First Drive: 2023 Santa Cruz Tallboy Up to date, Remastered

For Santa Cruz, the earlier era of the Tallboy was a motorcycle that turned a cult traditional. It resonated with virtually everybody who rode it, inspiring distinctive customized builds of every kind, some centered on offering as a lot downhill efficiency as attainable, and others turning it from a thoroughbred race bike right into a extra comfy XC machine.

Launched in 2019, the Tallboy 4 hit the highlight in terms of versatility, boasting geometry tips that permit it to deal with more durable, technical terrain on a smoother course with out feeling uninteresting and torpid. With 29-inch wheels, 120mm of rear journey and a 130mm fork, it is an all-around path bike.

Tall 5 Particulars

• Wheel dimension: 29″
• Journey: 120 mm, 130 mm fork
• C & CC carbon body choices
• 65.5º or 65.7º head angle
• 76.6º seat tube angle (L dimension, low)
• 438 mm chain assist (L dimension, low)
• Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
• Weight: 28.75 lbs / 13.04 kg (L dimension, X01 AXS RSV construct)
• Value: $5,299 – $10,399

Santa Cruz did not wish to mess with something good, so the 2023 Tallboy would not deviate that a lot from its predecessor. The geometry has been tweaked a bit and the identical goes for the kinematics, nevertheless it’s extra of a tweak than a whole overhaul.

Gloss Extremely Blue and Matte Taupe are the 2 shade choices for Tallboy’s fifth era.

Body Particulars

The obvious change to the Tallboy’s body is the addition of downtube storage, a function discovered on almost each path and enduro bike in Santa Cruz’s lineup, except for the Bronson (for now, at the least). A small latch subsequent to the water bottle cage supplies entry to the compartment, and two luggage are included to retailer a tube, instruments, and different snacks and equipment to slot in.

Apart from the brand new snack stash, the Tallboy’s body particulars have not modified that a lot. It has full information inside cable routing, a toothed backside bracket, area for a 2.5” rear tire, and slots for chain information. There’s additionally a common derailleur hanger and a flip chip on the rear shock mount that enables for very delicate geometry adjustments.

Geometry and Suspension Structure

The Tallboy’s shock flip chip stays, however the skill to vary the chain assist size by 10mm has been eliminated, changing it with size-specific lengths for every dimension. Chain assist lengths vary from 431mm in dimension small to 444mm in XXL.

Tallboy’s seatpost angles are additionally size-specific, getting steeper with any bigger dimension. This helps make sure that taller riders do not stand too far behind the bike when climbing.

The brand new Tallboy is not any slacker than the previous one, nevertheless it took slightly longer with attain numbers matching the remainder of Santa Cruz. Attain for the massive dimension is now 473mm, in 5mm increments on the low setting. Barely steeper seatpost angles offset this enhance, creating a comparatively unchanging prime tube size; which means the seated climbing place will really feel virtually the identical as earlier than.

Santa Cruz lowered the Tallboy’s leverage to present it a barely much less progressive shock curve; That is additionally a change accompanied by a decrease quantity of anti-squats firstly of the journey and a much less aggressive drop in kick afterward. These adjustments have been made to enhance the bike’s small bump compatibility and provides it a extra predictable suspension really feel at each level of journey.

Construct Kits

There are 6 fashions within the lineup beginning at $5,299 for the Tallboy CR with SRAM NX drivetrain, Information T brakes, RockShox Pike Base fork and Fox Efficiency DPS shock.

On the prime of the road is the $10,399 Tallboy CC X01 AXS RSV. That is a bunch of initials to point that the Santa Cruz has the very best finish carbon body development, SRAM’s AXS wi-fi digital drivetrain, and Reserve 30 SL carbon wheels. Suspension duties on this costly mannequin are dealt with by a Fox Float Manufacturing facility DPS shock and a RockShox Pike Final fork.

Driving Impressions

Tallboy is not a metropolis bike and is not attempting to be. As an alternative, it is a do-it-all machine with a ‘proper’ air to its use. There is no such thing as a blueprint or unpredictability to be discovered – it is the rider, not the bike, that may convey these options to the desk.

Truthfully, I might in all probability simply depart the hyperlink to Mike Levy’s Tallboy 4 overview right here and say it is tremendous. There are extra similarities than variations between the 2 variations, and the general driving traits are virtually the identical. It has been some time since I final rode the Tallboy, however judging from my considerably fuzzy reminiscences, I can say that the suspension feels higher than earlier than – slightly softer total, which makes the bike extra comfy on the uneven components of the path. There’s quite a lot of assist although, and even after I used your entire journey there wasn’t any stiffness on the finish of the stroke.

The Tallboy’s power is its versatility – it feels stable, free from undesirable twitches, even on more durable, high-speed trails. The Maxxis Dissector/Rekon tire mixture has labored properly for the dry, dusty circumstances which have dominated these days, however I might in all probability put in one thing slightly meatier for moist circumstances or actually attempt to get essentially the most downhill efficiency attainable. If I have been going this route I’d in all probability swap the G2 brakes for some Code as there may be solely a small weight penalty and a noticeable efficiency distinction. Nonetheless, for basic responsibility the G2 brakes work flawlessly and a rotor improve to the newer HS2 variations can be a neater option to enhance stopping energy slightly extra.

The Tallboy’s dealing with could be very calm and predictable, and the identical goes for pedaling efficiency – it strikes a pleasant stability between effectivity and traction. Nonetheless, the burden mixed with the quieter suspension really feel makes it really feel nearer to a brief journey Hightower slightly than an extended journey Blur.

That does not imply it feels heavy or torpid – removed from it – simply that there is a noticeable distinction in the way it feels in comparison with one thing like the latest Trek Prime Gasoline, and even a Crossover Spur for that matter. All these bikes have 120mm of rear journey, however the Trek and Transition sit extra on the aggressive XC facet of the spectrum and have extra of an urge for food for uphill runs than the Tallboy.

These lighter and livelier choices are nice for riders attempting to scratch that itch within the countryside, however when gravity takes over, it is the Tallboy that stands out with a steeper really feel that gives the arrogance wanted to succeed in increased speeds and more durable path options.

Because the saying goes, “If it is not damaged, do not repair it” and that is precisely what Santa Cruz did with Tallboy. It is a refined all-terrain bike that is straightforward to deal with, straightforward to deal with, and has all of the body options that Santa Cruz is known for (and the corresponding price ticket).

About the author


Leave a Comment