Santa Cruz Bicycles Tallboy Carbon CC 27.5+ X01 Complete Mountain Bike - 2017

Exceed expectations.

Thumbing through the latest glossy covered dirt rags might have you believing that beefed out all-mountain and enduro rigs are the only thing worth paying attention to, but digging a bit deeper reveals another type of whip that's redefining what an XC bike can do. The all-new 2017 Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon CC 27.5+ X01 Complete Mountain Bike expands the scope of XC and shows us that it's possible for an XC bike to revel in burly, rocky terrain just as much as fast laps on buttery smooth singletrack.

To put it simply, Santa Cruz aimed to make the Tallboy a more capable, versatile bike this year, without taking it cruelly far away from the design that earned it so many loyal 29er followers. Its major changes include a more relaxed, spacious geometry and the improved durability and clearance of Santa Cruz's latest reworked linkage.

Santa Cruz also modified its flip chip technology—which was first seen on the Hightower—to ready it for use on the Tallboy 3. The flip chip was developed to allow riders to switch between 29er and 27.5+ wheel sizes, and on the Hightower, necessitated a slight change in head tube angle. However, Santa Cruz has fine-tuned this technology to allow the geometry to remain exactly the same across each wheel size. This means, depending on the day, your Tallboy 3 could be barreling with stability through gouged-up grassy trails and rock gardens, or floating over root-latticed switchbacks with the plush, quiet confidence of 27.5+.

By XC standards, the Tallboy 3's head tube angle leans it towards the trail side of the spectrum, from a traditional 70.2 degrees to a more relaxed 68 degrees, and Santa Cruz managed to shave a little over 13mm off the chainstay length to bring them down to 17.01in. This, coupled with a significantly longer reach, results in a rear triangle with the snappiness you'll need to dice through the tight and twisties, and a stable, confident front end for diving off the XC course and into the white-knuckle stuff.

Geometry is only half the story, of course, and with such extensive changes, change-averse Tallboy fans will be pleased to learn that the Third Generation VPP suspension platform the Tallboy uses didn't undergo any earth-shattering changes. In fact, it's the same VPP that the Bronson 2.0 and 5010 2.0 received, inspired by the burlier Nomad, which means you get links that stay out of the way to accommodate a piggyback shock's external can without giving up the bottle cage. Because of this, Santa Cruz was able to build the frame with more ground clearance, lower standover, and a stiffer design to complement the already stiff Boost back end.

Third generation VPP also receives a few tweaks to its tuning compared to older version, with its new curve deviating from the previous "U" shape and moving towards more of a flattened check mark, with less dramatic ramping on either end of the arc. This improves the suspension's traction and compliance early and towards the middle of the stroke, lending more consistency and grip across root-laced, inconsistent trails. These changes thankfully don't have any impact on acceleration, so the Tallboy 3 remains just as nimble and responsive as its predecessors in case you find yourself on the starting line of a weekend race, with an overall increase in consistency and bump compliance throughout your ride.

Santa Cruz continues to shape its top-tier Carbon CC frames with a higher modulus carbon than the Carbon C models, allowing engineers to use less material to achieve ideal strength and stiffness levels. That high-modulus carbon is then used to shape each triangle as a whole piece, allowing engineers to continuously shape high-stress junctures and avoid creating weak points or areas of the frame with less structural integrity. Before completion, the carbon is also compacted from the inside, eliminating excess material build-up inside the tubing and saving even more weight over quicker, less precise construction methods.

  • Reviews
  • Q & A

mind changer

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I love the tallboy, heck I own one, but I balked at 27.5+ wheels, just another gimmick I thought. Well ONE ride and my mind change, it's the real deal, I loved it. It was faster than I thought, and in some respects actually more fun, I think more usable for most people. For racing XC I still choose my 29er but it's nice that you can own this bike and do both. I am happy to answer any specific question on the Tallboy or help on sizing since they do run small. contact me at kylebrown@backcountry.com or call 801-204-4699.

mind changer

It's a Tallboy plus!

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

The new Tallboy continues where last year's model left off, an awesome 29 inch trail machine that is ready for almost anything. But this particular version comes in the popular 27.5+ variety bridging the gap between fat and regular. Think of all that you loved about the previous generation and turn it up to 11. Give me a shout if you'd like to know more. btowery@backcountry.com 801-204-4557