2017 Hightower Vs. Bronson (a survey)

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews' started by Mikie, Aug 6, 2017.



  1. HBkites

    HBkites Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Huntington Beach
    Name:
    Sharone
    Current Bike:
    2014 Trek Supperfly
    I wanted to delete my reply but I'm not sure how......
    I was basically repeating what everyone else said.
     
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  2. Ebruner

    Ebruner Well-Known Member

    Name:
    Erik Bruner
    Current Bike:
    Hightower, 29r Hardtail
    Regarding the LT, This link is one of the reasons I was happy buying the Hightower and not waiting for the LT. If you absolutely must have more travel, you can simply keep your 200x51mm stroke shock and get one of these links for 200 bucks and you have ~145mm travel. It seemed to me that it was a better bet going with the standard hightower because it provided more flexibility for messing around and getting the exact bike I wanted for any type of riding.

    https://twitter.com/UniteComponents/status/871706449172410368
     
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  3. dustyyoungblood

    dustyyoungblood Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Ladera Ranch
    Name:
    Dustan Baker
    Current Bike:
    Foes Mixer Trail
    Probably, and probably perfect for a majority of riders. Not to mention perfect for an entire town full of hardcore riders in SC. Here is what I am getting at.
    Many Bronson riders seem to struggle to get the rear suspension performing exactly the way they want. The window for tuning to the sag point seems to be very narrow and it's a frequent area of discussion. I think it's like chasing a unicorn, but non the less important to some.

    I do not hear similar discussions being brought up by IBIS HD3 or Mojo riders, or from Yeti riders, or from most riders I chat with trailside. Just an observation and it showed up on my Bronson rental also.
     
  4. Mikie

    Mikie MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    2012 Yeti ASR 5c
    You can edit your post for a limited time, but you can't delete it. Deters emotional responses that you may regret later.
     
  5. riiz

    riiz Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Redlands, CA
    Name:
    Eric
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Heckler
    I just demoed a 2018 Bronson for two days in Santa Cruz and I had the opposite feeling. It was spec'ed with a Fox DPX2 and I had to run more air and slow the rebound a bit more cause it was a bit too active on pedaling, but hugged the ground like glue on the downhill. This current version of VPP is much better than it was a couple of years in my experience or FOX and Santa Cruz got it right this time. But at the same time, I'm still riding a Heckler with a performance Float and it was tuned really well out of the box too.
     
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  6. knucklebuster

    knucklebuster Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mission Viejo (South Orange County)
    Name:
    Dave
    Current Bike:
    Canfield The One '12
    @Mikie - cool you are looking at new bikes. Make sure to demo a bunch of them. Don't limit yourself to SC or even VPP bikes (Intense is the other popular VPP). There are a ton of good bikes with different suspension types and characteristics that may suit you more or less. As compared to your Yeti, a VPP might feel allot different to you. Some of the comments here recently seem to point out the linear/regressive leverage ratio around the sag point that VPP is know for. Some people love it, but if you haven't ridden that type before it might feel different for you. Good luck in your search:thumbsup:

    PS- Question to the gang, any worries about the new metric shock specs? Seems Rockshox is all in as are some smaller companies, but has fox changed over yet? Are SC mostly Fox still? Only matters if you want/need to change your shock I guess....
     
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  7. Luis

    Luis MTB Addict

    Location:
    Sylmar
    Name:
    Luis
    Current Bike:
    Big Black 29er
    Noooo @Mikie ... don't get a bike that will make you faster. I won't be able to gloat over my ONE second advantage down the Cannell plunge :cautious::(;):p
     
  8. rossage

    rossage MTB Addict

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    One second advantage!?!!?! Please tell us the story, in great detail, maybe even start a new thread, so every one knows about this stunning defeat.
     
