Santa Cruz Tallboy - First Ride

Apr 26, 2016
by Vernon Felton  


A More Capable Tallboy

The Santa Cruz Tallboy debuted in 2009 and immediately began winning over 29er haters. Here, for once, was a big-wheeled bike that didn’t feel like it’d been slipped a bottle of horse tranquilizers. It was nimble. It was capable. It was, against all odds, fun. The Tallboy hasn’t changed much since. Sure, Santa Cruz went back to the drawing board in 2013 and made the bike a bit more efficient, stiffer and lighter, but they never fooled with the fundamentals…Not until now.

As far ahead of the curve as the Tallboy was, it was starting to get a bit long in the tooth when compared alongside the latest crop of longer, slacker, more aggressive 29er trail bikes. This new model raises the bar with entirely new geometry and the ability to wear both 29" and 27.5+ wheels.


Tallboy Details

• Intended use: cross-country and trail riding
• Rear wheel travel: 110mm
• Fork travel: 120mm
• Wheelsize(s): 29-inch or 27.5+
• Carbon front and rear triangles
• Clearance for up to 27.5 x 3.25'' tires
• Internal dropper post routing
• 73mm threaded bottom bracket
• Boost (12x148mm) hub spacing
• Sizes: S / M / L / XL / XXL
• Weight as shown: 26.74 pounds
• MSRP: $9,799- $6,499 USD
www.santacruzbicycles.com

The Tallboy Gets Longer, Lower and Slacker
The Tallboy was already famous for being a capable trail bike in cross-country clothing. This new version steps it up significantly in that regard. Santa Cruz lopped 2.2 degrees off the head tube angle to improve stability and steepened the seat tube angle half a degree with an eye towards improving your climbing position aboard the bike. Next, they grew the top tube 40 to 50 millimeters (depending on the size of the frame) and then trimmed 11 millimeters off the chainstays (which now measure 432 millimeters/17 inches). Finally, they sliced 30 millimeters from the top of the seat tube, to help improve maneuverability. The end result? A next-generation Tallboy that the company claims is more stable and centered when under pressure, yet is still decidedly snappy and agile in tight conditions.

Santa Cruz Tallboy29 and Santa Cruz Tallboy 27.5 and Juliana Joplin
The Tallboy (and Juliana Joplin, which shares the same frame) received a full redesign, which included a slackening of the head angle, steepening of the seat tube, lengthening of the front center and shortening of the rear center.

Santa Cruz Tallboy29 and Santa Cruz Tallboy 27.5 and Juliana Joplin
  29er? 27.5+? You can run the new Tallboy with either wheel size by simply flipping the flip chip.


Supple Suspension. Your Choice of Wheelsize.
In addition to giving the Tallboy a geometry update, Santa Cruz also tweaked the bike's rear suspension. The Tallboy bounces along on 110 millimeters of Santa Cruz's latest-generation Virtual Pivot Point rear suspension. This iteration of VPP (which is also spec'd on the most recent Nomad and Bronson re-boots) features a higher beginning leverage rate and a flatter suspension curve. The goal here is to give the new Santa Cruz models better small-bump compliance and a more consistent feel throughout the travel. Santa Cruz pairs the tweak in kinematics with a more progressive shock tune, so you don't find yourself blowing through the travel at the worst possible moments.

The Tallboy also sports a flip chip on the rear shock link (a la the new Hightower model) that enables you to run the bike with either 29" or 27.5+ wheels and tires, yet maintain nearly identical geometry in both configurations. It's a fairly straight-forward proposition: Set the chip in Low mode and run the bike as a 29er with a 120-millimeter fork or flip the chip into High mode and outfit the frame with a 130-millimeter travel 27+ fork and 27+ wheels. Making the swap isn't rocket science. Deciding which wheel size to go with is, frankly, the bigger head scratcher. The 29" tires offer a snappier feel, the 27+ tires offer crazy-good flotation and grip. Choices, choices...

Santa Cruz Tallboy29 and Santa Cruz Tallboy 27.5 and Juliana Joplin

Component Spec Gets Rowdier

The Tallboy chassis has been re-made with an eye towards making it more capable and the same ethic extends to the bike’s new component kits. To wit, the Fox 32 and pinner XC treads that came stock on Tallboys of the past have been replaced by stouter forks (Fox 34) and meatier, grippier tires. The 29er model, for instance, is spearheaded by a 2.3-inch Maxxis Minion DHF 2.3 while the 27.5+ version gets Maxxis Rekon 2.8s. Rims, no surprise, are wider as well. The stock build kit includes Easton ARC 24 wheelsets. Santa Cruz also offers an Enve wheel upgrade for the 29ers—a set of M60 HVs will add another $2,000 to the sticker price. Finally, the build kits now include dropper posts.

As of press time, Santa Cruz is offering the Tallboy in three guises—two 29er versions (the XX1 and X01 kits) and one 27.5+ model (X01 kit). As you read this, bikes are already in the pipeline and will be available to the public within a week. Will Santa Cruz eventually offer the Tallboy as a frame-only option? Yup. They’ll also roll out more affordable build kits, though the release date for the frame and less-expensive configurations is still up in the air at this point.

You might be wondering whether Santa Cruz will offer separate fork and wheelset kits for people who want to also pick up the parts necessary to convert the Tallboy from 29er to plus-size bike (or vice versa). Nope. You’ll need to pick up the alternate wheelset on your own. You don’t necessarily need to buy a whole new fork—the 130mm travel 27+ fork will work with a 29er wheelset. Alternately, you can swap out the fork’s air shaft.



What It Costs
Santa Cruz Tallboy Pricing


Santa Cruz Tallboy29 and Santa Cruz Tallboy 27.5 and Juliana Joplin

What About the Juliana Joplin?
With all this talk about the new Tallboy, you might be wondering if Santa Cruz is fielding a corresponding model for women riders? They are. The Juliana Joplin gets all the same tweaks at the Tallboy. Indeed, we’re talking about identical frames, drivetrain, brakes and wheel kits. Joplin pricing, no surprise, is also identical to that of the Tallboy. The difference between the Tallboy and the Joplin (aside, of course, from frame color) is that the Joplin is equipped with a lighter rear-shock tune that's better suited to female riders who, at any given height, generally weigh less than men. The Joplin models also roll out with female-friendly saddles and some size-proportional parts spec, including size-specific Reverb dropper posts.








