Product DescriptionThe Santa Cruz Aluminum Tallboy pairs VPP suspension and 29" wheels to create a fast rolling, sharp handling, versatile bike that exploits the benefits of big wheels to the best of their advantage - at home anywhere from remote alpine singletrack to crowded jittery start lines.
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Date Reviewed: February 10, 2014
Strengths: Excellent climbing ability. Super fun. Very stiff especially with ENVE wheels. Great all rounder. Demoed all long travel 29ers. The Yeti SB95C was a very close 2nd. The S works Enduro was great downhill but did not climb as well. I climb everything I ride so climbing ability was number 1.
Weaknesses: Price. Not the quickest turning bike in tight technical single track.
Duration Product Used: About 6 months
Purchased At: The Path
Similar Products Used: Niner RIP 9 carbon, Yeti SB95C, Specialized Enduro Carbon 29er, Specialized Stump Jumper FSR 29er carbon, Pivot 429 carbon, Ibis Ripley.
Bike Setup: ENVE wheels, XX1 crankset, XO1 drivetrain, XT brakes, Pike 150 mm fork. Very light setup.
Date Reviewed: February 4, 2014
Strengths: climbs very well,and stable on descents, quality build.
Weaknesses: Sluggish on tight switchbacks, not fond of the color choices
Bike Setup: R am kit
Date Reviewed: December 30, 2013
Strengths: Kudos to Santa Cruz for making a small version of their highly regarded Tallboy. As a small rider, I took the small Tallboy 2 on a test ride. It was nice and responsive.
Weaknesses: The small Tallboy 2 has a short wheelbase and a short distance from the center of the crankset hub to the center of the front wheel hub. This results in serious pedal overlap and is a design flaw that will frustrate small riders on twisty singletrack. Bike manufacturers often just scale down the larger versions of their bikes to make a bike that does not work well in a small size. After years of riding many poorly designed small cross country trail bikes with this problem, and test riding several bikes, I got a Trek Fuel EX which has no pedal overlap at all on the small version and is great cross country trail bike.
There are a variety of ways to cope with pedal overlap such as clipping in and riding with your foot well back on the pedal but this is a biomechanical compromise that can cause performance and/or physical problems, especially on rough trails and if you ride a lot. I hate clipping in and enjoy the freedom of moving my foot around on flat pedals so over the years I coped in part by getting customized cranks shortened down to 153mm. After I got used to them, I LOVE my short cranks and would never go back to longer cranks even though I no longer need them on my Trek. Contrary to popular opinion, short cranks do not result in less power. The actually give more power per pedal stroke due to the biomechanical advantage they give you. If this idea intrigues you, you can investigate the pros and cons further at www.bikesmithdesign.com. I have no connection to the gentleman who owns this business other than being a satisfied customer.
Similar Products Used: Many different brands and models of small cross country trail bikes over the past 10 years.
Bike Setup: Trek Fuel EX
Date Reviewed: December 2, 2013
Strengths: Very Agile for a 29er
Weaknesses: Have to add brackets for rear XT Brakes.
Oh boy......what a difference! Did not know what I was missing the last 6 months.
Yes. the 2 bikes are different, one is Aluminium and one is Carbon, which explains
the quietened muted vibrations and extra stiffness.
But the geometry of the Tallboy Ltc is really good. Even though both are 29er,
the Tallboy LTc felt much more compact and much more agile. Straight way,
my turning radius around bends become much tighter.
And somehow, for my height of 178cm, I felt my center of gravity on the Tallboy Ltc
much lower than on the Anthem, and hence, I felt myself in a much more stable
and balanced position.
Date Reviewed: November 24, 2013
Strengths: Full suspension
Climbs like a beast
Weaknesses: Dropper seat post
No remote fork lock out
Shifting was buttery smooth, and the transition from single speed to gears was a delight. However, if I had a choice (and by choice I mean if I could actually afford to buy one of these) I would make it a 1x9. I just don't find a need for a 3x9 drivetrain after riding a single speed for the last two years. Also, I would dump the drop seat post. It was nice and all, I'm just not use to it. I think I'd rather have a remote lockout for the forks instead.
Bottom line: if you have the $$$ and want a kickin' full suspension 29'er this is the bike to get. It's has been my dream to ride one since they came out with it. Now, after the demo ride, it is my dream to own one. Maybe one day. Until then, I'll just keep mashing out trails on my SS.