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  9. Luis

    Luis MTB Addict

    Location:
    Sylmar
    Name:
    Luis
    Current Bike:
    Big Black 29er
    Yea? No way man. Mikie will kill me :speechless:
     
  10. Faust29

    Faust29 MTB Addict

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve Macko
    Current Bike:
    Highball SS and Chameleon
    Oh, come on! I remember a @rossage poem about this adventure! Something about chasing a ghost... :whistling:
     
  11. ScottV

    ScottV Member

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Scott VanDell
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightowwer
    A little late to the party but I will add my opinion. I ride a hightower and a 29er hardtail. I love long climbs. I have over 2000 miles on my hightower. I run 29er in the high position with 150mm front fork. This keeps the stock geometry. For me this works awesome. I can do all day climbs on this bike and it soaks up rock gardens very well on the downhill. It obviously does not climb like a carbon 29er hardtail but pretty darn well for what it is. One important note for demoing one of these. The tires that come on it make it climb like crap in my opinion (Minion DHR2). Way too much drag. They are great for traction but suck on the climb. If you demo this bike with those tires you will not experience the best that it will climb. I run a compromise between XC and downhill. So far my best combo is the Maxxis Aggressor 2.4 up front and Maxxis Ardent 2.3 rear. It seems to give a nice blend of climbing and downhill traction. Your tire choice will likely vary from mine but my point is that you need to change the tires it comes with if you want it to climb well. Good luck with the bike search!
     
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  12. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist MTB Addict

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Gunnar Rockhound 29
    This is great advice... I think a lot of people are looking at Hightowers based on this and other conversations here.

    Group Buy in IMTB colors!!!!
     
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  13. Mikie

    Mikie MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    2012 Yeti ASR 5c
    This is good advise... and you are never too late to the party. Thanks @ScottV !
    I am a big proponent of the Maxxis DHRII's and have ran them for well over a year now :inlove: and love them. But as of late I have been running a DHF up front and a Maxxis SS on the rear. I have to say, the Maxxis SS has done an amazing job. Nice low roll resistance on the climbs and handles the descent (provided you are cornering :sneaky: like... who needs brakes on a straight section of trail, right?o_O). I plan to spend a lot of time on the Hightower since there has been such strong positive reviews. in fact, I plan on riding one all this upcoming weekend.

    But where should I ride it.... that's the question...:whistling:
     
  14. LLPoolJ

    LLPoolJ Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Moreno Valley
    Name:
    James Johnson
    Current Bike:
    Cannondale Scalpel
    In the dirt! Preferrably.
     
  15. Mikie

    Mikie MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    2012 Yeti ASR 5c
    Isn't your Pechanga lounge lizard contract up, already? o_O
     
  16. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    If you're leaning toward VPP I would definitely try and demo Intense as well. I've demoed those and SC multiple times the last couple years and I liked some Intense models better than SC overall.
     
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  17. ScottV

    ScottV Member

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Scott VanDell
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightowwer
    The Minion SS probably would have made the DHR2 up front livable on the climb. I didnt try that. Maybe I should.
     
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  18. UPSed

    UPSed MTB Addict

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Edward Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO Plus
    Mikie Watson! Come on down!
     
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  19. mike

    mike MTB Addict

    Name:
    Mike O
    Some Tallboy builds are speccing Ardent Race in back/DHF. AR comes in 2.35 so ya don't feel too XC. Versatile combo.

    Mikie, I'm truly excited to see you giving this bike an honest try. A serious demo cuts to the chase. I'm not familiar with Yetis, but imagine you won't be looking back much. Have patience with VPP; it might feel a bit dead at first, but it's all biz when it counts. :thumbsup:
     
  20. BigTex

    BigTex Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Ladera Ranch
    Name:
    Richard
    Current Bike:
    Pivot Les
    I was going to start a thread on this topic, but I'll semi-hijack this one...

    I have loved the 27.5+ bikes I have test ridden as I look to replace my six-year old Stumpjumper 29, especially the Pivot Switchblade (haven't gotten my hands on a Hightower yet, but have ridden a Tallboy in 27.5+ configuration). But in my test rides I have been striking pedals like crazy (for the record, I have two other bikes, a carbon hardtail and a steel rigid singlespeed, all 29"). So here's my question ... will I eventually adjust my technique to stop striking pedals; should I give up on 27.5+ bikes; or go with the B+ but switch to shorter cranks (the road bike is 170 vs. 175, and that doesn't seem to bother me much)?

