Santa Cruz Tallboy 29er Full Suspension

4.88/5 (52 Reviews)
MSRP : $999.95


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Product Description

The 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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Reviews 1 - 15 (52 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by dustyman a All Mountain Rider

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.

Bottom Line:   
I was on vacation in Sedona with a Specialized Camber Carbon. Santa Cruz showed up at the Bike and Bean and I demoed the LTC with ENVE wheels. Unbelievable test ride. It just flew over everything. I couldn't believe how snappy it was under acceleration. I was so much faster on this bike and in better control. I demoed it again when I got home to make sure. Same results. Very efficient considering the amount of travel. It's expensive but the fun factor is off the charts.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   San Juan

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.

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

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

Bottom Line:   
This for a 2013 Tallboy LT aluminum R am kit. I demo a few Treks 29 er full suspensions and a Stumpjumper { all aluminum} over a period of 6 months. The Tallboy Lt I liked the best! So I bought one. Despite the fact the Tallboy Lt is heavier than the other bikes I mentioned , It climbed better than everything I test rode. I don't understand how that its possible, but its true! The bike also descends very well. This bike gives an impression that I can tackle most anything that comes my way. Overall for the price point ,I am confident I got the best bike. A side note about color and appearance. I am standing at my LBS and I witness someone buying another brand( that I test rode and did not like too much) based on the fact it did a have a nice looking paint scheme parked next to a Tallboy Lt gulf/blue ( not my favorite color) . Some of the larger manufactures discovered that a good looking bike can sell.

Expand full review >>

Similar Products Used:   Tried some Treks, various fuel ex 29 er', Stumpjumper fsr 29 er comp I think, also a Rumblefish

Bike Setup:   R am kit

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by alex a Cross Country Rider

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.



Bottom Line:   
Santa Cruz makes very nice bikes but I would recommend that small riders avoid the small version of this bike unless you want to suffer from aggravating pedal overlap through every tight turn.

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.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   One test ride

Similar Products Used:   Many different brands and models of small cross country trail bikes over the past 10 years.

Bike Setup:   Trek Fuel EX

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Pitachu

Date Reviewed: December 2, 2013

Strengths:    Very Agile for a 29er

Weaknesses:    Have to add brackets for rear XT Brakes.

Bottom Line:   
I have been riding a Giant Anthem X0 29er and recently upgraded to a Tallboy LTc.
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.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by krash670

Date Reviewed: November 24, 2013

Strengths:    Full suspension
Climbs like a beast


Weaknesses:    Dropper seat post
3x9 Drivetrain
No remote fork lock out


Bottom Line:   
I ride a Surly Karate Monkey single speed as my daily ride. I test rode the Tallboy LT at a Santa Cruz demo today, and let me just say it was AWESOME! The demo bike was set up with a straight Shimano XT component group. The Tallboy was super plush, and climbed like a beast. As I bombed down the trail I was in heaven. It was like riding on air compared to what I'm use to. Usually I'm pounding the fillings out of teeth rolling over the rocks & roots while on the KM, but the Tallboy sucked up all those bumps without any problem. I was able to stay seated on every climb, and cleared every obstacle without any problem.

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.


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mike D. a All Mountain Rider

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.

Weaknesses:    None.

Bottom Line:   
Loving this bike. Drop the post and let it fly. Particularly love 140mm front travel/135 rear travel. Going to All Mountain riding was a nice progression for me, and this bike is a great tool for tackling the job. Of course that also required getting a set of knee and elbow pads. I've ridden some really gnarly high country single track in the Sierra's this summer and cleaned the sections I used to walk down.

Namaste !

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Skeggs; anything iin the Sierra Nevada.

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.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Guillermo Vargas

Date Reviewed: September 30, 2013

Strengths:    Estabilidad, control, rigidez, rapidez, tracción, confort, componentes.

Weaknesses:    Ninguna en particular.

