Interbike 2009 – Santa Cruz Tallboy 29er – Pics, Weights and Ride Review

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INTERBIKE 2009Santa Cruz’s outdoor demo booth was a busy, busy place.  We lucked out being able to get two Tallboys out at the same time, so we’re able to give you two riders’ reviews on riding their new full carbon, full suspension 29er.

We covered the release of the 29er in a prior post with technical info, so this post focuses on lots of good close up photos and details and our impression of the Tallboy’s ride.  We’ll hit the photos first…there are some pretty nifty frame features on the Tallboy, and the bike is light.  The bikes all seemed to be built up differently, but neither of the bikes we rode and weighed were heavy, especially for a dual-boinger 29er.

Weights, pics and reviews after the break…

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My (Tyler) bike, above, was built with a Thomson seatpost, normal wheels with Mavic 719 rims, XT drivetrain and Fox fork.

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The size XL (they make an XXL) weighed in at 26lb 9oz.

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Daniel’s test rig had a Crank Brothers Joplin adjustable seatpost and super high-end Edge Composites wheels, which made a huge difference in the weight, even overcoming the extra weight of the seatpost to come in more than a pound lighter.

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The size L with the Joplin and Edge wheels weighed in at 25lb 8oz.

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The headtube is a 1-1/8″ to 1-1/2″ tapered setup with an inset upper bearing, which seems to have become the standard for 29er full suspension bikes anymore.

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Very cool built-in carbon cable guides.

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Carbon rocker arm attaches to full carbon integrated shock mounts.  The Tallboy uses Ti hardware and aluminum pivot axles.

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The Tallboys have a 17.5″ chainstay length across the size range, which is pretty short for a 29er.  The curved seat tube gives them the extra clearance to tuck it in so closely.  The VPP suspension linkage has built-in grease ports to make for a silky smooth 100mm of travel.  The comparatively lightweight of these bikes is all the more impressive given the extra linkage and material of the VPP design.

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The driveside has an extra support brace.  The dropouts are replaceable, and the bike will come with an integrated chainstay slap guard, but our test model had this branded aftermarket version instead.

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Check our other post when this bike was announced for photos of the inside of the frame to see the carbon layup and shock mounts.

RIDE REVIEWS:

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TYLER’S REVIEW: As with all Interbike demo reviews, we’ve got to make this disclaimer: The trails are unlike anything we normally ride (they’re very dry and dusty w/ loose scrabbly pebbles and rocks), and we only get to ride them for a few miles, but there are some swoopy turns, big climbs and fast descents.

There’s no way to get around it, there’s a big comparison between the Tallboy and the Gary Fisher Superfly 100 (read our review and coverage of the Superfly 100 here).  Both have 100mm of travel, both are light, full carbon frames and both are very quick.  Honestly, our time on each was too short to make detailed, knowledgeable compare-and-contrast statements about their respective suspension designs, but the Santa Cruz Tallboy seemed a little bouncier…sort of a pogo feeling back and forth between the front and rear, but that could be because there’s only so much attention the mechanics can pay to the suspension settings for each rider when there’s 20 others waiting to take a test ride.  ”Lively” probably isn’t the right word for it, but I suspect most of it could be calmed down by spending some time getting the compression and rebound settings better adjusted.

The Tallboy handles extremely well, and it felt every bit as light and nimble when I jumped up to sprint as the Superfly did.  It carved through the big sweeping turns confidently, with only the tires (Kenda Small Block 8′s, not the ideal tire for the loose top layer at Bootleg Canyon) limiting the amount of speed the bike could carry through the sweepers.  The suspension, while a bit bouncy, was very smooth and soaked up the rocks and drops without any hiccups or loss of traction.

Santa Cruz claims the Tallboy tests about as stiff as any other carbon full suspension bike they make, and it pays off in an efficient feeling bike that should make for a real contender on the XC and endurance courses come 2010. The Tallboy, along with the Superfly 100 and Rocky Mountain Altitude 29er were the three favorite bikes I rode at Interbike…not just my favorite 29ers, my favorite bikes.  If I were ready to buy a new bike, these three are the current top contenders.

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DANIEL’S REVIEW: Coming Soon…

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McLarry - 01/21/10 - 11:53am

Quick question, were the bikes weighed w/pedals? Looks like in one of the the photos of the static bike that it isn’t sporting pedals.
Thanks

Editor - 01/22/10 - 10:44am

We weighed all bikes at the demo day without pedals unless specifically shown or noted in the post. This is how most high end bikes are sold now, so we wanted to show the weight as you’d find it in the stores.

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