Wednesday, January 24

JaBronson Thinks

Mebbe I owe yinz some (a lotta?) words about the JaBronson.  I mean, I've been on it for over two months now.  I don't think a week has gone by where I haven't ridden it, thus quelling my fear of owning a bike that hangs on the wall doing nothing for me.

The truth is, I've started to like it.

Pretty much from minute two.

Anyways, just to bring it back and then go forward, I bought the Carbon CC level Santa Cruz Bronson with XX1 build kit and upgraded Reserve wheels for a few reasons:

I wanted to reduce the risk of be disappointed with any bit of it.

The XX1 kit Reserve wheels had Industry Nine hubs, and I'm really fond of them.  Two birds, one stone.

Weight.  I knew I'd hate any weight that's more than what I'm used to on a rigid single speed, so reducing it as much as possible from the get-go was paramount.

Since it was coming with top level components, I'd have no reason to be thinking about upgrading it soon.  I want to keep this bike for some time, so might as well start at the top.  Yeth, I did upgrade/downgrade to XT brakes... because... burrito.

So into the nitty gritty, shall we?

Top to bottom.


I did swap it over to an Ergon SME3 Pro from the stock WTB.  I like it better for my butt part, and every bike I currently ride aside from my tarck bike has an Ergon saddle.  It has to settle for leftovers.

Drooper seat post

While I still like the Thomson drooper (and Wolftooth Remote lever) on the Vertigo Meatplow V.7 better, the Reverb is plenty okay so far.  It's the newer model with the under the bar lever, so it's not that stupid push button crap.  It's a little harder to activate than the Thomson/WT combo, but it's not a deal breaker.  Yeth, my head hurts looking at those four calmpy bits on just one side of the bar.


I'm still rocking the stock 35 X 800mm (and then some) crabon Santa Cruz bars with the Race Face 50mm stem.  The 800 bars only feel "too big" when I ride my Vertigo with 700mm bars and feel disappoint.  No idea what I'm gonna do about that.  I know some folks woulda pushed me onto a size medium Bronson, because "long, low, slack," but the small with the 50mm stem puts me in a happy place.  Mebbe I could descend faster with an @1" longer top tube, but I wasn't feeling it.  I'm still running the stock Palmdale lock-on grips because just as the earth is described in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I find them "mostly harmless."  When they wear out, mebbe I'll swap them over to ESI grips.  A sweet Cane Creek 110 headset came with the build, so no worries about that... for a lifetime.  Oh, and I did add some Flex TOGS.

More about them later, but I was missing the extra hand position when swapping from bike to bike (which I've been doing often).  Jeebus, five clampy bits on this side.

Shifty bits

No complaints here.  They do what I need the bits to do, that being to help me take my time getting to the top of the fun stuff.  It's been flawless, although I do miss the ability to do sneaky shifts with my pointer finger as easily as with Shimano.  I use that fifty tooth cog shamelessly.  I guess the only odd thing is that I didn't even realize this thing had twelve gears (instead of eleven) until I'd been riding it for a few weeks.  So nice to be a semi-ignorant consumer.


I swapped over to XT because I'm very familiar with them (ride feel and maintenance), and I knew they'd make swapping back and forth to my Vertigo with XTR Trails that much easier.  Nuff.  Said.

Squish parts

No doubt, these are above my pay grade.  I doubt my 140 pounds (naked and at my fattest) of white meat pushes this Fox 36 fork to its limits.  The rear shock is also as good as it gets.  Mebbe this stuff is too refined for my palate, but nobody has ever driven a Ferrari and said it sucked.  I think I got the dials dialed and knobs knobbed, but I keep telling myself to get over to South Main Cycles and rent a ShockWiz, but... effort.


I'm pretty sure most of the bikes that I demo'ed at Cyclo Fap Fest had the Minion DHF/DHR II combo on them.  Combine those knobs with 150mm+ travel and the bike goes as fast as your comfort zone allows.  I don't see myself dabbling into anything else, like, ever.  Bless you, Maxxis.


Like I said, if I upgraded the XX1 build to Reserve wheels, I got Industry Nine hubs.  At the XO1 level, I'd get DT Swiss 350 hubs.  That made it a no-brainer.  Although it would have been ideal to get Industry Nine Torch system wheels, I didn't want the pain in the ass of selling off stock wheels and ordering the I9s I wanted.  And that was gonna cost me more $$s.  A lot.  At least I still have all the benefits of Industry Nine hubs and a crabon rim with a lifetime warranty.  Sure, I don't have my typical pink wheels, but instead of being that asshole from the internet on pink wheels, I'm just your average chut on a Santa Cruz.  Is bueno.

The frame.

Here's two very important things first:

1. Lifetime Frame Warranty: The warranty will be in effect for lifetime of the original, registered owner.

2. Lifetime Bearing Warranty: Santa Cruz Bicycles pivot bearings are warranted for life to the original owner of the bike.

Okay, aside from all the warm fuzzy feelings I get from that, there's more.  I've got room for one water bottle, so local putzing-about rides require zero luggage.  Aesthetically, the frame does not induce vomiting when I see it.  BSA threaded bottom bracket and cable routing that doesn't piss me off.  Still no post mount rear brake, but I'm sure someone at Santa Cruz has an explanation for that (I don't).  It's also a pleasant shade of green.

The ride.

I've not been to the mountains nearly as much as I'd hoped to this fall/winter.  The weather just isn't cooperating, and when it has, my life hasn't.  I have ridden the bike a lot tho.  It's not all roses, as the closest trails to my house don't favor such a bike from one end to the other.  The Backyard Trails are super slow and twisty with only a few fast sections and some bigger hit features (some of which I'll actually hit).  I'm pretty much just riding from one fun feature to the next, waiting to use the travel and traction available to me.  Otherwise, I'm avoiding pedal strikes and enjoying being moderately good at exercise.

This bike wants to go fast and get Schwifty.

I can't help but grin from ear to ear when I get the chance to let this bike go.  I have to remind myself that it's probably 1500% more capable than I am.  I've already tackled a couple challenges that I've never felt up to before getting it in my grubby, little hands.  I don't find myself missing big wheels or anything else I've gotten used to.  I'm truly driving this thing like it's a rental (with full insurance).

I have no regrets with this purchase, which is saying something.  You won't be seeing it on eBay next year... unless Santa Cruz is dying to get me on something new... which they won't be... so there's that.  I'm probably on the shorter end of my serviceable life as a human, so it's nice to have this "new sport" as an option in my elder years.  I've only found myself in the position of feeling like I'm making an actual decision on which bike to ride a few times.  It's been as natural as choosing between a can of beer or a bottle.  I still want the beer regardless.

Still don't know if I will ever find myself "racing" the JaBronson, but never say never... even if you say "never" twice when you say "never say never."

Anyways, big shout out to Don at Santa Cruz and Donald at Bike Source for helping me get this decision behind me and a bike under my butt DESPITE my repeated past requests that Donald never sell me another shift/squish bike ever again.

I'm glad that you don't listen to me.

1 comment:

hellbelly said...

You could do one of those trendy enduro races on it. Maybe even some regional DH races. It would seem pointless for your other affectations. Then again what do I know as I ride a 31 lb sled for all of my efforts?