Just landed: Santa Cruz Tallboy long-termer

By Aus Geo ADVENTURE 14 January 2024
Reading Time: 3 Minutes Print this page
Dubbed the “downhiller’s XC bike”, the versatile Santa Cruz Tallboy has arrived at Aus Geo Adventure’s gear shed for long-term testing. Yep, we’re pumped!

There was a lot of excitement in the Aus Geo ADVENTURE office this week with the impending arrival of the Santa Cruz Tallboy, our new long-term test bike. The Santa Cruz brand has been synonymous with top-tier mountain bikes for decades now, with the US company often at the forefront of genre-defining MTBs, none more so than the original Tallboy, the first Santa Cruz MTB to be built around the 29-inch wheelsize, back in 2009. 

Santa Cruz’s VPP suspension is highly regarded. Note the storage box in-frame, ideal for storing tools and gear.

Since then, the Tallboy has morphed from that slightly cross-country oriented rig to this latest incarnation – Version 5, featuring 120mm of VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) rear suspension and 130mm up front – that is closer to a two-wheeled all-rounder in its design remit. From the outside, it looks capable of tackling anything from long, epic trail rides and bikepacking, to cross-country and enduro riding. In short, the latest Tallboy appears ideal for those after that ‘one bike’. We will be spending the next few months testing that theory. And yeah, it’s gonna be fun… Here’s a brief run-down.

What’s it got?

Santa Cruz’s Australian HQ must love Aus Geo ADVENTURE as we’ve managed to get hold of the top-tier, XX SL AXS RSV Tallboy, in a size Large (sizes range from XS to XXL). The Tallboy is available in seven models, priced from the R model at $6999, to this $16,999 monster (yep, we’re already slightly scared of scratching it!). 

There’s 120mm of squish form the Fox Float shock. And how’s that sweet colourway!

As expected, this top-end model drips with serious bling: a top-tier CC carbon frame (with threaded bottom bracket) and SRAM’s schmick wireless SRAM XX AXS drivetrain are standouts, while the ‘RSV’ acronym points to the highly regarded Reserve carbon rims (with Industry Nine Hydra hubs), wrapped in Maxxis Forekaster 29 x 2.4-inch tyres. Add in a 130mm Fox 34 Float Factory Grip 2 fork, Fox Float DPS shock, SRAM Level Ultimate brakes, a flip-chip on the rear shock mount for slight geometry tweaks, OneUp V2 dropper post and excellent lifetime frame warranty, and it’s close to the dream trail machine.

Thanks to the AXS wireless drivetrain, there are few cables on the bike. Those that are (brakes and dropper) are fully guided internally.

Each frame features Santa Cruz’s nifty downtube storage, fully guided internal cabling, a universal derailleur hanger, space for a 2.5-inch tyre, and enough room for a full-size water bottle. Suspension kinematics have been tweaked for more support, while seat-tube angles and chainstay lengths are size-specific. The geo is relaxed up front with a 65.5-degree head angle, while the reach on all models has increased subtly since Version 4.

Where’s it going?

The Tallboy will be used on MTB road trips to new trail networks on the NSW Far South Coast and will see plenty of riding around our local trails, as well as a jaunt on the Indigo Epic Trail in the Victorian High Country. It will also be loaded up for a bikepacking overnighter in the Blue Mountains, among other adventures.  

Our regular updates will keep everyone informed as to how this sweet rig fulfils its design brief. Look for our first full report in April. Now, it’s time to ride!

See Santa Cruz for more info on the Tallboy and all other Santa Cruz bikes.