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  1. #1
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    Tallboy VS. 2011 Epic 29er S-Works for XC riding and racing

    Which would you take and think is a better bike for racing and XC riding? Let's just talk about the bike and not consider the price point for now.... Your 2 cents. Thanks !!

    1) Tallboy: Light build from frame: XX drivetrain, Reba XX, Stans Race wheelset, Magura Marta
    2) 2011 S-works Epic 29er Stock with carbon wheelset (stock)

    Tallboy Pros:
    * 2 bottle cages (Epic one)
    * Standard components ...proprietary stuff on Epic (rear wheelset axle, BB press in)
    * Maybe better for those leasurely rides

    Epic Pros:
    * Light carbon wheelet- reviews seem to be really good
    * Maybe better for racing- stiffer ride
    * lifetime warranty (Tallboy - 2 years on frame)

    Equal:
    Build weight with same components

    Undecided:
    * Is Brain suspension better than RP23 and standard REBA on Tallboy
    * Ride quality- please help here I did not ride either of the 2 bikes
    * Now price point: Tallboy probaby cheaper when built to similar specs (except for the carbon wheelset). Even if Epic is purchased with some discount (sponsor plan). Option to consider is to buy Epic Expert and order the Carbon wheelset with it (will save some $$)
    * ADDED THIS LATER: Also which bike would you rather take on technical 100miler course - something like Shanandoah 100 or Wilderness 101
    Last edited by Ride_2_Fast; 12-29-2010 at 06:51 PM.

  2. #2
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    Don't know bout the validity of the "Equal Build weight with same components" statement, but that aside and without taking anything away from either bike, to me it to comes down to how serious you are about your racing. If you love to ride and have fun racing and wanted one bike to do both I'd get the Santa Cruz. On the other hand, if you loved to ride and were looking to podium each time you toed the line, I'd get the Specialized but that's just me.
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  3. #3
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    There are also significant differences in the geometry and handling of both bikes. That would also be something to consider depending on what you like and are looking for. Both have ben covered ad-naseum, but make sure you do your research.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  4. #4
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    I have a Tallboy, XX, ENVE carbon hoops, FOX 120 and the bike is amazing. I like to ride more than race, but it was perfect for some XC races last year and it had a good day at Leadville as well.
    I am not sold on the "brain" from Spec.

    Whatever you buy won't matter as much as your engine once you start racing.

    Fun bikes either way.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride_2_Fast
    Which would you take and think is a better bike for racing and XC riding? Let's just talk about the bike and not consider the price point for now.... Your 2 cents. Thanks !!
    Specialized has XC race geometry written all over it. Tallboy with the 100mm fork for sure if racing XC. The lifetime warranty may come in handy down the road if you keep the bike. For that amount of money (both bikes), it sure would be nice if you could toss a leg over each of them to "feel" for yourself. At $9400, the Epic shouldn't be your only other option over a Tallboy.

    BB

  6. #6
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    Ive done short test rides on each, I'm not an XC racer. the tallboy is a hoot and if i where to build a light FS bike it would be my #1 pick of anything on the market its fast and fun. The specialized is a dirt roadie rig with too twichy and on the front wheel geometry for the way i like to ride. These two bikes strike me as completly opposite as you could get for a 4" 29er.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by reydin
    Don't know bout the validity of the "Equal Build weight with same components" statement, but that aside and without taking anything away from either bike, to me it to comes down to how serious you are about your racing. If you love to ride and have fun racing and wanted one bike to do both I'd get the Santa Cruz. On the other hand, if you loved to ride and were looking to podium each time you toed the line, I'd get the Specialized but that's just me.
    Good advice.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown
    Specialized has XC race geometry written all over it........
    For that amount of money (both bikes), it sure would be nice if you could toss a leg over each of them to "feel" for yourself. At $9400, the Epic shouldn't be your only other option over a Tallboy.

    BB
    Bruce.. .sure these are not the only competitors.
    And maybe should not even be compared?...see what Endomaniac is saying they seem to him quite different, I want to ask him to elaboreate more on that...
    Where I am coming from : the Tallboy seems to be the most favorite 29er all around/race bike in carbon. GF Superfly 100 is also favorite- had issues with frame cracking and who knows how will the 2011 frame be holding up. Not considering it now....
    So I want to compare the favorite tallboy to new addition to family S-works 29er epic.
    Which seems like bike on steroids and for top $$ too. Do people think this bike compares to Tallboy for most part. Is it better, has some new technology - 142+ hubs,.. It is pure race bike and nothing else. Is it crazy stupid expensive. Is it show off bike only. etc...If someone tells me it is uncomfortable say for 100 mile races, will I want it??
    All those are inputs I am looking for.
    I am sure many of us also buy bike when specials are available and opportunity comes- so for all those reasons I am trying to compare those 2 now.
    Thanks

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endomaniac
    Ive done short test rides on each, I'm not an XC racer. the tallboy is a hoot and if i where to build a light FS bike it would be my #1 pick of anything on the market its fast and fun. The specialized is a dirt roadie rig with too twichy and on the front wheel geometry for the way i like to ride. These two bikes strike me as completly opposite as you could get for a 4" 29er.
    Thanks Endomaniac
    Did you demo/ride the S-works with narrow stock tires? that might have add to front instability.
    Also stock stem is 105mm relatively short- increasing size may slow the steering...

    Do you realy feel you would not like the S-works for everyday riding? For someone not racing this bike, I am sure I would not even look at it; Tallboy makes so much more sence for fun riding...
    I want to get feedback mostly from those that have this bike or like this bike (including Expert Epic 29er too) and plan to race it....

  10. #10
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    Anyone can chime in how these 2 suspension platforms compare as far as efficiency....
    Tallboy with RP23,VPP design and S-works epic with the Brain system.

    * efficiency
    * responsiveness to terrain
    * how plush
    * tuneability
    * bobbing

    Personally I like RP23 OK
    Had Brain on Epic in the old days, did not like it much (7 years back)
    Best to me was Trek design back when they used to use rear shock with lockout such as on their FS bikes- Trek Fuel with RockShox MC3 Remote
    Thanks for more comments...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride_2_Fast
    Anyone can chime in how these 2 suspension platforms compare as far as efficiency....
    Tallboy with RP23,VPP design and S-works epic with the Brain system.

    * efficiency
    * responsiveness to terrain
    * how plush
    * tuneability
    * bobbing

    Personally I like RP23 OK
    Had Brain on Epic in the old days, did not like it much (7 years back)
    Best to me was Trek design back when they used to use rear shock with lockout such as on their FS bikes- Trek Fuel with RockShox MC3 Remote
    Thanks for more comments...
    Efficiency is kinda relative, but I think I get what you want...

    The Brain is a very polarizing deal...some love it , some label it as a crutch to prop up the aging FSR design. Either way, I cannot imagine a better platform for racing efforts. It gives a great response to pedal input and yet will be all the suspension you likely need for race day. However, it will not be 'plush' as it typically has some resistance to following every nuance in the trail (depending on how you set the Brain). Feels the same in any chainring combo.

    The TB was not my fav pedaling experience, but I liked it much better with the RS Monarch shock on there as it gave me the results I wanted without resorting to Pro Pedal. But, the TB is nicer if you want to stay seated over rougher terrain. Most VPP fans seem to love the RP23 on there...I found it too active. Did not like the anti-squat in the smaller CRs on the TB much.

    A bit of saddle time in the new JET9 seems to put it in the middle ground here...feels alllllmost as good out of the saddle pedaling as the Epic but is awfully good in the saddle too. Of course, you did not mention the JET9...sorry to muddy the water.
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  12. #12
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    I tend to not like proprietary components.
    It might work fine now but what happens a few years from now when you need to repair/replace. It'd be a shame to have to replace a frame because of a busted shock.

    I went with a TallBoy and have no regrets.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeonD
    I tend to not like proprietary components.
    It might work fine now but what happens a few years from now when you need to repair/replace. It'd be a shame to have to replace a frame because of a busted shock.

    I went with a TallBoy and have no regrets.
    Yes, that is a point. However, I cannot imagine not being able to repair/replace that shock for the reasonable life of that frame. Now ten years down the road? Who knows, but seldom do folks keep a bike like this for 5 years even.

