Santa Cruz 5010 vs  Santa Cruz Bronson Compared

Main Differences Between Santa Cruz 5010 vs Bronson:

The main differences between Santa Cruz 5010 vs Bronson are:

  • Santa Cruz 5010 has VPP suspension, whereas Bronson has full suspension.
  • Santa Cruz 5010 is lightweight and makes quick turns, whereas Bronson is a bit heavier and better riding over obstacles.
  • Bronson uses heavy-duty Rockshox absorption, whereas Santa Cruz 5010 uses lightweight performance shock absorption.
  • Bronson has slightly steeper angles than some trail bikes, whereas Santa Cruz 5010 has a geometry that’s mid-range for most trail bikes.

For kids and even adults, Disneyland is a once in a lifetime experience, one which draws over eight million visitors per year to experience the magic. In fact, The Magic Kingdom alone is considered the most popular theme park in the world.

Which puts into perspective how sweeping of a claim it is to label one location as the Disneyland for mountain biking.

And unlike Disneyland’s sunny and bustling California location, the attraction for mountain bikers, to others, may seem more obscure, and, so to speak, of the bean road: Bentonville, Arkansas, yet another example of a growing interest in mountain biking.

 And with that comes new, innovative models like Santa Cruz 5010 and Santa Cruz Bronson.  Mountain bikes, though, of all kinds, can be quite an investment, so you want to make sure you do your research before you make a purchase–and possibly take a road trip.

Before you hit the Oz Trails, or find your own equivalent of Disneyland for mountain biking, read on as we examine if Santa Cruz 5010 or the Bronson, compared, is your best bet for a new bike.

New to biking or simply not sure where to start? We’ll also be addressing your frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I choose the right mountain bike?

No matter what kind of mountain bike you purchase, there’s a set of criteria you always want to look at:
1. Materials for performance and durability. Steel, titanium and carbon fibre are the most common. Steel and titanium will provide more durability and absorb pressure, but carbon is lighter and easier to manoeuvre. You should also note overall weight; a heavier bike may be more suited for rugged conditions, while a light bike accelerates more easily.
2. Wheel type and size. Wheel type and size affects the level of traction, acceleration, and what terrains the bike is suited for.
3. Suspension Frame. The suspension frame impacts the way you ride and ranges from low suspension for downhill bikes to high suspension for climbing. There is also hardtail and full-suspension frames.
– Hardtail works for less demanding trails and saves you money, but full suspension handles heavy-duty biking better.
4. Handle Reach. Handle reach refers to how far or close handles are from your seated position, with longer reaches making for a more smooth ride, and short reaches providing more manoeuvrability.
5. Adjustable Fork and Frame Protection. Adjustable forks allow you to improve the ride for your riding style and can lead to better shock absorption, while frame protection adds to the longevity of your mountain bike. Frame protection sometimes comes in the form of removable guards or special materials.
6. Quality Breaks. Pay attention to what kind of breaks the bike includes. The most preferred are disc brakes, as they offer the most instability and control. Mechanical breaks are lower cost but may not last as well.
7. Shock Absorption. With any mountain bike, you’ll want to look for shock absorption, but where and what depends on what kind of bike. Rear shocks, for example, support full front suspension.
8. Angles and Bike Geometry. The seat angle, chain length, and wheelbase all impact how the bike rides.

What kind of bike Santa Cruz 5010 (or Bronson)?

Santa Cruz 5010 and Santa Cruz Bronson are both best classified as a crossover, All Mountain or Trail bikes, balancing durability and manoeuvrability.

Is Santa Cruz Bronson an Enduro bike?

Santa Cruz Bronson is a compelling model in a number of ways. While technically a trail bike, it has much in common with an Enduro bike. Compared with Santa Cruz 5010, it’s heftier and more capable of traversing rocky paths. It does share characteristics with a typical Enduro bike, which are known to be the stronger cousin of other mountain bikes and useful for general uphill and downhill. That said, you’ll find that Santa Cruz Bronson is lighter and a bit easier to navigate than what is typical of an Enduro bike.

Who makes Santa Cruz bikes?

