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, its no wonder. These capable steeds are able to take on bigger terrain than we had dreamed of a cross-country machine tackling in years past, making it trickier to pigeonhole bikes like the Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon CC Mountain Bike Frame. Trail-country may be a good way to describe this ride. Build it up with 29-inch wagon wheels and you'll find yourself rolling on a steam-rolling speed demon, but pair it with a set of lofty 27.5+ hoops for extra traction that keeps you glued to the trail in hairy situations — whichever setup you deem best will reward you with plenty of trail adventures. 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 third generation retains that agile handling, but with a bit more trail aggression from longer geometry that thrives when the trail gets more technical.
What continues to blow us away with the Tallboy's ride is its ability to feel like a cross-country rocket while pedaling and transform into a near-enduro capable machine when needed on the downhills. Its ability to accommodate 27.5+ wheels as well as 29-inch wheels lets you choose your own adventure and 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. Recommended fork length is 120mm in 29 mode and 130mm for plus but as we stated above, some of our personal rigs sport a 130mm fork full-time with no ill effects in 29er mode and seamless swapping between the sizes.
The Tallboy has 4.3in of travel through the latest version of Santa Cruz’s VPP platform and its FOX Float Factory shock. 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 a better feel for the terrain and a livelier ride feel.
While the excellent suspension plays a large role in its well-mannered trail handling chops, a key part of the Tallboy’s secret sauce is its carefully tuned geometry. At 68 degrees, the head angle is sufficiently nimble for slaloming through tight trails while remaining relaxed enough to boost confidence at high speeds. The 17-inch chainstays further enhance agility while remaining long enough to provide ample traction on loose climbs. The reach numbers are comfortably neutral, roomy enough to not feel cramped and placing you between the wheels for an in, rather than on, the bike feel.
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, provides a comfortable ride, and will do so at a very competitive weight.
- Walk the line between trail and cross-country with this short-travel whip
- 4.3in of highly efficient VPP travel that's also plush
- Flip-chip enables compatibility with 29in and 27.5+ wheels
- 74-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