    But damn this thread and the enthusiasm for the Hightower. I thought I had made my decision on which bike if I go with 27.5+...
     
  21. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Highball Al SS
    I wouldn't go to shorter cranks.

    Even my Tallboy 2 is notorious for pedal strikes....however I have been able to adjust my technique and it is a non issue. For my wife, it is only an issue when it comes to really rocky/techy trails....it was mostly an issue on Zen Trail in St. George. Palm Canyon was a non issue.
     
  22. von-diggity

    von-diggity New Member

    Location:
    that one place...
    Name:
    Matt
    Current Bike:
    SLAYER
    I have a Hightower LT on order. I was hesitant to order one as I had the original SC Bronson (Aluminum version) I could never get the suspension to feel as supple as I thought a 6" travel bike should. I'm currently riding an Ibis Mojo HD3 and really enjoy the DW link. That being said, I was in the market for a long travel 29'er and the LBS convinced me that the new kinematics of the latest VPP iteration rides much better than older versions. I'll know in a couple of weeks if that's the case. I was originally looking at the Yeti SB 5.5 29er, but the deal on the Santa Cruz was hard to pass up.
     
  23. Mikie

    Mikie MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    2012 Yeti ASR 5c
    Congrats Matt!
    Once you have it dialed, let us know what you think...:thumbsup:
    Man! Too many good bikes out there to drain a fellers wallet!
     
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  24. von-diggity

    von-diggity New Member

    Location:
    that one place...
    Name:
    Matt
    Current Bike:
    SLAYER
    Sure thing! I'm excited to try the new to me wheel size out. Honestly, I don't think there are any bad bikes out there today from any of the mainstream manufacturers. The best advice I have is to find a bike shop that'll help you get a bike dialed in (sizing and suspension setup) and the type of riding you do, is what riders should look out for.
     
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  25. bvader

    bvader Well-Known Member

    Location:
    HB
    Name:
    Stephen
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  26. Varaxis

    Varaxis Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Perris
    Name:
    "Dan" Vu
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB5c ('16 Yellow v1)
    There's no true magical sag point on Santa Cruz bikes since 2016, since their leverage curves are much flatter, which makes them more forgiving as far as sag goes.

    Santa%2BCruz%2BBronson%2B2016_LevRatio.gif
    Bronson '16 leverage curve

    Santa%2BCruz%2BHightower%2B29%2527%2527%2B2016_LevRatio.gif
    Hightower leverage curve

    They used to recommend that the sag be set beyond the inflection point of the leverage curve (after leverage starts to decrease). That would put the Bronson at 30% sag or more, and Hightower at 37% or more, if one still followed that advice. Dang, that would put the Nomad 3 at 39.4%.
     
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  27. bvader

    bvader Well-Known Member

    Location:
    HB
    Name:
    Stephen
    The magic is finding what works best for me!
     
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  28. herzalot

    herzalot MTB Addict

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2015 Intense Tracer 275c DVO
    Help me understand these charts, oh man of science. Excuse my lack of understanding of physics.

    On the top chart, the '16 Bronson and Intense Tracer 275c start at 2.6 mm of something. What is that something? I don't understand the "y" axis.

    Then, it takes a lot of something to get the Tracer to its inflection point of 50mm of wheel travel. I assume that something is "force" translating into a feeling on the bike of a firm platform for the first 60 mm of wheel travel. Or, maybe it's the opposite. It takes very little to get to the inflection point, and then it firms up, translating to plushness on small trail chatter, but a "dead" feeling while pedaling as the suspension soaks up energy.

    Help me Obe Wan - you're my only hope. Please use plain language.
     
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  29. Varaxis

    Varaxis Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Perris
    Name:
    "Dan" Vu
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB5c ('16 Yellow v1)
    The Y axis is leverage. For each 1mm that the shock compresses, the rear wheel moves through its travel by 2.6mm.

    The lower the leverage, the greater the force is needed at the rear wheel to move the wheel, compared to parts in the travel that are higher in leverage. Having the highest leverage part at sag, where you spend most of your time pedaling, makes the suspension seem most sensitive at that point. This chart is mostly useful for determining which shock to get, and/or how to tune the shock. The actual feel of the bike's suspension feel is greatly dictated by the spring rate; the leverage curve just slightly modifies the spring rate. They ideally should be designed with each other in mind.