First Impressions

The new Tallboy just showed up on my doorstep last week, so I won’t pretend to give you a review here. These are just my initial impressions after a handful of rides. Take `em with a pound of salt. Disclaimer aside, the new Tallboy has a more centered and planted feel than its predecessor. The "old" bike was never what I'd have called nervous or twitchy, but on steep descents, the shift in geometry comes across as a welcome change. The increase in standover height is also a plus when you’re shifting the bike beneath you.

The flipside to slackening the head angle and growing the front center—and there’s always a flipside to every design choice—is that the wheelbase has grown a bit as well. On supremely tight trails, I miss the old Tallboy’s wickedly-sharp handling. If forced to pick between the two iterations, however, I’d go with the new Tallboy in a heartbeat. It’s still a lot of fun on twisty sections and the gains in stability and confidence far outweigh the cost of adding almost two inches to the wheelbase.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’d love to tell you what I thought of how the new Tallboy rides when shod with its 27.5+ wheels, but since this thing just showed up, I’ve still got a lot of playing to do with the 29er set up before I even slap the plus-size hoops on there. How's it climb? How does it compare to the Ripley LS or Evil Following or Pivot Mach 429 Trail? It's way too early to say. Stay tuned for a full review later this year.



Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this article.



Must Read This Week

280 Comments

  • + 222
 Chains on right, that's a start!
  • + 16
 lol, I was also looking for this. ripper comment.
  • + 43
 Mechanic avoided drinking a tall boy before building this one!
  • + 0
 @snoopy24777 .... ahhhh man- you're a THIEF
  • + 11
 Ya it might be a while before Vernon lives that down.
  • + 1
 Anyone have a link to this reference? Did someone put a chain on incorrectly for a photo shoot?
  • + 4
 @cgdibble: The Niner review posted yesterday here on PB.
  • + 1
 @SCCC120: Ahhh yes! That is pretty funny. If only I could tell if it was routed that way in the riding picture.
  • + 22
 @cgdibble: you obviously spend way too much time riding an not enough time on Pinkbike!
  • + 4
 @VtVolk: San Diego weather keeps me riding and my drivetrain caked in dust.
  • + 69
 Seeing the blacked out Fox products on bikes is like seeing somebody's face for the first time after shaving a very long beard. Strange.
  • + 26
 wow! if it wasnt for your comment I would have left this article thinking that Juliana was speced with RS
  • + 16
 I really like the fox stuff with black stanchions.
  • + 6
 I thought it was a pike until you mentioned it, still getting used to it.
  • + 12
 It looks badass though. I might even like it more than the kashima.
  • + 2
 I talked to Fox a while ago and asked for black stanchions, and they said no, we're not going to see it. Aaaaah, I forget, they are GREY.
  • + 7
 Do you think the black stanchions will stop Fox crowns from creaking?? I will show myself out.....
  • + 59
 To all tallboy owners. Now your beloved dream bike seems to be a little, how to say, outdated. You ve got an unpleasant feeling that yesterday it was perfect machine and today it's not long enough, not slack enough and doesn't accept plus tires. This feeling is driving you crazy. You think, just consider...how about buying a new tallboy? To all of you - I'll buy your oldboy because it's still a great bike!
  • + 1
 I've the 1st edition of carbon Tallboy and I think it's more capable and agile to use on alpen marathon races than the newest one.
  • + 39
 @navigator: ^^^ denial. Wink
  • - 12
flag LeDuke (Apr 26, 2016 at 8:04) (Below Threshold)
 The Tallboy has never been relevant within this sector.
  • + 1
 I just bought the "old" 2016 Tallboy yesterday for 20% off after the new one was announced. I'm stoked about the "old" one. Now, if it would just quick raining...
  • + 29
 Ok confused now. Hightower and the tallboy?
  • + 40
 Highboy?
  • + 26
 Hightower is essentially the Tallboy LT replacement
  • + 7
 Should have said whether or not 1 inch difference between the new tallboy and high tower is great enough.
  • + 35
 Think 5010 vs Bronson but with 29 in. wheels
  • - 23
flag ekho (Apr 26, 2016 at 1:01) (Below Threshold)
 YT lol
  • + 2
 @joalst: right certainly makes sense when you think about it in that way ????????
  • + 8
 What I find more confusing is the Tallboy exists in longer frames than the Hightower. Max Reach: 505 vs 475 when long Reach is actually a plus for agressive riding combine to a short stem. Santa Cruz, I don't follow your logic here.
  • - 3
 nah, this is still spandex territory... not that there is anything wrong with that...@vernonfelton now you show up with kneepads on a XC 29er... is that capable ? hahaha
  • + 4
 @EnduroManiac: Santa Cruz has been pretty consistent about pushing reach longer with each successive release. So I think the longer reach on the new Tallboy is more a reflection of design period and release date than intended use of bike.
  • + 4
 @SpillWay: The Hightower is just a few weeks old....
I think american brands are currently way too conservative. It's unfortunate for me cause I like them, and if the reach becomes slowly longer on some frames, the seat angles (the real once, ones you pull out your dropper post, not the one in the nice geo chart) are back to what they were on my Rocky Mountain Slayer of 7 years ago!On long legged bike really, make the seat angle steep and the reach long, we only seat on the bike when going uphill!
  • + 6
 @EnduroManiac: Actually... - the reach for the XL size is exactly the same for 5010, Bronson, Hightower, and the new Tallboy (18.7"/475mm). It's just that for the Tallboy, they added an XXL size - which they don't have for the other bikes. So I guess they're just limiting the number of bikes bikes they make in sizes catering to really tall people. I'm 6'1"/185cm and ride an XL Kona Process 111. That has 1cm more reach than the XL Santa Cruz bikes. My build is a bit longer in the upper body/shorter in the legs (bit of an ape, I guess...) - so reach wise, I'm probably equivalent to someone a few cm taller. I wouldn't want to go down in reach anymore after riding this bike, the whole long front triangle/short chainstays thing just creates such a nicely balanced, centered feel. So for a rider who's really tall (say 195 and up), those XLs aren't really enough to create that same feel and balance.
  • + 1
 @SpillWay: Perhaps they just have more really tall people buying these compared to other models, or figure it's going to be in the lineup longer than the others - because the XL for the Hightower is the same reach as XL for 5010, Bronson, Hightower, they just added an XXL on top of all that.
  • + 1
 Pivot 429SL.
  • + 1
 @Chubieriot: yeah certainly. I had a feeling they were going to make it more trailbike worthy since they don't have much of a cross country presence. Plus this is a new genre of bike that they had to make. The process 111 started it and now we have a short travel, slacked out 29er from Evil, Ibis, Kona, Transition, Pivot, Santa Cruz, etc.
  • - 1
 @EnduroManiac: Keep preaching the SA! Maybe they'll eventually listen....it's a balance thing; you can't look at seat angle independent of FC/RC ratio, travel, reach.
  • + 2
 @EnduroManiac: But the real answer is with all the major brands in California climbing dirt roads on their lunch ride, they won't give two shits about SA until it's cutting into their bottom line, but they have marketing for that.
  • + 1
 @g-42: I don't think taller people are more prone to ride xc-trail than others. If tou look at the uci dh, a bunch of guys are over 180cm.
I did realize that the Tallboy is an xxl, but this is just a name. If they'd make a Hightower with a size called ghtg with 500mm reach I could be very interested. Although I'm not decided what to think of the integrated headset
  • + 1
 @b26-4-Life: exactly. If your seat angle is steep then hou can afford a longer front center/reach without feeling overly stretched when pedalling, and you can still get behind your seat in the dh and move on your bike.
  • + 1
 @Chubieriot Like Stumpjumper and Camber.
  • + 2
 @g-42 If you have shorter legs and a longer torso, why would you look elsewhere, you're a Kona model athlete / display dummy.
  • + 2
 @EnduroManiac: Badly worded on my part - the Tallboy has been their biggest selling bike. If they expect that to continue, then it makes sense for them to invest in the molds for an additional frame size for this one, whereas the other bikes in the lineup perhaps wouldn't.

