Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon 29er Full Suspension

4.92/5 (90 Reviews)
MSRP : $6199.00


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Product Description

The Santa Cruz Tallboy LT Carbon X0-1 AM complete bike takes the carbon fiber Tallboy LT chassis we know and love, and gives it a build kit that's hard to ignore. With Fox suspension, a Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper post, and hand built wheels, you'll have all the confidence you need, no matter...


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Reviews 1 - 15 (90 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by brd4200 a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: December 24, 2013

Strengths:    Stiff, excellent climber. Carbon frame has proven to be very durable given how light it is.

Weaknesses:    Rear shock (Fox RP23) takes some setup time, and perhaps even custom tuning to work ideally. Pivot axles will loosen over time, and need to be tightened, with loctite. Not so much of a weakness, as a maintenance reminder.
Not the least expensive option....


Bottom Line:   
I have been riding this bike on the average twice per week for the past two years. Bottom line, if I was going to replace it today, not sure what I would purchase. (I would take a look at the DW Link bikes such as Pivot or Ibis for comparison).

I do a pretty good mix of cross country and trail, along with very long cobblestone and fire roads. It climbs better than any bike I have ridden. The contact patch of the 29" tire, along with the stiff rear suspension makes long climbs pretty enjoyable. With the 120mm fork, the front end can get a bit bouncy on the really steep climbs. I rode it for a while with a 100mm fork for this reason, but didn't like the twitchy head tube angle, or the lower front end.

The only issues I have seen with the bike are as follows;
After a couple of years the pivot axles became a bit loose, causing the rear triangle to seem sloppy. I pulled the axles, applied Loctite, and then reassembled. Good as new. This is hardly a complaint though, I have done ZERO maintenance on the bike, so I had it coming.

The other issue has been with the Fox RP23 shock. With the sag set at 20-25%, it blows through the last half of the travel quickly. This has resulted in some pedal strikes, and near misses. At some point it lost all dampening, made no difference with pro-pedal on or off. I sent it to Fox and explained the situation. They repaired it, and dampening was restored, probably better than new. The issue remains that if you lower the sag to make the suspension more active, you may have some harsh bottom-outs. I have heard from others that the Rockshox appears to have more volume, but I haven't been able to confirm.

This bike is best suited for someone whose wife is on him about too many bikes in the garage, and needs to get down to just one bike to do almost everything. That was pretty much my situation, and I have not regretted the purchase.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2+ years

Purchased At:   Colorado Cyclist

Similar Products Used:   Niner EMD, GF Hifi 29, Scott Scale 29. Otherwise, mostly 26ers.

Bike Setup:   2011 Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon - Size Large
Shimano XT Drivetrain & brakes
ZTR Arch EX Wheelset, Specialized Purgatory (F) / Ground Control (R) tires
Rockshox Reba RLT 120mm Fork
Fox RP23 Rear Shock
Thomson seatpost & stem (80mm), Niner carbon flatbar

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dorian

Date Reviewed: December 12, 2013

Strengths:    Too many to list, Ctd Shock a huge plus, 142x12 rear spacing, super light, super stiff, perfect suspension

Weaknesses:    absolutely none

Bottom Line:   
I used to have the 2012 version, which I loved but sold to test out other bikes, thinking the grass was greener on the other side , "it wasn't" . The 2013 version seemed to have the 2 biggest improvements that I had noticed from the 12 version, the first being the 142x12 thru axle, what a huge difference on the lateral stiffness and flex, than the Fox CTD rear shock, this has an almost full lockout feature, which is great when climbing up steep hills or fire roads, and with a flip of the switch , it drops into trail or descend mode , both of which there is a noticeable difference in the suspension, Ive had numerous bikes from 26" to 650b to 29rs , ( giant reign xo, pivot firebird, Giant Anthem x1, Giant trance adv sl0, Niner rip 9, Niner air 9 rdo, 2012 Tallboy c, The 2013 Tallboy c is by far my favorite do it all bike, I race it , trail ride it and there is nothing it cant handle here in las Vegas's Bootleg Canyon, I have the bike setup with full xx1, sid rockshock, xx, stans arch wheelset, bike is at 23lbs, and takes off like a rocket and always puts a smile on my face,

