Santa Cruz Bicycles Tallboy LT Carbon S Complete Mountain Bike - 2015 $4,799.00
Enormous bang, moderate bucks.
The 2015 Santa Cruz Tallboy LT Carbon Complete Mountain Bike adds a value-packed build kit to the reference big-wheeled trail slayer. It all starts with the widely-acclaimed carbon fiber Tallboy LT frame, which is just as capable of enduro race wins as it is on all-day trail rides, and adds a well-considered build kit to the equation that reinforces the LT’s strong points, without resulting in a stratospheric price tag.
Santa Cruz's industry-leading carbon fiber construction makes its way into the LT. Both the front and rear triangles are constructed as a whole, rather than bonding them together from sub-assemblies. In addition to saving weight, it ensures that the LT is as strong as possible. That's because the fibers are uninterrupted by seams, which happens with other construction methods. If you were to cut it in half, you'd find that the inside of the tubes have the same perfectly smooth finish as the outside. That's a result of construction techniques that maximize the compaction of the layers. The benefit is that it's lighter, because any excess epoxy is squeezed from the frame prior to curing, and this ideal degree of compaction optimizes the strength. And the strength and stiffness are further enhanced with the mechanic-friendly, oversized 15mm collet-style hardware and a 12x142mm thru-axle out back. The result is a frame that's light enough for endurance racing and strong enough for anything you can throw at it.
At the heart of the LT's handling is a highly refined VPP suspension. It's a suspension platform that's widely beloved for its blend of pedaling efficiency and trail-erasing smoothness. VPP employs two aluminum counter-rotating links to achieve this balance. If you're wondering how it works, the upper link provides most of the rotation as the bike compresses into the sag point. This yields a vertical wheel path, which you'll notice in the form of a firm feel during acceleration. As the bike compresses deeper into the suspension, the lower link activates, moving the axle path rearward. The rearward axle path enables the rear wheel to travel out of the way of impacts, so the ride is smooth, not jarring. And you'll find the same collet-style pivot hardware that has become standard for Santa Cruz's suspension bikes. That means that your pivots stay tight and are simple to service, even for home mechanics.
Anyone who's ridden the LT will tell you that the feel is balanced, yet decidedly aggressive, and the geometry of the LT is an integral part of its near-magical handling. The 69.5-degree head angle doesn’t look particularly slack on paper, but with the larger wheels and longer-travel fork, it inspires incredible confidence at speed, while remaining maneuverable when you need it. Roomy top tubes per size enable the use of a modern cockpit setup consisting of a shorter stem and wider handlebars. The seat angle is fairly steep at 72.6 degrees, for an aggressive climbing position that enables efficient power transfer. At 17.7 inches, the chainstays are long enough for incredible climbing traction and confidence inspiring stability, without being so long as to compromise the quickness of handling. The short of stature will notice that the smallest size that the LT comes in is a medium. That's due to the increased standover height associated with the longer-travel platform and larger wheels. While that will keep some riders off of the LT, we can't help but admire Santa Cruz's approach to not build smaller 29ers if the handling would suffer.
For the S build, RockShox provides the 130mm Pike RC fork, which balances out the Evolution series FOX FLOAT CTD rear shock perfectly. The 2x10 drivetrain is a carefully selected blend of Shimano’s XT and SLX groupsets, with a few SRAM bits sprinkled throughout. Race Face provides the stem and handlebar, while RockShox offers up its stellar Reverb Stealth seatpost, capped by a WTB Volt saddle. It rolls on WTB rims, laced by hand with DT Swiss spokes to SRAM hubs. They’re wrapped in Maxxis Highroller II tires.
The 2015 Santa Cruz Tallboy LT Carbon Mountain Bike Frame is available in four sizes from Medium to XX-Large, and in the colors Blue/white and Carbon/tennis yellow.
Santa Cruz Bicycles
|Effective Top Tube||Stand Over||Head Tube Length||Head Tube Angle||Seat Tube Angle||Bottom Bracket Height||Chainstay||Wheelbase|
Note:Tallboy LT (aluminum) is not available in XXL.
Reviews & Community
All Around Fun
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I got to demo the Tallboy LT. I have also recently been riding the Niner RIP 9 RDO, so for this review I'll compare the two. Both are crazy fun to ride, so to be clear we're splitting hairs here. At the end of the day either will put a smile on your face, so don't stress over the decision too much.
That said, in my experience the Tallboy LT is a little quicker on the climbs and a little faster/smoother on rough terrain. Neither of those traits are remotely surprising if you've ridden many VPP bikes. The Niner, on the other hand, was clearly built with handling in mind. It definitely has the edge railing turns and holding lines, and is a bit quicker and more responsive at both high and low speed.
As far as builds go... that's mostly personal preference in my opinion. Most drive-train and suspension offerings in this price range for 2015 are incredible. My niner came with an XT 2x10 set up... I highly recommend doing what I did, which was ditching the front derailleur and chain-rings in favor of the Race Face narrow-wide chain-ring. I paired that with the Twenty6 40t cog in the back, and I'm loving it. Less weight and clutter on your bike, with a plenty wide enough range of gears to get around all kinds of terrain.
If you're on the fence, hit up our super smart bike gearheads for some guidance!