Convince Me- Tallboy Carbon?
I have not had a dualie in almost 7 years and ride a Full Rigid SS mostly. Im lusting after a dualie for some odd reason and feel the tech is right now based on everything i am seeig, reading, and hearing. Is it time? I like the SC Tallboy - i live in philadelphia and ride the rocky PA/NJ trails.....Classic NE singletrack from state college to ringwood to jim thorpe- i think its time. Am i crazy?
Take one for a ride and you won't return it.
Santa Cruz Tallboy
I had 1 for 3 months & didn't like it, To much mid travel wallow, To many pedal strikes,Wasn't as stiff as what i had been riding & sold it the week I could get my hands on a Jet9 RDO
I really like my Jet 9 RDO, but wish the chainstays were shorter and wish I had gotten a Medium.
Both are great.
Try a few. I didn't like the VPP suspension at all. You might but I would compare.
I would say it is time. Carbon frame has the 12x142 rear and for me at 215lbs with out a pack is super stiff, no flex. Some may have had the bike without the 12x142. I have said this over and over again, and I'll say it one more time. Pedal strikes I have had I can count on one hand, they just don't happen very often. Is it due to rider? Maybe. Many bikes get pedal strikes also. I am not discounting the Jet9RDO being spoken of here as I have never rode one, it sure looks nice and it too gets good reviews.
I would also tell you to consider the Tallboy LTc. What it boils down to is ride em. See what you think. I think you'll love the Tallboy & the LTc model, short chain stays, light weight, super stiff, climbs incredible, and is super fast. This is just my opinion. Wanted to demo a Jet9RDO but Niner canceled their demo here in South Tenn at enterprise park. Moving soon to Penn. so I'll look for a demo there, maybe there will be one. Dealer here doesn't stock JET9RDO's, says they are too pricey to have sitting around.
Go to the Santa Cruz forum and you'll get some good info there as well. Wanted to share from that forum what icsloppi had to say about the Tallboy Carbon
"TBc vs. some of the competition
Hereís a comparison of 5 of the main stream 29er FS 100mm rides in the $4-5k range. My current bike is a Spumpjumper Pro HT. Iíve ridden MTBís since their inception in the late 80ís first in Colorado and now Oregon. 6í0Ē 160lbs and ride a large in most brands.
While all of these bikes are similar in appearance and price, their geometries, handling characteristics, and to some extent parts kits run from ďrace bikeĒ (the Scalpel and to a less extent the Superfly) to a short travel all-mountain (the Anthem).
IMO both of these extremes make no sense at all, even to the intended customers.
As race bikes, their parts kits, suspension setups, heavier frames and wheels put them at a huge disadvantage to a HT. For 5k, you can get a Stumpjumper Marathon Carbon 29 for instance, which is a true world-class race bike. Any of these bikes would be annihilated by it on most any race course.
On the other end of the scale, why would you want an all-mountain bike with only 100mm of travel? It makes no sense. Youíre going to blow through the available travel trying to take advantage of the frame, or be hindered by the slow handling while trying to ride technical sections.
What Iím looking for should be capable of traversing nasty terrain with poise, balance, and precision. It should work to keep me from wrecking and injuring myself when I make mistakes. It should be reliable to the point I donĎt have to worry when taking off for a 6 hour ride.
Cannondale Scalpel 29er Carbon 2 ($5500)
Low speed handling - 8 Good balance and quick / easy turning
Descending - 5 Itís a race frame with flexy wheels
Climbing - 8 Itís lighter than the othersÖ
Suspension - 6 Sorry, not a real Lefty fan
Parts kit - 7 Decent parts kit except for the wheels
Overall - 5 The Scalpel is the most expensive bike here. Itís also the only one Iíd have no interest in owning. The Scalpel is a mid-range race bike much more than a trail or XC bike. Itís advantages over the other bikes are weight, acceleration, and turning quickness. While the suspension can be set softer, itís not happy that way, and seemed to handle best when setup on the race/stiff side. While the frame and fork are stiff enough torsionally, the wheels and rear linkage (at least that how it feels) are not. The result is not confidence inspiring. Itís stiff vertically, skittish laterally, overly quick to be confused by rocks, and borderline dangerous in difficult conditions. This Scalpel gives the impression of a Ferrari with a Corolla suspension and brakes. Thatís still a Ferrari, right?