BTW - someone mentioned elsewhere that the Fox 34 can be converted from 120 to 130 or 140 mm, just like the Pike, with a quick switch of the airspring shaft. I just did that to my Pike on my Process, and it turns things up a notch. So if you're looking at the Hightower for geometry and confident descending, rather than ability to absorb huge hits, perhaps that's of interest to you. I'm always amazed at how the short travel in the rear of my Process seems to be plenty for my riding - but I don't take huge drops/hucks to flat.

@Vanguard - for sure, they're all over that low standover, which is a great fit for my apelike build.
  • + 1
 @g-42: good point. I'm 193cm and ride XL bikes, but if you're a proper big unit, say 196+, then XL is going to be a little bit small. In saying that the Bronson and the Rune are two of the longest XLs out there if you're looking for a big bike.
  • + 1
 @EnduroManiac: I am sure about the change in standard, as it is not a great standard (as stated by SC's chief engineer of many years ago.) That, added to the fact that now you can no longer customize your ride to perfection with ha +/- Works angleset headset.
  • + 1
 @EnduroManiac: Good news is, I found a bike that has the best of what the Tallboy had with 130mm travel adjustable 115/130. Same wonderful easy to service bearings, no freakin bushings like niner,Ibis,etc. Good ole dependable headset standard that you can adjust with a Works Angleset, and about the same head angle as the new TB. It's Intense Spider 29c.
  • + 1
 Or the Intense Carbine to rival the SC Hightower.
  • + 1
 @Pennyrisk: I wish you could edit your comments. Anway, one more. Here is at least of review of the Carbine
www.pinkbike.com/news/Intense-Carbine-29-Review-2013.html. Spider 29c is just a shorter travel version. Like the SC Hightower and Tallboy.
  • + 21
 the bike industry is of its rockers with prices like this, do you know what you can get for$7000 dollars ?? there laughing all the way to the bank
  • - 3
 Of course they are...But its the price ya pay to play!
  • + 10
 Kind of seems like the days of moderately prices SC bikes is over, which sucks.
  • - 5
flag ka-brap (Apr 26, 2016 at 10:56) (Below Threshold)
 @iwasjustridingalong if you think Santa Cruz is making $7000 on a $7000 bike it's you who is off their rocker. Ignoring the retail sales model for a second, when Santa Cruz (or similar brand) only makes one thing on the bike (the frame) it means they are paying to use other brand's components. News flash- that's not cheap. Furthermore, how many of these bikes do you think they are actually selling in order to pay off their mold costs, R&D, sales & distribution, and a dirty little word called "profit"? Not enough to make their bikes profoundly cheaper, that's for sure.
  • + 10
 @ka-brap: They buy the components at a discount (lower than what distributors can buy them for) and FOR SURE make some margin on them. In fact, how much margin they make probably weighs in on their decision of what parts to spec. If they make $87 when they spec a Fox34, but they make $239 when they spec a RS Pike, which would be the better business decision?
Yes, it is expensive to R&D a product. But a product like this, where it is just a "refresh" or "tweak" of a previous model, it is probably not a TON of R&D. I dont know which carbon frame manufacturing company in Taiwan/China they use to manufacture the frames, but I will bet the same company makes frames for other top brands as well that retail similar designs for less.
I believe a good part of that price tag for SC bikes is for the lettering on the downtube.....
But I am OK with all of that.
Don't get me wrong I have no objection to bikes in the $6000 and up price range, and I know people will buy them. Heck you can pay $100k for a car or $10k, its good for the market to have a diverse selection. Same thing for bike industry. SC chooses to position themselves close to the top, they can do that. This targets the buyers that must have the "best of the best" (real or perceived), the buyers that refresh their bike every 1 or 2 years. Dont be mad if that's not you, because you can pick up these peoples used bikes second hand!

Side Note: who would want to have a $7000 piece of bike anyway? I would be so damn nervous taking it anywhere. Dont scratch it! Careful on the shuttle! Ride slower through rock gardens...etc. Every last nick/dent/scratch/etc devalues it another $400. What stress!!!

