While it’s been 27.5″ this, 650B that, and general tweener fever everywhere , today the original wheel debate instigator just struck back. Wagon wheel marketing fervor may have died down in the wake of the mid-wheel wonder child, but the sales numbers don’t like. 29ers are extremely popular and the original 100mm travel Santa Cruz Tallboy helped popularize them.

Four years ago the Tallboy changed the game and pushed the limits of what many riders thought a 29er trail bike was capable of.  So whats changed?

Santa Cruz Tallboy 2 Headtube_badge

For the most part, the changes are subtle. Even the most ardent of fanboys couldn’t really tell the difference (aside from graphics) until he or she went for a ride.

Santa Cruz Tallboy 2  Name_graphic

The updated bike keeps the same the dialed geometry that made the Tallboy both an industry and consumer favorite.


Although fresh little updates, like stealth routing, don’t hurt.

Santa Cruz Tallboy 2 Direct_mount_FD

Despite all the new, some things never change. We expect Santa Cruz will continue to spec triples for a very long time, so they’ve added a direct mount for front derailleur.

Santa Cruz Tallboy 2  142_rear_axle

So what is different? After four years of working with the Syndicate racing team and developing a slew of new carbon bikes, Santa Cruz engineers have developed a better grasp of what is possible. This new frame is a 1/4 lb lighter than the outgoing Carbon model and overall stiffness has improved.

Santa Cruz has also re-positioned the shock to increase pedaling efficiency and for a more linear feel. This subtle improvement gives the frame enough stand over to be offered in a size small.

Aluminum Version


Once upon a midnight dreary, new Santa Cruz models were offered in carbon only. Leaving the 99% of us to drool over our keyboards and wait for the inevitable aluminum release. Luckily, those days are gone. The Tallboy 2 Aluminum received all the same updates as it’s more flashy brother AND has dropped .3 lbs in the process.

TallBoy_3-4_Alum_GRNUnlike the carbon version, it’s also available in this smashing green livery. Complete aluminum builds start at $2,399 USD.


• 100mm travel
• 29″ wheels
• Frame weight with shock (claimed) = carbon: 5.37 lbs, size medium
• Frame weight with shock (claimed) = aluminum: 7.21 lbs, size medium
• Price (frame only) – carbon $2699 USD, aluminum $1950 USD
• Colors: carbon – matte carbon/white, gloss white/black; aluminum – gloss green/black, gloss grey/orange
• Stealth cable routing
• 142x12mm thru-axle
• 2 water bottle cage mounts
• Molded chainstay protector
• 12 Enve decal color options
• 73mm threaded bottom bracket
• Direct mount front derailleur
• Standard or Direct mount rear derailleur option
• Sized: S, M, L, XL, XXL (aluminum only)

For anyone keeping track, this is the 7th new/updated bike Santa Cruz has released this year! We’re not counting aluminum and carbon frames as separate endeavors, otherwise that number balloons into the double digits.


  1. “the sales numbers don’t like. 29ers are extremely popular ” Seriously? What else can you buy other than 29ers? The top 5 bicycle manufacturers discontinued the production of 26er bikes (26er btw are really 26.5″). The 650B is coming out for 2014 and the dealers haven’t gotten the bikes in. Thank you captain obvious!

  2. Although I do not understand why SC opted for a direct mount FD as riders will now have the option to go 1x without the need of any cage/guide in the front…

    Hey, did SC now move the Tallboy LT from their Trailbike to their All Mountain range?!

  3. @Geo:
    Perfect in a perfect world, but just less flexible and problem creating in the real world. I agree with Ernst…just another reason to go 1x.

  4. @epo pusher

    Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.

    Don’t hate on awesome bikes.

    ***New rule, don’t hate on awesome bikes.

    Regarding “650b is being marketed bigtime to push more sales….. nothing more.”

    Is that what they did with 29ers? No. As styles of riding have changed and developed, riders have become more selective and picky about which characteristics of a bike suit them best.

    Every different type of bike or wheel size has a place in the market.
    Even if it’s not worth it to you, it’s worth it to somebody out there.

  5. @bikeguy717, bin judgin and geo: nothing wrong with direct mount, or a reason to go 1x as such, but with more and more people going 1x these days (at least I would), the tab will be unused on a lot of bikes. A clamped FD would result in a cleaner looking bike then.

