Blurring the boundaries.
Whereas the original incarnation of the Tallboy aimed squarely at XC domination, the newest Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon 29 S Complete Mountain Bike blurs the boundary between XC swiftness and trail-devouring composure with a reinvigorated geometry that's slacker and more confident dropping into aggressive terrain. That being said, it's still an incredibly responsive machine that's more than eager to accelerate out of corners and fly past heavier enduro rigs on steep climbs where pedaling efficiency is paramount. You'll find it's the go-to choice of the Santa Cruz Factory Team when they're racing technical courses with thousands of feet of brutal climbing combined with precipitously steep, rocky descents, such as the infamous terrain at Downieville.
We credit this boundary-blurring virtuosity to a more relaxed 68-degree head tube angle paired with 4.3in of VPP travel balancing pedaling efficiency with bump-smoothing composure. This 29in configuration absolutely steamrolls anything lying in its path by carrying greater momentum and increasing the angle of attack over larger rocks and roots. The momentum-carrying capability of 29ers is aided by a longer 120mm fork, which smooths out trail impediments and absorbs mid-sized drops without fuss.
Not only is the newest Tallboy more capable than ever when the going gets rough and rocky, but it's also interchangeable between 27.5+ and 29in wheels. This ability to swap wheel sizes is due to a flip-chip located along the upper link. The flip-chip maintains its geometry between both wheel sizes, so long as you swap in a 130mm fork when you're converting to 27.5+ wheels. This is a nice addition to the newest Tallboy, as the 27.5+ wheels provide greater bump compliance and tons of grip over loose, drifty trail surfaces.
The Tallboy employs the third generation of Santa Cruz's VPP suspension platform, which attaches the upper link to the top tube for greater stiffness and increased stand-over height. The lower link configuration is revised as well, now tucked above the bottom bracket to prevent rock strikes and flinging debris from damaging it. The third-gen VPP suspension retains the praised pedaling efficiency you've come to love from VPP, making it an ideal platform for XC racing and trail riding without pedal bob sapping your forward momentum across flats or slowing uphill progress on long climbs. Another thing to note, Santa Cruz improved its VPP platform for this third iteration with better compliance over small bumps, as well as preventing it from settling in the middle of its travel, so it feels more active and tracks to the ground noticeably better.
We'd remiss to forgot mentioning the provided carbon frame, which is both stout and snappy at accelerating, due to its impressive level of stiffness. This frame is tough when you're thrashing it on the trail, and SC is so confident in its quality that it's backed by an impressive lifetime warranty. Internal cable and stealth dropper routing clean up the frame's aesthetics while protecting cables from dirt and debris. Moreover, this "S" kit comes with SRAM's newest GX Eagle drivetrain, which gives you a massive 500% gear range without having to deal with a pesky front derailleur.
- Blurs the line between XC quickness and trail composure
- 4.3in of VPP suspension optimizes efficiency and traction
- 120mm FOX 34 Performance fork smooths out rough terrain
- Flip-chip allows you to swap between 27.5+ and 29in wheels
- Carbon C frame is impressively stiff for acceleration
- GX Eagle 1x12 drivetrain with massive 500% gear range
- BOOST axle spacing stiffens the 29in wheels