If you think the prices on new SC bikes are insane, then click over the the PinkBike Classifieds and find a new bike. There are a ton of great deals on there.
  • + 9
 Talk about pricing of stuff made overseas is bollocks. Either way - Sorry. I am much less concerned about 2300$ for a Santa Cruz frame compared to 100€ for a Planet X hardtail frame. Much less concerned about 1400€ for Fox 36 RC2 than for some steel/elastomer crap mounted to a 150$ bike in Wallmart. Much more concerned about people talking crap about too high prices for a luxurious sport. Would you be happier if carbon V10 costed 2000$ complete? Would you be happier if you had 5 bikes in your garage? Custom made steel road frame easily costs 1000$ or more, aluminium Geometrons go for 3k+. The question is: is it really some insane sht for snobs? Or is that the true cost of making something at a fair price?

Externalities of a final price of a product does not end with material purchase, formation, welding and man hours. What is your salary? How much do you earn per hour, if you are employed how much overheads does your employer pay for you. Taxes, insurances, retirement money. How long do you work? Would you work 12h 6 days a week at whatever you are doing? Then owning a factory, paying electricity bills, keeping it safe so it doesn't collapse or burn down, sorting and disposing garbage with care for the environment, according to rules. It all costs. But in Asia it is easy to cut those costs, after all those people should be happy they have any job right? We are doing them a favor so that their kids don't become whores for western tourists or starving farmers because instead of vegetables to eat, they have to grow cotton for "I'm with stupid" T-shirt.

So my issue is not to produce stuff localy and be leftist, green hippies, but why don't we pay themwhat they deserve and stop whining about the price all the fkng time. Mountain biking should be exclusive, because nobody really needs it. And if you think it connects you with nature, then go out to real fricking nature and get lost in it. You will probably die.

So let's appreciate what we have and if a fair price for aluminium bike with SLX level componentry is 15k$ then pay it. Withfair price I mean that each person involved injt's production gets decent wage, working conditions and social security, then facilities are run as they should. Nobody whines about how expensive flying planes or racing sports cars is. You just don't do it if you don't have money and making it accessible won't make anyone happier.
  • + 2
 @oregonryder: Not if you ride your bike for years damn near into the ground!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Never mind the bollocks. They'd rather complain about the high prices of first world luxury items than play with their Sex Pistols.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: mountain biking should be exclusive? It seems U want to be part of exclusive society.
  • + 3
 for f*cks sake, I actually agree with somethng that @WAKIdesigns has written, has the World really come to that?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: You don't work in aviation do you...
  • + 4
 @ns2000x: I spent first five years at the local aeroclub, by one of world's best sailplane factory. I wanted to be a pilot but my parents always told me that I am too weak to pass the tests. I became an architect and I did some drawings of toilets for the local airport. That's as close as I got to aviation.
  • + 6
 so sorry for you wakidesigns, similar story here, I also spent nearly five years watching porn movies, and I desperately wanted to be a porn star, but my parents told me I am too weak to pass the tests (still remember those tough words as if it was yesterday). I became a pizza guy and one day delivered a Marguerita to Mr. sifreddi while shooting. That's as close as I got to porn.
  • + 0
 @Benito-Camelas: porn and tests? Was your mom afraid for you testing positive for Herpes and Chlamydia?
  • + 1
 oh, come on man, use your brains, on the off chance you had any. you look like a highly irritable brat.
  • + 20
 XXL with over 500mm reach, good on you Santa Cruz!!
  • + 1
 Getting close to Mondraker numbers. Love it.
  • + 7
 Steve Peat limited edition ...
  • + 5
 It's good, but it's just the wrong frame. Hightower, Bronson and especially Nomad are still way too short Frown
  • + 4
 @EnduroManiac: Agreed. Need an XXL Hightower for sure.
  • + 1
 @EnduroManiac: Their mediums are bang on for me.
  • + 1
 Totally. Long enough and with just enough stack and less seat tube. Nice work. I am looking for a trailbike and this is looking good. Wonder if the Devinci Troy 29er will dethrone it? Either way it's nice to have options!
  • + 1
 @EnduroManiac: They had to apply the giant bike to the most widely used bike, which is the Tallboy by far. Though I too would have preferred a Bronson 29.
  • + 1
 @alexsin: the most sold bikes at the moment are 650b long travel. Not 29 with 110 mm. So I would rather expect the Bronson to sell more but SC may have a different sales profile than other brands
  • + 2
 @EnduroManiac: I guess I should have been clearer. The Tallboy was one of their best-selling all-purpose bikes for a long time. It makes sense that the XXL version be offered for something like that rather than a long-travel 650b bike. I would personally have preferred a Bronson 29 but the Tallboy is a more realistically useful bike for a lot more people.
  • + 12
 Banshee and Kona were making this bike three years ago. . .
  • + 3
 No they weren't. If SC released this in aluminum, lousier bearings, much heavier weight, stupidly short seat tube, and shorter warranty then I might agree with you but this TB3 is way above the Banshee and Kona in all cases. Geo alone does not make a bike.
  • + 10
 A 29er XC bike with Minions, dropper and 68 degree HTA? Go home Santa Cruz, you're drunk.
  • + 8
 Geometry is pretty darn close to Process 111 - I own one of those, and that's a fun bike. If this descends as well as the 111, but has more efficient pedaling support with the more elaborate rear suspension design, and given the (significant) weight savings, this could be a kick-ass bike. Don't know if the Fox fork will let you do that - but the Pike that came on my Process allows you to put in longer air spring shafts. So you can go from the stock 120mm to 130 or even 140mm travel - slack the bike out a little more. I find short travel, somewhat aggressive 29ers to be great all around bikes; your mileage may vary. But think about it this way - the Tallboy was their best selling bike, by far. I'd guess it will continue to be, as this brings it into the new age, geometry wise, without giving up what made the old one work.
  • + 3
 @g-42: I have a 111 with a 140 Pike out front and she's my north shore sled! Haven't found many trails the bike doesn't want to go down.
The final build weight is pretty good at 31 pounds with pedals.