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jeff smith a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: November 29, 2013

Strengths:    weight, stiffness, fast

Weaknesses:    none yet

Bottom Line:   
My first true experience on a full suspension so hard to make comparisons. Transitioned from many years on road bikes to 29ers several years ago and have been faithfully riding rigid geared and single speed set-ups. Reluctantly replaced a carbon Niner fork with a front suspension fork on a Niner MCR a couple of years ago but realized that my ability to keep up with others on full suspension rigs and to ride on a lot of the same trails would necessitate getting a full suspension. Value rating??? When you're spending as much as many do on nice used cars or motorcycles, how can you justify spending this much on a bicycle? With that said, similar quality carbon bikes are all pretty much in the same ballpark as far as cost so can't really say that the Santa Cruz is any less of a "value" than Ibis or Intense or . . . . Besides the price, I was hesitant about getting on a slow, heavy, flexy, mushy feeling full suspension bike. That was not the case at all on this bike as it is rocket fast and the adjustments on the front and rear Fox shocks make fine tuning the ride to the trail that much nicer. No more carefully picking lines and tip-toeing thru rough stuff and this thing flies over rocks and roots that I would previously need to negotiate around. Still in learning phase as far as negotiating technical stuff on climbs and downhills but getting more comfortable and confident with each ride. I am 6'1" and can straddle a yardstick in bare feet - went with an XL but using a short 70mm Thomson stem on Thomson DH 780mm bars (may end up trimming these). Prefer XT stuff but deal from Competitive Cyclist came with Sram XO drivetrain and so far, so good.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   usually ride Gov Canyon state park

Duration Product Used:   one month

Price Paid:    $4100.00

Purchased At:   Competitive Cyclist

Similar Products Used:   29ers - Salsa ti Fargo, Surly KM, Niner MCR, Singular Gryphon

Bike Setup:   Sram XO drivetrain and brakes, Fizik Aliente saddle, Chris King headset, Thomson stem, post, and bars, XTR peddles, Chris King ft & r hubs large diameter 15mm front laced to Stans Arch (these replaced the Stans ZTR/Arch wheelset from Comp. Cycl.) Nobby Nic & Racing Ralph tubeless

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by eddiek118 a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: July 24, 2013

Strengths:    Great all around trail/xc bike. Super stiff. Great climbing machine. Plush. Spot on geometry. 120mm fork is the way to go.

Weaknesses:    Honestly none. And this is coming from a guy who rides 3-4 times a week from xc to rough trail riding. For the type of bike it is, it is perfect.

Bottom Line:   
I ride everything from xc/am/trail. I've had Blur ltc, Nomad, Yeti sb66, Trek remedy, Yeti asr5, Giant xtc, C'dale Flash, Niner air 9. And for what this bike is designed for its my favorite one yet. I have it set up 120mm front Kash and 100mm rear Kash 2013. The first 5 rides I was just blown away at how this thing handles. I live in Pa so there are lots of rocks and roots in the places I ride. This bike just floats over them all. My confidence has grown tremendously in regards to cleaning rocky super technical sections. I just roll through them now. The bike is a great climber, not as good as a ht 29er but still pretty good. I can pass one of my best friends on hill climbs now (he rides a 26") and before that was darn near impossible. I've rode several fs 29ers, Giant Anthem, Ellsworth Evolve(junk), C'dale Scalpel and by far this bike kills them all on the downhills. I cant do all the huge jumps like I used to but pretty close. It handles very well at speed. I hear other 29er owners say that they cant navigate tight turns well on their 29er?? Well I don't see a problem with the TallBoy C, I rip just as fast if not faster on turns and tight twisty single track. Buying this bike has not only made me a better rider. It brought back the fun in tearing it up on the trail. If your looking for a do it all kida bike then I strongly suggest this machine. Anything coming from Santa Crus is going to have high commitment to quality and when you throw a leg over this beast its very easy to see.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Rattling Creek Lykens Pa

