2020 Hightower 2 vs 2020 Tallboy 4- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Hightower 2 vs Tallboy 4

    Iíve seen the numbers and read reports from those who have ridden each. Both seem very good and have a place. However there also seems to be overlap and each is better for some things. Some people, and some trails. I have not seen a direct on the trail ride comparison of these two. Iím interested to hear from those who have ridden both on the same trails. I hope to do so next week when a local dealer hosts a demo.

    My local trails are rocky rooty north east Singletrack. Not really any long climbs (a mile or two of mid grade at most). They are often root cocered and rocky. I find ďopenĒ mode is better than ďclimbĒ mode on these. So highly efficient suspension isnít as necessary as it was on the long steep fire road climbs of LAís San Gabriel mountains.

    The downs are not that fast or steep. Itís more about roots and big rock features. Slab rollers, Rock gardens, step downs and drops, roots the size of trees.

    Up and down the trails tend to have tight flat turns. Not really switchbacks just slow corners that keep speeds down.

    Given that I'm not sure which is suited better for me and here. In CA it would be easy...Hightower. However here my Tallboy LT (135mm) is likely more than I need. I never bottom it out but do feel the the short reach and long chainstays. I demoed a Ripley and wow...what a difference.

    Anyine ride both and have insight on which handles technical climbs better? How well does the Hightower corner tight stuff vs the Tallboy? How much chunk and speed before the Tallboy is overwhelmed?
    Last edited by Doug; 08-23-2019 at 07:30 AM.
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    I haven't ridden the tallboy, but I'm local to socal and know the gabes well. I own a trance advanced 29 (very similar to the tallboy) that I've ridden in the gabes a few times, and also a megatower. While I loved riding the t29 on even the nastiest stuff the gabes has to offer, I wouldn't own it (or a tallboy) if it were my one bike for our terrain. I love it's accuracy and super direct riding experience, but there isn't any overhead to save you when you mess up. The HT2 is going to pedal 90% as well, and provide the versatility that advanced socal riding and terrain will need/dictate.

    Look at it this way. When you're fresh, on your game and charging, the tallboy is all you're going to need. At 30 miles and 5k in, and you're trying to get down mt wilson back to the car, the ht2 is going to be a life saver.

  3. #3
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    I agree. If I were still in SoCal riding Mt Wilson it would be the HT. However here in NY the local trails have about 1500í of elevation over a 15 mile ride. Itís also much less sketchy than SoCal. No wheel eating ruts, huge chunk, or big drops like you have on Mt Wilson. Think El Prieto without the switchbacks and not quite as steep. Itís that kind of terrain but never a long climb or descent, just up/down/up/down all day long with the rock gardens and punchy climbs the norm.

    The Tallboy is probably right for me 75% of the time but the other 25% is when Iím tired and riding bigger stuff. The HT makes a nice insurance policy. On the other hand, Iíd rarher climb El P with the Tallboy...I think. The HT May handle such technical climbs.

  4. #4
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    I live and ride in the northeast (upstate NY), own the new Hightower and came off a TB3, mostly because I got sick of waiting for the new Tallboy to be released.
    Its definitely a bigger bike than the TB3, but on paper its sooo close to the new Tallboy.
    Actually the HT2 has a steeper seat angle and almost the same head angle. I put a Pike Ultimate on my HT2 just because I think a Lyric would be overkill.
    I think I got it to be about 90% what my TB3 was in terms of climbing. Descending is a different story, waaay better than the TB3. I'm interested in demoing a new Tallboy just to see if its at all better at climbing than the HT2.
    Interested to hear what others say...ÖÖÖ..

  5. #5
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    How are you going to setup the bike? Is it going to have DHF tires and 203 rotors?
    Both bikes with an identical build will be within .5lb, so basically the same. Get the Hightower unless you are going to run lighter weight tires, then get the tallboy.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tree View Post
    I live and ride in the northeast (upstate NY)..
    Me too. I ride Elm Ridge and Round Top the most. Both are definitely Tallboy trail systems. SMBA, Blue Mountain, and Wyndham are others that have the harder stiff I enjoy. Chutes and a ladders at SMBA is exactly what I like to challenge myself with. For those a Hightower may be better. But with the similar geometry the new Tallboy may have the same composure and just not use/need the extra travel.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    How are you going to setup the bike? Is it going to have DHF tires and 203 rotors?
    Both bikes with an identical build will be within .5lb, so basically the same. Get the Hightower unless you are going to run lighter weight tires, then get the tallboy.
    DHRII front and rear or maybe an Aggressor rear. Around here itís about gripping off camber wet roots not high speed cornering grip. 180 rotors and hope E4 brakes let me creep down most anything with total control or go in fast and scrub speed fast.