Trek Superfly 100 SL ($3900)
Low speed handling - 8 No problems. Turns with good balance. Rear suspension has some squat that can be minimized by keeping it under power. Quick, flickable, maneuverable.
Descending - 7 A bit quick but no issues as long as things donĎt get overly techy. Gives the impression of not having a lot of reserve when the shift hits the flan. Could be wrong. Didnít wreck itÖ
Climbing - 8 Short but not too short. Nicely balanced. Feels like a low center of gravity for a 29íer.
Suspension - 8 No significant issues or notables.
Parts kit - 5 Several questionable house brand parts. In a car, your overall impression is heavily influenced by the seats and the steering wheel. Theyíre the ďtouch pointsĒ or contact points between you and the vehicle. The auto makers know that and spend major time and money to optimize them. With the Superfly, the seat, bars, and grips are just not very good, and they really knock down the overall impression of the bike. Trek?
Overall - 7 The Superfly appears to be a semi-clone of the Anthem X, but where the Giant has a feeling of composure and poise, the Trek feels more like an overly energized puppy. It is the least ď29erĒ feeling of these bikes. It has a very low BB and front end. The wheelbase feels short and the angles somewhat upright. That said, it handles well and is not twitchy at speed. The suspension works well enough but seemingly lacks the maturity of the Giant/Spec/SC designs. The parts kit is lesser than the others here (itís also the lowest price) with Bonty/Trek parts that didnít seem optimal. Iím not a fan of Avid brakes generally. A good bike for those who want a fun ride or long-distance racing perhaps. Like the Cannondale, it likely works better as a whole with a high-end parts and wheel kit.
Giant Anthem Advanced X 29er 1 ($4800)
Low speed handling - 7 The Anthem has a lowish BB and fairly upright head angle, but a longish wheelbase and stays. In complex conditions, it can be slightly more difficult to maneuver than the others. It feels a bit ďbigĒ and less precise going slowly. In most cases, itís still often better than the Trek or the Cídale though.
Descending - 8 Capable but not as relaxed feeling as the wheelbase would seem to promise, again the upright feeling front seems to draw attention to itself.
Climbing - 9 About the best of any MTB Iíve ridden. The Anthem flows upward in a clairvoyant manner. The rear remains more active under pedal pressure than the others and it just cruises upwards. You can induce some degree of squat if youíre not subtle, or it would be a 10. Most impressiveÖ
Suspension - 8 Very nicely balanced, mature, and sophisticated, a little soft feeling under power. The Maestro is a more active system than the others here. It does move more when climbing / accelerating if you donít use the lockout.
Parts kit - 9 All XT. The Giant wheels are DTís and seem to be of aftermarket quality. The post/bar/stem are Giant branded and work quite well, unlike many house-brands.
Overall - 8 The Anthem could be a great long-distance trail bike where climbing and comfort are valued. It makes no pretensions of being a ďracerĒ. Itís relatively light, comfortable and climbs on a world-class level. Typically for Giant, it also costs less than other bikes with similar build quality and the Giant branded parts work well. Very nice bike.
Specialized Epic Comp Carbon ($4400)
Low speed handling - 9 The Epicís low speed balance and steering precision is absolutely superb and easily better than the others here. In tight corners and climbing slowly though rocks, it rules.
Descending - 7 No problems noted. Perhaps not the poise of the Tall Boy, but the Reba fork shows excellent composure when rock gardening.
Climbing - 9 The brain at work. Out of the saddle , none of the others are in the same league. Absolutely great.
Suspension - 8 front 9 rear The 2013 brain system works superbly. The transition is almost seamless, while the noise and feel of previous years are pretty much gone. Reports that the system doesnít work, or that it doesnít function correctly are only stating that the system isnít setup optimally. Modern FS systems offer impressive tuning capability, but achieving anything close to an optimal setup is not trivial. The Brain is another layer of setup complexity.