Bottom Line:   
Las 29er son una delicia, y esta Tallboy 2 carbón es perfecta. Durante 15 años usé 26 doble suspensión. Pensé mucho pasarme a 29er y no me arrepiento. Sé que en materia de gustos no hay nada escrito, tenía una Blur XC -carbón- y ahora con la Tallboy no me arrepiento de nada. Me tómo un poco de tiempo ir descubriendo sus cualidades y cada vez me sorprende más. El único cambio que hice fue poner un plato 22t adelante en lugar del 24t que trae el XT. Puedo decir que es un avión al que si algo puede faltarle a veces, es piloto!

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jamis63 a All Mountain Rider

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.

Bottom Line:   
I was originally going to buy a Rumblfish that placid planet had in stock. Well they ended up selling it so they talked me it the tallboy LT vs the tallboy. I'm glad I went LT because I found myself riding trails that used every bit of the suspension. I'm 6'4" and the XL fits me perfect. The ghost blue looks a lot better in person. Overall the bike is great, its really the whole package.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Flume Trails Wilmington NY

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)

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

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

Bottom Line:   

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.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Skidmore Stables

Duration Product Used:   1yr


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Craig Abplanalp a All Mountain Rider

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.

Bottom Line:   
Just over 250 miles on the new TBC2. Find myself losing track of time and riding comfortably for hours. Not as initially quick as my carbon hard-tail but deceptively fast over longer efforts and far more comfortable and confidence inspiring when the terrain becomes challenging.

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.




Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The last one I rode, no joke!

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
Changed to:
Easton Havoc Carbon Bar | Replaced stock carbon Easton Bar. Both excellent just personal preference.
Easton XC-90 Carbon Wheelset | Great upgrade to any bike.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by RafaelT

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.

Bottom Line:   
Tested this bike in Breckenridge Colorado and was not that impressed with it because of some of the weaknesses I have already ponted out. Switch to a TRc 26er on my last day and had tons of more fun on the downhills, switchbacks and jumps.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steven

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

Bottom Line:   
This bike is amazing I have had some very nice bikes but this is by far the best bike the suspension is very plush and it is real fun to ride

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by reamer41 a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: May 2, 2013

Strengths:    Light, stiff, great handling, great climbing, super-fast descending,

Weaknesses:    None. You get what you pay for.

Bottom Line:   
Great bike. It's the best bike I've ever ridden -- but many of its competitors probably would have been as well. I bought the whole-hog XTRam. The DT240s freewheel spun after a few months. People rave about that hub, but it didn't work out for me.. Anyway I built a new wheeelset with CK hubs and Light-Bicycle carbon rims and that has improved an already great ride. The carbon rims eliminated what I had thought was flex in the frame. The thing tracks VERY well now.
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!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Any singletrack

Duration Product Used:   1 year

Similar Products Used:   SC Superlight, Ventana El Ciclion


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by boonecounty

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.

Weaknesses:    none.

Bottom Line:   
A great bike if you can afford it. I will be curious to ride a 650B. I used to have a giant reign 1 with 6" of travel front and back. I went and rode porcupine rim in moab two days in a row. One day on the 6" travel bike and the next day on my old stumpy 29er which was 120 up front and 100 in the back. The 29er was faster then the 6" travel bike in the rough choppy rocks and techy terrain. This convinced me to sell both and upgrade to this bike.

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

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.


Bottom Line:   
This bike has reignited my passion for mountain biking. It just wants to keep moving, faster and faster. The bike is very forgiving of mistakes and has saved me on numerous occasions when my old bikes would have thrown me.

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.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $4500.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Giant Anthem, Specialized Stumpjumper, GT iDrive

Bike Setup:   Stock SLX build.

Reviews 1 - 15 (52 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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


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Tallboy 2 or LT for East Coast

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Jet rdo vs. Tallboy c vs. Sb-95 al

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loose lower link on Tallboy LTC

had the bike since last August and have been regularly greasing the links but noticed that I have just a slight amount of play in the rear end. It is something that I have to point out to others, nothing that you notice when you are riding, but it is there and it bothers me. I have pulled the ... Read More »

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