Tallboy Mountain Bike Frame
If you're going to build the trail bike of your dreams, starting with the Santa Cruz Tallboy Mountain Bike Frame as your foundation gets you off to the best start possible. Whether you're building it up as a fast cross-country rig, or your all-mountain ride, this frame is destined to succeed as an insanely versatile machine that continues to refine the modern trail bike, and in its newest iteration, the Tallboy pushes well beyond its predecessors, amping up its high-speed capability, while preserving its lively feel on the climbs. 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."
We suppose that with Santa Cruz's Bronson and Hightower getting makeovers in the suspension department, we shouldn't be all that surprised to see 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 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 degrees—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.
In previous years the flip-chip on the Tallboy seemed to beckon for loftier 27.5+ hoops, but this year it serves a purpose tuned more acutely to riding style preferences, rather than tire sizes. Instead of opting for two wheel sizes, this year's Tallboy features a chip not only tweaks head tube and seat tube geometry, but it also offers 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.
- Santa Cruz's XC bike goes down-country with deeper travel
- 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 uspension soaks up rubble with buttery-smooth control
- Longer reach offers a roomier cockpit and confidence handling
- Alloy build keeps price down for the perfect dream build