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KONA Process vs Santa Cruz Bronson

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9/24/2013 8:53 AM

I'm in the market for a new all mountain bike and these two bikes are the two that I've been looking the most into.

I haven't gotten to ride either yet on my local trails and I can't find any place that has a demo of either bike in a size XL OR L.

I like to focus on going DOWN more than up so drive train and climbing is really a huge issue as of right now, things I'd be upgrading in the future, I'm comparing the low end kits of both models.

KONA Reputation

I know a lot of people think of Kona as trash now a days. Almost everyone I've asked this question to that DOESN'T work for a bike store has recommended the Santa Cruz essentially for the reason of "KONA SUCKS DUDE! or KONA IS SO FRED!" but I've been reading a lot of good things about the new process design. One good point that was brought up is that Kona makes all types of bikes, from road to cruiser to commuter to walmart to mountain. How would their scientific design and research compare to a company like Santa Cruz that only specializes in Mountain bikes.Would it be worse because they have other areas to fall back on and make money from? Trek and Specialized seem to do a pretty good job with their designs.

I was able to hop on the smaller travel version the Process 134 at my LBS and it was actually really nice. The handling was great and can pop the front end up easy and whip the bike around with ease.

I really like how the top tube dips so far down on the Kona, way below the rear wheel giving it a very DH type feel combined with the short stem. All the guys at my LBS, which sells both bikes, have been recommending the Kona over the Bronson to a degree even though they'd make more money off me by trying to convince me the Bronson's the choice.

Rockshox vs Fox

The Bronson comes with a FOX 34 Float 27.5 CTD O/C 150mm and the Kona has a RockShox Pike RC Solo Air 160mm.

I'm more familiar with FOX. My very first bike had a Rockshox fork and I absolutely hated it. That being said though I've been reading really good reviews on the new Pikes. How do they compare to the Bronson's FOX 34 Float CTD for any of you who have ridden either or both? The great reviews that are out there on the Pike have been some what excited for it, but where my concerns really lie are with the rear shock.

Does anyone have any opinions on the RockShox Monarch RT--which is equipped on the Kona?

I had a bike shop worker tell me that last years model of the Fox Float CTD was complete and utter garbage, which makes me hesitant on getting this years.

Santa Cruz

I just watched's Blueprint episode on the Bronson. It was pretty interesting to see the interview with the Santa Cruz CEO. He seemed extremely annoyed and pissed off with all the interviewers questions on WHEEL SIZE and nothing more really on the bike itself.

I don't know if it's just the way the video was edited, but the Santa Cruz dude almost flat out said with 27.5 becoming so popular we had to really quickly make a 27.5 bike so created the Bronson just so we wouldn't lose business. That's almost verbatim of what he said actually. Which is fine if the quality and performance of the bike is perfect, it just left me wondering what if it isn't? Did Santa Cruz really just shit out a 27.5 bike so they could have an option for people in that market?

But with that being said the likes of Steve Peat, Greg Minaar, and Cedric Gracia are all riding Carbon Bronsons in the World Enduro Races. So must be a nice bike right?

When I rode the Bronson around in the parking lot of my LBS I liked it. It did feel a lot stiffer and less nimble than the Kona though. It comes with a garbage stem and handlebars so maybe that had an effect on the steering. I didn't like how it comes with a seat tube longer than your arms. The thing can barely go down the seat tube before hitting the suspension weld. I'm going to be putting a Reverb dropper post in it and hope I don't run into that problem.

This is a really long post as a result of me wracking my brain over this here bored at work.

I'd be getting both bikes around the same price after adding a Reverb and a few upgrades for around $3800.




REAR DER: Shimano M675 SGS (SLX) Shadow Plus

FRONT DER: Shimano M611 or 610 (Deore)

SHIFTERS: Shimano M660 (SLX) 10spd

CRANKSET: Shimano M610 24/32/42 (Deore) 10spd


CASSETTE: Shimano HG 81, 11-36 (SLX) 10spd

CHAIN: Shimano HG 75 10spd

BRAKES: Shimano M615 (Deore) w/ 160mm rear/180mm front rotors

BARS: Raceface RIde low riser 710mm

STEM: Raceface Ride 70mm or 80mm

GRIPS: Lizard Skin 494

HEADSET: Cane Creek 10

SEAT POST: Raceface Ride 30.9x375mm


WHEELS: WTB ST i23 TCS rims laced to SRAM MTH716 15mm front hub and SRAM MTH 746 rear hub w/ DT 14 gauge spokes, brass nipples

TIRES: Maxxis High Roller 2 2.3 EXO Tubeless Ready Kevlar

TUBES: Stans Sealant



Frame Material Kona 6061 Aluminum Butted 153mm Travel

Sizes S, M, L, XL

Rear Shock RockShox Monarch RT

Fork RockShox Pike RC Solo Air 160mm QR15 Tapered

Crankarms SRAM S1000

Chainrings 24/36/Guard

B/B SRAM Press Fit 92

Pedals n/a

Chain KMC X10

Freewheel SRAM PG1030 11-36t 10 spd

Chainguide n/a

F/D SRAM X7 Direct Mount

R/D SRAM X7 Type 2

Shifters SRAM X7

Brake Calipers Shimano Deore

Front Brake Rotor Shimano 203mm (centerlock)

Rear Brake Rotor Shimano 180mm (centerlock)

Brake Levers Shimano Deore

Headset FSA Orbit 1.5 ZS No.57B

Handlebar Kona XC/BC Riser

Stem Kona 40mm

Seatpost KS DropZone Remote

Seat Clamp Kona Clamp

Grips Kona S-LOG

Saddle WTB Volt Sport SE

Front Hub Shimano Deore QR15

Rear Hub Shimano Deore 142x12mm

Spokes Sandvik Stainless 14g

Rims WTB ST i23 TCS

Front Tire Maxxis High Roller II 27.5x2.4" EXO F60 SC

Rear Tire Maxxis High Roller II 27.5x2.3" EXO 3C

Paint Color Matt Orange & Black

Anyone have an experience and or opinions?


9/24/2013 7:43 PM

It's a pretty obvious choice, the Santa Cruz is way nicer and they did not just make the bike to make more money. I don't know where you got that idea, that bike kills the Kona in every category. As for the shock both are great, it's personal preference. Don't waste your time or money on the Kona. Just look at some reviews.


"We can't win at home. We can't win on the road. As general manager, I just can't figure out where else to play."
-Pat Williams

9/25/2013 1:26 PM

SCparkstreetdirt wrote:

It's a pretty obvious choice, the Santa Cruz is way nicer and they did not just make the bike to make more money. I don't know ...more

To my knowledge there is only one published review of the new Process line. Check Bike Mag -

Prior to that, Vital reviewed the previous Process. It was a solid contender in many ways. We hope to rally the new bikes soon. -,3/Kona/Process,11750

Bottom line, the Kona is not a waste of time or money contrary to what SCparkstreetdirt says.

Regarding the Bronson, be sure to catch our review of that as well. High end components aside, it's a very solid ride. -,3/Santa-Cruz/Bronson-Carbon-with-XX1AM27ENVE-Build,12022

Fox's fork has been much improved for 2014, but the Pike is a serious contender. Read up on the Fox bits here -,511

Both rear shocks are fine. Perhaps your shop contact was talking about the previous CTD forks? Those had serious issues for aggressive riders.


9/25/2013 1:38 PM

Thanks so much for the feedback. I actually came into a little more money and i think I've decided on getting the Kona Process 153 DL. It seems so excellent and really like the Pike. I've read every single one of those links numerous times while trying to make this decision thanks so much for all the advice and awesome reviews!