Big wheels and loooooong travel. When it comes to an all mountain bike, you want something that climbs easy and rolls over anything. The Santa Cruz Tallboy LT 29" carbon frame combines the rolling efficiency of 29 inch wheels with 135mm of VPP travel, all in a feather light frame, weighing in at 5.35 lbs with shock.
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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!
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: January 21, 2013
Strengths: Strong and light
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).
"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.
Strengths: LIGHT WEIGHT. HANDLING. BUILD QUALITY. SUSPENSION DESIGN.
Weaknesses: NONE YET.
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.
Strengths: Light, stiff, strong, quick handling, SHORT WHEELBASE !
Weaknesses: Should come with a down tube protector.
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.
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.
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. .
Bike Setup: Fox F34 120mm fork, Sixc cranks/bar, mix of xt/xtr, hope pro 2 evo sp with flow rims, jolin post
Date Reviewed: August 17, 2012
Strengths: Best all-around 29er made today!
Weaknesses: None so far
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.
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?
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.
Strengths: Light weight, Stiff, Geometry fits me well, Great control on technicals, Nice fit and finish, black and red match my gear, tapered head and BB are stout, Grease fittings YESSSS, Climbs like a bob cat
Weaknesses: None yet if I find any I'll report them.
Thanks to my friend for the test ride of the 2011 tallboy carbon. It convinced me that I made the right decision when I bought the large frame, w/rp23 shock kashima, my fork will be the fox 32 float 120 fit, cane creek 40 series head set, sram xx deraileurs front and back, sram xx brakes, mavic crossmax st wheelset with racing ralphs, 142mm x 12 rear 15mm front axles, sram xx crank with cheaper team bottom bracket, maerk high rise carbon handle bar, easton ea90 60mm x 12 degree rise stem, easton ea70 carbon seat post, ISM adamo typhoon seat, I have another couple bars and stems I can switch to if need be. shimano m980 xtr pedals. Ive been pretty satisfied with these components in the past and I kinda enjoy shopping for the best deals black and red are my colors like my jerseys and back pack shorts and shoes so I'll be hitting the trails in fashion.don't blink or you'll miss me. LOL RIDE SAFE EVERYONE
Date Reviewed: July 16, 2012
Strengths: Climbing, cornering, descents are a breeze on this bad boy
Weaknesses: Little flex in the rear triangle
I’ve owned my TB for about two years now and it has been awesome. I did crack the rear triangle part of the frame recently but Santa Cruz has been very cool and sent me a new 2012 frame. I’m told that there are some improvements made. Other than that I love this bike and would recommend it to anyone.
Strengths: Cost: I've seen lots of people say that this bike is too expensive. While it's tough to make direct comparisons, I found the the Tallboy to be hundreds less expensive than comparable bikes like the Superfly 100 and the Camber. I am sick of Specialized putting one high end component on the bike (invariably the rear derailleur) and downgrading everything else - like we won't notice. So every time I see a true complete XT or XTR drivetrain, I get excited about the value of a bike.
More about Tallboy: The Fox 120mm with Kashima option is for real. Coming from an older 6" fork, it felt almost as plush. The bike took steep low speed technical drops with poise and ripped single track DH as well as any bike I've ridden.
Weaknesses: Most bikes in this class have low BBs. This is no exception. This make for a really low center of gravity, but occasionally, you will miss your AM rig on very rocky tech.
Rock and roll.
Don J. Maurio
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 5, 2012
Strengths: Where do I begin? It does EVERYTHING well. This is an amazingly good bike! I bought a blue TB. It's a beautiful, well crafted bike. It climbs great. With 30 speeds there is no problem getting these big wheels moving uphill. Point this thing downhill and it is point and shoot! It is not as plush as my 150mm front wheel travel Blur LT2 and has a decidedly more cross-county feel, but the big wheels and stiff frame roll over everything.
Weaknesses: 1) The price - ouch! But worth every penny. 2) Low bb. You definitely have to "ratchet and dip" your pedals. But these are essential skills on any bike in rocky, rooty singletrack. I have no complaints. Nice job, Santa Cruz. I decided to buy the Tall Boy carbon and not the LT because I would never have ridden my Blur LT2 again. Now I have a cross country rig and a plusher all mountain rig.
I love this bike. I bought this bike from Ski Rack Sports in Bangor, Maine. The guys there made buying and setting up/upgrading a pleasure! I sold my absolutely zooted out 2009 Gary Fisher HiFi Carbon Pro to help fund this bike. My Gary Fisher 26'er was sub 24 lbs, climbed and descended like a banshee, was flickable, and fun. However, like all single pivot bikes, it bobbed and you had to use the RP23 platform. The rear triangle flexed so much it would ghost shift. My new 2012 TB is stiffer than any other bike I've owned.The VPP suspension is bob-free and supple. I love this bike even more than my Blur LT2 - and I LOVE my Blur!! I ride twisty, rocky, rooty, muddy Maine singletrack. The short chain stays make this bike is as flickable as a 26'er. The Shimano XTR Shadow Plus real derailleur and 3x10 XT drivetrain are so quiet I can hear the oil squirting in the fork and shock. Zero frame flex. The XT brakes are amazing: quiet, even when wet! and strong as hell. BUY a Tall Boy, you won't be disappointed.
Similar Products Used: 2009 Gary Fisher HiFi Carbon Pro, 2007 Gary Fisher HiFi Deluxe, 2009 Santa Cruz Blur LT2, 2005 Fuji
Bike Setup: Easton EC70 XC bar and EA70 stem, stock WTB Frequency I-19 wheelset with tubeless 2.25 Schwalbe Nobby Nics, XTR Shadow Plus rear derailleur, XT shifters, crank, front derailleur and brakes, Gobi Muzzle saddle, Thomson Masterpiece set back seat post, Fox RP23 Kashima coated shock, Fox Float 29 120mm Fit RLC w/ Kashima coating, plastic Homer Simpson character mounted to handlebar
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 5, 2012
Strengths: You name it. Basically, everything.
Weaknesses: pricey, but hey you get what you pay for.
I built this up as a dream bike that I would ride and race for the foreseeable future. Full SRAM XX, easton EC90XC carbon wheelset, carbon stem and handlebar, rockshox reverb adjustable seatpost, rocket ron EVO tires.... basically I broke the bank on this bike. But it's everything I could ever ask for in an XC/AM set up. carbon wheelset eliminated the 'sluggish' 29er acceleration and is stiff as nails. love the geometry and clearance of the 29er, I've always enjoyed the VPP suspension.
I have been a dedicated fan of Santa Cruz and their fleet of sleds for years. Started with a superlite, then blur XC, sold the blur (mistake) to go with an Epic S-works which never really did it for me. I tested out a few 29ers and researched the tallboy and knew I had to have it. Best decision I've made in my biking life. The TB grips and rips everything I can throw at it. I ride a ton of technical and tight singletrack trails here on the peninsula in Northern California and I can't adequately put into words how fun this bike is to ride. It's made me a better rider and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the TB to anyone looking for a 29er. Is it weird to say that I have shed tears of joy while riding my TB??? Santa Cruz absolutely crushed it out of the park on this one. I love you santa cruz, always have and always will. sooo much.
Similar Products Used: Blur XC, superlite, S-works Epic.
Bike Setup: Easton carbon everything including EC90XC wheelset, fox front and rear suspension, SRAM XX all around, Rockshox reverb adjustable seatpost, sella italia / TLD limited edition saddle, eggbeater pedals.