    Here we just donít have the speeds that allow bigger bikes to decidedly out perform smaller bikes. A 20+ mph descent is rare (parks excluded) and the few Iíve found are manageable even on a hard tail. Itís all about short bursts up and down. Mellow XC with technical climbs and descents mixed in.

    The terrain is really not suited to any one bike. It requires more compromise here than other places it seems. Itís also what makes this area so great. Any one ride is not repetitive or one dimensional. Then factor in 20+ trail systems and 5 bike parks within 90 minutes and itís as diverse as about anywhere else. I tend to avoid the big park stuff so a Tallboy may be all I need to stay safe at the edge of my skill and nerve.
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    Been to Bebee hill but not Elm ridge. SMBA is a favorite of mine.

    I have a Nomad4 built strictly for park days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    DHRII front and rear or maybe an Aggressor rear. Around here itís about gripping off camber wet roots not high speed cornering grip. 180 rotors and hope E4 brakes let me creep down most anything with total control or go in fast and scrub speed fast.

    Here we just donít have the speeds that allow bigger bikes to decidedly out perform smaller bikes. A 20+ mph descent is rare (parks excluded) and the few Iíve found are manageable even on a hard tail. Itís all about short bursts up and down. Mellow XC with technical climbs and descents mixed in.

    The terrain is really not suited to any one bike. It requires more compromise here than other places it seems. Itís also what makes this area so great. Any one ride is not repetitive or one dimensional. Then factor in 20+ trail systems and 5 bike parks within 90 minutes and itís as diverse as about anywhere else. I tend to avoid the big park stuff so a Tallboy may be all I need to stay safe at the edge of my skill and nerve.
    would love to know what tire ďgripsĒ off camber wet roots....i close my eyes and hold my breath :-) (on an HT2)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tree View Post
    Been to Bebee hill but not Elm ridge. SMBA is a favorite of mine.

    I have a Nomad4 built strictly for park days.
    You are definitely missing out. Elm Ridge is definitely the hottest riding area in the Hudson Valley right now. Incredibly well built flow trails with plenty of berms and bridges. Super fun.

    What is SMBA? Sprain?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ribbs76 View Post
    would love to know what tire ďgripsĒ off camber wet roots....
    True, and I have a hole in my arm to prove it (went into a tree last week when some roots tossed me off the trail). The Maxxis 3C medium compound does a good job. I rode a couple days ago and was impressed how well the DHRII gripped the greasy humid damp rocks and roots. Granted its a razors edge between, "wow the tire gripped that well" and "how did I get into this tree?".

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    Quote Originally Posted by questlove967 View Post
    You are definitely missing out. Elm Ridge is definitely the hottest riding area in the Hudson Valley right now. Incredibly well built flow trails with plenty of berms and bridges. Super fun.

    What is SMBA? Sprain?
    Daniels Road up in Saratoga. The locals call it SMBA but Trail Forks and others call it Daniels Road. MUCH harder than Elm, but FUN.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    Daniels Road up in Saratoga. The locals call it SMBA but Trail Forks and others call it Daniels Road. MUCH harder than Elm, but FUN.
    awesome. Ill definitely have to check it out. We're moving to Cairo area soon from New paltz area so Ill be closer to Saratoga by quite a bit. Check out Port Jervis Watershed Trails if you're ever down that way. Similar to what the guys are doing at Elm. Very fun and well built.

    PS. I was waffling between the TB4 and HT2 as well. Im settling on the Tallboy. My current TB3 is the most fun bike ive ever ridden. Most of the trails around here, really dont warrant anything more than 140mm. Ive raced Enduro at Mtn Creek and ridden Windham on the Tallboy. It takes a bit more finesse but the snappiness i get on 90% of the trails i actually ride is worth it. Even the downhills. I think about riding Run Noot or Levitate down on my TB and it is twice the fun that it ever was on my Enduro. The bigger travel bikes jsut tend to eat up all the stuff that makes our trails fun, whereas the shorter travel bikes let you use the small bumps for popping off of and playing with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    True, and I have a hole in my arm to prove it (went into a tree last week when some roots tossed me off the trail). The Maxxis 3C medium compound does a good job. I rode a couple days ago and was impressed how well the DHRII gripped the greasy humid damp rocks and roots. Granted its a razors edge between, "wow the tire gripped that well" and "how did I get into this tree?".
    will make note of that, i got the HT2 to get through that stuff quickly here in the North East, wasnít willing to put up with more precision requirements needed with lesser travel even though the up/down nature of the trails
    argues for a tallboy like bike. The new VPP gives me enough grip and keeps me nicely planted for the most part


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    Quote Originally Posted by questlove967 View Post
    You are definitely missing out. Elm Ridge is definitely the hottest riding area in the Hudson Valley right now. Incredibly well built flow trails with plenty of berms and bridges. Super fun.