Agrresive 29ers are finding their way into a nice little corner of the market. I have found a lot of the comments about the capability of these bikes mostly comes from riders who really haven't had much time on one... They'll come around eventually Smile
  • + 5
 @brockfisher05: US midwest here and ditto on the Process 111. Still run the 120 revelation that came on mine but added 2.4 Minions. Stupid what you can get away with on that little bike with big tires.
  • + 4
 @g-42: The new Fox 34 120 in 29 allows for 3 different lengths, 120, 130, and 140 from the same fork. It's a $40 part from Fox and is easy to install so long as you have a 26mm socket.
  • + 2
 Drunk on power, market share, and sales. It'll just keep happening, because this bike will be a hit.
  • + 2
 Funny how different the stock tires are on SC vs Yeti, if this were a Yeti it'd have Ardent/Ikon or Ikon/Ikon. I think many people who would buy an XC 29er are afraid to put grippy tires on them, so I like that SC is nudging them to at least try the minion. That said why not a minion SS rear? Better cornering and rolling than Ardent.
  • + 4
 Look, I'm an XC weight weenie who rides an XC bike. A Process 111 is an awesome bike, and I'd love one, but not for XC riding & racing. To me it looks like SC just took an XC bike and made it into a 27# Trail bike, which is fine, but don't call it an XC bike. And if ya'll think there's not a difference, go ride a 20# carbon XC rocket on XC tires and get back to me.
  • + 3
 @davidccoleman: Agreed. This is not an XC bike.
  • + 1
 @davidccoleman: I agree, the new Tallboy is not an XC bike. Which is probably why I was so confused by your initial post - yes, if this were supposed to be an XC weapon, then by all means, saying that SC were drunk to spec it with beefy tires and a dropper and give it a slack HT angle is spot on. But SC are marketing this as a trail bike, not an XC bike. It really should be compared to other all-purpose trail bikes (and in that niche, it's rather appealing with its low for a trailbike weight, etc.). Given the HT angle and geometry, I have a hard time seeing anyone racing one of these in a full-on XC environment - you'd be hard pressed to get the weight down to competitive levels even if removing dropper, mounting skinny tires, etc. Marathon racing and epics, perhaps - but even there, if you look at the video they use to announce this bike to the world, they are certainly playing up it's more of a trail bike than a racer.
  • + 6
 I'm not not necessarily sold on 27.5+ bikes but if I was running a bike company and bringing new 29ers to market, I would make sure they're all 27.5+ compatible going forward. Consumers are confused by all the options and standards so they're going to purchase bikes that offer the most versatility
  • + 0
 This ^^^
  • + 9
 Santa cruz pricing is still way off imo. The YT jeffsy is literally half the price of the Hightower.
  • - 9
flag jamesrusby (Apr 26, 2016 at 3:07) (Below Threshold)
 get over yourself. just because you havent got any money, doesnt mean other people cant afford to buy nicer bikes than a YT.
  • + 21
 @kylesligo their pricing is rather spot on when you account for them not cutting out half of the industry. It's only "off" in your opinion because YT have cut out the retailer. If YT sold through retailers at their current retail, then yes Santa Cruz's pricing would come under question. But since Santa Cruz's pricing reflects working through shops, their pricing is not off but rather indicative of working through such channels. Whether or not you want to pay for that is a different question.
  • + 25
 @ka-brap: Actually Santa Cruz is cutting out 1/3 of the industry, the factory worker, but still charging a locally manufactured price.
  • + 16
 @kylesligo - The starter model hightower is $300 more than the starter model Jeffsy and comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • + 3
 @dualsuspensiondave: I don't know where you get your numbers from, but the cheapest Jeffsy is €2199, less than half the price of the cheapest Tallboy. Not even calculating the fact that the Tallboy will most probably get even more expensive in Europe.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not picking sides. YT is cheaper because of direct sales and cheaper / lower quality frames, but SC has higher quality frames and includes extra service from your lbs.

Also lifetime warranty means product life and not human life or eternity. If you break your SC after 5 years of riding, they'll most probably say that it is normal for a frame to break after 5 years of heavy abuse, and the damage was caused by normal wear from riding and was not a wrongly produced frame that accidentally slipped through the Quality Control. Not sure about SC specifically, but this is how warranty normally works.
  • + 11
 @Mattin: Wrong, they have a life time warranty on the frame. If it breaks they will replace it with the same frame or similar model. My 2008 heckler died 2 summers ago. They no longer had any 26" hecklers so they sent me a nickel. Even if they were unable to get me a 26" that I liked they have a crash replacement program. I was also offered this program and could have gotten a 5010 for $500. Their warranty is what opted me to go with a 5010 CC over a Yeti SB last year..
  • + 11
 @Mattin: That may be the prices over there, however in the U.S. the starter model hightower is $300 more than the Jeffsy. The prices came right off their website. I also compared the hightower to the Jeffsy, not the tallboy to the Jeffsy as they are very different bikes. Santa Cruz is legit about their warranties as well. None of those games apply when buying from Santa Cruz.
  • + 1
 @whoisyourdaddy: that means that SC is very nice in their warranty. I've had different experiences with different bike companies after breaking and bending their frames. They did offer me a crash replacement deal, which pretty much means that you buy a new frame, and they'll send it to you directly so that you don't have to pay the profit of the bike shop, but they still make the same amount of money on it as they would if a shop would buy it from them.. (so crash replacement is exactly the same deal as when you buy a YT through direct sales, the company makes profit on it, the bike shop doesn't).. But they refused to give me warranty because apparently after 2 years of riding it is acceptable for a frame to break and it was not a faulted product that I received. They told me warranty is only for faulted products.
  • + 8
 Santa Cruz sells a carbon Bronson for 3599 including dealer mark up and delivery to your local shop. While that may still be more than a direct sales company, it is impressive.
  • + 9
 @jamesrusby: still at your mams?Wink
  • + 3
 YT's larger sizes are nowhere near what this is.
  • + 5
 @Mattin: your totally out to lunch on that one...I've had frames replaced via Specialized 7 years in ...Even got the new frame with option to upgrade to carbon for fairly cheap! People bag on spec but customer service has never let me down.
  • + 1
 @Mrstamper: Na he is loaded ! Rich engineer always buys the latest and still eats like a king!????...His kids bikes are better than most of ours!
  • + 6
 @kylesligo and all the others: If Santa Cruz pricing is way off, then by all means, go buy a YT.
  • + 13
 I'm so tired of this argument...I own a Tues as well as a 5010. The Santa Cruz is nicer. I would have bought a V10 but I simply can't justify spending that much on a DH bike when I only ride DH for a few months a year in the summer. I love my Tues with all of my heart, but I'm not so emotionally invested in it that I think it's better than a V10. The quality of the pivots, the paint, even the carbon layup is all inferior to a Santa Cruz. Does this mean I don't like it? Of course not, but you can't compare them. A Nissan GTR is just as fast as a Ferrari 458, but which would you rather have in your garage?
  • + 2
 @Mattin: I have had good warranty support from both Specialized and Santa Cruz. I think that having a good lbs help me with my claims is a big part of that.
  • + 3
 Is anyone else pleasantly surprised when someone claiming "YT is better" can actually read?! "Literally!" Pretty sure that YT is the official eye-roll of the industry right now. Yes! You make bikes. Yes! They are cheap. No! Nobody out of High School wants one. Move on.
  • + 1
 @bohns1: I'm not out to lunch, it is my personal experience, fact is that different companies handle warranty in different ways. Warranty is an extra service a company offers, they all have their own rules and their own way of doing things. It seems like I had bad luck having to deal with the wrong companies. But that doesn't mean that what I said is wrong or untrue.

