I demoed a Tallboy 4 for a couple of days last October when deciding between that bike and the Hightower 2. I ended up going with the Hightower 2 because it climbed as well and it was a blast on the descents.
The differentiation between those bikes would be around the 2 hour mark, where the slightly lighter weight and 120mm travel would have the Tallboy 4 pulling away from a Hightower 2 on the climbs.
The Tallboy 4 was like a mini enduro bike. Very slack and capable, not quite as agile as the Following. Seriously fast on techy descents for a 120mm bike. It's also a great bike, I'm sure I would have a hard time choosing between the two.
The Evil's Delta suspension was better than SC's VPP, especially climbing (and I was a Santa Cruz fanboy for years).
The only nitpick I had w/the Evil was the relatively steep HA. I was actually thinking that I would have preferred a slacker HA like the TB4's while riding the Following, but the geo of the bike is what makes it handle so well.
I think a 140mm fork on the Evil would be where it's at for my local terrain.
Edit: the Evil had a RS Pike Ultimate 130mm. Running same fork @ 160mm on my Levo SL.
It's the best fork I've ridden to date. Have run early gen lyrik/Pike, Fox 32/34/36, Manitou, Lefty, Girvin, Headshok*
That's very helpful - thanks! A couple more specific questions if you have another second.
(1) Do you have a sense of just how much the following gives up to the TB on steep, techy downs? My 120 bike will be my only ride, and I do like that kind of terrain.
(2) It makes sense that, with its steeper angles, the following would be more agile. What about getting it into the air? For a 120 bike, I do want something that's poppy and likes bonus features etc. I know this is a big selling point of the following, but it also mentioned a lot in TB reviews. Is there a noticeable difference between the two there?
(3) Something a lot of reviews of the TB mention is its cornering, and in particular its traction through corners. Does the following keep up in that department?