Tallboy or smuggler?

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Posted: Oct 19, 2019 at 18:34 Quote
Looking for a Midwest quiver killer. I'm looking at the updated Santa Cruz Tallboy and the Transition smuggler.

I have not ridden either so I'm super interested in your thoughts. My favorite trail has short, steep, rooty climbs followed by loose rooty descents.

How do these bikes compare. I'm really interested in your objective criticism.


Posted: Oct 20, 2019 at 15:39 Quote
I had a 2017 Tallboy3 Al +. It is true what they say about it. It hits way above its pay grade. One of the rare bikes that was just fun on everything. A bike I wish I still had. I have read the same things about the Smuggler. The Tallboy and Smuggler are two excellent examples of "sometimes less is more". You can't go wrong with either.

Posted: Oct 21, 2019 at 0:57 Quote
I just had a weekend's worth of test rides on the new Tallboy. Pretty awesome bike. The demo bike's spec was the lowest though and I wasn't a fan of the Fox 34 Rhythm fork but other than that it was flying. I don't think you can get much more out of 120mm. I was set on getting a Hightower, but the Tallboy definitely complicates things. Having said that, the new Hightower is really amazing though, so if you're looking for a quiver killer, you might take a look into it as well.

But yeah, both are awesome bikes, tried out a Smuggler when shopping around for my last bike (ended up with a Scout instead).

Posted: Oct 22, 2019 at 9:12 Quote
I'm not sure how objective my criticism will be because I own a 2018 Tallboy C and have never ridden the Smuggler. That being said I LOVE the Tallboy. I do not notice any pedal bob when climbing unless I stand up on the pedals to really crank. The suspension does a fine job of maintaining traction on rooty rocky climbs. I dab a foot way less climbing on this bike than I did with my hardtail. I like to go fast but generally don't want to sail high through the air so the travel and ability to soak up little trail chatter suits me.

Posted: Oct 26, 2019 at 10:49 Quote
Tallboy is the most beautiful bike out right now. Wanted one so bad.

Just bought a Trance 29 yesterday though, price of a carbon Tallboy frame was the same as a a full carbon complete build Trance 29 including a Marzocchi fork.

Smuggler is closer to Trance pricing territory.

One thing I realized yesterday on the fist ride with that Trance (trail bike) vs my usual Reign (full blown enduro bike), once the headtube angle gets very slack and reach gets very long you are back into enduro territory. Full gas, weighted way forward all the time kind of riding.

Not sure what you're after, but I wanted a 2nd bike that I could climb more easily and ride more casually. For a neutral more centered bike that's quick to change direction and easier to manage on less steep terrain (just for fun riding), something a little steeper in the front makes a huge difference on the trail.

It's like driving a full blown F1 race car, fast on the clock but a lot of work, vs a modern sports car, easy for anyone to casually zip around just for grins.

Posted: Oct 27, 2019 at 9:38 Quote
Have you looked into comparable models? I was dead set on a tall boy, then I demoed a trek fuel ex and fell in love with it. I have a XC background, so I was focused on pedal efficiency vs suspension travel. Now that I’m on a proper trail bike, I will always choose a bike that is confident inspiring on descents. Most of the trails I ride are fast and flowy XC trails with long and easy decents, but the trade off for comfort on 2+ hour rides and the fun I have going downhill is well worth the 10% decrease in pedal efficiency. Mobbing on trails is the way to go for weekend warriors!

I have to agree with the previous post too. The giant trance is a sweet bike! They are just as capable without the boutique price. It would be hard for any casual rider to find any fault with it

Posted: Oct 27, 2019 at 19:51 Quote
I have a 2018 Smuggler, and really like it. However I will admit, I did not test ride it prior to buying, I did a bunch of research and then decided to pull the trigger. While I really like it, I cannot say that had I ridden a bunch of bikes first that I still.would have picked the Smuggler.

I have since acquired a 2019 Specialized Levo, and (e-bike aside) the geometry is similar, but a hair different, and I honestly don't know which one I prefer more.

You are not going to go wrong with either bike, and either bike is going to have something that drives you nuts after a while.

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