Santa Cruz bikes used to be made by an independent company based in Santa Cruz, known for its generally acclaimed, high-end mountain bikes. That company was sold to Pon Holdings, a Dutch parent company in 2015. Pon Holdings is also the manufacturer of other mountain bike brands, Cervélo, Focus and Royal Dutch Gazelle.

What’s the difference between Carbon C and Carbon CC?

No matter what mountain bike you purchase, many, including Santa Cruz 5010 and Bronson, will give you the option between not only aluminium and carbon but between carbon c and carbon cc. While both offer strength and durability, Carbon C is more affordable but also heavier than  Carbon CC. You pay extra for Carbon CC to reduce the weight of the bike, but the good news is that both Carbon C and Carbon CC are equal in strength.

What’s the difference between Carbon C and Carbon CC?

No matter what mountain bike you purchase, many, including Santa Cruz 5010 and Bronson, will give you the option between not only aluminium and carbon but between carbon c and carbon cc. While both offer strength and durability, Carbon C is more affordable but also heavier than  Carbon CC. You pay extra for Carbon CC to reduce the weight of the bike, but the good news is that both Carbon C and Carbon CC are equal in strength.

Which is the better Santa Cruz mountain bike: 5010 or Bronson?

 When it comes to comparing Santa Cruz 5010 vs Santa Cruz Bronson, keep in mind both come from a fairly acclaimed company. Santa Cruz is known to mostly produce high-quality mountain bikes that tend to perform well, but also tend to come at a price point that may require a bit of an investment.

We’ll be comparing on key criteria, and assess which bike is the better value for what riding situations.

How is Santa Cruz 5010 marketed vs Bronson?

Let’s start by looking at the branding differences between the two bikes.

  • Santa Cruz 5010 is described as an “all-terrain machine.” The emphasis is on a spirited but tough mountain bike that is suited for jumps and climbs, complete with pump tracks. The ability to make quick turns and handle both descent and ascents also are mentioned. Versatility, with whimsy, seems to be the focus.
  • Santa Cruz Bronson is said to defy expectations, with a big personality and unexpected edge. Compared to Santa Cruz 5010, the emphasis on Bronson is more shock absorption and a seamless ride for harder trails. Also described as an all-around bike, it seems to be the more ‘adventurous’ and heftier of the two, perhaps for more experienced riders.

How do the tires compare on Santa Cruz 5010 vs Bronson?

  • Santa Cruz 5010 and Bronson both have 27.5-inch wheels, with 28-inch options. The tires also have DT competition spokes. 27.5-inch wheels are a fairly standard wheel size. Compared with 29ers, this size provides less traction but greater rolling motion and manoeuvrability. The competition spokes are lightweight but also stronger than typical spokes.

How does the weight of Santa Cruz 5010 compare with Bronson?

Bikes that are heavier tend to have more traction, while lightweight backs are more suited to quick acceleration and manoeuvres.

  • Santa Cruz 5010 ranges from about 27 to 33 pounds. You can select Aluminum, Carbon, Carbon C, or Carbon CC bodies, with aluminium being your heaviest option. For reference, the average mountain bike is around 28 pounds.
  • Bronson ranges from 29 to 34 pounds, making it a bit heavier. As is the case with the 5010, you can opt for the heavier aluminium or lighter carbon models.
  • Though it depends on the model, in general, the Bronson is heavier, meaning that it’s more durable but also harder to manoeuvre. The difference is not great, especially if you look at the lighter model for one over the other, but it showcases that the two bikes have a slightly different appeal. Bronson is closer to an Enduro Bike, while 5010 is solidly a trail bike and closer to the average weight.

How does the suspension type compare for Santa Cruz 5010 vs Bronson

Hardtail mountain bikes have rear suspension, while full suspension will have both front and rear. Full suspension bikes are more expensive, more suited with trails with obstacles, can accelerate more easily and tend to have a smoother ride. A hardtail requires less maintenance and are more cost-effective.

  • Santa Cruz 5010 uses VPP suspension. This provides shock absorption and pedal efficiency for a speedy, versatile ride but is not as smooth or able to handle obstacles as full suspension.
  • Bronson offers full suspension for more smooth riding. Though there’s much to admire with VPP suspension, Bronson’s model will ride more smoothly on rocky terrain, while 5010 will do well on smooth to moderate trails.

