WTB Bronson 2.2″ TCS Tires: Final Review- by c_g and Guitar Ted
It has been a long time since we have updated you on the WTB Bronson TCS 29″er tires here at TNI.com, but we have ridden these all summer and into the Fall on several test bikes and on our own rigs, so we feel we have a good handle on them. Here is the Final Review with input from Guitar Ted and c_g.
First up are c_g’s impressions
I have also ridden the WTB Bronson this summer, to see how it would do on my trails. Given the positive impression I had with them in 2010, I wanted to see how GT´s experiences would transfer to my trails. This summer here in Europe has been mixed (as usual) and so the Bronson has seen a lot of varying trail conditions. Similar to GT, I would see the Bronson’s weak spot in hard pack and loose over hard conditions, where it often feels vague and has a rather low cornering grip.
Once on my forest trails or on medium grounds this changed into a rather well mannered tire with lots of grip and control. I was especially surprised how well it would cling onto wet roots and rocks. In my opinion a great climbing tire. Coming down and in braking traction it felt solid and decent, but not outstanding. Somehow it did better when riding slower speeds and in technical terrain (as I did in the NINER rigid and BERGAMONT Hardtail, than going all out fast as I did on the full suspension bikes NICOLAI and FELT.)
In terms of rolling resistance and weight– I would put the Bronson in some middle segment – not a racer and not a slow AM-tire, but somewhere in between. In terms of self cleaning properties I found it to be more sensitive to the soil than some others –good on earthy and even clay grounds, but easily packed on more sandy soil – at least that was my impression.
For me it was important to discover that the BRONSON favors leaning into corners more than riding „centrally on top“. This way it would let go more gradually and allow a more controlled drift, which once you get used to it can be lots of fun (but admittedly is not everyone´s piece of cake ).
Guitar Ted’s Final Review:
In my situation, the summer never changed from the hard packed, dry, dusty conditions reported on in the last update. What also did not change was my overall opinion of the Bronson. After the last update, I received a Fuji carbon hard tail to test that was set up front and rear with the Bronsons. Just as with the Breezer, I needed to take the rear tire off and get a less squirmy tire on. The Bronson was not confidence inspiring, being vague in hard corners and transmitting the feeling that I was going to lose control in a sudden way, although I must say I never did while running it on the back. It just felt scary to me.
I did get the “zipper” sound and crashed with this bike due to the knobs folding over up front. It was on a loose over hard packed corner that was off camber. Although the trail conditions were similar for the rest of the test, I found weighting the front more and not being so aggressive with the lean angle helped resolve the issue.
Conclusions: The WTB Bronson was a great tubeless tire, and the WTB system as a whole gets high marks from me. However; I feel that the useful range of the Bronson is limited to loamy, softer conditions, not in hard pack, loose over hard, nor on finer, rocky soils. The knobs on the edges are not buttressed enough to prevent them from flexing and eventually folding over, causing loss of control at times which is hard to read. (Although c_g apparently figured out how to drift these. )
I agree with c_g’s assessment on the rolling feel of these tires, and they could have been a great all-rounder but for those pesky, flexible side knobs. For those living in rooty, wet, softer soil conditions, these may work well for you. In hard pack, it is a toss up, and if you have loose over hard pack, these become a difficult tire to master. If you have the right conditions though, this tire should be a winner for you.
WTB sent the Bronson TCS tires at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches for test/review. We were not paid or bribed for this review. I will strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout.