We shoulda seen all of this coming. What, with the Blur XC taking the mantle as a 100mm 29er race bike, and most of the rest of their full suspension lineup switching over to the lower linkage-driven shock layout introduced with the Nomad 4. The all-new, 2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy has officially become a “trail bike”, getting 120mm rear wheel travel with a 130mm fork. And it’s a beast!
2020 Tallboy frame & tech
The first thing that struck us about the new Tallboy 4 (as in, this is it’s fourth iteration) is just how stout the front triangle looks. The huge headtube structure and fat, squarish downtube give the bike a big presence.
The geometry is part of the story, and we’ll get to that. But the other main thing that makes this a wholly different bike than its predecessor is the switch to a lower linkage driven rear shock. Based off of what’s been working for their longer travel, more aggressive bikes, the new VPP design creates a better suspension curve…and they added 10mm more travel for good measure.
The new shock’s position keeps the weight lower, but it does make it a bit hard to see where the o-ring is when setting sag.
The Tallboy gets two adjustments – a high and low shock mount, and a two-position rear axle mount. Above the shock is a small fender to keep its sliding surfaces clean(er).
All Tallboys come spec’d with 29×2.3″ tires, with generous clearance at that width.
Other features include a sound-deadening chainstay guard with a clever extension running up behind the chainring, full internal cable routing, and 1x-only designs.
2020 Tallboy builds & geometry
The new Tallboy 4 will come in two colors, “Rocksteady Yellow” and “Stormbringer Purple”, and get two levels of carbon frames – CC at the top, and C for the masses. Top builds include Shimano XTR or SRAM Eagle AXS, with SRAM NX Eagle at the bottom of the carbon-framed lineup.
Below those are an aluminum frame, with SRAM SX Eagle and NX Eagle build options for those on a really tight budget.
The things to note about the new Tallboy’s geometry is just how slack the front end is. They say it’s because even riders on short travel bikes like this still wanna go fast on the descents. At 65.5º in the “Low” position (and only 0.2º steeper in “High”), it’s in the realm of bikes with 140-150mm of travel. Other brand’s modern 120mm “trail” bikes tend to be around 66.5-67º. And with 430mm chainstays (in the short position), this has the effect of creating a really long wheelbase, too…about 36mm longer than the most progressive trail bike (size XL) we compared it to!
The alloy frames keep the switchable shock mount but lose the adjustable rear axle position. Frames and all bearings come with a lifetime warranty.
Now, you’ve got a 29er Santa Cruz bike for almost any travel you want, all with the new suspension design save for the Blur XC. Grab the Hightower for 140mm rear, and the Megatower for 160mm rear. Even their V10 DH bike has been available with 29″ wheels for some time. Check out all the colors and build options on their website, and click here for our first ride impressions and actual weights!