A bike for all seasons.
The Santa Cruz Tallboy is perhaps one of the best examples of an all-around mountain bike, one that's a lot more capable on technical trails than you'd imagine from its 110mm travel on paper, yet one that can pedal almost as well as a dedicated cross-country bike. With the Tallboy 29 Carbon CC X01 Eagle Reserve Complete Mountain Bike, Santa Cruz gives us its premium CC frame and has it rolling on its carbon Reserve wheels while spec'ing a sensible X01 group and FOX Performance suspension to keep the price within reach. If you’re looking for that one bike that you can take on weekend epic rides and still comfortably toe the line at an XC race, few bikes match the Tallboy's versatility.
The original Tallboy caused quite a stir when it hit the market and its lively handling removed a lot of preconceived notions about how 29-inch wheels were supposed to handle. Now in its 3rd iteration, the Tallboy is more trail oriented than ever and has the handling chops to hang with anything this side of a full-on enduro rig. This is even more impressive considering just how quickly it covers the climbs and pedaling sections with its 110mm of travel.
We're fairly certain that if you're looking at this version of the Tallboy with its upgraded Reserve carbon wheels, you're probably a dye-in-the-wool 29er rider, however, it's worth noting that the Tallboy was built to accommodate 27.5+ wheels as well as 29-inch wheels. This dual wheel persona is enabled by the reversible “flip chip” at the shock's upper link. Setting the flip chip to the “low” mode relaxes the head angle by roughly half a degree and lowers the bottom bracket, which makes for an ideal setup when paired with the slightly larger diameter of 29-inch wheels. The slightly smaller 27.5+ wheels pair with the “high” setting, allowing for similar clearance between the bottom bracket and the ground. The upshot is headache-free swaps between wheel sizes, which gives you more options than ever when you hit the trail. We'd recommend having two wheelsets: a traction heavy plus wheelset on rough days over loose terrain and the included carbon wheels for better rollover ability and racking up the singletrack miles.
The Tallboy's 110mm of travel is governed through the latest version of Santa Cruz’s VPP suspension design. As with all VPP bikes, the Tallboy’s counter-rotating links are carefully arranged to resist activation by pedaling forces, all but eliminating unwanted bobbing under power. This being the latest iteration of VPP, it’s tuned to provide more midstroke support than previous generations of the VPP platform, giving the rider less wallowing in the middle of its travel while maintaining a smooth off the top feel and plenty of ramp up near the end to prevent harsh bottom outs.
The VPP suspension obviously plays a key role in the Tallboy's dialed ride, but an equal part of its trail manners comes from its carefully tuned geometry. At 68 degrees, the head angle is sufficiently nimble for tree slaloms, while remaining relaxed enough to stay composed at high-speed chutes. The 17-inch chainstays never deter from its ability to change directions quickly, while retaining enough length to provide ample traction when the trail heads upwards. Perhaps the biggest benefit comes from the moderately roomy cockpit positioning you between the wheels and an "in" the bike rather than "on" the bike ride for intuitive handling with telepathic results.
This Tallboy is built using Santa Cruz’s top tier CC carbon fiber construction. By using some of the finest, and strongest, raw materials available, Santa Cruz is able to make its CC level frames extremely lightweight while maintaining outstanding impact resistance, exceptional stiffness, and just the right amount of finely tuned flex to cancel out trail chatter. Of course, balancing these factors requires true mastery of carbon fiber, and the design team at Santa Cruz has proven time and time again that their command of carbon fiber construction is unsurpassed in the bike industry. The result is a frame that will hold up to years of hard riding, will provide a comfortable ride, and will do so at a very competitive weight.
This Tallboy build spends money where its needed a saves where it's not starting with the excellent FOX suspension package and its 34 Float FIT4 Performance Elite fork paired with a Float DPS Performance Elite air shock. This setup offers a super supple stroke, on-the-fly adjustments at the flip of a lever, and easy tuning. SRAM’s exceptional X01 Eagle groupset provides the gear range necessary for all-day epics, while the Level TLM brakes let you easily keep your speed in check. RockShox's Reverb dropper post enables the necessary on-the-fly height adjustment of the WTB Silverado saddle, while the Santa Cruz carbon fiber handlebar offers a perfectly tuned balance of stiffness and flex that simply surpasses many of the best aftermarket carbon fiber handlebars available.
Perhaps our favorite part of the build may be Santa Cruz’s Reserve carbon rims, which are laced to a DT Swiss 350 hubset. The Reserve rims showcase Santa Cruz’s carbon fiber expertise, with a highly refined profile and reinforced nipple beads that nearly eliminate any chance of failure. And should you defy those odds, the Reserve rims are backed by a no-nonsense lifetime warranty—just like Santa Cruz’s carbon fiber frames.
- A short travel trail bike with big wheel roll over ability
- 110mm of highly efficient VPP travel
- Flip-chip allows for with 29in and 27.5+ wheels
- 74-degree seat tube angle optimizes pedaling efficiency
- Longer reach increases high-speed stability
- Carbon CC frame saves weight without sacrificing strength
- X01 Eagle drivetrain provides the range for all-day epics
- Reserve carbon rims bring SC's carbon mastery to the rim world