Tallboy Carbon CC Mountain Bike Frame
The line between cross-country and trail riding is easy to blur together, and with XC bikes hitting the dirt with slacker geometry, it's no wonder. These capable steeds are able to take on bigger terrain than we had dreamed, making it trickier to pigeonhole bikes like the Santa Cruz Tallboy. Trail-country may be a good way to describe this ride. Build it up with 29-inch wheels and you'll find yourself rolling on a steam-rolling speed demon. The Tallboy has always been revered as a go-anywhere steed with lively handling that maintained a lively feel despite many preconceived notions about 29ers, and the fourth generation retains that agile handling, but with a whole new layup that's sure to turn heads. Like its longer, slacker brothers, the Bronson, Nomad, and Megatower, the newest iteration of the Tallboy brings its suspension linkage downward for increased stability on descents, bridging the gap between XC and trail into a whole new category that we like to call "down-country."
Santa Cruz's VPP suspension is designed to stabilize the suspension when you're putting power down on the pedals, meaning the rear end ceases to bob, providing a much more responsive and lively feel when you hammer up steeps, so you aren't wasting all of the power you put down. This is achieved with counter-rotating links that are carefully arranged to resist activation by pedaling forces, all but eliminating bobbing under power.
Suspension is hardly where Santa Cruz stopped on upgrades with the new Tallboy. The bike sees a full makeover this year, with entirely different geometry, but continues to use the flip-chip we saw in previous years for adaptable geometry that can be tuned to your own personal riding needs. In the front things start out with a much slacker head tube angle that shifted from the 68-degrees in years past to the ultra-long 65.5-degrees it is today (with the flip chip in Low). This slack head tube elevates the confidence of the Tallboy when you point it downhill, providing improved handling in rough and jarring terrain, and boosting control at high speeds. With the head tube's shift into the slacker realm, balance needed to be achieved to maintain the bike's reputation for lively pedaling and handling, so the engineers at Santa Cruz opted to move the seat tube angle up a few degrees to a steep perch of 76.3 degreess, a full three degrees steeper than the previous model, allowing you to stay on top of the bike when pedal power matters, and keeping the cockpit compact enough for comfort when handling the bike in rowdy terrain.
With changes happening left and right on the Tallboy, thankfully Santa Cruz's Carbon CC frame construction remains unchanged and for this top-tier CC frame designation, the engineers use a higher modulus carbon versus the standard Carbon C model, so less material is required to hit the same strength and stiffness numbers. Less material equates to less weight, and well, we'll always take a lighter bike for any occasion. Climbing and just motoring along the flats is easier with less mass to haul around, and a stiffer chassis is more efficient at getting the power to the rear wheel and requires less body English while negotiating technical trails.
- Walk the line between trail and cross-country with this short-travel whip
- New lower-linkage suspension boosts stability on descents
- 4.3in of highly efficient VPP travel that's also plush
- Flip-chip alters head and seat tube angle, as well as chainstays
- 76.3-degree seat tube angle improves pedaling efficiency
- Fox Factory suspension soaks up rubble with buttery-smooth control
- Longer reach offers a roomier cockpit and confidence handling
- Carbon CC frame saves weight without sacrificing stiffness or strength