Parts kit - 6 Specialized was apparently trying to save weight and cost at the same time. What you get IMO is a bunch of cheap, fairly light parts with mediocre reliability records. Youíre better off going to the next model up (the Expert) if you can afford it. The Magura brakes are quite good though, and an improvement over the typical Avids.
Overall - 8 Climbing and hammering, the Epic rules. It takes tight corners very well for a 29er and because there is no rear end squat with acceleration, you can power out of difficult situations with ease. I considered purchasing the next model up (the Expert) with its better parts kit and lower weight. The local shop only stocked the Comp though. The reason - they feared being caught with high-dollar inventory at the end of the model year. I ask to please special order an Expert in Large White/Red. ďSorry, itís already sold out for the yearĒ. Maybe next time.
Santa Cruz Tallboy C ($5000)
Low speed handling - 7 Likes to be leaned as much as steered. There is some small amount of flop into turns, making super-tight switchbacks a bit more sketchy than the Epic or Trek. Going very slowly through techie sections is not the TBís forte. Itís capable rather than great. The stock Cross Mark tires donít help here.
Descending - 9 Perfecto. Very poised. The TBc acts like a longer-travel bike until you completely use the suspension travel. Going fast and maintaining momentum through difficult terrain is the TBís forte. Works great on high-speed non-technical single track as well.
Climbing - 8 The frame climbs fairly nicely without undue front-end wondering. The rear suspension is good at limiting bobbing, though itís not as impressive as the Epic.
Suspension - 9 Very nicely balanced. A mature design. It has some bob under power, but not so much that youíre reaching for the lockout. The rear pivot setup and shock positioning is well done indeed, and perhaps the best of any FS bike. It limits travel over the initial stroke, but softens through the mid-range. Set up correctly (it will feel stiff) it pedals with above average efficiency and still maintains its composure through larger compressions. Smart peoples at work here.
Parts kit - 9 All XT. Every piece, including the wheel set, gives the impression of being well thought out by someone who really knows what theyíre doing. To the smallest detail, you never get the impression that someone is trying to save 50 cents at your expense. Itís not super-light, but functionally everything works on a world class level and has excellent reliability. Easily the best in this regard
Overall - 9 To me, the question of which is best, the TBc or the Epic, isnít easily answered. As a complete bike, the XT-spec TBc is better than the Epic Comp. If you move up to the Epic Expert though, the result may change. On a frame and suspension only basis, my impression is that the faster youíre going, the better the TBc performs. The Epic has very neutral handling and excellent balance, and the Brain function gives it advantages in climbing, sprinting, and accelerating from a stand still that other bikes canít match in my experience.
The TBc on the other hand, has taken the Colnago frame approach to a FS29Ďer. It has fairly relaxed angles, but the stays and overall wheelbase are short. As long as your balance is correct, you can blow through some pretty nasty stuff with impunity, while the short wheelbase lets you pick though rocks and tight quarters like a quicker bike. Itís smart and it works well.
The TBc has some attributes that donít show up on the spec sheet or a quick demo. The frame material and construction appear an order of magnitude better than the others. Itís a poised and mature design that was created and optimized by people rather than a computer program. The company is American, and they obviously care about and back their products."
Great review icsloppi...
It is time, you are not crazy, and the TBc is the right bike. Sounds like you already know this, and are just looking for some affirmation. Well, here it is: do it, and don't look back!
Grit, spit, and a whole lot of duct tape!
All reality, we shouldn't have to get all wordy why the Tallboy could definitely be on the top of your list. It has a proven track record (been out 3 years, no frame changes other than color and adaptation of the 12x142 rear axle). It won bike of the year...The majority of the people that bought one are still riding them today...which by demographics, includes quite a lot of people that have typically bought new bikes every year. I think that says a lot about the bike and the quality of product you are getting.
I bought mine when it first came out, and three years later, I finally did a full service (replaced the bearings seals and such...free lifetime replacement I might add) and did a service on the RS Monarch RT3 and the bike rides still performs amazingly! No buyer's regret at all.
