In this Santa Cruz Tallboy review you’ll learn why this bike is the best full suspension XC mountain bike of 2022. The Tallboy has 130mm or travel in the front fork and 120mm of travel in the rear, planting it firmly in the cross county discipline.
The 2022 Santa Cruz Tallboy has two frame options; aluminium or carbon fiber. Weights range from 34.62 lbs for a Kit D aluminum frame, the heaviest in the lineup, to 28.67 lbs for the XO1 AXS model.
All 2022 Santa Cruz Tallboys, regardless of frame material, come with 29 inch wheels and tires. High-end Tallboy models have the option for carbon Reserve wheels.
Santa Cruz Tallboy Aluminum
Build kits D and R are the two Tallboy models that come with an aluminum frame. However, there are major differences between the two kits. First, the front fork gets an upgrade from Rockshox Recon to Fox Rhythm. Both come with 130mm of travel.
Second, build kit R comes with SRAM NX from top to bottom. Meanwhile, build kit D comes with SX and X1. The upgraded groupset on kit R will give you smoother, faster and more reliable shifting and drivetrain performance.
If the Tallboy has a weak spot, it’s the stem. Build kit D comes with a RaceFace Chester stem. The rest of the build kits come with a Burgtec Enduro stem. If your Tallboy ha the RaceFace stem, I recommend making an upgrade. Fifty-Fifty Alloy Stems come in multiple color options, and are a big upgrade. You can get one on Amazon for around $50, and it is a big upgrade.
Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon
The majority of build kits offered on the Tallboy have a carbon fiber frame. The cheapest carbon frame model is the carbon build kit R. It comes with the same groupset the aluminum build kit R comes with. It’s a $950 upgrade to go from an aluminium from to carbon. In other words, upgrading to a carbon fiber frame is not cheap.
In addition, build kits from S and up come with RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post. It’s the smoothest, most responsive dropper posts on the market.
If that’s not enough change from model to model, in addition, carbon Tallboy models have multiple hub options. The front and rear hubs are SRAM and DT Swiss on build kits R and S respectively. From XT and up, the wheel hubs are Industry Nine.
Mountain bikers willing to put down serious cash for their bike will get more value from other build kits. The XO1 build kit comes with SRAM Eagle from top to bottom.
The Tallboy has been around since 2009. That is to say, there are no problems with this bike that haven’t already been worked out. Most of the problems mountain bikers come across come from a position of rider preference. In other words, the problem areas mountain bikers complain about are the three touchpoints.
Grips, saddle and pedals are weak points on every bike. This is because there is so much personal preference involved in choosing the ‘best’ option. The perfect saddle for one mountain biker may be the most uncomfortable saddle made to another mountain biker.
One problem that isn’t related to the bike’s touchpoints is with the lower-link VPP suspension. There are rubber seals between the link and rear triangle. Those rubber seals do not like to go back in if you are completing your own maintenance. Above all, check the rear triangle after maintenance work. You can feel the difference when the rubber seals are not put back in correctly.
In conclusion, the Santa Cruz Tallboy borders between an XC mountain bike and a trail bike. In other words, the Tallboy is capable of handling just about everything you throw at it.
If full suspension isn’t for you, consider one of the best hardtail mountain bikes here: Trek Roscoe 6 review.