The Rock Shox Monarch Plus Rc3 complemented the front end quite well, and I did find myself using the compression lever to switch between the Open and Pedal settings for longer climbs. However, the Bronson pedals so well, it wasn’t really necessary to flip the switch. Flipping it to Pedal did increase the mid-stroke support which made it a bit less likely to strike a pedal during techy climbs though.
This year, the same build comes equipped with Fox Suspension which includes the new DPX rear shock which should be just as good if not better than the Monarch Plus based on early rides we’ve had on the Fox Shock.
One of the things that I look for in a long term review is any sort of maintenance that had to be performed – especially on the suspension pivots. The Bronson made me very happy with a flawless performance. All of the bolts stayed tight. Nothing made any sort of noise. And other than lubing the chain every once in a while, the Bronson was nearly maintenance free.
The Only Hiccup
The only real issue I’ve had with the Bronson isn’t a deal breaker, but it does seem like something that could be improved. During the first ride right after building it from the box, I noticed something hitting my right calf every once in a while during big impacts. After I started paying attention I realized it was the rear derailleur cable which would bow out under impact and hit my leg.
The simple answer seemed to be a zip tie around the derailleur cable and brake hose right where the bottle cage sits. The problem with this arrangement was that it made this particular bottle cage nearly impossible to use since the cables would hit the bottom of the bottle and prevent it from seating in the cage. If I wasn’t running a cage, I don’t think this would be an issue at all, but since I was…
My next thought was something around the seat tube, but I realized it should probably be flexible to allow the cables to move as the rear suspension moves through the travel. I grabbed the first thing I saw on my bench while heading out for a ride – a simple rubber band. What was initially intended as a band-aid fix to get me out the door for a ride ended up staying on the bike for half a season. It’s not pretty, but it was pretty effective. I could use the cage, the housing didn’t hit my leg, and with frame protection stickers underneath, the paint was undamaged and the shifting didn’t suffer. Other options would include running longer housing and then zip tying the housing to the bottom of a more standard water bottle cage. If this was my bike, that probably would be my course of action.
While we’re at it, the Bronson could use a tailgate shuttle pad on the downtube like the new Nomad. The Bronson isn’t exactly a shuttle machine, but of course the first time I was on the bike I found myself at Bailey Bike park where the Bronson was more than capable. It was only a few runs before the mud on the down tube (even after drying to brush it off) mixed with the friction of the tailgate pad had scratched the paint to hell. Fortunately, it’s just superficial and the paint on the Bronson seems like it’s super thick and capable of standing up to repeated beatings. In fact, after a fairly nasty crash left a scuff mark on the top tube, it buffed right out and looks almost new.