Date Reviewed: October 19, 2013
Strengths: I have mine set up for all mountain riding, which it does exceptionally well. The Fox 34 140 Talas gets some of the credit in the rough. But the carbon frame, VPP, and 135mm of rear travel are also essential. This bike can handle long stretches of baby head rock strewn single track, near vertical rolls down granite slabs, or groomy/steep single track downhills. I can ride this bike faster downhill than any of my previous steeds, without sacrificing control Very stable at high speeds.
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Price Paid: $2000.00
Purchased At: eBay
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Tallboy; Santa Cruz Hecklers
Bike Setup: Fox 34 140 Talas fork, Enve AM Wheelset, White Industries Hubs, Reverb seatpost, mix XT/SLX components.
Date Reviewed: September 30, 2013
Strengths: Estabilidad, control, rigidez, rapidez, tracción, confort, componentes.
Weaknesses: Ninguna en particular.
Date Reviewed: September 23, 2013
Strengths: The suspension design is flawless, the bike just works whenever you pedaling up steeps or going down them.
Weaknesses: The RAM Build kit came with wheels that for my 225 lbs could be burlier. When I first started riding it I had peddle strikes but I got used to the height and got used to the height to be able to peddle without hitting.
Duration Product Used: 1 year
Price Paid: $3100.00
Purchased At: Placid Planet
Similar Products Used: None
Bike Setup: XL Ghost blue Tallboy LT AL. SPX rear, Tripple crank, Knoby nics 2.4" (best tires ever made)
Date Reviewed: September 8, 2013
Strengths: Absolute bomb proof so far (1 full season), great components and the weight of this bike with the RAM29 package is just 1.5lbs heavier than my Kona Kula hardtail coming in at about 29.5lbs
Weaknesses: Pricey, SLX rear derailleur
I’ve been primarily a hardtail bike rider my entire life, tried out a full suspension a few years back and was not able to really get the bike dialed in the way I like. I have an unorthodox riding style where I like to be fairly stretching on the bike so finding a full suspension without being cramped was a challenge. Last year was the first time I really began feeling beat-up after my rides so I started looking into full suspension again. I’ve been riding my Kona Kula hardtail for about 10yr which has soaked up all the abuse and neglect you could possibly impose with no real issue other than routine maintenance. I had my selection narrowed down to the Kona Hei Hei 2-9 Deluxe and the Santa Crux Tallboy LT. the LT won out. The component set is great, I would replace nothing at all except possible the rear derailleur which ships with the SLX as opposed to an XT which is my preference. I converted the tires to tubeless straight away and have been hammering this thing all season. I test drove the stock Trallboy as well but found the location of the throw switch for the rear shock to be difficult to adjust compared to the LT, I toggle back and forth frequently on my rides. As for the ride review this thing simple roles effortless over some of the rocks and roots that use to be an issue in the past and it climbs like a Billy goat.
Duration Product Used: 1yr
Date Reviewed: August 21, 2013
Strengths: Light, stiff and stable at all speeds. Appreciate the 12mm x 142mm update, pivot hardware, grease ports, cable management and build quality.
Weaknesses: I'm size XL. Put a 180mm front rotor on size L and above. An easy change but redundant and wasteful getting the larger rotor and brake adapters. Very little else to complain about, just a Clydesdale looking for a bigger rotor.
Roots, rocks gardens and loose obstacles are easily negotiated at any speed, really well balanced and stable. While I don't believe there is a perfect bike for all riding conditions this one is really good at most.
Duration Product Used: Three Weeks
Price Paid: $5399.00
Purchased At: Veloce Velo | Mercer
Similar Products Used: Maverick ML7, Maverick ML8, Ibis Mojo HD, Scott Scale 910
Bike Setup: Tallboy 2 Carbon with Shimano XT kit /SPXXC29 package with Fox Float Kashima upgrade.
Full XT group 3x10 drivetrain
Easton Havoc Carbon Bar | Replaced stock carbon Easton Bar. Both excellent just personal preference.
Easton XC-90 Carbon Wheelset | Great upgrade to any bike.
Date Reviewed: June 25, 2013
Strengths: The bike easily rolls over obstacles. It is a good climber once it gets rolling and it does have a solid feel.
