Santa Cruz Tallboy – First Look

It’s definitely due.The Tallboy and Joplin get much needed updates. The Tallboy 3 gets 29 and 27.5+ options, extra travel and the usual longer, lower, slacker thing to make it more trail savvy

The Santa Cruz Tallboy debuted in 2009 and immediately began winning over 29er haters. Here, for once, was a big-wheeled bike that didn’t feel like it’d been slipped a bottle of horse tranquilizers. It was nimble. It was capable. It was, against all odds, fun. The Tallboy hasn’t changed much since. Sure, Santa Cruz went back to the drawing board in 2013 and made the bike a bit more efficient, stiffer and lighter, but they never fooled with the fundamentals…Not until now


As far ahead of the curve as the Tallboy was, it was starting to get a bit long in the tooth when compared alongside the latest crop of longer, slacker, more aggressive 29er trail bikes. This new model raises the bar with entirely new geometry and the ability to wear both 29″ and 27.5+ wheels.


cross-country and trail riding
Rear wheel travel: 110mm
Fork travel: 120mm
Wheelsize(s): 29-inch or 27.5+
Carbon front and rear triangles
Clearance for up to 27.5 x 3.25” tires
Internal dropper post routing
73mm threaded bottom bracket
Boost (12x148mm) hub spacing
Sizes: S / M / L / XL / XXL
Weight as shown: 26.74 pounds
£4,999 for XT drivetrain build – up to £5,999 for XTR build



In addition to giving the Tallboy a geometry update, Santa Cruz also tweaked the bike’s rear suspension. The Tallboy bounces along on 110 millimeters of Santa Cruz’s latest-generation Virtual Pivot Point rear suspension. This iteration of VPP (which is also spec’d on the most recent Nomad and Bronson re-boots) features a higher beginning leverage rate and a flatter suspension curve. The goal here is to give the new Santa Cruz models better small-bump compliance and a more consistent feel throughout the travel. Santa Cruz pairs the tweak in kinematics with a more progressive shock tune, so you don’t find yourself blowing through the travel at the worst possible moments.

The Tallboy also sports a flip chip on the rear shock link (a la the new Hightower model) that enables you to run the bike with either 29″ or 27.5+ wheels and tires, yet maintain nearly identical geometry in both configurations. It’s a fairly straight-forward proposition: Set the chip in Low mode and run the bike as a 29er with a 120-millimeter fork or flip the chip into High mode and outfit the frame with a 130-millimeter travel 27+ fork and 27+ wheels. Making the swap isn’t rocket science. Deciding which wheel size to go with is, frankly, the bigger head scratcher. The 29″ tires offer a snappier feel, the 27+ tires offer crazy-good flotation and grip. Choices, choices…


Tallboy 3 Updates

Wheel size switchable – 29 or 27.5+
More travel – Now at 110mm, up from 100mm
Higher initial leverage – For better small bump compliance
Flatter suspension curve – More consistent feel through travel
More progressive shock tune – Resists bottom out better, appropriate to travel
Stiffer fork chassis – FOX 34 instead of 32
Dropper posts included in kits
Grippier tires
Updated geometry


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