and ate everything a gave it.
It cost me a set of bushings a set of wheel bearings and a full strip and rebuild. I was quite happy with that. The Dog done me well!
Theres loads of really good bikes on the market at the moment and the Bronson as an aggressive trail bike is up there with the best. It must be one of the most popular choices for the Enduro weapons and when you see Peaty and the boys flying you can see why. If your thinking of investing and you have the budget, I have been stoked to ride mine!