Duration Product Used:   Month and a half

Price Paid:    $5100.00

Purchased At:   JB Mountain BIkes

Similar Products Used:   Giant Anthem and XTC, Ellsworthless Evolve, C'dale Scalpel/Flash,

Bike Setup:   Full Carbon (blue), full xt build, full Kashima f/r. Carbon bars, Thompson seatpost

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Trialsin1 a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: July 21, 2013

Strengths:    Pedaling efficiency, handling, overall ride

Weaknesses:    Low bottom bracket maybe. May not handle as well as it does with a higher bottom bracket height. Price was a shocker to start with but found a year end closeout

Bottom Line:   
I had tried 29ers and carbon in the past and never wanted either again. After reading multiple rave reviews that basically spelled out this was the bike I'd always dreamed of I decided to demo one for a weekend. After 30 minutes into my demoing found myself trying things to expose the Tallboy weaknesses but every time I tried something it always surprised me in a good way. Ivhad two BLT-2s before this bike and like the fact this bike was way more efficient. Not as plush but plush enough. Perfect all arounder/trail bike/occasional racer for me. I've had the bike for two years now and there's really nothing out there that interests me. Maybe a Tallboy 2 and I hear the RDO Niners are nice but my aluminum Jet-9 wasn't any more efficient than the BLTs I had and not as plush as Tallboy.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Pisgah

Duration Product Used:   2 years

Price Paid:    $3723.00

Purchased At:   Clean Machine Chapel

Similar Products Used:   Highball, Asylum, Niner Jet-9, etc

Bike Setup:   SPX kit w Crossmax wheels and Racing Ralph tubeless. 25.5 lbs as it sit 26.25 lbs out of the box

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dave

Date Reviewed: May 2, 2013

Strengths:    I got the competitive cyclist featured bike Tallboy. It has SRAM XX components. This bike is super light for a 29er full suspension. The SRAM XX shifting is fast. The wheels are light. It is really fast on the flats and climbs. Once you gain momentum you sort of just cruise. Once you set up the suspension right you can do some light all-mountain/trail riding on twisty single track and rock garden descents. Despite being an XC spec bike I've never bottomed out the suspension. The sales guy in CC also suggested getting the 100mm stem instead free of charge which I think made the difference in handling.Overall a sweet bike and less pricey than the top of the line spec from Santa Cruz

Weaknesses:    The XX rear derailer gets out of tune often so you have to be always aware of when it needs tuning. The bottom bracket that it came with from CC started creaking in about 3 months after I did a few 6 hr endurance races. The ones it came with was SRAM GXP Blackbox Ceramic bottom brackets. I called up CC and told them of the issue and they said they hadn't had any issues with the SRAM GXP. I asked if they can replace it with a Chris King bottom bracket but they said the best they can do was give me $50 reimbursement. So if you get this bike the first thing you will probably need to upgrade is the bottom bracket.

Bottom Line:   
Overall a good value. Super light and durable except for the bottom bracket. I probably will not buy another Mountain Bike for the next 10-15 years as long as I have my Tallboy!

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by BikeSwan a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: April 2, 2013

Strengths:    - Lightweight frame.
- More capable than many ultralight race bikes.
- Perfect geometry (works well with 120mm forks).
- Looks great (Red/Black colour scheme is super nice).
- Very tough frame; has survived many fast crashes with not even a scratch.
- Standard seatpost size, headset type, shock size, and BB type makes it easy to customize.
- VPP suspension absorbs big hits well, as well as pedaling relatively neutrally when climbing.


