Tallboy demo questions
Got to demo one because the bike I really wanted was out (TRc) and I had nothing better to do. I never liked the ideas of 29ers since my feet hit the front wheel and I generally believe that the less time wheels contact the ground the better, and the 26 is still the go to bike for this type of riding.
The plan to get a TRc is now in question. The tallboy test was mind opening.
Current Ride: LTc
Comparing to the LTc, the tallboy aluminum demo bike was heavier, much lower component spec, not perfectly tuned for me, had shitty tires with no grip, painful saddle, handlebars too short, and I got it with fully open rebound both sides which took me half an hour to figure out and fix. My main issue with the LTc is that the bike is too short (length) with everything that comes with it, and it doesn't make sense for me to go a size up. My LTc is totally dialed, especially with the new X-Fusion fork that made the front do what I want.
I had a total blast. The tallboy is a rocket up and down. Rolls way better and makes everything easier. My main concern was getting air, and I have to say the bike did that better than my LTc and the TRc that I demoed afterwards (TRc was little bit of a disappointment). Drops are super easy, the bike is completely horizontal with little input, stays straight in the air without thinking about it too much, and bunny hopped over roots more predictably and easily than any bike I rode before. I rarely had to use a big root to shoot the bike upwards on impact. And when I did the rear cleared without touching and I didn't even try. Now some of that had to do with zero rebound, but after I fixed it was still better than what I am used to. Wheelies are a great surprise too. Not that hard at all, even with the longer rear triangle. And the bike didn't feel too short lengthwise like the LT feels.
In switchbacks I had to slow down much more than I am used to. On the LTc switchbacks are a no brainer, with an occasional rear end sliding that I can't really imagine with the Tallboy (and didn't have the balls to try with sketchy tires )
Now, the bad. It felt little bit like a hardtail, in the sense that I would get a lot of the trail impact into the seat nd handlebars. Riding the LTc is like sitting in a Cadillac compared to this. I had 100mm bikes before and they didn't feel that harsh even with 26" wheels. The CTD shock on my LTc feels a lot better. The X-fusion fork also seems much smoother than the CTD fork and I don't think it's the extra 20mm travel that makes the difference.
Tallboy LT seems out of the question since everyone says it's like riding a giant bike which I really don't like, and I can't demo them.
So what's the deal with the suspension? Are they all like that or is it just a setup problem? The only thing that holds me from going for the tallboy is that hardtail feel. I think on rougher trails it will be worse. My other option is a TRc with 650B wheels, but the TRc didn't feel as dialed as I thought. Actually the Tallboy felt like I expected the TRc to feel, the TRc was little sluggish and didn't like getting the wheels off the ground like the LTc and Tallboy.
1st: Sliding/skidding tires into switchbacks looks cool on video, but trashes the trails.
2nd: sounds like the suspension wasn't set up properly. VPP bikes tend to have a plush feel to them. If it was set up properly, something may be wrong with the shock. My wife's FOX CTD rear shock went bad after about 5 months....it held air pressure, but everything else didn't work.
3rd: don't compare the suspension of a 140mm bike(LTc) vs 100mm bike (Tallboy).
I have been thoroughly happy with my Tallboy since Oct 2009.....and it doesn't feel like a hardtail.
I resolve to constantly assert my honest opinion on anything and everything - whether it is requested or not.
Bucky the Cat
Funny, I also planned to ride a TRc this weekend (but it didn't happen) and rode a Tallboy just because -- I had already demo'd one before. It was actually a bad day for me to test as I was very tired and maybe a bit over-trained. So I didn't climb well, but fortunately the bike did not wander even though I was really moving slowly on a few steeper climbs. Much better than my current bike. On my first loop I was ready to take the bike back as I felt a little rattled (again, I wasn't feeling great) on the descents. Fortunately, I decided I needed more riding time so I went out for a second loop; I lowered the seat and descended much better-- and was also more aggressive with the bike. On the steeper descents, I did think the suspension was overwhelmed and I didn't like that. However, I PR'd two downhill sections on a day when I certainly wasn't at my best. So if speed is your game, this bike has it in spades. Oddly, when climbing the TBc actually felt like it had much better small bump compliance than the last time I rode one. Also, I did one drop of about 2.5' off a log and braced for a big impact, but didn't feel it. So that was actually surprising to me. My walk-away was that if I wanted to take a few races seriously I should own the bike as it would make me faster and also be suitable for trail riding. But as I want to focus more on epic type rides and riding with friends on challenging terrain, I think I will go with more travel. I do think I would be a little beat-up after a few hours in the saddle. Btw, I think the TRc is a much better technical climber than the TBc. Could be set-up, but on a past demo it really made climbing loose rocky stuff easy. Not sure what you can glean from any of this, but thought I would share nonetheless.