    Racers always looking for the 'cutting edge', etc.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endomaniac
    Ive done short test rides on each, I'm not an XC racer. the tallboy is a hoot and if i where to build a light FS bike it would be my #1 pick of anything on the market its fast and fun. The specialized is a dirt roadie rig with too twichy and on the front wheel geometry for the way i like to ride. These two bikes strike me as completly opposite as you could get for a 4" 29er.
    You're wrong about the Epic 29er being twitchy in comparison to the Tallboy. Unless of course the Tallboy you were riding had a 120mm, rather than 100mm, travel fork.

    The Epic 29er actually has a slacker HA than the Tallboy with the same travel fork.

    Specialized has made many improvements to the Epic 29er this year. The ones that I've noticed most:

    1. The rear end doesn't flex. At all. The 142+ rear hub and 12mm TA make a huge difference.

    2. They've made some changes to pivot locations on the rear which makes it noticeably more plush than previous models, even with the brain on full firm. The brain also reacts noticeably quicker than previous models.

    As others have said, in this price range you can have pretty much any bike you'd like so it might be worth it to look into other options as well.

    The street price for the S-Works Epic 29er is closer to $8000-$8500 at most shops. Which, although still expensive, is a reasonable price considering the parts it comes with. I really doubt you'll be able to find a new bike with a similar spec for noticeably cheaper.
    Last edited by CasteelG; 12-20-2010 at 01:33 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeonD
    I tend to not like proprietary components.
    It might work fine now but what happens a few years from now when you need to repair/replace. It'd be a shame to have to replace a frame because of a busted shock.

    I went with a TallBoy and have no regrets.
    I'm sure Specialized, one of the largest bike companies out there, doesn't have tons of replacement parts.

    And the warranty Specialized has is the real deal (Although the lifetime warranty is actually only for the front triangle; the rear triangle is covered for 5 years; parts are covered for 1 year). I had the seat mast on my 2003 Enduro crack 2 years ago... Specialized had a 2009 Stumpjumper FSR Pro frame for me in less than a week. Free of charge.

    I've heard really good things about Santa Cruz's warranty as well. And both companies will usually replace parts, or get you a new frame, at cost if you have something that breaks out of warranty.
    Last edited by CasteelG; 12-20-2010 at 01:49 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtroy
    Yes, that is a point. However, I cannot imagine not being able to repair/replace that shock for the reasonable life of that frame. Now ten years down the road? Who knows, but seldom do folks keep a bike like this for 5 years even.

    Racers always looking for the 'cutting edge', etc.
    You are absolutely right: My frames either cracked in 2 years or I sold the bike after 3 year. So they were not around too long to get outdated....
    What might be more difficult is to fix your bike when you are somewhere on vacation riding it and something brakes and local shop does not have another wheel to sell or loan because it is 142+ mm hub. But even that, seems specialized did a research and is not blindly starting something totally new...... 142+ hubs should be available by shimano, DT swiss and I read Chris king too... So there is some rationale and industry movement behind this...

    Why I mentioned proprietary stuff at the beginning was that I will not be able to reuse all my old wheelsets for the specialized epic and will have to go with their new standard...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CasteelG
    You're wrong about the Epic 29er being twitchy in comparison to the Tallboy......

    Thank you so much for correcting me. My perceptions of the reality around me are often far from that which others encounter. My inability to effectively ride the brand of bicycle you find superior is a sure sign of my shortcomings.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endomaniac
    Thank you so much for correcting me. My perceptions of the reality around me are often far from that which others encounter. My inability to effectively ride the brand of bicycle you find superior is a sure sign of my shortcomings.
    The numbers say you're wrong. You specifically mention "front wheel geometry", by which I assume you were referring to the HTA, which is .5 degrees slacker on the Epic.

    I've ridden both and didn't experience what you did, at all.

    Protip: I've never stated which brand I perceive as superior. Assumptions are fun.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by CasteelG
    The numbers say you're wrong. ....
    Protip: I've never stated which brand I perceive as superior. Assumptions are fun.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride_2_Fast
    You are absolutely right: My frames either cracked in 2 years or I sold the bike after 3 year. So they were not around too long to get outdated....
    What might be more difficult is to fix your bike when you are somewhere on vacation riding it and something brakes and local shop does not have another wheel to sell or loan because it is 142+ mm hub. But even that, seems specialized did a research and is not blindly starting something totally new...... 142+ hubs should be available by shimano, DT swiss and I read Chris king too... So there is some rationale and industry movement behind this...

    Why I mentioned proprietary stuff at the beginning was that I will not be able to reuse all my old wheelsets for the specialized epic and will have to go with their new standard...
    Yeah, that is a bummer. We often get caught in that in-between zone when standards change. Tapered steerers, 15QR, 142 and 142+, etc. But, in the end, the bennies add up. I sure don't want to go back to straight steerers and 9mm QRs.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endomaniac
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    So, because I ride an Epic means I think that Specialized is a better brand than Santa Cruz?

    Taste in bikes, like taste in music, is highly subjective.

    I test rode many different bikes before coming to a decision. I liked the Epic, and the LBS that I was getting it from, the best.

    Hell, I probably would have gone with the Epic even if I liked another bike slightly more, because I want to help support my friends. Who happen to work at a shop where the Epic is the only bike that fit what I was looking for.

  22. #22
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    In my opinion, Specialized has achieved exactly what they wanted with the 2011 sworks epic. They priced it as the highest priced 29er full suspension bike therefore creating the perception that it is the benchmark for all 29er full suspension bikes. The price is flippin ridiculous. There are a lot of other options available that keep a lot of money in your wallet.

  23. #23
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    Is the head tube on the Tallboy really only 110mm long for an XL? That gets put in the "con" column for sure...

    G
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Live
    Is the head tube on the Tallboy really only 110mm long for an XL? That gets put in the "con" column for sure...

    G
    Allows for the use of a standard Lefty, a "pro". An XL Tallboy is also smaller than an XL Epic and they offer an XXL option, another "pro".

    For those who want a race bike with high bars and are unable to figure out spacers, I suppose it could be a problem.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by LFJ
    In my opinion, Specialized has achieved exactly what they wanted with the 2011 sworks epic. They priced it as the highest priced 29er full suspension bike therefore creating the perception that it is the benchmark for all 29er full suspension bikes. The price is flippin ridiculous. There are a lot of other options available that keep a lot of money in your wallet.
    I have the very same feeling about the price point and perceived benchmark.
    But since the market is so scarse at this level and there is practically nothing to compete with this bike as a complete bike and complete package.. they may actually have a winner there.
    Superfly 100 with it's bad reputation from 2010 and no one knowing how the new 2011 frames will be holding up and components lower than those of Epic and no carbon wheelset, is not really not a comptetitor.
    What else is there in your view?
    Can you name similar bike with SIMILAR performance that leaves cash in your pocket?

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Live
    Is the head tube on the Tallboy really only 110mm long for an XL? That gets put in the "con" column for sure...

    G
    Nice catch on that one - headtube... I am already using ton of spacers on my current setup and headture there is 130mm long...
    So with 110 mm I will have to add 20mm more spacers below stem or steeper stem. That may amount to uncut steerer on the fork.. it will look ugly
    Definitely a con in my view...
    The argument for Lefty fork ... not that I would not like it for performance or weight but who wants to mess up with even more proprietary stuff... maybe some but not me...

    But I like the fact the Tallboy XL is smaller than typical XL in other brands...

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by CasteelG



    The street price for the S-Works Epic 29er is closer to $8000-$8500 at most shops. Which, although still expensive, is a reasonable price considering the parts it comes with. I really doubt you'll be able to find a new bike with a similar spec for noticeably cheaper.
    If anyone out there is stupid enough to to spend that much on a bike and believe all the hype these folks pound up your a## you deserve it. Made in Tiawan to boot, with 1 dollar a day wages for there highly skilled employees, some support this crap. What a pitty.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride_2_Fast
    Nice catch on that one - headtube......
    The XL Tallboy has 615mm stack and 450mm reach by my measurements. That means stack is the same as the L Epic though reach is 12mm longer. The XL Epic has more stack but is also longer with more reach.

    I would think the differences in reach are worth more consideration than head tube length.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnyside
    If anyone out there is stupid enough to to spend that much on a bike and believe all the hype these folks pound up your a## you deserve it. Made in Tiawan to boot, with 1 dollar a day wages for there highly skilled employees, some support this crap. What a pitty.
    I wonder if the Taiwanese workers can spell better than you?

    Go away.
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigsj
    Allows for the use of a standard Lefty, a "pro". An XL Tallboy is also smaller than an XL Epic and they offer an XXL option, another "pro".

