Made for adventure.
The Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon S 27.5+ complete mountain bike is arguably an ideal intersection of impeccable handling and sensational grip. Built with components that offer no-nonsense reliability, this machine is more than capable of taking you on memorable rides in big terrain every ride-able weekend of the year.
Many of you will remember the commotion that the original Tallboy caused. Its lively attitude immediately dispelled a mountain of preconceived notions about how 29-inch wheels were supposed to handle. The latest iteration of the Tallboy retains its praiseworthy handling with an added dash of versatility and a pinch of aggressive intent that takes the Tallboy into uncharted territory.
The Tallboy’s success is at least partially due to its ability to blur the lines between cross-country rocket and surefooted trail bike. To that end, the Tallboy was built to accommodate 27.5+ wheels as well as 29-inch wheels, as it's presented here. This split personality is enabled by the reversible “flip chip” at the 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.
The Tallboy generates 110mm of travel through the latest version of Santa Cruz’s VPP technology. 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, giving the rider a better feel for the terrain, and a livelier ride feel.
While the excellent suspension plays a large role, a key part of the Tallboy’s secret sauce is its carefully tuned geometry. At 68 degrees, the head angle is sufficiently nimble for whipping through tight chicanes, while remaining relaxed enough to stay composed at high speed. The 17-inch chainstays enhance the ability to change directions quickly, while retaining enough length to provide ample traction when the trail points skyward. And the way the moderately roomy cockpit positions the rider between the wheels makes for reflexive handling with a minimum of effort.
The frame used in this particular build features Santa Cruz's Carbon C construction, which although slightly less svelte than the premium Carbon CC construction (by roughly 240g), lays claim to an equivalent degree of strength and stiffness. This construction results in a more modest asking price at the expense of a weight penalty that is noticeable on a correctly calibrated scale but will almost certainly go unnoticed on the trail.
This build of the Tallboy includes an assortment of carefully chosen components that enhance its trail-friendly nature. It starts with a worthy suspension package from FOX: a Float 34 Performance fork paired with a Float DPS Performance air shock. This setup offers a supple stroke, on-the-fly adjustments at the flip of a lever, and easy tuning. SRAM’s GX Eagle 12 speed groupset provides a truly massive gear range that encourages you to push farther into the wilderness, while the Level TL brakes keep speeds in check. The Race Face cockpit ensures control, no matter what the trail throws your way. And it rolls on a handbuilt wheelset comprised of Novatec hubs laced to Plus tire-optimized Race Face AR 40 rims.
- A trail bike that climbs and flows with flair
- 4.3in of VPP suspension keeps pedaling sharp and eats hits
- Geometry keeps handling secure without succumbing to wheel flop
- Carbon fiber keeps stiffness and low weight on the menu
- Stubby stays and Boost axles for yet more stiffness
- SRAM's workhorse Eagle drivetrain has the ultimate bailout gear