Weaknesses:    - When cornering very hard some flex is noticeable through the rear triangle. I've run ENVE AM carbon rims on the bike and noticed the same thing so I know it's not the wheels. While noticeable it's not annoying in any way.
- When it was new, it was quite expensive. But you get what you pay for


Bottom Line:   
A truly great bike all over. I've been using the Tallboy for XC Racing and Trail riding for the past year and it's amazed me around every corner. The geometry is perfect for proper cross country riding, and while it's a bit steep for aggressive trail riding it's still no slouch, and depending on who I was riding with I could stick with guys on 6" AM monsters. The VPP suspension gives a very plush feeling over big impacts and while it doesn't "stay put" on climbs, the pedal bob isn't so bad that it's distracting from the experience. With a super lightweight build and slick tires the Tallboy can tame any epic cross country race, and with a burly build with full knobby tires, it's a very capable trail bike. There seems to be more travel than the 100mm it's specced with. A hot topic with the Tallboy is it's low bottom bracket. While on the spec sheet the BB does seem on the low side, it's by no means intrusive to the ride and while I did get a few more pedal strikes than on my Cove Hummer hardtail it's not hampering to hopping logs or pedaling while cornering. I run a 90mm stem and that seems to be a good length, but i've run it with a 70mm and it still handles very well. I recommend this bike to anyone who does primarily cross country riding with a bit of racing and a bit of hardcore trail riding.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Beaver Creek

Duration Product Used:   2 Seasons

Price Paid:    $2400.00

Purchased At:   Cycle Solutions

Similar Products Used:   - Santa Cruz TRc
- Santa Cruz Blur LT
- Giant Anthem X1
- Ellsworth Epiphany


Bike Setup:   - Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon frame
- DT Swiss XMM fork, and DT Swiss XR Carbon shock
- Shimano XTR M980 drivetrain w/ Race Face Next crank
- Stans NoTubes ZTR Arch EX rims w/ DT Swiss 240s hubs, and Schwalbe Rocket Ron 2.25 tires
- Race Face Next SL bar, Easton EA30 stem, Thomson Elite seatpost, and Fizik Kurve saddle

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by aaron

Date Reviewed: January 26, 2013

Strengths:    All the other points made as well as this: (based on a 2013 Carbon size XL Tallboy with full XTR 2x10 with fox120mm kashima CTD fork and rear kashima CTD shock, and easton carbon post and bar)
Likely rides better/smoother/more controlled on the down than any other XC race bike! Not a pure XC race bike but will easily hang. Capable of ultra light build. Mine is 24lbs with heavier all mountain Easton Haven AL wheels. Carbon or Light Stans would take off close to another pound. Climbs really well and handles quick and accurately but not twitchy. Stiffer with the rear through axle! Bike never fails to impress me on every ride.


Weaknesses:    Have yet to determine if the seat tube angle is responsible for placeing me a smidgen more behind the BB then I would like (or if this is the flex of the carbon seat post causing this) It only seems to annoy me once and a while though. No other weaknesses yet.

Bottom Line:   
There is no need to say more. This bike is amazing. For a size XL frame full suspension bike Its impressive to pull off a 24lb weight and that makes a huge difference to me.

Enjoy if you get one!

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mike D. a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: January 21, 2013

Strengths:    Strong and light

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
I recently "modified" my 2010 Tallboy with Cane Creek Angleset, with the 1.5 degree slackener and a Fox 34 Talas 140 fork. Love the ride with the slacker front end. My fork angle is now at 69.5. Now my Tallboy is more "point and shoot" than the old setup. The longer travel fork is also a huge upgrade. Love the 34mm stanchions (I was running a Fox 32 120 Talas before).

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Skeggs

Duration Product Used:   2 years

Similar Products Used:   Old bikes included Santa Cruz Heckler (2009 LT version), Surly 1 x 1, Surly Karate Monkey,

Bike Setup:   Fox 34 Talas 140, NoTubes Flow wheelset laced to White Industries Hubs, SLX brakes, the rest if Shimano stuff.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by icsloppl a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: January 4, 2013

Strengths:    Balance, composure, stability, quility, nice build packages

Weaknesses:    Stock tires?

