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The new Santa Cruz Tallboy gets refined but intentionally not redesigned

Santa Cruz Tallboy, Elliot Jackson, air
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While they could call it ‘a mountain bike in its purest form’, Santa Cruz is calling the new Tallboy ‘the downhiller’s XC bike’. The updated Tallboy was designed to pedal very well, but descend like a longer travel rig. It’s an ideal choice for riders who enjoy all sides of mountain biking – climbing and pedalling for hours, but also bombing technical descents without hesitation.

Following the recent 5010 announcement, the Tallboy will apparently be the last updated model from Santa Cruz’s MTB lineup this year. The newest version doesn’t stray far from the Tallboy’s successful legacy but gets revised suspension kinematics, updated geometry, and Santa Cruz’s Glove Box down tube storage.

Santa Cruz Tallboy – frame details:

Santa Cruz Tallboy, C GX AXS, side

The fifth generation Tallboy will be offered in C and CC carbon frame options. It rides on 29” wheels and provides 120mms of rear travel. All models come equipped with 130mm forks, although Santa Cruz says you’re OK to bump that up to 140mm.

Santa Cruz Tallboy, lower link VPP linkage

The new Tallboy relies on the brand’s lower-link VPP suspension and seeks to provide a balance of solid pedaling efficiency and excellent bump absorption. Despite being on the short travel side, Santa Cruz says the Tallboy should feel right at home on rougher trails that warrant bigger bikes.

Santa Cruz Tallboy, leverage rate chart

In comparison to their 5010 Santa Cruz says the Tallboy is more efficient and energetic, as it’s designed to be a fast-rolling bike. Versus the outgoing Tallboy, they’ve reduced progression to improve sensitivity deeper in the travel and keep the bike riding higher in its travel for a responsive ride. They’ve also reduced the bike’s anti-squat, improving both small bump sensitivity and square-edge absorption. In turn, this reduces anti-rise and helps the linkage stay highly active under braking.

Santa Cruz Tallboy, frame

The Tallboy frame can handle tires up to 2.5” wide. It features a Boost 148mm rear axle, a SRAM UDH derailleur hanger, and a threaded BB shell with an ISCG05 chain guide mount.

Santa Cruz Tallboy, glove box and tool wallet

The Tallboy now features Santa Cruz’s Glove Box down tube storage compartment, and a Tool Wallet and Tube Purse are both included to keep your supplies sorted. A bottle cage that bolts on top of the door is available, but not included.

Santa Cruz Tallboy, cable ports

Cables are internally routed in Santa Cruz’ neat fashion; those little holes are very clean looking, and they prevent your cables/hoses from rubbing on your frame.

Santa Cruz Tallboy, chainstay guard

The Tallboy does not have an upper down tube protector/shuttle guard but it does get a guard on the lower down tube near the BB. It also gets a chainstay protector and Santa Cruz’s neat little mudflap for the rear shock.


Santa Cruz Tallboy, geometry chart
*Click to enlarge

Santa Cruz didn’t go crazy adjusting the geometry of the new Tallboy. Aside from increasing reach and rear center measurements, Santa Cruz maintained most other of the Tallboy’s proven and well-loved figures. A look at the numbers above shows snappy steering angles, roomy but reasonable reach numbers, short rear ends, and low BBs. The latest Tallboy offers proportional geometry, with size-specific chainstay lengths and steeper seat masts as frame sizes go up.

Santa Cruz Tallboy, flip chip

Santa Cruz’s lower shock mount flip-chip provides Hi and Lo positions. The chip slightly alters just about every aspect of the frame geometry including the steering angle, seat tube angle, BB height, reach, and chainstay length. Nothing changes drastically from Hi to Lo positions, but check out the chart above to see all the figures for both configurations.

Model Lineup:

Santa Cruz Tallboy CC X01 AXS RSV
Pictured here is the top-tier CC X01 AXS Reserve model.
Santa Cruz Tallboy, build kits
*Click to enlarge

There are six build kits available for the new Tallboy, and the chart above gives a quick rundown of the key components. The top two models get CC carbon frames, and there is an option to add Santa Cruz’s Reserve 30 SL carbon wheels to the XT build kit (for an extra $1350). Fans of electronic shifting will be happy to see three SRAM AXS build options, including two with GX AXS drivetrains.

Santa Cruz Tallboy, Elliot Jackson cornering
Photos c. Santa Cruz. Rider: Elliot Jackson

All Tallboy models are available in Matte Taupe or Gloss Ultra Blue colorways. All of Santa Cruz’s frames, pivot bearings and Reserve carbon wheels are covered by a lifetime warranty. Check out their website for pricing and full details on the new Tallboy.


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