@mikeSC : good point, that might indeed make a difference in how seriously they take your warranty. I had to deal with them directly, so worst case scenario for them is that they lose me as a client. But if a bike shop who sells dozens of bikes per month from that same brand stops dealing them because of bad warranty handling, it will have much bigger impact on them. Thereby it makes sense that good bike shops might be treated better.
  • + 1
 @Johnny-Rocket-Sauce: Yes and no. Both have different people who are interested in them. Ones not necessarily better in price/quality ratio as the other, as you get less service at the cheaper option (YT in this case).

Yes I indeed think it is annoying that every single bike their prices get compared to direct sales companies over here in the comment section. But on the same time the world is changing and no one can stop that. If the demand for direct sales is growing, it is smart to jump on that. Fighting a changing world won't help, you'll just become that grumpy old CD store owner going bankrupt while you could have embraced the changing times and see it as an opening door to great success and jumped onto it and become a billionaire by being one of the first to start something like iTunes or Spotify.

Not that I think local bike shops will ever end, there will always be people who want/need the extra service and advise. But I also think hating on direct sales companies makes you one of those grumpy cd store owners that went bankrupted a decade ago. Then again the guys commenting "YT is cheaper" are even more annoying.

Yes there are differences and we are aware about them. This is like arguing about which is your favorite color, it doesn't make sense.
  • + 1
 @bohns1: would you knob his missus?
  • + 2
 @Gttroy: SC does do local assembly though, there are "factory" workers there.
  • + 1
 @Earthmotherfu: Already have dude!He got loot but I got dame game !
  • + 8
 Cool video of Greg Minnaar riding the tallboy at the Cape Epic:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIjQxEOgqIo
  • + 9
 Just here for the idiot comments.
  • + 9
 Isn't that why we are all here on Pinkbike?
  • + 9
 ______gets longer, lower, slacker. - every new bike
  • + 7
 We need a shootout... Tallboy vs. Ripley vs. Mach 429 vs SB4.5c vs Fuel EX... Fun 29ers that can pull double duty as trail or race day companions.
  • + 5
 "Deciding which wheel size to go with is, frankly, the bigger head scratcher. The 29" tires offer a snappier feel, the 27+ tires offer crazy-good flotation and grip." Didn't know it was still ski season...
  • + 4
 I made the statement back in '12 that Santa Cruz would drop all alloy VPP bikes from their line up, relegate aluminum to their single pivot and hard tail low cost models. As of today that is true. Last summer when the new Bronson/5010 dropped they mentioned an alloy model in the works for this spring. I would not recommend anyone holding their breath on that.
  • + 3
 What single pivots are they making now? I thought they dropped all those too?
  • + 3
 SC gone the way of Yeti. I also remember that they said an alloy V2 bronson/5010 would be coming, but it's been over a year and nothing so yeah I'm giving up on that. I'll keep riding my aluminum Bronson in the meantime.
  • + 2
 @matadorCE: The alloy models are coming later this summer, from what I've been told. It hasn't been a year yet, but Santa Cruz is definitely taking their sweet time getting them to market.
  • + 3
 @groghunter: superlight & heckler
Also the jackal, highball, and chameleon come in aluminum.
  • + 2
 @fumetsu: Huh. last time I looked at their site, they didn't have those two up anymore, I had thought they had dropped them from the lineup. website looks different now, so I must have hit it mid-update.
  • + 7
 The reach numbers are near epic - 505mm for the XXL!
  • + 2
 NS Bikes was right with their April fools joke a couple of years back, with the long top tube and the stem pointing backwards,
  • + 3
 Man... I don't think I'm ever going to get a new bike at this rate. New stuff coming out ever 2 months at $6-10k a pop. Bonkers man. I thought my snowboard equipment was getting up there...
  • + 6
 My Niner WFO will be back in fashion soon!
  • + 3
 Man Enve wheels are nice but .2 lb weight saving for $2K? I know they are stiffer but wow that makes my wallet cringe in pain!
  • + 2
 Bromad must be next for updates: surely it can't get slacker or lower right?! Boost it, add 15mm to the reach, steepen SA, what else?
  • + 2
 I've been thinking about this as well. My guess; slightly longer reach, slightly shorter chainstays, lower stand over/shorter seat tube for use with a 170mm dropper post, boost, with a possibility for 26+ option??? And maybe the launch point for the next gen VPP platform. 1 or 2 years away?
  • + 1
 @Metacomet: Good point about VPP, could be a v10 style or some other way to finally fix the leverage ratio. I can't see the chainstays shorter for that bike, it's a high-speed bike after all
  • + 0
 So CC X01 version is lighter in the 27+ version. If everything else is the same, that means the wheel/tyre combo is lighter but does that make any sense? If a 27x2.8 Rekon is lighter than a 29x2.3 DHF, it means the Rekon is some ultra light (weak) tyre
  • + 3
 Quite similar numbers to a Process 111 (excl BB height) - a comparison to that would be great!
  • + 5
 650+ front 29 rear tup
  • + 9
 29" front and 27"+ rear?
  • - 2
 @Uuno: since 29 and 27+ are roughly equally big, I would go with the wider tyre up front for more front wheel grip. But then again with plus it doesn't make much sense because cornering hard with much g-force becomes extremely awkward and you lose the feeling of what you're are actually doing. I corner too aggressively for plus wheels.
  • + 1
 @Mattin: I also thought G-force cornering was going to be an issue with plus tires, but it has more to do with rim-to-tire ratio than the actual "plus" sizing. The setup I have on one of my bikes is a (26") 50mm width rim with a 2.8" (measured) tire, and it is the grippiest, most stable, most solid, best feeling setup I have ever been on. Not the lightest though.
  • + 1
 @swamichris: good to hear, I'll have a closer look at that when I can test ride another plus bike again. I tried two and didn't like how the rim had so much space to slide away compared to where the tyre was on the ground, felt very vague, in a situation where you exactly what to feel the situation and your amount of grip.