Bottom Line:   
"Best All-round" often means "Master of None". In the case of the TBc though, it's more like master of everything. While other bies may slightly better it in one way or another, none match the overall package. It has no significant weaknesses in build quality, handling, design, or reliability, and it can be had with well thought-out build packages.

The number of glowing reviews is a perfect testiment to how well it works for a wide range of riders as well. If you're looking for an XC bike at this price point, the TBc is a no-brainer solution.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Similar Products Used:   See my review in the Santa Cruz forum

Bike Setup:   TallboyC with XT kit

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by redwhite&blue a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: September 20, 2012

Strengths:    LIGHT WEIGHT. HANDLING. BUILD QUALITY. SUSPENSION DESIGN.

Weaknesses:    NONE YET.

Bottom Line:   
My last two bikers were a Dos Niner and a Klein Mantra. RIP. I was looking for 29 F/S bike for around $2,000 and the sales person at Speedgoat talked me into the Tallboy. I'm glad he did. This is one sweet handling bike. I ride mostly single track and the Tallboy is the King of Single Track. It's so responsive, which is why it's so much fun. Roots and rocks no problem, just go straight. Santa Cruz did their homework on this bike. Another benefit of good handling bike that it's safer to ride and breeds confidence. If your looking for a 29 F/S bike make sure the Tallboy Carbon is on your list.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Local

Duration Product Used:   3-4 months

Price Paid:    $3400.00

Purchased At:   SpeedGoat

Similar Products Used:   I've had other mountain bikes, but none in this catagory.

Bike Setup:   Sweet.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by skippypastel

Date Reviewed: September 5, 2012

Strengths:    Light, stiff, strong, quick handling, SHORT WHEELBASE !

Weaknesses:    Should come with a down tube protector.

Bottom Line:   
First of all, why MTBR has done away with the field for listing other bikes owned, i haven't a clue, but i think its counterproductive to the whole purpose of these reviews and rather uncool in general. I have had a 2008 Stump Jumper Hard tail, Gary Fisher Hifi Plus ( 2010 model) , 2009 Trek Fuel Ex8, and 2012 Sette Razzo 29er carbon ( x7 build )

SETUP: Black frame -2012, xtr brakes & cranks, Carbon bars, X0 shifters & deraileurs, Stans Arch back/ Stans Crest front , Chris king hubs, front tire Maxxis Aspen, rear Maxxis Crossmark both tubeless. Reba fork, and the most comfortable seat on the planet, a Selle SMP TRK ( not light but luxurious ) Current build just over 25.5 pounds.

This bike is simply a work of art in both function and form. One of the many brilliant design features of this machine is the short wheelbase. The first time i took this bike to the trails i found myself cornering through switchbacks rather effortlessly and after a few turns realized that for the first time i could corner at high speeds without needing to use the breaks at all.. the back wheel just stuck like velcro, i was actually laughing when i realized how well this bike takes corners. After studying a bit, at this point i know of no other full suspension 29er with such a tight wheelbase. My medium frame has a wheelbase of 42.6 inches, about an inch shorter than any other medium frame FS 29er that i know of. Why other companies are not catching on to the concept of having the shortest wheelbase possible i haven't a clue, but the way this bike corners was shocking at first. I was also shocked at how well the suspension system performs, hardly any peddle bob, climbs very well without any problematic squish and i was able to just plow over some railroad ties with far less bump or bob than i ever would have expected from any bike. Perfection is a good word to describe the way this bike feels. Without a doubt i have never sat on a bike that feels as good as this one, much less owned one. I have mine down to just over 25.5 pounds and still feel mesmerized by its strength to weigh ratio. The bike is a beast, it rolls over everything, keeps such amazing control in every situation that i'v only wrecked it twice ( huge contrast to my wipeout rates on my other bikes ) I have dropped close to 6k in this bike, something i never thought i would do in a million years, i still have a huge balance on my credit card but anytime i hop on this thing, i have no regrets or worries about the debt incurred.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by eastie a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: August 20, 2012

Strengths:    Light, stiff and is very smooth, Great geo that'll adapt to a variety of forks without compromise from 100mm for xc to F34 140's lowered to 120mm for an awesome trail setup.. It's confidence inspiring on technical trails, very nimble climbing and fast pointed downhill.