    For those who want a race bike with high bars and are unable to figure out spacers, I suppose it could be a problem.
    Who said they wanted high bars? Or, could not figure out spacers? I do think the point about the Lefty is a good one though. Wonder if that is what they had in mind?

    G
    Last edited by G-Live; 12-20-2010 at 10:38 PM.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endomaniac
    Ive done short test rides on each, I'm not an XC racer. the tallboy is a hoot and if i where to build a light FS bike it would be my #1 pick of anything on the market its fast and fun. The specialized is a dirt roadie rig with too twichy and on the front wheel geometry for the way i like to ride. These two bikes strike me as completly opposite as you could get for a 4" 29er.
    I can't speak to the S-Works yet but I believe the geometry of the Carbon Comp is similar and I've done 60 miles or so on one - I would not describe it as twitchy at all and the Brain is freaking amazing.

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    Thanks for the link... I remember reading this long time ago... :-)
    Only slight difference- he is comparing the aluminum heavier version of epic MARATHON.
    But still giving it edge over tallboy for his kind of riding.
    I think that article is realy good...

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride_2_Fast
    Thanks for the link... I remember reading this long time ago... :-)
    Only slight difference- he is comparing the aluminum heavier version of epic MARATHON.
    But still giving it edge over tallboy for his kind of riding.
    I think that article is realy good...
    Just for the sake of this thread...I did ride the Carbon Epic Expert to compare to the Marathon. Overall weight was about the same, as the parts on the Carbon Expert bring the heft up a bit compared to the XX suite on the Marathon.

    The hour or so that I rode it included a couple thousand foot, smooth fireroad climb (to 11k'....UUUUghhh, gasp) and a fast and twisty, rooty singletrack while chasing a crazy Specialized marketing wag riding a 26" Enduro. I did not give up very much in the battle. Score one for the old guy on the big wheels.

    SO based on that....the Expert Carbon felt stiffer overall from wheel to wheel. As well, there was an impression that each pedal stroke gave a more immediate response or 'snap' to it. But....it also felt a bit less like a trail bike to me then the Marathon which I think is a darn good all-rounder given some caveats. I would race the carbon frame for sure, even at a comparable weight between the two. I would settle for the alu version for general trail riding or endurance type stuff and not feel like I was missing much.

    If that makes sense.

    The TB is kinda in the middle of the two in some ways....lighter frame than the Marathon but with trail bike potential depending on parts selection.
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  35. #35
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    I'll chime in based on my demo experience, I have tested both the Spec Epic Comp 29 Carbon and a SPX build Tallboy. For the $600 price difference of the tallboy, there was carbon bars, Full XT 10speed, Fox RLC Fit 15mm and Elixir CR brakes which were upgrades over the Comp build that came with a mix of X9/X7, a Reba RLT (same as the '10 reba race) lesser brakes and a shimano cassette (not that its bad, but why not SRAM w/ SRAM). Also the SRAM crankset was stamped with "Use SRAM chains only" but is spec'd with a KMC. Sure that may be SRAM ensuring residual profits, but still Specialized did it.

    Both bikes felt good, but Specialized is notorious for cutting corners in unseen areas like chains, cassettes, bearings etc.

    As for the ride. I really didn't like taking the time to setup the Brain. It worked well, but it still didn't feel as intuitive moving from the lockout to full plush and back again. Often it caused the back end to hop. It pedaled well and maybe slightly faster than the Tallboy on very tame hardpacked. I could really ramp the speed fast on it. Once it it got to roots and rocks, the Tallboy felt more controlled and the bump absorption was better every where. I have to add that setting up the RP23 is much easier than the brain..it was no nonsense but that is also because its familiar territory. I would give a slight edge in climbing to the Epic situationally. It climbed fast, but didn't feel like it had as much grip or was digging in as the Tallboy, which if the conditions were bad, I imagine the tallboy would be a better climber, not quite as fast, but not slipping as much. I also liked the fact that there was fork options with the Tallboy. You can run 100mm all the way up to a whopping 140mm fork!! Not that I would ever do that, but it shows the versatility that the frame offers.

    I don't think you could go wrong with either bike, but I feel the Tallboy was a more complete package in all the different builds. Everything had matching groups and part kits.

    I think you also have to look at the misconception about warranties that everyone likes to voice:

    Specialized has a lifetime warranty for the first frame. The replacement frame has a 1 year warranty, and after that is considered out of date, and you will have to purchase a new frame. 1 year warranty on bearings and shock parts.

    Santa Cruz frames have a 2 year warranty, lifetime warranty on bearings, two year warranty on the shock parts. Free crash replacement for the first 2 years. After that, replacement parts will be available to the owner at a minimal charge (cost) for the life of the bike. If you are going to have a manufacture defect, chances are it will be within the first 2 years.

    For customer service, Specialized requires you to go through the dealer. For Santa Cruz, you can speak to them directly about anything regarding your bike. To me, that is a superior support channel..but that is opinion.

    Also all service must be performed by a qualified Specialized mechanic (some Jo Schmo that gets paid minimum wage and just getting into the bike industry wearing a specialized workshop shirt). Santa Cruz provides all DIY's in a simple easy to read format so you can do the work yourself which if you are like me, don't trust the "Jo Schmo's" when I have been working on bikes for nearly 20yrs, and I know I will be more thorough and meticulous on my own bike.

    Yes, outside of the performance aspect of the bikes, I am favoring the Tallboy as a whole. When I was comparing the bikes, I really wanted to steer away from judging components because those are all changeable, the frame is the constant so the foundation that is established as support by the bike manufacture is important to me.

    After all that, I decided to go with the Tallboy, and it will be here Thursday, just in time for Christmas
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver
    Both bikes felt good, but Specialized is notorious for cutting corners in unseen areas like chains, cassettes, bearings etc.
    Maybe in the past... I've personally never heard of Specialized doing this. I've never had any issues with the bearings or bushings on any of my Specialized bikes.

    The S-works comes with an XX cassette and XX chain. How is that cutting corners?

    How is the KMC chain and SLX cassette on the Comp/Comp Carbon cutting corners?

    Speaking of misconceptions...

    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver
    Specialized has a lifetime warranty for the first frame. The replacement frame has a 1 year warranty, and after that is considered out of date, and you will have to purchase a new frame.
    I know for a fact that is false.

    Firstly: Specialized's Warranty

    It doesn't mention anything about a frame replaced under warranty being covered for only one year.

    The 2003 Enduro frame that was replaced under warranty for me 2 years ago was itself a replacement for a 2002 Enduro frame that had the same issue. I received the 2003 Enduro frame in 2002.

    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver
    Santa Cruz frames have a 2 year warranty, lifetime warranty on bearings, two year warranty on the shock parts. Free crash replacement for the first 2 years. After that, replacement parts will be available to the owner at a minimal charge (cost) for the life of the bike. If you are going to have a manufacture defect, chances are it will be within the first 2 years.
    Specialized also offers a crash replacement program where frames and parts of frames can be purchased at cost.

    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver
    Also all service must be performed by a qualified Specialized mechanic (some Jo Schmo that gets paid minimum wage and just getting into the bike industry wearing a specialized workshop shirt). Santa Cruz provides all DIY's in a simple easy to read format so you can do the work yourself which if you are like me, don't trust the "Jo Schmo's" when I have been working on bikes for nearly 20yrs, and I know I will be more thorough and meticulous on my own bike.
    This is also false.

    Take a look at the warranty again, bikes just need to be initially assembled by an authorized Specialized dealer to be covered under warranty.

    Everything else (minus the yearly service on the Brain shock and branded forks) can be done by you, your grandma, or anyone else, so long as they know what they're doing.
    Last edited by CasteelG; 12-21-2010 at 10:57 AM.

  37. #37
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    money

    What I meant about other options that keep more money in your wallet is...
    A Santa Cruz Tallboy may ride just as good with less components and less money. I have never ridden the Tallboy but I did ride last years aluminum epic marathon and an Sworks carbon hardtail. The aluminum epic marathon is a nice riding full suspension bike. I am not knocking Specialized in any way other than the price of the Sworks. Maybe the Expert level epic would be a good option instead of the Sworks.
    I wouldn't rule out the Superfly 100 especially since its in its 2nd year and don't forget this is Specialized's first forray into carbon full suspension 29ers. Last years Sworks 29er carbon hardtail was a poor design (the 2011 is already a redesign after only 1 year) my first one broke in less than 2 hours and just look at ebay to see how many brand new 2010hardtail frames were warranty replacements both geared and SS versions.



