Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon Mountain Bike Review

4.80 out of 5
WHERE TO BUY    MSRP: $4,627
By Aaron Chamberlain    on Apr 26, 2016

By Jeff Barber    on Nov 2, 2016

By Jeff Barber    on Aug 17, 2017

Rider Questions


Q: How much does it weight? -Guest

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Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Tallboy CC

October 4, 2015
Model/Year: 2015

Pros: Great fit, decent components, handles great on tight singletrack, downhills pretty good, climbs great

Cons: Brakes had to be upgraded, should come with a dropper post, stock wheels were kind of light duty and spindly (I destroyed the front one on a crash. Probably my fault but I felt it should have held up better.) I do realize these upgrades would raise the price which helps make it apealing.

Recommendation: With the few upgrades mentioned above I now have a fantastic all around machine. (Ice tech rotors, reverb dropper post and carbon wheels.) The majority of my riding is 20 plus mile rides on somewhat technical singletrack and this bike just works! I've done some enduro racing on it and it did pretty good. My setup is not the lightest bike on the trails but I'm 230 lbs and don't like breaking parts. My bike may be a little over built for most trail riders but I don't like getting stranded way back in the back country. I love this bike and when I wear it out I'll highly consider replacing it with another one.

September 21, 2015
Model/Year: 2015

Pros: Fun to ride! Climbs well and rolls over everything. Light and stiff and fast but still easily handles sharp turns.

Cons: None

Recommendation: Great cross country trail bike.

September 11, 2015
Model/Year: Tallboy 2 carbon / 2015

Pros: Roll Fast, Climbs Great, I really enjoy this Santa Cruz

Cons: na

July 31, 2015
Model/Year: 2015 Tallboy 2 (aluminum)

Pros: Perfect.

Cons: None!

Recommendation: I've had this bike for about 4 months now (been riding for a long time and previously have owned a Specialized, a Marin and a Scott) and have ridden it in Indiana, North Carolina and extensively in Colorado, including 2 bike parks (Steamboat and Crested Butte). This bike can handle just about anything. Only change I made was to extend the stem a tad and put a riser bar on it. LOVE this bike. It's a quiver killer!

June 12, 2014


Recommendation: I am fairly new to MTB. This is my second bike. I had a Hardtail Diamondback and like most newbies I was always at the back with people waiting for me. I almost gave up MTB but I fell in love with a picture and review I saw. My setup is a carbon 2013 medium frame, all XTR components and Easton EC90 SL stem, seat post, handlebar and wheels with feathery Schwable Racing Ralph tires. My scale reads 22.85 lbs. My old hardtail was 21 lbs. First time I rode it was on a road 50 mile trip that I was sure that I would not make it. I made it effortlessly! Everybody thought that I was on EPO! It was then that I understood the difference between a $1,000.00 bike and a $10,000.00 bike. It was hard on the pocket when I ordered it to Puerto Rico, but I am going to buy the Tallboy 2 pretty soon. The joy of riding this beauty vs. the pain and suffering I went through before justifies the investment. One thing is that I do not let my friends ride it. I want to keep the secret of my success for a while longer!

March 23, 2014
Model/Year: 2011

Pros: Stiff and light with great geometry. Can be used as a XC or endurance racer or an all day trail rig.

Cons: None.

Recommendation: I've been riding MTB since 1989 and have ridden a lot of bikes over the years. This is hands down the best bike I've ridden. I've been on this bike for three years now and have racked up over 12,000 miles. I was worried about the durability of carbon but that has gone out the door. It has performed great on every type of trail I've thrown at it and has done nothing but leave a smile on my face. If I was to buy a new bike today, I would get another Tallboy.

December 18, 2013
Model/Year: 2013 1.1

Pros: Lightweight. Great geometry. VPP. 12x142 rear axle.

Recommendation: I am really enjoying this bike. The carbon gives a super stiff ride going up or down. The VPP keeps the suspension in a state of play on the descents, and makes it feel like a hardtail for those tough climbs. It throws around quite well in the corners, while maintaining stability.