Weaknesses:    No leather rock guard for downtube.

Bottom Line:   
As other tall riders have said, the fit for someone 6ft and over is great. This is one of few 29ers available that ticks so many boxes: fast + agile + good acceleration + lite + low flex + low feedback + taller fork ok + corners well (for a 29er) + frame only option to custom build + last-but-not-least good climbing but not at the detriment of descending. I spin the ups to let loose downhill, and that tallboy is amazingly capable.

I have the 142x12 rear axle and run hope pro2 evo sp hubs with flow rims, and with my 210lbs I find the rear is stiff - as stiff as my old trance and reign with rws bolt thu axles with the same hope/flow wheelset in 26'.

I thought that I'd have to slow up and show a bit more caution compared to my Reign, but I soon found that isn't necessary. The fact the SC lists this as XC is deceptive - with a 100mm fork there's no doubt that it's an enduro xc weapon, but match it with a 120, or even better a F34 140 lowered to 120mm and it's an amazing high speed trail bike.
If you are into jumping and launching off big drops at every opportunity look at the LT version. For those looking to spend more time on the ground than in the air the TBc will be all the bike you need. .

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 month

Bike Setup:   Fox F34 120mm fork, Sixc cranks/bar, mix of xt/xtr, hope pro 2 evo sp with flow rims, jolin post

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tallboy

Date Reviewed: August 17, 2012

Strengths:    Best all-around 29er made today!

Weaknesses:    None so far

Bottom Line:   
It's time to give my 2 cents on a 2012 Tallboy Carbon RXC purchased online at Huck N Roll. This is one of the best, if not the best, 29ers for XC/Trail riding. The 4" VPP suspension design works amazingly well and is very efficient. It climbs with ease and decends equally well. The carbon frame is extremely quiet and makes none of the hollow pinging sound that I've experienced with other lightweight carbon frames. Santa Cruz makes a great looking frame and incorporates nice touches such as grease ports for the lower pivots and a beefy tapered head tube.

This bike feels and rides extremely well out of the box and has none of the slow steering characteristics of earlier 29ers. There is no trace of the "flexy" rear end that one reviewer with loose bearings mentioned. My bike came with front and rear maxles and is about as stiff as it gets for a FS bike.

Bottom Line: Buy it if you want the best all around XC or Trail 29er made today. Don't buy it if you are a lycra wearing weight-weenie XC racer who really should be buying a 19 pound hardtail. Don't buy it if you're a full face helmet wearing All Mountain or Freeride junky. Don't buy it if you can only afford a Wal-Mart Mongoose, nobody on MTBR wants to hear you whine about the price.


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by shoog a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: August 12, 2012

Strengths:    fit, stiffness, handling, climbing, descending, modeling (it is pretty sexy!)

Weaknesses:    none so far

Bottom Line:   
i love this bike. my 1st full suspension bike ever (i don't count my salsa dos-niner as a full sus). I have the SC High Ball also, had a salsa mamasita which i loved and wish i still had. My TB is the best bike I have ever had the pleasure to ride. I love this thing. I read so many reviews prior to purchasing i knew it would be great and it is. I never felt I was that good riding off road, i am an old roadie, but since I got this ride I am noticably faster on cross country open flowy trails and tight single track. And i feel more confident bombing downhills. did i say i loved this bike?

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   anywhere i can get to and ride.

Duration Product Used:   2 months

Price Paid:    $5000.00

Purchased At:   1on1 bike minneapoli

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   2012, ec70 stem bars, full xtr drive train and race brakes, chris king hubs, with custom spoke set up including tied spokes and arch rims with racing ralph tubeless. All new except I moved the wheel set form another bike.

Reviews 1 - 15 (90 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


2015 Tallboy Carbon Weight?

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