    Quote Originally Posted by Ride_2_Fast
    I have the very same feeling about the price point and perceived benchmark.
    But since the market is so scarse at this level and there is practically nothing to compete with this bike as a complete bike and complete package.. they may actually have a winner there.
    Superfly 100 with it's bad reputation from 2010 and no one knowing how the new 2011 frames will be holding up and components lower than those of Epic and no carbon wheelset, is not really not a comptetitor.
    What else is there in your view?
    Can you name similar bike with SIMILAR performance that leaves cash in your pocket?

  38. #38
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    Well where to start as it seems this thread has gone all over the map.

    I will say that I had the same question or the same choice between the 2011 SWORKS Epic 29er or the Tall Boy it is a tough decision, as both are amazing bikes that can be built within similar weights (around a pound apart)I was fortunate enough to be able to ride them back to back and eventually I ended up with the SWORKS. It was a painful decision as I have talked a ton of trash about the big S but they have come a long way with this one.
    Other similar bikes I own- lenz Lev 4" about 26Lb"s Milk Money about 24lb's. I have raced XC and DH enjoy aggressive trail riding as much as I enjoy long painful climbs.

    What I liked
    Tall Boy - Very little Pogo when you jump on it, relatively stiff, light and just feels fun. I rode it with a fox F29 100 mm and although it seemed to steer nice and fast it was solid felt like a bike I would love to get on some steeps and let her rip especially with a 120. Feels more point and shoot

    Sworks - My first brain experience has been amazing, I spend a lot of time on a rigid SS and this thing can be tuned to climb like the same while not squatting at all ft or rear from downward forces yet amazes me when I look down to watch the rear compress over a rock so supple that you don't feel it, I can not say enough about the suspension. you can also loosen it up a bit and it is as active as my Lev but with less bob. there is a happy medium in the that simply amazes me. uber light, High tech and relatively exclusive.

    ended up taking home the SWORKS and when I woke up it was like the morning after and she was still there. Buyers regret set in heavy so I decided I had to go hit something I used to riding to accurately gauge what this thing was able to do. I climbed up taking the worst lines possible, over all the rocks I could find and it is truly a billy goat, I have never climbed so fast. feeling a little better about my choice I spun it around at the top for what I thought was going to be the shortcoming of this rig, descending. I have never been so wrong in my life, I left the brain setting where they were on the climb and simply flew down the trail hit some techy chunky stuff on the side just to see how it would do and I can honestly say that this thing rails corners, uber stable, butter over the rocks I am so stoked that I got this bike I have not looked back in regret.

    Bottom line if I was to do it again, even if I had to pay retail, I would and smile all the way home...

    your results may very, I am not employed by Specialized or any shop that sells their stuff.
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    You will die for NOTHING!!

  39. #39
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    Here is the way I looked at it....

    First I had a 2008 Spc Epic S-Works loaded w/XTR etc

    Rode the Epic 29er Comp, I know aluminum, but wait, price at my shop $3300

    then I rode the cheapest TB at $3,500...and was in love...then I rode my 2008 and thought man mabe go for the Epic it has a BRAIN and you know how to set it up etc...so I rode the TB again and was sold...especially when I thought of it this way:

    Even if the Epic is better the frame alone is $4,400 list, the TB $2,400!!!
    And there is only one other (right?) FS CARBON out there and I mean FULL CARBON
    (GF SUPERFLY) front and rear triangle...so, instead of a frame for $4,400 I got a full TB with a few minor upgrades til the money starts flowing again...

    So, yeah maybe if I had $9,400 maybe...but I think I got the best for the money...maybe not the best overall....but the BEST VALUE etc...IMHO

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by cale399
    Even if the Epic is better the frame alone is $4,400 list, the TB $2,400!!!
    And there is only one other (right?) FS CARBON out there and I mean FULL CARBON
    (GF SUPERFLY) front and rear triangle...so, instead of a frame for $4,400 I got a full TB with a few minor upgrades til the money starts flowing again...
    Hmmm.
    Maybe you and everyone else knows that but let's just be clear:
    TB frame only $2440

    Epic S-works is FRAMESET $4400 and includes:
    Reba fork with brain and carbon steerer
    headset
    carbon post
    seat clamp

    Add all of those to $2440 (say 700+ 50+100+10) ==> $3300 TB equivalent Frameset

    You will still save with TB but not as drastic as you put it..
    For the full bike:
    As someone else noted on the forum elsewhere to build TB really nice with the specs a bit closer to S-works he spent $6300 on the build....

    Thanks for your comparison of those 2 and to your old bike too..

  41. #41
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    By the appearance of the Speci, it screams I want to race! I'm not a Speci guy AT ALL but damn, the Big S did a good job on this one. The TB definitely has a more trail look to it. However, looking at the geo. alone I'd say the Tallboy has the edge. Comparing medium sizes frames the TB has a lower bb (12.8" vs 13.03"), the TB has a steeper ha (71 vs. 70.5), the Tallboy has a shorter wheelbase (42.6" vs. 43.66"), the TB has a shorter chainstays ( 17.5" vs. 17.6") and the TB also has a lower standover (29.1" vs 30.15"). Unless you are getting a smokin deal on the Speci., I'd much rather have the fun of customizing a TB.

    Not mine, but this guy is claiming 21.16lbs and it probably wasn't anywhere near the cost of the Speci. At this level of bikes it's all rider and I don't think you would be any slower or faster between the two,
    C-DALE FLASH 29 Carbon 2 (19.6 lbs)
    C-DALE BB1

  42. #42
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    Just curious, I see a LOT of positive feedback relating to the Tallboy and the RP-23 shock, but I have no interest in a carbon frame ... does Santa Cruz make any bike that would be an aluminum equivalent of the Tallboy?

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-bar
    Not mine, but this guy is claiming 21.16lbs and it probably wasn't anywhere near the cost of the Speci.
    I have difficulty believing that given what others have weighed this bike at - e.g., Twenty Nine Inches weighed it at 27 lbs 15 oz, and while you would cut a few pounds off it with lighter components, cutting 6.8 lbs is a LOT.

  44. #44
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    Mine without exotic components/wheels weighs 27 lbs even, it's a large

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by kfb66
    Just curious, I see a LOT of positive feedback relating to the Tallboy and the RP-23 shock, but I have no interest in a carbon frame ... does Santa Cruz make any bike that would be an aluminum equivalent of the Tallboy?
    Not in a 29" version. The closest they have with 26" wheels it's called the Blur LT but it has 5.5 inches of travel.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by cale399
    Mine without exotic components/wheels weighs 27 lbs even, it's a large
    Ok, but that's still almost 6 lbs, over 2600 grams, to remove - it's not like the thing comes with boat anchor components as-is... I'm not saying it's impossible, but I'd be very interested to see what he removed and what it saved if that's true.

  47. #47
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    Here is another TB at 23.67lbs. From the look of it, this TB has a heavier fork, rims/tires.



    Build list

    Fork: Fox 32 F29 FIT RLC
    Stem: Thomson Masterpiece (switching soon to New Ultimate due to frame change)
    Bars: 3T LTD carbon
    Shifters: XTR
    Grips: Ergon GX1
    Cables: Jagwire
    Brakes: Formula R1
    Seat: Selle SMP Evolution
    Post: Thomson Masterpiece
    Crankset: KCNC K-Tpye XC-2
    Pedals: Speedplay Frog Ti
    Chain: KMC Gold
    Fr. Derailleur: XTR
    Rear Derailleur: XTR Shadow
    Cassette: XTR
    Rims: Stan's ZTR Crest
    Tires: Kenda Small Block 8 (non-tubeless with Stan's)
    Hubs: Tune King / Kong
    Spokes: DT
    Skewers: Tune.

    Total weight: 23.67


    Here the original thread
    Tallboy Buildout
    C-DALE FLASH 29 Carbon 2 (19.6 lbs)
    C-DALE BB1

  48. #48
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    Here is a thread where someone has posted a detailed breakdown of a Large Tallboy that he claims will be complete at under 18.5 pounds. Yes, for many it's an impractical weight weenie build but it shows that sub-20 pounds is possible if that's what you really want.

    My XL Tallboy, once complete, will be under 23 pounds despite larger tubed tires, AM rims, average hubs, a 340g saddle, and no weight limited parts. Getting another pound off of it would be a cakewalk, especially if I didn't mind compromising function as others do.

