Santa Cruz Tallboy LT Carbon 29er Full Suspension
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|Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)|
Date Reviewed: December 15, 2014
Strengths: Climbing, cruising, AM work, bombing downhills, carbon durability, quality of frame and components, stiffness, local mfgr, category killer
Weaknesses: low-feeling BB on tech climbs, 29er geo (depending on where you ride), narrow bars (early models)
I've ridden a few other 29ers and though many now have very good products I haven't seen or heard (or read) of anything that beats it. Opinions:
Low BB makes this a great DH bomber and really helps with CoG when the going gets slow. But it also means pedal strikes when climbing tight/steep/technical. I can roll right over things that bottom out every one of my buddies on 26/27.5s though - so you know it's not THAT low, but the strikes are more frequent than I would expect (I do however ride flats, which lowers things considerably). Perhaps it's not so much a problem as it is a surprise when you're used to riding a bike that just mashes and rolls over surprisingly huge stuff?
Santa Cruz fixed the too-narrow bars spec'd on this bike for 2014+ (and added 760 - 780, depending on build spec). With the stock 720s on it it's fine for most, but this bike really wants 760+ to deal with all the inertia of the 29 hoops - though you can finesse it all day it's such a stiff, stout stomper of a bike that it's super fun to muscle around. And wider bars do help when going slow because of that 29er geo - it's not as nimble as a 26 or 27.5 - and never will be. If I rode tight trees, tight singletrack or lotsa rock (basically terrain that requires slow and picky), I'd go 27.5 and probably a Solo/5010 - not this.
But man does it pedal. I live in the S Cruz mountains and it's essentially the perfect bike for the for the fire road and (largely non-technical) singletrack climbs here. And if you prefer to have a plush ride that will blow over anything on the way down at speed (versus a super-flicky technical descender for slow and tight environs), this is a phenomenal whip.
Sizing is a little weird compared to other brands and I agree SC bikes run a little small. My experience: I'm 6'1" with a 34 inseam and normal proportions. that's a large in every other manufacturer I've tried. The large TBlt was cramped - IO was very much on top of the bike - and would have had to go with a longer-than-stock stem which would have put me out and over the front wheel. Not a good feeling on a 29er - they're already big. The XL felt a little too big - I was definitely "in" the bike (which I wanted), but had too much reach causing me to bend a little too far when pedaling - so I ended up going XL, dropping the stem to a 50mm and going to wide bars (flat). Now a very good fit, but with one somewhat-noticeable negative - the front wheel is a little lighter on steep grinding climbs (as you might expect with pulling the bars back). It is what it is - and I like the feeling of being in the bike and at the headtube (vs out over it) everywhere but in the steepest climbs - and bringing the reach back quickened the geo a tad so that's a positive add to to a climbing negative. FWIW - some feedback if you're a fairly normal sized dude at 6'1 or 6'2 and going back and forth on size.
One more fit mention - the seat tube is long. I have a Spesh command (?) dropper and with my 34" inseam it's slammed all the way down on the top of the collet for a perfect pedal stroke at highest (pre-set) position. If you have short legs but mongo torso be careful which dropper you choose (something infinitely variable is probably your best bet) - I think the seatpost height is consistently tall across the various frame sizes. If I had a 33" inseam this dropper would not have worked.
Date Reviewed: September 4, 2014
Strengths: Climbs fantastically well for a 135mm travel 29er, and is just the perfect balance of stability and handling on the DH's.
Weaknesses: Bike will not turn on a dime like some others, but very predicable and controllable.