June 29, 2012
Model/Year: Tall Boy

Pros: From the first (actually about 3rd) pedal stroke, the increase in power over my old bike was palpable. For the amount of energy put into the pedal, I got back so much more power. I don't know if it is the VPP technology, the 29 inch wheels, that I had it fit to me or all in one great package. I can power up hills and through technical trails. I have heard it would be hard to ride in tight turns, but I have found the increase in power has helped me around those sketchy switchbacks, at least uphill. We ride long, flowing miles and we climb. A lot. This is the perfect bike

Cons: I rode Black Canyon at Teton Pass, and I must say, the bike felt a little dainty for that ride. It was not twitchy as some other reviews mention, but it was not the right bike for big downhill.

Recommendation: I would recommend this bike again and again. It is fun and fast and allows me to generate a lot of power.

May 30, 2012
Pros: Beyond light! Feels stiff and strong

Cons: Steering is twitchy, doesnt feel stable.

Recommendation: Overall its still a great bike. The weight is amazing (mine was built up with xt components). But i like to steer singletrack with more of a lean and this ride didnt do that. Climbing tve steering felt twitchy almost like the bike wanted to take its own line not mine. My friends niner wfo was a better ride even though it was 7 pounds heavier. I know im an outlier to not like it but i think there are better 29ers out there.

October 3, 2011
Pros: Fast, stable, snappy handling, light, smooth, easy to ride

Recommendation: I’ve been riding mt bikes since they began arriving back in 1983. I started with a Schwinn High Sierra, then a Univega, then Diamond Back, then a Klein Pinicale followed by 8 different Cannondale full suspension bikes (Delta V, Super V’s, Raven’s, Gemini and Prophet). Over the past couple of years I had heard that the 29ers were a bit heavy and awkward unless you were 6’2” or taller. Since I’m 5’10” I didn’t have much interest in them. A few months ago I began to hear things about the Tallboy and the Superfly 100, like they were light and they handled well. So I started to look at the reviews on these two bikes and went for a test ride on the Tallboy.
When I was in high school I was racing motocross and the Tallboy has that dirt bike feel, stable, fast and fun! Since the hubs are a little bit higher than a 26er, the seating position is more “in the bike” than on top of it, defiantly more comfortable. I had my Tallboy built up with an XO group, Juicy Ultimate brakes, Mavic wheels with tubeless tires and a 120mm Fox Fork, it weights 25lb on the digital scale. The woman at the bike store where I bought the bike said that for every pedal crank revolution the bike goes 9” farther than a 26er. My first ride was up Railroad Grade on Mt Tam in Marin. I’ve done this climb at least a 1000 times and know it well. The first thing I noticed was that using the same gears I was going faster. Faster up hill is better, I need all the help I can get. The next thing I noticed was how smooth the bike is, choosing a good line is no longer necessary, most any line works well. On the downhill it felt like someone was pushing me from behind, the acceleration is amazing! The next place to test out the Tallboy was some technical, rocky single track up at Lake Tahoe. One of my favorites is a section of the Rim Trail called “Missing Link”. It’s a wonderful downhill that never gives up on the rocks and the down. Having ridden this trail at least 20 times over the years on a variety of 26er full suspension Cannondales, I am very familiar with this trail and what it has to offer. The Tallboy was a totally different experience. Of course the 29er wheels roll over everything effortlessly, it’s the amazing quick handling that I am so impressed with. It’s as if someone else is steering the bike and they know exactly what the best lines are, it’s like driving a Porsche 911 through the twisties with power steering! It’s so easy to do anything on this bike. Switchbacks are a breeze, again as if someone else is steering the bike, you just go through them without any fear of hesitancy, Tahoe has lots of sandy switchbacks and the bike sails through them effortlessly. Since the tire has more contact patch on the ground the bike climbs anything, it doesn’t matter how rough the trail is, just keep pedaling and the bike keeps going.
I’ve been riding with a friend who has a Blur for the past 12 years and he has always kicked my ass up hill and down, not anymore! It’s no contest; I drop him on every climb no matter how steep and leave him in the dust on any downhill, every time! The funny thing about it is that HE was the one who told me to look into the Tallboy! My prediction is that the era of the 29er is upon us and most of us will be riding them in the near future since the bike manufactures have figured out how to make these bikes so much easier to ride than the 26ers. . If you can find a better bike, buy it. Of course you won’t so you will have to settle for the best, a Tallboy!