Why We Like The Tallboy D Mountain Bike
If you're looking to hit the trails on one of the most versatile bikes in our lineup without breaking the bank, have a look at the Santa Cruz Tallboy 29 D Mountain Bike. Its aluminum frame, with the same VPP platform found on the costlier carbon models, and smart component spec will get you rallying the singletrack while saving plenty in the bank for trips and upgrades down the road. This is seriously one capable machine that has us doing a double-take at its asking price.
Because Santa Cruz's Bronson and Hightower got makeovers in the suspension department, it doesn't come as a huge surprise to see the tweaks to the Tallboy went in the same direction. The new Tallboy follows the trends of its deeper-travel siblings, moving the VPP suspension down to a lower-link that offers improved stabilization in the roughest terrain, while an extra 10mm of travel helps soak up additional rocks and roots that the previous Tallboy would have shied away from. This makes the new ride more confident than ever, ready for bigger trails, rutted-out lines, brakes bumps galore, and even turning the odd set of rollers into doubles—but not at the cost of climbing. The new suspension is designed with the same engineering principles as the brand's longest travel bikes, making it just as at home riding cross-country as it is extreme backcountry. 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.
But the suspension is hardly where Santa Cruz stopped on upgrades with the new Tallboy. The bike sees 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 degrees—a full three degrees steeper than the previous model, allowing you to stay on top of the bike when pedaling power matters, and keeping the cockpit compact enough for comfort when handling the bike in rowdy terrain.
In previous generation Tallboys the flip-chip seemed to beckon for loftier 27.5+ hoops, but on the Tallboy v4 it serves a purpose tuned more acutely to riding style preferences. The flip-chip not only tweaks head tube and seat tube geometry, but there's also a full 10mm of adjustability to the stubby-short 430mm chainstays, which allows riders of all sizes and riding styles to make the necessary tweaks to feel right at home. This combines with a low bottom bracket for a combination that's built to thread the needle, rail berms, and launch out the other side with power and confidence.
The bike's aluminum frame is also well-suited to exploring that edge, giving you a bit more confidence that an unplanned, unsupervised trip down a talus slope won't spell the end of its usefulness. The frame's tubes are hydroformed in order to reduce weight while maintaining strength at key junctures, a technology that's been proven in applications ranging from the aerospace industry to the past three decades of mountain biking. We know it, we trust it, and we've never felt held back by it. Additionally, you'll find a few protective bits that are greatly appreciated, including a fender to protect the rear shock, and a molded swingarm guard that virtually eliminates the annoying sound of chain slap.
*Due to unprecedented demand in the global supply chain and the bike industry over the last 18 months, material weight and exact components are subject to change. We are working diligently to keep tech specs updated, and any adjustments will be minor. If you have any questions, reach out to a Gearhead by chatting online or calling 1-888-276-7130.
- A shorter travel 29er that doesn't shy away from rowdy trails
- 10mm deeper travel soaks up more rocks, roots, and trail chatter
- New lower-link VPP suspension improves performance across the board
- Super slack head tube feels controlled descending at high speeds
- Steep seat tube angle allows for comfortable & efficient pedaling
- Longer reach increases stability and high-speed composure
- Flip chips let you tweak geometry and chainstay length
- Aluminum frame brings peace of mind and costs $1000 less than carbon