Every brand has their workhorse. For Ford, it’s the F150, Toyota has the Camry, and Santa Cruz has their Tallboy. Since the original launched way back in 2009, it’s been one of the brand’s best sellers for very good reasons.
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While we may obsess over carbon downhill bikes and argue endlessly over EWS race geometry, the Tallboy is an impeccable choice for the vast majority of riders. With an efficient pedaling platform, just enough travel to keep you out of trouble, and sharp handling, the outgoing model was a well-balanced machine for everything but the gnarliest of outings.
The new Tallboy 3 is all of these things, yet even more versatile and capable than ever. Santa Cruz accomplished this task by revamping the geometry, bumping up the travel, and taking advantage of technology pioneered on other product lines.
General updates include using a new lower link design borrowed from the Nomad (and now found on the Bronson and 5010), which helps protect it from rock strikes, as well as helps shorten the stays. The upper link was also moved from the seat tube to the down tube to allow for better standover. The new Tallboy also has internal cable routing, but don’t worry, the threaded bottom bracket hasn’t gone away.
Aside from the visual changes, the Tallboy 3 also received some important geometry updates. The outgoing model had 100mm of rear travel, while the new model bumped rear travel up by 10mm to 110mm.
The head tube angle is now 68 degrees, which is 2.2 degrees slacker than that found on the Tallboy 2. This results in a more stable and confidence inspiring handling, while still retaining that XC feel. The reach has been increased by between 40 to 50mm, for a roomier front/center.
The new arrangement of upper and lower links has allowed Santa Cruz to reduce the height of the seat tube by 30mm to improve standover as well as dropper compatibility. This also them to shorten the chain stays by half inch (from 17.53”/445.3mm to 17”/432mm).
Santa Cruz also steepened the seat tube angle by .6 degrees to provide a better pedaling position.