I think if you're going to only race on it, its still a great option (I ran the numbers on a build that was ~20.8lb and $6500 w/o pedals) which is a pretty amazing weight if you were to go full blown race, but I think the bike excels as a XC trail bike. The geometry is very comfortable. The bike climbs and descents with the best of them, and it doesn't have any funkiness to complicate the build (PF30, weird seat tube, e-mount derailleurs or funky axle setups) It uses a standard English tread external BB, the rear axle is 12x142 but that is now pretty standard, and the derailleurs are clamp mount.
People mention stiffness, but I think many of them probably ran flexy wheels or flexy skewers and blamed the frame. I noticed a huge difference when going from ZTR Crests to American Classic All-Mountain wheels...it was night and day. The now standard 12x142 probably helps some.
I agree with a lot of what REV 14 said. Especially his assessment comparing the Epic to the Tallboy. Where I think you have to run the numbers if you compare the Epic Expert to a custom build Tallboy carbon you did yourself. By my numbers, I could do a ~20.80lb Tallboy Carbon for around $6500. This is lighter than the S-Works model at $10k. That isn't even taking into account the availability of the new XX1 which would probably push it closer to 20lb for slightly less dough.
The only other bike that I have ridden that gave me a great "WOW factor" from the moment I got on the bike was the DIVINCHI Atlas 29 with the DW Split-Pivot suspension. The fact that it was slack with 16.9" stays, 110mm travel, and great suspension platform was a really nice package. If you can actually demo one of those..I would give that shot as well! The great thing about Divinchi bikes are that they have a lifetime warranty and fully transferable..which is nice if you decide to sell it later down the road!
SC Tallboy C
Intense Spider 29 C
Lynskey Pro29 SS
Spech Tricross Expert
I think it i a very good bike but not a great bike. Two things that I am not real happy with is the low bottom bracket and the vpp suspension. I have mostly ridden bikes with high bottom brackets the last 25 years and really like them. I think the advantages out weigh the disadvantages. The vpp seems to be either to stiff or two soft depending on how I have it setup. My bike has the RockShox rear shock. That said it is not a bad bike and does what it does fairly well.
Here's to sweat in your eye.
This is great forum chatter. Im trying to get a demo ride. Im 5'9" with 30 inch inseam and am trying to get a med sized demo...
and while im at it i may be getting a canadian goose jacket......
I owned a Pivot for 11/2 years, nice trail bike, then to a TBc for 2 years, better handling IMO, then to a Ells Evolution, then to my current TBLTc. All bikes have a sweet spot based on their design goals and construction. For me both the TBc and TBLTc had that wow since the first ride. Try to demo several bikes and the answer will be clear.
Lraving aside the "which bike" question, of course it's time. Always fun to sample a slightly different version of this great sport.
Keep in mind that whichever FS bike you choose, when you compare it to your rigid SS, you're gonna give some and get some, if you know what I mean!
The drive towards achievement and success is the motive power of civilization.
I loved my Tallboy, before it got stolen, and I have an LTc on order, but there are a lot of good options out there. Niner has great stuff, but check out Rocky Mountain- they really have some great bikes this year in carbon. They have really stepped up their game.
I loved my time in Sedona on a Tallboy. I own a Jet 9 RDO and it isn't a better bike then the Tallboy. Very sweet riding bikes!
I bought the tallboy when it came out, when there were few (or no) other options like it, and still love it. Haven't ridden the Niner, or any of the newer options, but have owned each iteration of the sultan. Still no buyers remorse here - love the Tallboy, best bike I've owned. Yeah - I get a few more pedal strikes than on my sb-95, but I still love the way the Tallboy rides and handles. If I had it to do over again, I'd get it again. That said - once the sb-95 is available in carbon, it could replace both.
Took a trip to State College PA last year - great trails, Tallboy was excellent. Longer travel version would be great for that place I would think.
State college and dualie sound great. ive only ridden my rigid ss and hardtail front suss there. i was at Thorpe last week and boy was it nasty with the extra leaves covering all the rocks.....this is when i always say----ild like a dualie....also was in shenandoah and thought....boy id like a dualie.....and the whole enchilada and a ringwood/allamuchy so......see a pattern. convince me!!!!
big boys gotta tune
I talked to some people about this on my tallboy, and for heavier guys it helps to have the shock tuned to a firmer compression damping through a place like push industries.
