Santa Cruz Bicycles is best known for high end mountain bikes that push the boundaries on technology and performance. From their revolutionary VPP dual pivot suspension kinematics, to their popularization of the 29er wheel size, Santa Cruz has constantly developed thoughtful designs that shaped mountain biking. Santa Cruz’s newest iteration of their cross country and trail bike, the aluminum Santa Cruz Tallboy A, trickles their top-end tech to a rally-ready pricepoint.
The Santa Cruz Tallboy A full suspension trail bike starts with a 110mm rear shock which more than ever blurs the lines between traditional XC bikes and trail bikes. The Santa Cruz Tallboy – whose last iteration was much more capable than it’s 100mm travel suggested – now offers a 110mm shock out back, and a 120mm or 130mm fork for 29er or 27.5” + tires. A 68 degree head angle, VPP kinematics, and a rear shock flip chip develops the original Tallboy’s playful character into something much more capable. The Tallboy uses Santa Cruz’s Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension design. VPP uses two short suspension links that rotate in opposite directions as the bike moves through its travel. This results in a progressive suspension design, providing different levels of stiffness throughout the stages of its travel. This suspension design is widely-regarded as one of the most effective for isolating pedaling and braking forces from the suspension. Other neat touches include short 436mm chainstays that not only make the bike feel zippier, but distribute more weight under the rear wheel for improved grip, internal cable routing for a dropper post and rear derailleur, and a reliable threaded bottom bracket.
The original Santa Cruz Tallboy was the first bike to really nail down 29er geometry. Testers gushed that the Tallboy accelerated and cornered well at speed, not just compared to smaller wheels, but in general. This bike continues the trend. Cornering on this wagon-wheeled speed machine does require some attention, anticipation and proper guidance from the helm, but put some weight on that front wheel and the bike just grips. Further, while the headtube is relatively slack, the Tallboy’s front wheel doesn’t wander when climbing. The VPP kinematics maintain a firm pedaling platform, but on descents, it feels much more capable than the 110mm rear shock would suggest.
The Santa Cruz Tallboy A full suspension trail bike comes in four sizes (S-XL) and four builds in both 29er and 27.5”+ wheels:
- Santa Cruz Tallboy A D/Santa Cruz Tallboy A D+ – RockShox Recon RL 120/130mm fork, Fox Float Performance DPS 110mm shock, SRAM NX 11-42t cassette, Race Face Aeffect 30T crankset, SRAM Level brakes. It retails for $2699.
- Santa Cruz Tallboy R/Santa Cruz Tallboy R+ – Fox Rhythm 34 120/130mm fork, Fox Float Performance DPS 110mm shock, SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain, SRAM Level T brakes, Race Face Aeffect dropper seatpost. It retails for $3299.
27.5”+ bikes receive Race Face AR 40 rims to Novatec hubs & Maxxis Recon 2.8” tires, 29er bikes receive WTB ST i23 rims to Novatec hubs & Maxxis Minion/Crossmark tires. Santa Cruz offers a lifetime warranty for each frameset they sell.
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