    The lower the leverage is before sag, the lower the spring rate (ex. a 350 lbs coil vs a 400+ coil, or lower air pressure) you would need to reach the general recommended sag range (25-35%). This is because it takes relatively more force to get to sag, than if the curve were flat, like that Yeti SB6c, and especially so versus a curve that were straight up progressive.

    Santa%2BCruz%2BBronson%2B2016_Forces.gif

    Santa%2BCruz%2BHightower%2B29%2527%2527%2B2016_Forces.gif
    Forces = estimation of the spring rate, after being affected by the leverage rate

    Observe the "gradient" line on this forces chart (green-blue curve, on the top image). You will see that the Intense requires over 2200N of force to initiate shock movement when fully topped out. This translates to harshness when you touch down from a jump or roll over a large enough hole that allows the rear wheel to extend fully into it, including rolling off of rocks and other rollers/senders/hucks. For each mm of travel, it takes up to 62 N at that point towards sag, but it decreases due to the leverage increasing. Since you have the spring set up so soft to counter this, you wind up with an *extremely* soft spring at sag, requiring only 3 N of force to move the suspension through a mere 1mm of travel, while the Bronson requires 8 N of force to move the suspension 1mm.

    ** note the difference between "eVOL and DebonAir" springs on the newer '16 models, and the older school springs, regarding the stiff initial stroke. In the first chart, only the Intense has an old school spring, while in the second chart, only the Hightower has the new school spring.

    A linear setup will look more like the Hightower's, in the bottom chart. A progressive setup will look most like the Nomad's. Linear is depicted by a straighter line from start to end, while a progressive setup is depicted by a concave upward curve. A linear setup will feel predictable and firm throughout, not notably softer or harsher through any of its travel--to someone seeking a comfortable ride, they would notice that the suspension is notably firm at normal sag rate, and then run much a softer spring rate and experience more bottom out, then add tokens and wind up with a more progressive setup, which manages to get them what they're looking for (a softer early and midstroke), but with a compromised damping tune (originally tuned for a linear setup). A progressive setup will feel extremely soft through the beginning of its stroke and not offer any real support until a little past midstroke--to someone seeking an efficient feeling firm tune, this will feel like wallow and dive, but it will feel comfortable, plush, and great for single impacts like landing jumps and occasional rocks, but would feel like more travel is needed for stretches of big chunk.

    Getting too far from the stock tunes will put you in an unknown area that would likely require a suspension expert to correct. I recommend finding a bike that matches what you want in your ride, with little change from stock as possible. I personally find the firm linear suspension matches what I want in a fast sporty feeling efficient bike. I'm not after plush comfort, but I also don't want any particular harshness nor spikes. If I were to use a Shockwiz to help tune, I'd choose efficient spring rate-balanced damping. Someone who wants plush comfort and to utilize all their travel, should choose aggressive spring rate-playful damping. Aggressive means something different in Shockwiz terminology; it means to aggressively push Shockwiz's base tune to the softer side, to use more travel, which would be too soft for "aggressively" charging chunk with reckless high speed. Playful means springy, with soft but still taut spring and very low damping. Efficient is the firmest setting, ideal for setting PRs, offering the most support of all the tunes; though, this might not be firm enough for the fastest riders, as shockwiz was made to fit the broadest customer base, with average mainstream riders in mind.

    I'll stop here, to let you digest this much. There's a lot more too it that I can go on almost forever about, regarding how this affects stock tunes of damping circuits, ride height, dynamic geometry, how anti-squat is factored into the ride quality, chain growth and kickback, brake squat and how a rear linkage counters forward rotation from braking by compressing, instant center and how it dictates all these values, etc. I could offer feedback regarding how doing this or that to the suspension should feel, verifying what I expect should happen by comparing it to what the owner actually experiences. If that meshes, can move onto more in-depth suspension tuning help.
     
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  30. bvader

    bvader Well-Known Member

    Location:
    HB
    Name:
    Stephen
    Leia.... you're F'd.
     
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