  49. #49
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    Read the forums,the TB is the benchmark when if comes to 29erFS.The Spec may get there but it has not proven itself yet.The ONLY benchmark the Spec has set so far is price.On paper the Spec looks good but lets see if all the inhouse(hubs,wheels shocks etc)hold up.After 5 epics i gave up on rear shock failures and am now riding santa cruz.I would not take the chance of spending that amount of money on the specialized only to find out later that there are parts that might fail.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by kfb66
    Just curious, I see a LOT of positive feedback relating to the Tallboy and the RP-23 shock, but I have no interest in a carbon frame ... does Santa Cruz make any bike that would be an aluminum equivalent of the Tallboy?
    Here's a shot of the 3/4 Boy I recently put together with one of those chainlove XL blurs:



    Bottom bracket is higher at ~ 13.25" sagged, but so far, I am really liking the ride. I think it's going to make a great trail bike.

  51. #51
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    I test rode the S-works Epic 29er thanks to the Specialized demo-team's presence at our race in October. The demo trail was around 4-miles with various levels of terrain that included short/technical areas and long down-hill slalom woodland drag strips; equal amounts of climbing as well.

    I took my rig through the course first, then two more laps with the Epic...it felt faster across the entire trail; the components were glued to the trail's surface while climbing but it left the ground very easily if I let it; fatigued tight turns around trees at the top of a granny-gear-driven hill was relatively easy, carving fast lines through long trails felt calculated and efficiently fast.

    Complete control achieved with a smile from start to finish!

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigsj
    Here is a thread where someone has posted a detailed breakdown of a Large Tallboy that he claims will be complete at under 18.5 pounds. Yes, for many it's an impractical weight weenie build but it shows that sub-20 pounds is possible if that's what you really want.

    My XL Tallboy, once complete, will be under 23 pounds despite larger tubed tires, AM rims, average hubs, a 340g saddle, and no weight limited parts. Getting another pound off of it would be a cakewalk, especially if I didn't mind compromising function as others do.
    I would love to see that build actually weighed...

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimInSF
    I would love to see that build actually weighed...
    I can tell you that the build list is flawed unless he weighed a freakish light TB. He has a large frame coming in at 4.48lbs and from what I've seen a large TB is closer 5+lbs.
    C-DALE FLASH 29 Carbon 2 (19.6 lbs)
    C-DALE BB1

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-bar
    I can tell you that the build list is flawed unless he weighed a freakish light TB. He has a large frame coming in at 4.48lbs and from what I've seen a large TB is closer 5+lbs.




    Mine was 5.2 lbs for the large black frame with Monarch.
    I resolve to constantly assert my honest opinion on anything and everything - whether it is requested or not.
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  55. #55
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    tallboy

    my xl weighs 26.5 pounds complete. the only thing i changed was i put on a heavier wtb (old) saddle, and some wtb stryker wheels/went tubeless. also put a fox f29 120 mm fork on it which i assume would add a little weight. i also have a hard time with the 21 lbs and under claims, but there are a lot of weight weenies out there that weigh a buck twenty or so. more power to them. i cant say enough about the bike. wish our little monsoon season would end, so i could get back on the bike. my .02
    Another Tallboy convert!!!

  56. #56
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    For what it's worth, you can build a Pivot Mach 429 in the 21-22 lbs range... it's been done.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...54#post6690254

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigsj
    Here is a thread where someone has posted a detailed breakdown of a Large Tallboy that he claims will be complete at under 18.5 pounds. Yes, for many it's an impractical weight weenie build but it shows that sub-20 pounds is possible if that's what you really want.
    And it's only $1100 ($2000-$2500 at most dealers) more than the MSRP of the OUTLANDISHLY OVERPRICED S-Works Epic.

  58. #58
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    ... and if we just ... ok you got me on part of it...I'll try again

    Quote Originally Posted by Ride_2_Fast
    Hmmm.
    Maybe you and everyone else knows that but let's just be clear:
    TB frame only $2440

    Epic S-works is FRAMESET $4400 and includes:
    Reba fork with brain and carbon steerer
    headset
    carbon post
    seat clamp

    Add all of those to $2440 (say 700+ 50+100+10) ==> $3300 TB equivalent Frameset

    You will still save with TB but not as drastic as you put it..
    For the full bike:
    As someone else noted on the forum elsewhere to build TB really nice with the specs a bit closer to S-works he spent $6300 on the build....

    Thanks for your comparison of those 2 and to your old bike too..
    ok you got me I forgot the fork, which no minor thing, so let me try again...

    I got the cheapest TB added a few things thru my LBS and spend $3900 incl. tax...
    I can't get an S-Works frame with the same build that I have for that...they don't want to sell the S-Works at a reasonable price and or with cheap-man's components...so in order to get the next best FULL CARBON FULL SUSPENSION 29er the TB seems to be the only choice and I did like the way it rode when I demoed it for 5 days...

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by cale399
    ok you got me I forgot the fork, which no minor thing, so let me try again...

    I got the cheapest TB added a few things thru my LBS and spend $3900 incl. tax...
    I can't get an S-Works frame with the same build that I have for that...they don't want to sell the S-Works at a reasonable price and or with cheap-man's components...so in order to get the next best FULL CARBON FULL SUSPENSION 29er the TB seems to be the only choice and I did like the way it rode when I demoed it for 5 days...
    I got my Epic Carbon Comp 29er for less than that.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtroy
    I wonder if the Taiwanese workers can spell better than you?

    Go away.
    Oh, sorry about the spelling. I still stand by my opinion. Cheers.

  61. #61
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    HEy that's cool and not to say anything is wrong with the Epic Comp but it is not a Full Carbon FrAme u have a M5 alum rear triangle...and the front is not the same level carbon as on the S-Works...if you want the best Spc has to offer it is either the $4,400 frame pkg w/fork or the $9,400 whole bike...where as (and I know I cant say wether ot not the TB carbon is better, the same or on the level of your Comp Carbon etc) I feel I have Santa Cruz's top 29er carbon FS frame and I could get it more reasonable vs the top end carbon frame from Specialized...
    Last edited by cale399; 12-22-2010 at 07:25 PM.

  62. #62
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    By the appearance of the Speci, it screams I want to race! I'm not a Speci guy AT ALL but damn, the Big S did a good job on this one. The TB definitely has a more trail look to it. However, looking at the geo. alone I'd say the Tallboy has the edge. Comparing medium sizes frames the TB has a lower bb (12.8" vs 13.03"), the TB has a steeper ha (71 vs. 70.5), the Tallboy has a shorter wheelbase (42.6" vs. 43.66"), the TB has a shorter chain stays ( 17.5" vs. 17.6") and the TB also has a lower standover (29.1" vs 30.15"). Unless you are getting a smokin deal on the Speci., I'd much rather have the fun
    of customizing a TB.
    +1 on all of the above stats. Also, compares favorably as a race or xc bike to many other fs 29er bikes. Fly100,...even Jet9.

    Even racier (word?) or very nibble handling running the Angleset headset with about a .5 to 1 degree steeper ha. Rreally only a great option for us smaller guys on a large Tb frame (to get stretched out on the traditionally shorter SC/Vpp top tube.) Most guys will find the regular ha Tb rails.
    imho, yrmv.
    ps
    Easily best bang for buck in it's class.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Sims
    Well where to start as it seems this thread has gone all over the map.

    I will say that I had the same question or the same choice between the 2011 SWORKS Epic 29er or the Tall Boy it is a tough decision, as both are amazing bikes that can be built within similar weights (around a pound apart)I was fortunate enough to be able to ride them back to back and eventually I ended up with the SWORKS. It was a painful decision as I have talked a ton of trash about the big S but they have come a long way with this one.
    Other similar bikes I own- lenz Lev 4" about 26Lb"s Milk Money about 24lb's. I have raced XC and DH enjoy aggressive trail riding as much as I enjoy long painful climbs.