Originally Posted by mudncrud
The Rock Shox monarch is not anywhere near as good as the fox float, i tried both.
That transformed the bike, I think its designed to be dialled for a 160 lb guy, and I haven't been that for a while. #firstworldproblems
seriously though, shock re-tune fixes bump absorption, mid stroke wallow, and the pedal strikes issue. Its an eye-opener.
My fully rigid for a million years buddy just got a Salsa Spearfish and absolutely loves it. He has tried suspension on and off for years and it didn't stick. This bike is a keeper though.
Just enough squish, but not so much a dedicated rigid rider dislikes it.
Originally Posted by buddhak
Tallboy Carbon is a great bike. One of my all time favorites. I've owned 2, a medium for 1.5 years after they first came out. Then last season I went back to one and rode a large. My brother has been on the same one since the first year they came out. He rode mine, and for the first time in his cycling life - said I have to have one and made it happen. He usually rides frames for several seasons, whereas I change frequently.
So, it's a great bike. Flip side I broke mine 3 times, 3 different ways (rear triangle at the pivot, front triangle at the seattube (on the first bike), and a cracked linkage on the 2nd.
Santa Cruz was AWESOME about warranty. Can't say enough and they let you deal with them directly.
I now am trying a Scalpel 29er 2, 2013 version. I can compare the two a bit if you like.
On the tallboy, I'd say if you go for one, spring for the 142 x 12 rear, or at least run a 135 x 10 (what I did). It will help stiffen it up. I'm 190-195 lbs, and never had a problem. That said, I now have noticed the Scalpel 29er is stiffer torsionally from front to rear. Also have to mention the lefty is part of that package.
Tallboy is a neutral to slightly slack handler depending on fork travel (I'd suggest 110) and is a pretty plush ride if you run 25% sag. You can always firm it up with the PP or added pressure (though you may not get full travel). VPP works really well for the most part, though yes, in the small chainring you can get some stinkbugging. You also do get more pedal strikes than most bikes. Is it bad, well not too bad as I rode one for 2.5 years and dealt with it. But something to consider if you ride a lot of rocky terrain. If you ran 120mm of travel up front that will also help with that. I got a bit less at 110 than 100 up front.
It's a really, really good all arounder.
Scalpel - well, I only have 100 miles on it thus far. So far it is the best handling 29er I've ever owned in singletrack, it absolutely rails. Relax Tallboy owners, the Tallboy is also excellent. But, if I ranked the 2 the Scalpel is a better singletrack handler.
It's also a bit less plush, and I am running it at about 25% sag (to get full travel).
Torsionally from front to rear the Scalpel is stiffer than the tallboy, not gobs better, but better. Part of this is the Lefty. While I'm still dialing in the pressure on the front shock (mine is a 2013) it's pretty damn stiff. Again, I don't think gobs better than the Fox Float 15qr, but it seems that it might be.
Flip side, on the 2013 Lefty you only will get 100mm of travel, and thus far I've only gotten 90 so far, that's running 25% sag on a couple big hits. The 2013 lefty's travel feels more like a traditional fork than previous lefty's (not quite as supple so far on the small stuff).
I am getting less pedal strikes, but again it's not night and day... just a smidge.
I think the Scalpel is likely the better of the two if you plan on doing a lot of racing. But it's not as plush, and likely not quite as versitile.
Can't say which one I like better. Love the tallboy overall, and thus far I really dig the scalpel. Both have some pro's and con's. Cannondale has a lifetime warranty, Santa Cruz has killer service and a great crash replacement.
"The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."
I will be ridding my new Jet9 RDO tonight for the 1st time with XX1 on it & am hoping it doesn't upset the rear suspenion in the granny gears.
I wonder how the Tallboy would cope given how it pedals in the granny gears.
Originally Posted by Green Giant
We get it...you don't like Tallboys.
There are many who do.
2015 Tallboy LTc Fox 36 150mm
Spearfish is a great bike that often gets overlooked in these discussions, IMO.
Originally Posted by Enel
In addition to what Enel said, the Spearfish frame is pretty light - probably close in weight to the Tallboy carbon if not lighter. And it is about 1/3 the cost.