I'm sure it also depends on the tyre. A very thin walled 3.0 tyre will feel less vague than a beefier 2.8 tyre. Guessing a beefier 2.8 tyre would feel closer to a 2.5 single ply enduro tyre and be much better for me personally.

I have to say that my further experience was good on the plus tyres, I liked how they felt the rest of the time. But my favourite part of riding is cornering very fast and drifting (kind of like trying to ride like Phil Atwill, only with nowhere near as much skills as he has). And that was exactly where the plus bikes I've ridden so far were less joyful than my 2.5 Exo Minion DHF.
  • + 3
 Beautiful looking bike. It instantly reminded me of the old Blur 4x.
  • + 1
 Vernon I hope you keep to your promise to actually compare this bike to the other new crop of similar travel bikes "429 trail, Evil following ect".
  • + 1
 Looks a lot better than the old Tallboys. Can't comment on anything else cause I haven't ridden it. Except the price which of course it too much.
  • + 1
 The Greg Minaar video shows exactly what this bike is meant for. You could XC race it but it's geo is now setup for more aggressive, back country riding.
  • + 1
 SC has some nice releases but the colorways are WHACK! I wish Santa Cruz would experiment with a 4 bar suspension layout instead of VPP to offer some variety in their lineup.
  • + 1
 $$$7800$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

this bike even if i wanted a 29er isnt priced as marketing to me. No thanks bike industry, i'll stick to my 2015 27.5 slash
  • + 1
 I would love to see the Following review which was promised in that bike's First Look.
  • + 1
 The schematic looks like a HT, not a TB, with the shock mount on the downtube?
  • + 1
 Julianna bikes have awesome colours, they should have guy versions in that blue!
  • + 1
 They claim 27.5x3.25, but I really want to see a Vee Trax Fatty 3.25 or Duro Crux 3.25 on property supportive (wide) rims.
  • + 2
 Interesting yes yes, off course, indeed - now... Nomad 29 please.
  • + 4
 Never happen.
  • + 1
 It's already possible to take a Hightower, drop a 200x57mm shock out back (152mm rear travel), then put a 160mm Pike/Lyrik on it. Really not too expensive to do, and for all intents and purposes it's a Wagon wheeler Bromad. What more than that would you need?
  • + 2
 @tehllama: I need a slack 29er with 160mm rear travel and 170 usd fork with little offset, equipped with gearbox and 2.5" Minions. I want a true monster truck. Considering speeds that Bromad easily delivers, plus tyres are a big no go. Even for a wanker like me.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: : wreckoning, nukeproof 290, etc... they are already here. Luke is killing DH races with the wreckoning
  • + 1
 @manchvegas: I know, I know, I just want more of those. I wonder if rumors of new Enduro 29 looking like S-Works demo were true.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: yes, new Enduro 29 design should be very interesting
  • + 2
 @tehllama: I put a 200x57mm shock on my Hightower, and the first ride I ran my rear wheel straight into my seat tube during a semi-large g-out. That was with an Ardent 2.25" tire on the rear. I definitely wouldn't recommend that set up. Maybe it would work with an additional bottom out bumper installed, but that would defeat the purpose of having a longer shock. But the bike was awesome with the long shock and I'd be stoked if they ever did come out with a longer travel, more Nomad like 29er.
  • + 1
 @PhilipVega: Hmm, the examples I've seen over the long-shock variant in XL sized bikes seem to indicate enough clearance - although this might be with the chip ran in the '27+' labelled setting (which I'd still be fine with - DBA Monarchs are plenty supple, rampy and supportive ran @ 35% sag) -- what size frame is yours?
In terms of budget monster truck, It would be hard to rule out a 160mm Yari with Avvy open-bath damper on a 6" travel rig of any variety (though bonus points for progressive enough designs to run coiled).
Even a talent-less git like me can also appreciate 2.5/2.4" Minions on 30mm rims, therefore I'm assuming somebody will make a bike ready to play that game, but anything north of 140mm travel should be adequate considering that it needs to be an all-around bike, but a 150-160mm travel fork is non-optional for me anymore.
  • - 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I need a tight 69er with lots of rear travel,equipped with a nice box and a true monster cock.keep the bromide and spare tyres are a big no go.Smile
  • + 1
 @tehllama: Here's a pic of the rub: www.pinkbike.com/photo/13428218
I used a DBA Monarch with a medium Hightower in the "high" setting, which is recommended. I just took a minute to measure both the medium and XL sizes to be sure the seat tube/tire clearance was equal, and it was (approx 3"). I don't care about the rub mark itself, but if it happened on the first ride over a reasonable hit, then I'm pretty sure it would be a common occurrence and eventually destroy the frame, which would not be covered under warranty. I was definitely disheartened to discover it didn't work, because the bike was rad with the long shock and set up with a 160mm fork would of made for an awesome monster truck.
  • + 1
 @PhilipVega: Sounds like you should have bought an Evil Wreckoning.
  • + 1
 @mikeep: My buddy has one and it looks super solid. The reality is the Hightower in it's intended form is highly capable as it is, and more than adequate for anything I'll use it for. But I would of liked to see Santa Cruz design the Hightower as a 29" Nomad, then the new Tallboy as a 29" 5010 with 120mm (or close) rear travel. I'm a life-long Santa Cruz fan, but I agree with the other comments stating that Santa Cruz isn't currently innovating as much as they're satisfying the status quo. But you never know what they have up their sleeve...
  • + 1
 @PhilipVega: What they have lines up pretty well with the idea of a wagon wheel 5010 (Tallboy 3) and Bronson (Hightower) in terms of travel, though the capability puts the 29ers probably a bit higher despite being lower on travel figures.
I agree that Santa Cruz is just hitting all the obvious sales niches, but doing so with really dialed bikes is hard. They've succeeded, I just wish the market wasn't such that the price of entry is a bit astronomical.
  • + 2
 @tehllama: I agree they line up well, although I was still hoping for more travel. Of course that's just for my own selfish desires. And yes, I think the Hightower is more capable than the Bronson in all out speed. Fastest bike I've ever been on. The think mobs over shit. The thing is exciting.