    What I liked
    Tall Boy - Very little Pogo when you jump on it, relatively stiff, light and just feels fun. I rode it with a fox F29 100 mm and although it seemed to steer nice and fast it was solid felt like a bike I would love to get on some steeps and let her rip especially with a 120. Feels more point and shoot

    Sworks - My first brain experience has been amazing, I spend a lot of time on a rigid SS and this thing can be tuned to climb like the same while not squatting at all ft or rear from downward forces yet amazes me when I look down to watch the rear compress over a rock so supple that you don't feel it, I can not say enough about the suspension. you can also loosen it up a bit and it is as active as my Lev but with less bob. there is a happy medium in the that simply amazes me. uber light, High tech and relatively exclusive.

    ended up taking home the SWORKS and when I woke up it was like the morning after and she was still there. Buyers regret set in heavy so I decided I had to go hit something I used to riding to accurately gauge what this thing was able to do. I climbed up taking the worst lines possible, over all the rocks I could find and it is truly a billy goat, I have never climbed so fast. feeling a little better about my choice I spun it around at the top for what I thought was going to be the shortcoming of this rig, descending. I have never been so wrong in my life, I left the brain setting where they were on the climb and simply flew down the trail hit some techy chunky stuff on the side just to see how it would do and I can honestly say that this thing rails corners, uber stable, butter over the rocks I am so stoked that I got this bike I have not looked back in regret.

    Bottom line if I was to do it again, even if I had to pay retail, I would and smile all the way home...

    your results may very, I am not employed by Specialized or any shop that sells their stuff.
    Would you shut up with all this nonsense?!?!

    I want to roll up to the starting line this year and see everybody else but me on Tallboys!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-bar
    By the appearance of the Speci, it screams I want to race! I'm not a Speci guy AT ALL but damn, the Big S did a good job on this one. The TB definitely has a more trail look to it. However, looking at the geo. alone I'd say the Tallboy has the edge. Comparing medium sizes frames the TB has a lower bb (12.8" vs 13.03"), the TB has a steeper ha (71 vs. 70.5), the Tallboy has a shorter wheelbase (42.6" vs. 43.66"), the TB has a shorter chainstays ( 17.5" vs. 17.6") and the TB also has a lower standover (29.1" vs 30.15"). Unless you are getting a smokin deal on the Speci., I'd much rather have the fun of customizing a TB.

    Not mine, but this guy is claiming 21.16lbs and it probably wasn't anywhere near the cost of the Speci. At this level of bikes it's all rider and I don't think you would be any slower or faster between the two,
    Hello this bike is mine , it' very lighter bat next week i'm going to change same components, New cranckset Race Face Next Carbon , New fork German Answer Xcite 100mm , New Flat bars 10° 660mm New disc Hope Pro.

    Fork: WR Compositi whit remote look out
    Stem: 3t ARX 17° (switching soon to Thomson X2 17°due to frame change)
    Bars: Flat bars 10° 660mm
    Shifters: Sram XO 9V
    Grips: Extralite
    Cables: Alligator I-Link
    Brakes: Formula R1 Whit Red alluminium bolt end organic pads
    Seat: Selle Italia Kit Carbon
    Post: Thomson Masterpiece Tuned 160Gr
    Crankset: KCNC K-Tpye 36-22
    Pedals: Exustar 28TI
    Chain: KMC Gold
    Fr. Derailleur: Campagnolo Record 10V Inverted
    Rear Derailleur: Sram Xo whit Kcnc Ceramic pulley
    Cassette: XTR
    Rims: Stan's ZTR Crest
    Tires: Maxxis Aspen Schwalbe Rochet Ron (non-tubeless with Lattex)
    Hubs: A2z
    Skewers:Kcnc.

    Weight 9.660 Gr.

    Whit new components i'm still waiting at 9780gr.

  65. #65
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    New Tallboy!!

    My Tallboy just came in the Mail today

    Tallboy Med. Black matte w/ Monarch RT3 ( thought it was the 3.3 but happy its the RT3!!!)
    Roval Control EL 29 w/ 36T DT Swiss upgrade
    Maxxis IKON 2.2 EXO
    Rockshox Reba 120 Team 20mm Tapered
    Cane Creek 110 tapered headset

    Swap overs from my Blur Carbon:

    SRAM X9 42/28 2x10
    SRAM X9 shifters
    SRAM X9 R. derailleur
    SRAM X9 F. derailleur
    SRAM XX 11-36 Cassette
    SRAM 1091R Chain
    Easton EC90 Carbon Zero Post
    Fizik Alianta Gamma XM Saddle
    Bontrager XXX Lite 90mm Stem, Carbon Spacers.
    Truvativ Noir WCS Carbon Low-Rise
    Answer Fall Line XC Lock-On grips
    Hayes Stroker Gram Carbon, Ti hardware
    Alligator Serration 160 rotors
    Shimano XT Pedals
    Specialized Rib Cage bottle cages.
    Jagwire Ripcord shifter cable housing

    Build will happen over the weekend
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tallboy VS. 2011 Epic 29er S-Works for XC riding and racing-main.jpg  

    Tallboy VS. 2011 Epic 29er S-Works for XC riding and racing-main2.jpg  

    Tallboy VS. 2011 Epic 29er S-Works for XC riding and racing-main3.jpg  

    Tallboy VS. 2011 Epic 29er S-Works for XC riding and racing-main4.jpg  

    Tallboy VS. 2011 Epic 29er S-Works for XC riding and racing-25.jpg  

    Ibis Ripley LS
    Intense Spider 29 C
    Cervelo S2
    Trek Boone 5 Disc
    Spech Tricross Expert
    Raleigh RX 1.0

  66. #66
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    Specialized=Lifetime Warranty

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver
    My Tallboy just came in the Mail today

    Tallboy Med. Black matte w/ Monarch RT3 ( thought it was the 3.3 but happy its the RT3!!!)

    Did you get a chance to weigh the frame by itself?
    C-DALE FLASH 29 Carbon 2 (19.6 lbs)
    C-DALE BB1

  68. #68
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    This seems like opening an old wound since many already gave their opinion for choice...
    But I would like also ask folks, along with describing the differences between those 2 bikes for racing....WHAT BIKE WOULD YOU PREFER FOR AN ENDURANCE COURSE- 100 MILER- say a technical one something like east coast Shenandoah 100 or Wilderness 101 ? (hint... could S-works Epic or Expert Epic with Brain bee too harsh/rigid? )

  69. #69
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    already hit a little 24 hr turkey day benefit and I felt great on the Sworks. I have also bombed it down some techy chunky stuff and I have to say it is butter. I run about 3-4 clicks away from full brain. The bike is also pretty efficient with the brain off so take your choice. As I mentioned before I bought and at first i was concerned but the more I ride it, the more it continues to surprise me. amazing bike. not to take anything away from the tall boy, I have quite a few friends that have them and love them as well.
    If you don't live for something,
    You will die for NOTHING!!

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride_2_Fast
    This seems like opening an old wound since many already gave their opinion for choice...
    But I would like also ask folks, along with describing the differences between those 2 bikes for racing....WHAT BIKE WOULD YOU PREFER FOR AN ENDURANCE COURSE- 100 MILER- say a technical one something like east coast Shenandoah 100 or Wilderness 101 ? (hint... could S-works Epic or Expert Epic with Brain bee too harsh/rigid? )
    Really - either bike is going to be fine, don't you think? I'm buying a non-S works Epic for just this purpose but I'm sure the TB would do admirably too. People are doing these races on rigids and HT SS so any pedaling-efficient FS bike will be plenty capable of taking the edge off. Buy whichever one speaks to you and focus on training.

  71. #71
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    I had the opportunity to try out a few 29ers before and at Interbike 2010. Spolier alert: I went with the S-Works Epic 29er, which I received a couple of weeks ago.
    I have been riding steadily for over a year and I am still learning every time I go out. I like to push the limits of my capabilities and I can hang with some pretty good/fast riders.
    I wanted a full squish, carbon framed 29er so that narrowed my available options.
    I tested the Tallboy, the GF Superfly 100 Elite, and all carbon framed 29er offerings from Specialized out on the desert.

    The Tallboy was my "going-in" favorite, and I had been lusting after this bike for the better part of 2010. When I finally got to try it out, I was not impressed. The biggest issues for me were the suspension bobbing on the climbs and the front tire kept washing out from underneath me (I admit, this could have been a set up issue)

    The GF was superior in all aspects to the Santa Cruz. It felt light, compact and climbed really well. What impressed me the most on this bike was how linear the braking felt, which inspires a great deal of confidence and "feels" a lot faster.

    My favorite among the Specialized was the Expert Carbon EVO-R. If this was the best 29er Specialized had to offer, it would have been a toss up for me between this bike and the GF. The Specialized EVO R felt faster on the climbs and the the GF felt faster on the descents. Then I tested the S-Works Epic 29er shortly before the demo cutoff...

