Koozie Sold Separately.
The latest Tallboy continues to gain legions of new fans and excite riders that have owned previous versions. Bigger hit riders have the Nomad. The Hightower, and its bigger brother the LT, are more enduro. That positions the Tallboy 27.5+ R Complete Mountain Bike as the trail rider's bike—fast enough to toe an XC line and capable enough to tackle backcountry epics. The VPP platform pedals efficiently on the ups and still rips going down.
Santa Cruz blessed the Tallboy with the ability to transform from 27+ to 29-inch wheels fairly effortlessly. All you need are the wheels (a given) and an air spring to adjust the fork's travel +/-10mm depending on which wheel size you are going to. Besides that, a flip chip sits in the upper link and can be rotated, allowing the shock mounting point to adjust. Re-positioning this attachment point effectively accounts for the 9mm difference in radii between 27.5+ and 29-inch tires, keeping the geometry as static as possible across wheel sizes. This model is built with SRAM's NX shifty bits and FOX suspension. Paired with the aluminum frame, this kit offers a great value Tallboy and a super fun, super reliable bike that is ready to tackle some rad trails with you.
Plus wheels bring undeniable traction and fun to trails. The Tallboy 3 takes fun, progressive geometry and lets you fit high-volume, low-pressure tires so you can float over roots and rocks and corner with authority on kitty litter. Of course, the Tallboy 29er is one of Santa Cruz's most loved models, so naturally it retains the ability to roll on wagon wheels as well.
Compared to the previous Tallboy, the Tallboy 3 kicks the head tube out 2.2 degrees, going from the old-school 70.2 degrees to a more stable 68 degrees. Thanks to the flip-chip, that number stays the same whether you're running 29-inch wheels with a 120mm fork or—as setup here—27.5+ with 130mm. The frame's chainstays and reach also join the modern geometry movement; the stays are shorter by 13.3mm and the reach bumps up dramatically, gaining an average of 40mm across the sizes. These geometry tweaks add up to a chassis that's far more capable in every trail situation than its predecessor.
The VPP design is the same updated version featured on the Bronson 2.0 and 5010 2.0. The result is that the links stay out of the way throughout the frame's travel, which lets the Tallboy 3 accommodate a piggyback shock and clear a water bottle. The re-positioned links also allow for more ground clearance, a lower standover height, and an additional boost in stiffness to the already stiff Boost rear end.
The latest VPP's changes aren't limited to just a reposition of links, though; the system's kinematics have also been tuned. Where the old suspension curve described a deep "U," the new VPP's curve resembles a flattened check mark, with less dramatic ramping on either end of the arc. The results are that, during the initial and mid stroke, it boasts increased bump compliance to keep the tires glued to the trail for more traction across uneven rock gardens and up root latticed climbs. It also maintains the predecessor's firm feel during accelerations, so it doesn't dampen the Tallboy's spirited kick while jockeying for position during a mass start or in a finishing sprint. The shock's ramp-up arc doesn't dramatically alter as the shock compresses, so the pedaling platform stays consistent through travel, with less wallowing, bobbing, and bottom-outs even as the Boost axle's path turns rearward to absorb bigger hits deep in its travel.
The Tallboy can work with a front derailleur mounted directly to the frame, but this SRAM NX 1x drivetrain works so well, we hardly see the point. The threaded bottom bracket is another feature that we've come to just expect from the California-based brand, and it's a strong selling point for those who don't like dealing with the tricky tolerances and creaky interface of press-fit models. The Tallboy's 27.5+ mode accommodates every manufacturer's 2.8-inch tires, but some 3-inch models may have clearance issues.
- An alloy mountain bike for all your trail adventures
- 4.3in of aggressively fast VPP travel
- Flip-chip enables compatibility with 29in and 27.5+ wheels
- 74-degree seat tube angle optimizes pedaling efficiency
- Longer cockpit and slacker mien provide better stability
- Aluminum frame lives for trail abuse and overcooked lines
- Workhorse drivetrain offers gear range and value