How does the rear travel compare for Santa Cruz 5010 vs Bronson?

Rear travel refers to the actual distance a wheel moves during rear compression. Short travel is normally defined as 80-120mm and suited for quick acceleration and moderate climbs, but more typical of an XC bike. For a good trail bike, we expect a range of 120-140mm, with the longer travel being a bit less efficient and quick, but also more suited to steeper climbs and descents.

  • Santa Cruz 5010 has 130mm travel, making it mid-range for a trail bike. This travel is fairly versatile and is a nice balance for a general trail bike, but it also means that it won’t be able to tackle especially tough terrain or steep climbs.
  • Bronson is full suspension and has 160 mm front travel and 150 rear travel. In this way, Bronson clearly distinguishes itself as a crossover bike, suited for tackling some of the most difficult trails, but it also will not be as easy to use and may struggle with tight turns.

What kind of technology is used for shock absorption? 

  • Santa Cruz 5010 uses mostly FOX Float Performance DPS. This is considered a lightweight performance shock, meant to be responsive and sensitive with rebound compression flow. There are typically three modes: open, medium, and firm.
  • Bronson mostly uses Rockshox, both Yari and Lyrik Select. Compared with the shock for 5010, these are heavier duty, and both Yari and Lyrik are shocks seen on Enduro bikes. They also feature transfer power for greater versatility.

What are the differences in geometry for Santa Cruz 5010 vs Bronson

There are also some differences in bike angles, which impacts your ride as a whole. Seat angles are ideal in the mid-70s, but low 70s is acceptable. Most trail bikes have head tube angles in the range of expecting trail bikes to have 65-67°, with the lower end closer to Enduros, and vice versa.

  • Santa Cruz 5010 has a 66.5 head tube angle and a 75.2 seat angle, while Bronson has a slightly steepe 65.4 head tube angle and a 75.3 seat angle. As you can see, both the 5010 and Bronson are within suitable, even ideal ranges for what we’d like to see from mountain trail bikes. There’s some nuance in the differences in geometry: Bronson is closer to a crossover Enduro (but still classified as a trail bike), and Santa Cruz, once again, is firmly in the range of a good trail bike.
  • For mostly flat riding, the geometry of 5010 makes more sense, as the slightly steeper angle will feel a bit less smooth with Bronson’s geometry.

How does Santa Cruz 5010 compare at price to Bronson? If you’re on a budget, Santa Cruz 5010 is the more affordable option.

  • 5010 starts at $2,699 (MSRP). Prices go up to $10299USD for the Carbon XX1 AXS+ at base price, with a mid-range price of around $4300. 
  • Bronson starts at $3,499 (MSRP). Prices rise to $10499 USD (MSRP) for the XX1 AXS+. Though that top price isn’t too different than the 5010, mid-range prices fall somewhere around five to seven thousand dollars.

What do riders think of 5010 vs Bronson? When it comes to the final deliberation for 5010 vs Bronson, let’s so what riders had to say.

  • Santa Cruz 5010 comes well recommended. On Single Tracks, users gave it an average of four and a half out of five stars, remarking on a solid, lightweight and versatile build. The most common adjectives included “snappy,” “light,” and “nimble”. Users loved the general feel of riding with ease, but some cons were noted. Downsides included a low bottom bracket and difficult downhill riding.
  • Santa Cruz Bronson comes even more highly recommended, with an average of five stars. The most commonly praised features included durable riding over obstacles and for downhill, great climbing ability, comfortable geometry, and overall stability. Users also noted it felt light compared to some bikes with the same capabilities. Downsides were limited to price, colour choice, and a few minor issues, but some users could not list any cons at all.

Do we recommend Santa Cruz 5010 or Bronson?

 Compared, it’s clear that both Santa Cruz 5010 and Bronson have excellent features, are made with quality, and can both be great options for mountain biking. If we had to pick, Santa Cruz Bronson just barely edges out Santa Cruz 5010. The slightly higher customer ratings and incredible balance of playful movement and both ascent and descent abilities means you’ll get just a bit more use of it, and maybe worth the price increase. Other features, including break types, are the same between the two bikes.

That said if you’re on a smaller budget, or don’t plan to do downhill riding, Santa Cruz 5010 should still fulfil your needs.

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