    The S-works climbed like a mountain goat and cornered like it was on rails. The demo bike did not have the Roval carbon rims and this particular bike had the Captain tire up front. This was the best bike for me. When I got my bike a couple of weeks ago I replaced the front rubber with the captain and went tubeless. I am VERY HAPPY with my choice. My L frame bike with Time ATAC Titan pedals, Garmin 800, Cadence sensor and Captain front wheel weighs in at a bit over 23 pounds. The bike is really comfortable even after a couple of hours of riding (have not done longer rides just yet)

    If you have a chance, try the GF SuperFly 100 Elite, the Specialized Expert Carbon (both versions) and the S-Works Epic 29er in addition to the Tallboy.

    My advise: Get the bike that best suits YOU!!! Let me know if I can shed any more light on the subject.

    Good luck!!!!
    Last edited by Epic29er; 12-30-2010 at 03:28 PM.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Epic29er
    The Tallboy was my "going-in" favorite, and I had been lusting after this bike for the better part of 2010. When I finally got to try it out, I was not impressed. The biggest issues for me were the suspension bobbing on the climbs and the front tire kept washing out from underneath me (I admit, this could have been a set up issue)

    The GF was superior in all aspects to the Santa Cruz. It felt light, compact and climbed really well. What impressed me the most on this bike was how linear the braking felt, which inspires a great deal of confidence and "feels" a lot faster.

    Are you sure the shock PSI was setup properly on the TB? Does the TB really bob that much and I'm assuming you used the propedal. Anyhow, I had a chance to ride the Trek SF100 elite and on my favorite local climb I was a good 3-4 minutes slower per my Garmin 305 than my HT 29er. I was VERY dissappointed with the Trek SF100 in stock form and components. It weighed a good 28lbs with my egg beaters. I'm currently considering a TB with a nice light build, but I'm get a mixed bag of it bobs too much and it has no bob with the chain tension. It sounds like I could be disappointed going to a TB for the lack of out of saddle pedaling efficiency.
    C-DALE FLASH 29 Carbon 2 (19.6 lbs)
    C-DALE BB1

  73. #73
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    Just ride one....

    In the case of ANY bike, a demo is always ideal. Especially on a bike that is setup properly - FIT (hard to do correctly on a demo), Shock pressure, tire pressure and choice (you don't always/ever have a tire choice on a demo) are crucial to forming an educated opinion about a bike. Very small changes to a bike, any bike can make a huge difference in ride. Layback or straight seatpost? Stem length/rise? Flat narrow bar or semi-wide/wide riser? Make sure the shop you choose asks YOU about these things.

    That said, in my experience there is no wasted effort pedaling in or out of the sadle with ProPedal on and fork locked out aboard my Tallboy. When the going gets steep and I have to drop to the granny it is always in a seated situation to maintain traction and *I* don't notice anything wonky going on. It just keeps on climbing - Loose shale, across ruts/waterbars, up/over roots, on off-camber stuff.

    Standing up while in the granny could be another story though, I do not have a situation anywhere I ride that I need to do that though.

    - Enjoy the process of finding THAT bike above all!!

  74. #74
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    I believe the $4400 S-works frame also includes the rear hub, probably a DT Swiss 240 level. I have a '10 Comp and it doesn't bob and is very stable. I actually wish it were a bit quicker steering. If some folks are buying the S-works bike for 8-8.5K as stated in an earlier post, any speculation as to what dealer cost is?

  75. #75
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    I demoed an XL TB with Sram XO 2X10 (26/39 chainrings). Coming from exclusive SS hard tail riding, I was/am sensitive to rear suspension inefficiency ("bob"). I'm somewhat slim (6'2" 175 lbs), and there was no perception of excessive bob. I could look down and see the suspension working, but in a positive manner and I did not perceive much movement when riding. I rode the TB for 2 days and during that period swapped out with my buddies SF-100 on two back-to-back rides on the same trails. I could feel some pedal feedback in the 26-tooth chainring on the TB, but only when standing out of the saddle and it was not anything that would concern me. Seated on the TB, it felt as efficient as the SF-100, albeit less "plush". If you were to run a granny gear on the TB, it does not make any sense to me that you would stand to climb using it.
    Quote Originally Posted by VanillaEps View Post
    A little bit of pee just trickled out of my pipi when I saw that.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtDummy
    I rode the TB for 2 days and during that period swapped out with my buddies SF-100 on two back-to-back rides on the same trails. I could feel some pedal feedback in the 26-tooth chainring on the TB, but only when standing out of the saddle and it was not anything that would concern me. Seated on the TB, it felt as efficient as the SF-100, albeit less "plush". If you were to run a granny gear on the TB, it does not make any sense to me that you would stand to climb using it.
    How would you compare the out of the saddle pedaling between the SF and the TB in a gear other than granny? I thought the SF pedaled pretty well ie minimal suspension movement with propedal on.

    DMFT-

    I agree about testing riding the bikes first, but for me the demo bikes are setup so far from how I would want to set them up it becomes an almost useless experience. For ex. the trek SF100 I rode was a poor representation of the bike, yet I'm sure if it was setup to the 10s I'd probably love it.
    C-DALE FLASH 29 Carbon 2 (19.6 lbs)
    C-DALE BB1

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-bar
    Are you sure the shock PSI was setup properly on the TB? Does the TB really bob that much and I'm assuming you used the propedal. Anyhow, I had a chance to ride the Trek SF100 elite and on my favorite local climb I was a good 3-4 minutes slower per my Garmin 305 than my HT 29er. I was VERY dissappointed with the Trek SF100 in stock form and components. It weighed a good 28lbs with my egg beaters. I'm currently considering a TB with a nice light build, but I'm get a mixed bag of it bobs too much and it has no bob with the chain tension. It sounds like I could be disappointed going to a TB for the lack of out of saddle pedaling efficiency.
    I recently bought a tallboy and the bobbing is very minimal compared to my titus motolite and one always has the option of using pro pedal as well. Shock setup will make a difference as well. However it depends what you are comparing the TB to... compared to a brain shock it will have a little more bob and I also think the DW Link is slightly better for climbing as well.

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-bar
    How would you compare the out of the saddle pedaling between the SF and the TB in a gear other than granny? I thought the SF pedaled pretty well ie minimal suspension movement with propedal on.
    With PP off, very similar between TB and SF IMO, with slightly less perceived movement from the SF. With PP on, they felt the same to me during out of the saddle efforts. BTW, the deciding actor for me was the G2 geometry for the SF - I do not like it and the SF, while more maneuverable and responsive in the twisties compared with the TB, was skittish and felt unstable in the steep, rough stuff YMMV.
    Quote Originally Posted by VanillaEps View Post
    A little bit of pee just trickled out of my pipi when I saw that.

  79. #79
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    ...

    Warning: Long winded post

    Just so you know where my biases are I tried both bikes and ended up buying the Tallboy. I am also a big fan of my Santa Cruz Blur LT. I did spend about 10 hours on the Specialized on the trail noodeling around with settings till I found several I tried and liked.

    When I saw the price tag of the high end Tallboy, no matter how much I liked the Blur LT, I needed to try some more bikes out…and I did. At the prices of these bikes you might as well go with a custom build because just about any frame can be built the way you want it and at these high prices. So that’s how I looked at it. I wanted to find the best frame for MY riding style and MY main trail, then build a bike around it. At these prices you may as well because just about everything is over budget.

    Trail
    I think the big thing to assess is your trail. I would classify my trail as slow to medium speed, very twisty, junk (pine straw, leaves, rubble, loose dirt) over a hard dirt/clay mixture. It is very bumpy with large roots all over the place and several rocky areas. And the climbs are steep, technical and short-ish. It is definitely twisty enough that you can’t carve your turns the way you want to, you end up stuffing your front tire into a lot of turns. When it gets wet it is like riding fresh pavement covered in bacon grease and baseball bats. Except when you wreck it still tastes like mud, not bacon. I have only met one serious rider who rides it with a hardtail, but he is a militant hardtailer who sold his Specialized Enduro and went back to a hardtail, so in my mind he doesn’t count. I could never imagine selling that bike. I have tried a hardtail on the trail and it is neither fast nor fun.

    Riding
    I am getting up there in years, or what I like to call experience. I rarely race anymore, some 24hr races here and there, but my buddies and I, like most people, start off the first hour of our ride trying to punish each other. As for my style of riding, I have FS bikes because I like to sit down and spin. I only get out of the saddle if I missed a turn where I am dramatically slowed, the bike is going to take a huge hit or if I need to stand on a climb. However, when I do get up I expect a pedal bob-free ride. And that’s the main reason why I looked at these bikes as my first 29er..

