Excels across dusty conditions and rocky trails.
Seeing the original Tallboy was a purebred cross-country rocket that eagerly moonlighted as a competent trail rig, the latest version of the Santa Cruz Tallboy 27.5+ D Complete Mountain Bike delves further into the realms of rowdy trail fun with 110-millimeters of VPP suspension paired with an updated geometry that's slacker and longer than before. However, what's most noticeable is the Tallboy's ability to accommodate both 27.5+ and 29-inch wheels with its flip-chip located on the upper linkage. In this particular 27.5+ configuration with 2.8-inch tires, the Tallboy grabs tenaciously across loose, dusty trails, as well as smooths out the rock gardens with greater compliance than what you'd experience with standard tires.
Instead of the 70-degree head tube found on the previous Tallboy, you'll find the new Tallboy features a trail-competent 68-degree head tube angle. By moving to the slacker end of the riding spectrum for a short-travel 29er, the Tallboy gains confidence at higher speeds where a racier XC bike would feel squirrely and unnerving. However, this push towards being slacker isn't as dramatic as many bikes in the all-mountain and enduro realms, so you'll still enjoy the sharp handling traits inherent to the original Tallboy. Although the bike has grown substantially in wheelbase and reach to meet modern standards, the chainstays remain short at 17 inches for snappy turning, especially when you're navigating around switchbacks and tight sections of trail.
New for the 2017 version of the Tallboy, you'll find the ability to switch between 29 and 27.5+ wheels with its integrated flip-chip along the upper linkage. The flip-chip rotates to allow the shock mount to migrate between high (29) and low (27.5+) settings, but without drastically altering the bike's dialed geometry and handling characteristics on the trail. This particular Tallboy in 27.5+ form is an absolute trail juggernaut with its high volume tires soaking up jarring rock sections while digging into the driest, dustiest conditions on the trail.
Delving into the Tallboy's VPP suspension, you'll find it increased from the previous 100 millimeters to 110 millimeters of travel. Although 10 millimeters might not seem like a drastic change, this extra travel gives the newest Tallboy greater composure on rocky trails and technical terrain where the older bike would be overwhelmed. Santa Cruz tuned the shock with greater progression when you're reaching the end of its travel, preventing it from blowing through excess travel or harshly bottoming out. The VPP suspension is slightly revised over previous versions for greater sensitivity over small bumps, as well as increased mid-stroke support for consistent tracking without the tendency to settle in the middle of its travel.
This particular 27.5+ D build gets Santa Cruz's aluminum frame, which offers a commendable level of strength and stiffness with 6000-series aluminum. Best of all, its affordability leaves you plenty of extra cash for future bike upgrades and road trips to your favorite trails. Delving into the build kit, you'll find a SRAM NX 1x11 drivetrain for a wide range of usable gears without dealing with the hassle of a front derailleur. It gets a RockShox Recon RL fork with 130-millimeters of bump-smoothing travel, as well as 2.8-inch Maxxis Rekon tires for an optimal balance of rolling speed and trail grip.
- Newest generation Tallboy blurs the line between XC and trail
- 27.5+ wheels dig into dry, dusty trails and smooth out rocks
- Geometry is noticeably longer and slacker than previous version
- Flip-chip on upper linkage for switching between 29er and 27.5+
- 110mm of VPP travel for responsive pedaling and bump compliance
- Aluminum frame offers reliable strength at attractive price
- RockShox Recon SL fork with 130mm of bump-smoothing travel
- Maxxis Rekon tires balance rolling speed with grip