Sam Bull has recently built up one of the hottest Enduro MTB bikes we’ve ever seen – his 2018 Santa Cruz Bronson! We decided to catch up with the KZN shredder to chat about the bike, the build, his riding and goals for the year…
You’ve built up a new Santa Cruz Bronson. Give us some insight into the build?
Its a dream build. There is absolutely nothing on this bike that I’d want to upgrade or change. I took a stock top-spec Bronson build kit and swopped out a few of the parts. I changed the brakes from Guides to Codes, the seat post from a Reverb to the Transfer post, swopped out the black XX1 drivetrain for the gold XX1, and put some Santa Cruz Carbon Reserve 30 Wheels on. But, before I started any of that I spent more time than I should putting some clear protective stickers on the frame [laughs] – it’s just one of those things I always do.
How does the new setup compare to your last rig?
The frame is identical except for the colour. To be honest with you, I loved my previous Bronson so much, that I didn’t really want to change much. That being said, the 2018 Bronson comes spec’d with a Fox 36 Fork and a Fox Float DPX rear shock. My last bike had a Rock Shox Pike Fork and a Monarch Plus rear shock. Those are the biggest changes.
Added to the Bronson’s frame are some of the best components available. Which are your highlight components?
The bike as a whole is highlight, but I particularly like the wheel/ tyre combo. The Santa Cruz Reserve 30 rims, I9 hubs, CushCore Inserts and Maxxis Wide trail tyres have turned out to be a great combo.
What’s your take on the new Santa Cruz Reserve 30 carbon rims?
I think I jumped the gun and answered this above, but I am loving them. They are stiff, light and strong. I’m pretty hard on wheels, so the lifetime warranty means I can enjoy riding them without worrying too much.
How would you best explain the ride and handling of the bike?
There isn’t much I can throw at it that it can’t handle. It’s very playful, which is often something that can be lost on longer travel bikes, but not on the Bronson. It’s agile in the turns and easy to accelerate out of them. The VPP also makes it super efficient to pedal. If I’ve locked out the rear shock five times since owning a Bronson, that’d be a lot.
How would you best sum up the new Santa Cruz Bronson?
The most fun bike I have owned to date – hands down!
What are some of your favorite trails to ride in SA?
I’m super lucky to have Cascades five minutes away from my doorstep. There are some proper gravity fed trails at the top that you can link up with other amazing trails to have a 10-15 minute decent. There is also great variety – some steep sections, jumps, fast pieces, and couple of tyre burping corners in between. We really are spoilt for choice here in KZN. Howick, Karkloof and Giba Gorge are all close and are just as good.
What style of riding do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy riding tech, steep trails for the first time. Choosing lines on the fly excites me. I also love trails with jumps and berms. I come from Downhill MTB racing, so if it’s facing down, I’m all for it. I have no problem pedalling up to get down though – there is no such thing as free gradient.
What’s on the cards for Sam Bull this year regarding competing in races and events?
I love racing so I’ll be racing as much as possible. From what I’ve seen and heard, KZN Gravity are going to be putting on a great show this year, so I’ll definitely be on the start line of the Enduro MTB races. There are a couple of other local races that will be fun to do too. Obviously SA Enduro Champs is happening again this year so I’ll definitely be there. As long as my year involves as much riding as possible, I’ll be a happy man.
Head over to www.rushsports.co.za to find your nearest Santa Cruz dealer.