    The Bikes
    What is relatively the same about these frames is that both bikes score well in both the fast and fun categories. On both, the steering is quick enough to dice through my trails and both bikes pedaled very efficiently when sitting and spinning.
    The only real difference that really pushed me in one way or another is the rear suspension. The Epic was a little stiffer out of the saddle, but even with the 29” wheels it always seemed that it wouldn’t smooth out the bumps like I thought it should. With that being said, it still handled them well but I am trying to accentuate the differences. The initial hit on large rocks/roots was more abrupt and that slows me down. I spent plenty of time on the trails fussing with the rear shock but I could never dial it out allowing me to maintain the efficient pedaling and have it smoothly run over the big rocks/roots. On the other side, the Tallboy is very efficient while pedaling out of the saddle, but not as good as the Epic, and runs smoothly over everything. Both bikes climbed well, but I felt the Tallboy tracked better. Descending I again give a nod to the Tallboy because the steering was a little more stable and the rear suspension was more active.

    My decision was all down to the rear suspension bump handling vs. out of the saddle efficiency. My trail is very bumpy, staying in the saddle is faster for me and makes my ride more enjoyable. I like sit and spin on my bike. So out of the saddle isn’t as important to me as bump eating. So I went with the Tallboy’s versatility and when I want to stiffen it up and get pedaling performance and feel similar to the Epic, I just add a few pounds of pressure and crank up the propedal on my Fox 32. I hear several people mention “…so I had to turn the propedal on” like it was some curse…IMO that’s what the pro pedal is there for to make the pedaling more efficient when you want it to be.

    I would have picked the Specialized if I rode on smooth speedy trails. As for racing, my answer stays the same in that it all depends on the trail….and if the trail is really smooth I would skip both bikes all together and buy a hardtail, leading me to believe that the Tallboy is still a better purchase If you already own stable of bikes.

    I have read in several formal reviews that people say these bikes are not replacements for their 5” travel 26ers. I suppose if you do a lot of jumping then that is the truth, but other than that I would ride my Tallboy instead of my 5” travel Blur LT any day. Right now my Blur LT is sitting in the basement hoping that I will wreck my Tallboy so I will ride it while the Tallboy is getting fixed….but I suppose that is for another thread.

    As a side note, I am really disappointed that Santa Cruz does not offer the Talas FIT-Terralogic version of the fork in one of their packages. It could have saved me some money. Without it or a similar style fork (like the Specialized brains), when you get out of the saddle, your rear is stiff but your front is bouncy and that’s no good. The FIT-Terralogic let’s me run a cushy front end and not bob when I get out of the saddle. I have the standard Fox FIT on my Blur LT and all the FIT does is add weight I have it completely turned off. I run the Talas on its longer travel setting and the Tallboy is still very nimble.

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Sims
    Admittedly, the S-works was haunting me. I took it for a demo ride and it is awesome in every way except for price. Light weight and HT like efficiency, it really is a nice looking bike in person and ALL of the parts are top notch. I really like the 142+ rear, the carbon crown, and cranks but you do pay for it. Coming off a full rigid and being a Speci trash talker with my buddies, I was REALLY REALLY ready to eat my words and plunk down some cash on a S-Work Epic. In the end, even at a discounted rate at $8k OTD, I thought I was crazy for considering it. I then started looking at the Expert and for $5k its 4lbs heavier and it just looses that edge that the S-works offers and I would want to change out the wheelset and some other parts. In the end I just went for the Tallboy.

    I was a bit considered that the tallboy wasn't going to pedal good enough to satisfy me in the pedaling department and initially it didn't. After some fine tuning with the compression dial and pressure I'm VERY satisfied. I have it setup on the firm side and I love it. It still has great small bump compliance but resists pedal bob. I was prepared to have the RP23 Pushed but I no longer feel it's needed.


    Here it is at 23.12lbs with pedals and bar ends.

    2x9, XO Gripshift
    XO rr der.
    PG 999 cassette 11-32
    Crank Bros Cobalt 11 seatpost/handlebar
    Crest with ZTR hubs
    Fox F29 100mm Fit with 15mm TA/ Fox RP23
    Racing Ralph Evo 2.25
    NoTubes Ravens 2.1
    This is setup for all XC and I'm loving every bit of it.


    C-DALE FLASH 29 Carbon 2 (19.6 lbs)
    C-DALE BB1

  81. #81
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    Relating to rear shocks, what exactly do they do when the RP23 is "Pushed"? I'm assuming it is fine-tuned internally to riders weight, etc?

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by kfb66
    Relating to rear shocks, what exactly do they do when the RP23 is "Pushed"? I'm assuming it is fine-tuned internally to riders weight, etc?
    See here:
    http://www.pushindustries.com/2009/i...&product_id=30

    For the prices they charge.. I think they don't do much...just my opinion... the bullet list for factory rebuild is so bloated ! example ..

    PUSH Factory Rebuild decal applied
    Settings card filled out by Technician and signed

    But people seem to be willing to pay that...

  83. #83
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    [QUOTE=1-bar]
    Here it is at 23.12lbs with pedals and bar ends.

    2x9, XO Gripshift
    XO rr der.
    PG 999 cassette 11-32
    Crank Bros Cobalt 11 seatpost/handlebar
    Crest with ZTR hubs
    Fox F29 100mm Fit with 15mm TA/ Fox RP23
    Racing Ralph Evo 2.25
    NoTubes Ravens 2.1
    This is setup for all XC and I'm loving every bit of it.
    QUOTE]

    Nice ride...
    What size is your frame?
    ...and those eggbeaters what model?
    Do you have a rough price for the whole build or breakdown by components weight/ price?
    Thanks a bunch..

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride_2_Fast

    Nice ride...
    What size is your frame?
    ...and those eggbeaters what model?
    Do you have a rough price for the whole build or breakdown by components weight/ price?
    Thanks a bunch..
    does this work : )

    Item / Part / Grams

    Frame SC Tallboy (med) 2296
    Fork Fox F29 15mm 1769
    Frt Tire Racing Ralph 532
    Rr Tire Stan’s Raven 533
    HS Chris King 150
    Stem Truvativ Stylo 135
    Handlebar Crank Bros 130
    Bar ends TW 80
    Grips SRAM 80
    Rotor-frt KCNC 72
    Rotor-rear KCNC 62
    Brake Avid Elixir CR 375
    Misc. 100
    Shifter-frt Sram gripshift 59
    Shifter-rr Sram gripshift 97
    Der. frt Shimano SLX 156
    Der. Rear Sram XO 194
    Crankset Truvativ Noir 736
    Cassette SRAM XG999 174
    Chain Sram hollowpin 275
    Cable/Housing Sram 80
    Seatpost Crank Bros 175
    Seat clamp SC 27
    Saddle Sette 190
    Pedals Crank Bros 235 single ti
    Rims Stan’s 1570
    Skewer-Rear DT Swiss 40

    Total weight 10.44kg
    weight in lbs 23.0132 calculated weight pretty close to true weight. I did weigh most of the parts.
    approx. cost $4,850 - hard to give a true cost. 90% of the parts are recycled from my hardtail.

    Places were I shopped:
    Pricepoint.com All of the SRAM parts are cheap cheap here.
    Blueskycycling.com You can get a Truvativ Noir Crankset for $214
    R2Technik.com Lowest prices on Crest wheels.
    918XC.com Great guys and mtbr sponsor.
    Ebay.com I bought my F29 15mm TA new for $399.

    Of course it doesn't hurt if you have all of the tools and know how to wrench yourself. I probably saved another $125 in labor.
    Last edited by 1-bar; 01-28-2011 at 09:52 AM.
    C-DALE FLASH 29 Carbon 2 (19.6 lbs)
    C-DALE BB1

  85. #85
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    My medium framed S-works Epic 29'er arrived two days ago. It's pretty bad ass!

  86. #86
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    This conversation is driving me nutz. These are 2 great XC bikes and it will come down to the rider almost every time. Personally, I think y'all are splitting hairs with this comparison.

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by brcjacks View Post
    This conversation is driving me nutz. These are 2 great XC bikes and it will come down to the rider almost every time. Personally, I think y'all are splitting hairs with this comparison.
    Doesn't matter, as both bikes are pretty dated at this point

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