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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 05:51 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."

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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 12:33 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 12:49 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
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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 09:38 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
    SC Tallboy C
    Intense Spider 29 C
    Cervelo S2
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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 09:57 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.
    If you don't live for something,
    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
    Slow But Still Pedaling
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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.

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