Weaknesses: Bottom bracker feels low and you do get a lot of pedal strikes. Rear wheels tends to wash out from under the rider while descending at speeds and it requires the rider to adjust accordingly at all times. Tight switchbacks are harder to clear (as with most 29ers) and feels sluggish even on jumps.
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2013
Strengths: This bike is the best climbing bike I have ever ridden. It is fast and handles perfectly in the tight single track
Weaknesses: Been riding this three to four times a week and have not found one yet
Date Reviewed: May 2, 2013
Strengths: Light, stiff, great handling, great climbing, super-fast descending,
Weaknesses: None. You get what you pay for.
I'm to old, fat and slow to be a great climber, but the bike never holds me back. The bike makes me go faster down tight single track faster than I ought, but its too much fun. Can't slow down!
Duration Product Used: 1 year
Similar Products Used: SC Superlight, Ventana El Ciclion
Date Reviewed: April 29, 2013
Strengths: Handling! This bike feels like a cross country race bike until you go off a 2 foot ledge drop or catch some air and it lands so plush. I have about 300 miles on the bike so far since the end of March. Just got back from 3 days on 18 road in fruita. I was amazed how well the bike handles and how fast it is. I found that I trusted the bike enough to just fall into steep downhill turns knowing the bike would come right along. Everytime I rode a trail I went faster the whole weekend. I am still working on getting the shock air pressure adjusted just right but so far this bike is impressing me.
Date Reviewed: April 20, 2013
Strengths: The nastier the terrain, the more the bike is at home. This bike eats the uphills and then bombs back down, cornering like it is on rails. Gives you confidence to hit just about anything at ridiculous speeds and the bike has saved me from numerous mistakes.
You won't want to stop riding.
Weaknesses: Lower pedal clearance than my last bike, more pedal strikes than my old bike. You get used to this pretty quickly and adjust your technique so this really is a minor issue.
Some would say the price but you get what you pay for and then some.
Weight but this isn't intended as a super light race bike.
The geometry is perfect for me and the bike has given me confidence to tackle tracks that I used to give a wide berth to. Bumps, boulders, jumps, drops, rock gardens, this bike completely flattens them all. Minimal steering inputs are required, just enough to avoid the worst of it and the super plush Fox suspension takes care of the rest. It's easy to get off the back in a hurry and pedals efficiently so I haven't even felt the need to put on a dropper post. I now descend faster and with a lot more confidence than before and it smooths out the track so much that I no longer have the lower back issues I used to have mountain biking.
Climbing is also a lot easier and if you can keep the pedals turning, there isn't a lot this bike won't conquer. The pedal bob is minimal, even with my mashing, so you can feel all your effort being turned into forwards momentum. There are a couple of technical climbs at my local track that I had never got up without putting my foot down on my old bikes and smashed them first time on this baby.
It may be a little heavy for some people but it isn't intended to be an uber light uncomfortable race machine, designed for the treatment that weight weenies give their bikes. As a 230lb lad, the weight of the bike isn't a huge concern to me as I have a could lose a couple of ponds myself before i have to start worrying about my bike. The bike feels a lot lighter than my last couple of bikes despite being up to four pounds heavier and for me, the feel is more important than the actual numbers anyway. If you are after a super light race bike then this isn't the bike for you. If you are like me and want a single bike that will tackle almost anything short of downhilling comfortably then this is for you.
It took a little while to get used to as the pedals are lower than my last bike. I got snagged on a stump or two for the first few rides. This has forced me to improve my technique a little and stop being lazy with my pedal position and now the issues have all but gone away.
The quality of the build is amazing, the bike is an engineering masterpiece.
I bought this bike to give me something to look forward to whilst I was injured and off riding for 5 months. Despite the complete lack of fitness and that the suspension wasn't dialled in properly I set a new PB at my local track the first time I took this out. It is impossible to put into words just how much this bike has improved my riding and I look forward to every weekend now so I can get back on it.
If your budget can stretch this far I highly recommend that you take one for a test ride. You really do get what you pay for. Be warned though, if you ride it you will love it and won't want to settle for anything less.
Price Paid: $4500.00
Purchased At: LBS
Similar Products Used: Giant Anthem, Specialized Stumpjumper, GT iDrive
Bike Setup: Stock SLX build.
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