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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.
    This may be a total waste of time but I can't help but think that you might amount to something someday.

  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
    Appalachian Singletrack'n
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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
    Appalachian Singletrack'n
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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
    LFJ
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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
    You can't depend on honest answers from dependant hands...

  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?

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