  6. so much hate for new technology and “standards”. Maybe all you [deleted] should go back in time and ride a steel rigid bike with Touring geometry and road gearing, threaded headset, skinwall tires, single wall rims, cantilever brakes, steel handle bar/stem combos and whatever other god awfull stuff that has been obsoleted and improved upon because of TECHNOLOGY. Might as well get yourself a Rite Height will your at it. [deleted]

  7. @Mike

    No bad technology..just stupid applications. Perhaps you could drop some knowledge on us about what is “standard” these days with headsets and bottom brackets. Your post was pretty funny, including the “Hite Rite” blast…”missed it by this much.”

  8. Direct mount is world better than the E type and its a mountain bike, save the internal routing for the tri geeks. Case in point with the rip9. terrible internal routing and makes the shifting more difficult to set up and keep smooth.

  9. Major props to Santa Cruz for sticking to their guns and making bikes that put function first and not succumbing to current fashions like internal routing and press-fit BB’s.

    Internal routing serves no purpose other than looking nice and adds all kinds of friction and hassle when it comes time to replace the housing. There are ways to design a more user-friendly way of routing internal housing, but they all add extra weight. As a mechanic, I’ll take external routing any day. Hard to beat a 5-minute cable and housing swap with no cursing and no fishing around inside the downtube.

    The direct mount FD is obviously because there’s no way to put a clamp-on FD onto a curved seat tube like that. Santa Cruz didn’t want the front derailleur to dictate the seat tube shape (which would probably have meant longer chainstays or less mud clearance, at least), so they had to go direct-mount.

  10. What Yoda, and Max Said.

    I have experienced the ride of all of these bikes. Would love to have 1 of each 26, 27.5, 29. If I only have one choice for my style of riding, gotta go with 27.5.

  11. i think the claimed weight is not correct. that would be heavier than the solo c, the tallboy ltc or the bronson. santa cruz wrote somewhere in their introducing, that the weight is 4.9 lbs or 2235g without shock, but i think that’s the weight including the shock. if not, i have to start the search for a new frame again.

  12. $749 for 834 grams… not too bad. Of course they probably are making the carbon version cheaper than aluminum..

  13. High direct mount = very good, low direct mount = very bad, clamp = friggin awesome if going 1x and fine if using 2x or 3x… it’s not a big deal to make it round enough to use a clamp, and a big d-mount on a 1x will look lame. An auto-luber would be awesome to bolt on to the d-mount for wet endurance races…

  14. “It’s not a big deal to make it round enough to use a clamp.”

    I think if you look at the way that seat tube curves, there’s just no way to put the seat tube at the appropriate height and angle and also get the curve they need to accommodate shock mounting, tire clearance and seat tube angle while keeping the chainstays short. High direct is pretty user-friendly, in my experience.

    As far as the direct mount looking ugly without a derailleur on it…deal with it? The e.thirteen XCX and MRP 1x upper guides both come in high and low direct mount versions, if you’re planning on going the XX1 route.

  15. Great news! Now I may just be able to afford Tallboy Carbon – time to hit the ‘clearance’ pages of the webshops because lets face it, I won’t be able to tell the difference (although some who like to carry their bikes through technical sections might appreciate the weight loss…).

  16. I have a Tallboy C and have been waiting 3 months for this bike. Thought it would be 110-120mm. Not enough changes for me as I love the current bike. Just want to go 142 instead of 135 in rear. Gonna pass….not worth the upgrade price now for basically the same bike.

  17. Yea, direct mount FD helps make gears up front nicer. At the very least, it helps eliminate the issues one might run into if the FD’s yaw is not perfect.

  18. The bit I like the most is the “stealth cable routing”. Yeah, I can hardly see that mass of black cable and hose against the white frame… exactly what other way could you possibly run the cables other than internally? May as well put “Cables” on the feature list…

  19. @Liberty

    Stealth routing refers to an option for an internally routed dropper post – specifically, the Rockshox Reverb.

  20. @Saris

    Nope – you’re wrong on that. If you look on the white one (3rd photo) you can see the lugs on the right side of the top tube are there for the dropper post. There is no internally routed option.

    So – what is stealth routing then?!

  21. He isn’t wrong. The stealth routing starts at the bottom of the post inside the seat tube and exits through the front of the seat tube. See the little black plug on the tube. The cable/hose then joins the downtube and runs externally up to the head. KS LEV also has a stealth routed post.

What do you think?