First Impressions by Francis Cebedo:
I owned the regular Tallboy Carbon for a while so I have a bit of experience with it. It is an 100 mm 29er full suspension that pedals well, is agile and laterally stiff. It is a very capable XC bike and is the #1 selling bike of Santa Cruz. In fact, it outsells the the second place bike in the Santa Cruz line-up, the Blur LT, by two to one. But it is more of a cross-country bike and the rear suspension is happiest when it’s racing XC and or going on all day rides. As I took it to tougher terrain, I felt the rear suspension was rather stiff and the BB was low as it hit a lot of rocks at places like Downieville, CA. For my XC and descending needs, I ended up with two bikes – the supersonic Highball Carbon hardtail for XC use and a Blur TRc for trail bike duty.
Well, the evolution of the Tallboy is here and it looks like Santa Cruz hit the mark again with the Tallboy LTc. It is a 5.3 lb frame sporting 135 mm of rear travel. It is mated with the wonderful 34 mm stanchion Fox fork with 140 mm of Kashima-smooth travel. Fully decked out with XTR and tubeless Maxxis Ardent tires, the medium bike came in at 28.10 lbs.
We took it to our local Norcal spot and the suspension felt bottomless. Instead of the aggressive ramping of the rear travel, this bike felt plush and willing to do more. It was eerie bracing for rocks or harsh landings and not feeling much of a shock. The ride was similar to my Blur TRc but this one had more bump compliance, more traction and it tracked better on the ruts. This bike felt good in the air too and was easy to move around.
It did feel a bit higher off the ground so it was good to have the Rockshox Reverb post to get my center of gravity down for the big descents. The handlebar was pretty high off the ground so getting an XC , pedaling position for my 5’8″ was a challenge. This bike did seem like a very able climber though. Even with the proper sag, this bike motored up the hills with very little pedal bob.
The test bike weighed in at 28.10 lbs and I was curious what it would weigh in at with tricked out products. So I put in Roval Carbon wheels, Panaracer Driver tires, rigid Thomson post with Ritchey saddle and Crank Brothers ti pedals. Voila, the complete bike weighed in at 24.47 lbs.
Of course not all is perfect as the XTR equipped bike is hideously expensive at around $8000. It still comes with 3×10 gearing and it will be likely spec’ed with the lightweight but anemic Maxxis Crossmark tires.