My prior bike was a 26" 100mm travel full suspension cross country bike that I had ridden for 7 years. It had great components on it, but was an old bike. I built that bike up with climbing in mind, and it had carbon rims. However, as my riding style has changed over the years, I definitely began to appreciate bikes with DH capability. Enter the Tallboy LTc. I give up absolutely nothing to my prior bike on climbs, even on smooth fire roads. In fact, on my regular fire road training climb, I just set a new PR that had stood for me for over 3 years. On more technical climbs, there is simply no comparison. The Tallboy LTc just grips and rolls over obstacles. For those familiar with the loose shale covered climbs in Downieville, California, the Tallboy LTc just shines in that environment and outperformed even the fantastic climbing Ripley. Point the bike downhill, and compared with my old bike, they are not in the same league. Of the bikes I rode, the Bronson was probably my favorite on the Downhill and the Ibis Ripley, while not as capable as the LTc at speed or on big hits, was a wonderful handling bike with pinpoint accuracy. The Tallboy 2 was similar to the Ripley in regards to handling, but probably more stable. What I love about the Tallboy LTc is I can go on a very long ride over rolling terrain and because it rolls so well I have plenty of energy for climbs, and I don't get rattled on the downhills. Also, of all the bikes above, it is the one that I would want to be riding if I got in over my head. In fact, recently I made the mistake recently of riding off a lip where I couldn't see the landing. Well, it was a much bigger drop than I thought, and I would have never tried it had I seen the drop-off, but the LTc just absolutely ate it up. I would not have wanted to try that on the regular Tallboy or Ripley. At that moment, I knew for certain I made the right choice. One note for potential buyers. I read a review from an ex-moto rider who said you need to ride the TB LTc like a moto and throw your weight around and work the bike. I really agree with that sentiment if you want to get the most out of the bike. Also, until ridden at speed, it feels like any other bike, but it just wakes up once you open it up on the DH. So much fun!
Ok, obviously I love the bike. I have historically lusted after every year's hottest bike release, but lately I have no interest in seeing the new releases, and I am just thrilled I finally pulled the trigger on the LTc. Sorry for the long-winded review, but when I was looking I tried to glean as much as I could so I hope this helps someone who is on the fence. If you want a one bike solution for big mountains and as well as flowy single track, look no further. For the variety of trails here in NorCal, the LTc just fits the bill perfectly.
Price Paid: $6000.00
Purchased At: Local Bike Shop
Similar Products Used: Tallboy 2, Ibis Ripley, Intense Spider, Yeti SB-95, 5010, Bronson
Bike Setup: XT components w/Nox Carbon Rims
Date Reviewed: August 11, 2014
Strengths: Weight, Travel, Handling.
Weaknesses: None so far, may be cost.
Purchased At: Competitive Cyclist
Bike Setup: Pike solo air 140, SRAM X01
Date Reviewed: August 1, 2014
Strengths: Fast, fun, and can tackle some pretty serious terrain.
The front end is quite high, so you may need to reverse the stem or get flat bars.
Seat-tube is tall, which can limit how much travel you can use with a dropper-post if you aren't tall.
I am currently running a Syntace Flat-force stem (77mm) to get the bar height low enough for my short'ish stature (175cm tall on a Large frame...short legs). Bars are Syntace carbon low-5.
A dropper-post was mandatory, but given the long seat-tube and my short-legs, I could only get away with a 100 mm travel KS post - any longer and I wouldn't be able to fully extend the post and still have the correct saddle height. I'm 1/2 way between the medium & large size, and decided to get the longer top-tube with the large frame; thus the issue with the seat-tube length.
I switched so a 1x10 drive-train about 6 months ago (11-36 XT cassette with 32T RaceFace NW) and I haven't missed any gears. I've also upgraded the fork from an RS Revelation Dual air (110-140mm) with a 46mm standard offset to the Pike Solo air 140mm with a 51mm offset. I can notice the 51mm offset makes a difference to handling (improved, faster response), and the Pike is impressive too.
Overall it's a blast to ride downhill. It climbs very well, and I find it handles tight switch-backs very well. Having said that, it is a 29er so I think a 26" bike may handle the really tight stuff better possibly. Although there is 1 tight up-hill corner on my usual ride that I always found to be tricky on my Ibis Mojo 26", and it's no harder on the TB.
Bike Setup: Pike solo air
1x10 Saint shifter, Zee short cage, 32T NW front ring
TWE hand built wheelset
KS Supernatural 100 mm dropper post.
|Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)|
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