The all-new frame mirrors the lines of the Bronson and Santa Cruz's other longer travel machines that use their lower-link VPP suspension layout. Compare this fresh, fourth-gen Tallboy to the version that came before it and it's easy to see that the two look nothing alike. Gone is the old toptube-mounted shock and classic dual-triangle look, replaced with a low-slung Fox damper and lines that are ready for action, probably because it resembles their heavier hitting bikes like the Megatower.
My test bike got the slightly lighter CC carbon frame (left). There's 10mm of chainstay length adjustment (right) via chips at the dropout. You'll need to use a different brake adapter, though, but at least it comes with the bike.
And speaking of the Megatower, the Tallboy uses similar inserts at the axle to let riders pick a chainstay length of either 430mm or 440mm. I had planned on ranting about how such adjustments only add complication and cost while only serving as another bullet point on the sales floor, but Santa Cruz does have a sound-ish angle for the feature: If you want to run 2.6" wide rubber with decent clearance, you'll want to put it in the longer setting... Which should also be the only setting.
The change requires a different brake mount to be used (they both come with the bike), the non-drive-side chip to be flipped after loosening a micro-sized set-screw that holds it in place, and the different drive-side chip/derailleur hanger to be installed. This one is likely a set-and-forget for most of us.
A flip-chip at the lower shock mount lets you adjust the geometry by the smallest amounts. It's a tuning tool that isn't made to vastly change the bike's performance.
But wait, there's still more flipping to be done, this time down at the lower shock mount where a chip offers either a 'HI' or 'LO' setting. Am I high for thinking that the majority of us would automatically default to the latter, even if we didn't know the geometry it provides? That'd probably be me, to be honest, and that's the setting that the bike spent the most time in; it provides a 65.5-degree head angle, a 76.2-degree seat angle, and 41mm of drop at the bottom bracket that's 332mm high.
Turn the chip around and you'll get head and seat angles that are literally just 0.2-degrees steeper, otherwise known as basically nothing. There are big changes at the bottom bracket, however, with 3mm of height added. Jokes aside, the idea with these adjustments isn't to drastically alter the bike's character, of course, but just as a modest tuning option. You might want to go LO to compensate for your 2.6" wide tires or if you over-over-forked the bike, for example. Or not, but you have the ability.
It's 2019 and tubes molded into the frame for internal routing (left) is the only way that internal routing should be done, just like on the Tallboy. The stock chainstay protector is ribbed for not just your pleasure, but others as well; no one wants to listen to you jangle your way through rock gardens.
Santa Cruz really does have their frames well sorted; you can fit a giant water bottle inside the front triangle, the bottom bracket shell has threads in it, and internally-molded tubes mean that you push a line in through one hole and it comes out the opposite end like some sort of witchcraft has been used. Some of the smaller but still important details include a ribbed chain slap protector, ISCG 05 tabs for a guide or guard, and the cutest little fender protecting the Fox shock.