Tallboy3, Hightower, or Horsethief- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Tallboy3, Hightower, or Horsethief

    I need to choose between these three to replace a stolen bike, which would you choose for chunky AZ desert riding?

    Tallboy3 110mm rear/130mm front 432cs
    Horsethief 120mm rear/130mm front 437cs
    Hightower 135mm rear/140mm front 435cs

  2. #2
    No Clue Crew
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    Buy the bike for 80% of the riding you actually do. Are these your only three choices? Spend most of your time at South Mountain? Hightower.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  3. #3
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    What were you riding before (stolen bike) and how did it do for your main riding areas?
    Tallboy and Hightower will have similar suspension curves (VPP suspension) while the Horsethief will be slightly different Horstlink. I throw my Thumper (Horsethief/Satori/Stumpy FSR Clone) through the Lake Tahoe granite chunder and it handles it perfectly.

    Any of the three will do great in similar terrain with the Tallboy's only limiting factor being the lack of rear travel. But if you are not taking big hits or massive air you more than likely wont find that limit.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash View Post
    What were you riding before (stolen bike) and how did it do for your main riding areas?
    Tallboy and Hightower will have similar suspension curves (VPP suspension) while the Horsethief will be slightly different Horstlink. I throw my Thumper (Horsethief/Satori/Stumpy FSR Clone) through the Lake Tahoe granite chunder and it handles it perfectly.

    Any of the three will do great in similar terrain with the Tallboy's only limiting factor being the lack of rear travel. But if you are not taking big hits or massive air you more than likely wont find that limit.
    Horsethief is Split Pivot suspension, I believe, not Horst.

  5. #5
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    I just (yesterday) bought a new "old" 2016 Tallboy. I'm pumped. I guess mine is the V2? I bought the C S build.

  6. #6
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    Why not include 6fattie in this group? And the ibis mojo 3 and cannon sale and Scott have plus fs bikes as well


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    I spent Tuesday morning riding the Hightower, then this morning riding the same route on the Horsethief. Both had comparable builds. (SRAM 1x, ENVE M60, Pike). The tires were different though. (Hightower-DHR2; Horsethief-WTB TrailBoss). I have not yet ridden a Tallboy 3.

    Fit was very similar, no notable difference in feel of stack/reach.

    The Horsethief suspension is more compliant off the top, and it maintains better traction under braking. The Hightower really is better at speed through really rough terrain, you can really charge through that stuff-think Geronimo or Telegraph at South Mountain. If a large portion of your ride is spent IN rock gardens at 15 mph plus, it's better than the Horsethief. It did take a bit of setup to get the Hightower set up right, pay close attention to sag (30%), or it can be pretty rough on mid-size hits.

    They both pedal very well, the Horsethief is almost perfectly neutral, no sagging, and no excessive stiffening of the suspension with chain tension. The Hightower was very similar, maybe a bit more stiffening of the suspension under chain tension. The Hightower does pedal better than what I feel reviews suggest, but it have a heavier feel in general when pedaling than the Horsethief. For really long rides, I'd chose the Horsethief.

    As far as fit and finish go, both are excellent, with the nod going to the Hightower simply because its internal cable routing looks better.

    Handling is awesome for both. The Horsethief is more more a corner carver, and the Hightower begs to be flicked and stuffed into corners. But the difference is not huge, and both definitely have a "new school" long, low, slack feel. I found the Hightower to be slightly easier to adjust line, but love the handling of both.

    My choice in terms of AZ trails.
    -South Mountain Upper Trails (i.e. Geronimo, Telegraph) - Hightower
    -South Mountain Combined Upper Trails & Desert Classic (say if I were riding a big loop)- Horsethief
    -Black Canyon Trail - Horsethief.
    -White tanks Goat Camp or ridge trails - Hightower
    -White tanks; Combined ridge trails and Competitive track - Horsethief
    -McDowell Mtn; Horsethief

    I race as well. For enduro I'd go Hightower, Endurance XC - Horsethief, XC - Horsethief, Lift serve or shuttle - Hightower

    Regarding the Tallboy, the Horsethief pedals well enough that I don't see much advantage to go with the Tallboy 3 and give up 10mm of travel. So for now, I'm keeping the Horsethief. But one ride on the Tallboy could change my mind.

    My Long Term Horsethief Review (Don't worry, it's honest, I had to pay for the bike!)

    Review: Salsa Horsethief - Crankjoy
    Last edited by brentos; 04-28-2016 at 10:52 AM.

  8. #8
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    Brentos, awesome write up. I had a '15 Horsethief before and my shop of choice also carries Santa Cruz, which is why the list is short.

    I'm in Tucson, I actually just rode the top 40 of BCT and had a blast on the Horsethief.
    Tallboy3, Hightower, or Horsethief-_1090609.jpg
    I generally ride Starr Pass, Robles, 50yr, and Mt Lemmon when weather works. I'm not the bravest with big drops (I fear the drop before the hoodoos on Bug Spring but ride everything else) but I do love rock gardens and chunky riding.

    I was just shy of 1000 miles on the Horsethief (got it in October), running a 50mm stem and wide bars I felt like I was still learning how to take turns on it compared to my hardtail.

    I'm leaning toward staying with the Horsetheif, but I've always lusted after a Santa Cruz and am mostly just airing curiosity.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fontarin View Post
    Horsethief is Split Pivot suspension, I believe, not Horst.
    My bad, completely forgot that the newer version of the Horsethief and Spearfish went to the split pivot.

    Still a great bike and cant go wrong with it. Mine Horst Link Thumper at 140/130 soars through just about anything I can throw at it. Only place I felt I could use more training and suspension was when I was riding some pretty much PURE DH trails (Look up Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in Lake Tahoe, CA) but even then the bike handled quite well.

  10. #10
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    Brent, did you do the True Grit this year on your Horsethief or were you riding something else? If you used the HT, I'm impressed! I did the 50 on my Spearfish, but am looking to bump up the travel now and the Horsethief seems like a logical step.

  11. #11
    sonoranbiker
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    Is this Alex G. in Tucson? If so, Evan here. You are also welcome to try out my Evil the Following if you want another ass-kicker to throw in the ring. Several local shops are dealers.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2002maniac View Post
    Brent, did you do the True Grit this year on your Horsethief or were you riding something else? If you used the HT, I'm impressed! I did the 50 on my Spearfish, but am looking to bump up the travel now and the Horsethief seems like a logical step.
    Yes, I rode True Grit on the Horsethief. I also rode the Horsethief at the Moab Rocks stage race last year, it was good for that as well. The only challenge of running a capable trail bike for endurance XC races is that when you run XC tires, it's easy to push them too far and flat, which happened to me at True Grit. How did the Spearfish work out in the race?

    My Horsethief and the demo Hightower...

    Tallboy3, Hightower, or Horsethief-img_2173.jpg

    Tallboy3, Hightower, or Horsethief-img_2181.jpg
    Last edited by brentos; 04-28-2016 at 07:49 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonoranbiker View Post
    Is this Alex G. in Tucson? If so, Evan here. You are also welcome to try out my Evil the Following if you want another ass-kicker to throw in the ring. Several local shops are dealers.
    Yup that's me! While I'm totally interested in checking out the Evil, my decision was just made easy based on availability (I need it now!). ABE has a large pony rustler waiting for me to snatch up so I'm going for it. Thanks man!

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