Good point about SC hitting the current niches, BUT stressing top quality. Nothing is better IMO. I just received my Tallboy 3 in 29" XX1 trim today. Looking forward to getting it together and giving it a go!
  • - 1
 Well first 2 iterations of this bike were awful, so there was nowhere to go but up. It was the worst-handling bike I have been on, and I have no idea why anyone would buy one.
  • + 1
 How is the standover height on the XXL lower than the standover on the Small? Can I trust any of the geometry numbers?
  • + 2
 because a) it's a 29er so the smaller sizes will have poor standover due to the higher stack from the longer forks (plus you cant make headtubes much smaller than 100mm) and b) because of shock placement, the top tube drops to the same height on all the bikes and c) they measure standover close to the center of the top tube and the XXL has the longest, so all of these factors contribute to it having the lowest standover. this is usually the same case with DH bikes because of the longer fork and short seat tubes.
  • + 1
 I guess SC has to charge more bc of the labor involved with the whole corporate TPS report thing, Bob meetings, & all.
  • + 1
 Pinkbike should do a Ripley LS vs. Tallboy vs. Hightower vs. Mach 429 vs. Following!!
  • + 2
 No metric shock?
  • + 1
 In 2017 and not Fox.
  • + 1
 What about a review on the reply ls already?????????????
  • + 1
 These new SCs look the business.
  • + 1
 XXL and still in the 1200 WB range?
  • + 2
 Fast banana
  • + 2
 SOFA KING AWESOME!
  • - 3
 say what you want about your pretendo bike companies you fanboy for. Santa Cruz makes bikes so far ahead of the curve they dont need to revise them for years^^. Combine that with the highest quality carbon frames and possibly the best suspension design on the market and everything else Bantha Fodder! My single complaint is that they are no longer American owned, however they did supposedly retain their front office.
  • + 8
 Just another great U.S.A. company to be added to the sell out list of cutting edge companies.
  • + 8
 I was a SC fanboy for years having owned five of them since the late 90's. Way back they were cutting edge not only with their designs and marketing, but with their value. The build kits they put together routinely dumbfounded the big boys whose bikes were usually much more costly than what SC was doing and not nearly as desirable. I still believe that SC makes great bikes, but they are no longer cutting edge. Many other companies are leading with more aggressive designs as well as more competitive pricing. The smaller guys don't have the marketing budgets that SC does now, however many of them remind me of SC used to be establishing loyal fanbases by word of mouth, progressive designs and superior customer service.
  • + 11
 I don't think SC is ahead of the curve any more. In fact, I think they are playing catch up at this point trying to get their geometries to at least be current! Besides the Boost hubs making these bikes "27.5+ compatible" they are copying a Kona Process 111 geometry from 4 years ago! At one time they designing groundbreaking bikes, but they are now a large company and have large company sales numbers they have to hit. They make bikes that are assured to sell. All the small guys out there are pushing bike design, SC is just picking and choosing what seems to be successful. If you really look at the geometry numbers there are very few companies doing anything new or interesting. Banshee, Evil, and Canfield are all quite creative. And even the Big S, with the Enduro 29 was a real risk. I honestly don't think Santa Cruz bikes are any better than anyone elses anymore.
  • + 5
 @properp: Just a thought on that... - Pon, the company that now owns Santa Cruz, has a factory (originally Kalkhoff, then Derby Cycle group) in the little German town I grew up in. They actually still make bikes there. Same with the Gazelle factory in Holland. So I'm not sure how much of a sell out this really is.
  • + 0
 My previous "pretendo" bike from Canfield Brothers blows my current Santa Cruz out of the water in terms of suspension design and geometry. Santa Cruz is now playing catch up to the likes of Evil, YT, and Canfield. I'd much rather have a bike that is designed by riders, for riders, than a bike from a big conglomerate that Santa Cruz is turning into.
  • - 2
 It tears me to see these new bikes from Santa Cruz that I can't buy because there's no 26" option. Not everyone is blessed with the height to be able to properly fit these 27.5 or 29ers.
  • + 0
 I'd think that's not an issue of wheel size, that's a matter of choices on frame design (suspension layout and such). Looks like the Santa Cruz trail bikes all are 28" of standover or taller - VPP and ability to run front derailleur, but still short chain stays. Transition (using a Horst link suspension but without the ability to go with a front derailleur) is about an inch shorter; Kona Process at least another inch shorter, no doubt made possible by the single pivot. So SC apparently thinks that they gain more with their frame design than they lose by not having the lower standover. I like really low standover - didn't realize how much I liked it until I had it and realized I can move that bike around under me a lot more.
  • + 2
 @g-42: the suppressor takes a front mech
  • + 1
 Visiting Bend several years ago, I had a guide who was a about 5'4" and rode a 29er. Have you tried Giant & Kona which have a few models which come in XS sizes?
  • - 1
 Psssst, hey kids, you can run 27.5 wheels on a 29er already with the proper non plus tire size.
  • + 1
 I'm running wtb breakout 2.5's on Stans flow ex on my Devinci 29er and its baddass. I like except when its really muddy. Then I use my narrower 29er tires.
  • + 0
 hahaha I never noticed the frame was asymetric !!!! Big Grin
  • + 1
 You mean swingarm. Always has been since the 1st gen SC VPP's came out.
  • + 1
 Yes i now know. Haha swingarm is part of the frame
  • + 0
 Maybe 26/27.5..definitely still a no on the 29er
  • - 1
 lol Hippies calling Hippies Hippies, u Hipsters u!
  • - 2
 meh looks like a SantaCruz
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