Given the disparate assessments of VPP small bump compliance, I'd point out that, in my experience, the TB and TBLT suspensions are very sensitive to setup. Running them with too much sag can feel harsh. I would actually recommend going with more pressure than you might think. I've found that this can actually make the bike feel more plush in some cases.
CrozCountry, based on what you've said, I'd highly recommend trying the TBLTc. It can be built up nearly as light as a Tallboy and has a much more bottomless feel to the suspension.
Excellent point hillharman. After demo'ing a few SC bikes, I would definitely agree they are highly sensitive to set-up. I am actually a little hesitant to comment on my experiences with them since I do think it is tough to get the set-up dialed on a demo-- at least for me.
I had the chance to demo Tallboy LT (and Bronson). The LT is an animal of a bike, goes through everything without thinking too much. But the bike was also set up very good, unlike the tallboy that was setup amateurish. That may be a factor in the great ride.
The LT is too much bike for where I ride. In norcal its hard to justify this bike on 90% of the trails, with very few exceptions, like Pacifica. Its not really a big bike territory. So the LT is out of consideration. My buddy demoed it too and said the same thing. I think Santa Cruz line can really benefit from a 5" tallboy. I tried an Ibis Ripley and the rear end was great, but I didn't like it as much as the tallboys (both of them are great bikes).
Curious, how did the Bronson climb compared to the Tallboy's? I'm trying to decide if its worth demo'ing for me but I'm more of a trail rider than AM. Btw, I have similar thoughts to you on the tallboy LT being too much for NorCal-Bay Area. I am going to demo a ripley this weekend. If SC made a 115 - 120 rear travel tallboy, it would be such an easy call for me. That would be perfection.
The Bronson is a very well designed bike. It does everything well, including climbing. Its planted on the climb, keeps the head down, does not bob and has good steering. This bike will not benefit much from adjustable travel fork and also gets away without platform damping in the back.
Originally Posted by GMM
One of the things I noticed about the Tallboy LT is the amount of bob when pedaling, very non Santa Cruz. I had to put the shock in lockout mode. On the Bronson there is no such problem, you can climb with the shock in downhill mode and its still fine. So in the climbing department, Bronson >>> Tallboy LT. As far as the Tallboy standard, I can't really say since its just a one hour demo on each, both of them climbed great.
The Ripley has the rear end you want on the tallboy and it works great. Worked better for me than both tallboys. It does not bob like the TBLT and is way smoother than the Tallboy standard. But it lacks on the front, especially at speed. It is not as stable as the SC bikes (both Tallboys and Bronson). Moves too much and does not rail turns.
I don't know who you are going to demo from, but the Ibis bikes I demoed were set up like cr@p. Bring with you your multi tool, air pressure gauge and even a shock pump. I highly recommend 5 minutes of wrenching in the parking lot before you go on a trail or you will just hate the bike.
When I first demo'd the TBc I was really impressed especially with its climbing. I thought it out climbed the other bikes I demo'd or have owned. I did notice the rear shock or shock action was harsh. I bought a TBc and with time and tuning I think you can set it up much better than the usual demo bike. I have noticed that some have changed the rear shock to Rock Shock for improved performance. Due to the very rocky trails where I ride and my aging knee's I went to the TBLTc and it is a major improvement on rocky trails. Part of this is the longer travel rear but also a longer travel more compliant front fork. The loss in climbing is almost 0 and the weight diff. is about 1/2 lb. Depending on where you ride I would try the LT.
If you were getting that much bob on the TB LTc, the shock was probably set up too soft. I've owned both Tallboys in carbon, and I don't notice any bob at all on my LTc. Like any vpp bike, though, they can get wallowy if you set them up too soft.
Originally Posted by CrozCountry
Ok, now that Bronson is looking intriguing. Back on topic. I agree with hillharman on the Tallboy LT. I don't think you had it set-up properly. I rode one that was set-up by Santa Cruz at one of their Demo tours and it didn't bob. I didn't think it gave up much on climbing to the TBc, except on the steeper pitches. However, I thought the bike would make my local trails too easy and kind of steam roll over stuff. The Tallboy LTc would be great for Tahoe and Downieville, however.
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