    What is SMBA? Sprain?
    Saratoga Mountain Bike Association, they also maintain Pittstown trails on the other side of Troy.

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    I think gopro videos of your trails (shot by other riders) would help us get a better idea of your terrain.

    My last bike was a 130/125mm 29er and now I ride the HT2, haven't ridden the tallboy though. It sounds like the tallboy is what you are going to want based on you not exceeding 20mph on descents and trails aren't that steep. I have some trails like that near me though but I still prefer the hightower on them over the old bike because of geometry and lots of other things, but I love to corner aggressively and hit the big drops so the hightower is good for me, plus other areas I ride are much steeper and my old bike didn't have enough travel for them. So, for me the hightower was an easy choice to ride everything and I don't regret it at all.

    Depending on how big those roots and rocks are and how aggressively you ride, you may want to go with the hightower especially since there probably isn't a big weight difference if you build up the hightower and tallboy the same way. But if all of your trails are on the flatter side the tallboy is probably right for you.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ribbs76 View Post
    will make note of that, i got the HT2 to get through that stuff quickly here in the North East, wasnít willing to put up with more precision requirements needed with lesser travel even though the up/down nature of the trails
    argues for a tallboy like bike. The new VPP gives me enough grip and keeps me nicely planted for the most part
    Thats the kind of insight I'm hoping for here. In theory the reduced travel of the Tallboy is more "efficient" and "better" for small bumps. However I've also found that firmer pedaling platforms can actually be slower and struggle on the rocks and roots. The rear wheel hangs up and while you put down more 10% more efficient pedal power, when your rear wheel hangs up on a root it kills your speed and momentum. Any gains from the firmer platform are lost tenfold.

    Then my ego says, "yeah but its more of a challenge to be connected to the trail and not just monster truck over everything". I have to remind myself I'm not 21 and I can't dismiss the safety 140mm delivers vs 120mm.

    I should know more next week when I plan to ride the Hightower 2 on some local trails. I'll be looking for the steepest rootiest climbs to really put its climbing to the test. Then hopefully be able to take the Tallboy 4 on the same and compare.

    Ultimately, either one is a good option and color may play more into this than I'd like to believe. In which case...the black/orange Ripley is also in play.
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    This is Daniels Road/SMBA which has the most technical riding. Sections are similar to Gooseberry Mesa. Up/down rock slab and structures that require full body workout and skill. Not straight line stuff you can take at speed and let the bike roll over. It is a rock section with roots and tight corners at the exit. The lines are specific unless you want to get up close and personal with the trees.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-0t8mIVJDI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGiqiLyXYME

    Elm Ridge, easier and definitely Tallboy territory:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNZH57HE9fk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    Thats the kind of insight I'm hoping for here. In theory the reduced travel of the Tallboy is more "efficient" and "better" for small bumps. However I've also found that firmer pedaling platforms can actually be slower and struggle on the rocks and roots. The rear wheel hangs up and while you put down more 10% more efficient pedal power, when your rear wheel hangs up on a root it kills your speed and momentum. Any gains from the firmer platform are lost tenfold.

    Then my ego says, "yeah but its more of a challenge to be connected to the trail and not just monster truck over everything". I have to remind myself I'm not 21 and I can't dismiss the safety 140mm delivers vs 120mm.

    I should know more next week when I plan to ride the Hightower 2 on some local trails. I'll be looking for the steepest rootiest climbs to really put its climbing to the test. Then hopefully be able to take the Tallboy 4 on the same and compare.

    Ultimately, either one is a good option and color may play more into this than I'd like to believe. In which case...the black/orange Ripley is also in play.
    this is my first season on a FS. My first month i had XC guys racing past me. Much of it is my own riding but the more comfortable i get with the bike the more iím pushing it and in return itís giving me results and the gap has significantly narrowed with XC (albeit not my goal, just anecdotal). Iím happier with each ride and the equation is Rider + Bike = massive enjoyment. Not sure if the Rider is 2x or 5x the significance vs the bike performance in that equation but i feel ďRiderĒ is most important and itís something you canít get from these forums.
    I have no idea how someone chooses between a Ripley, Ripmo, HT2 or tallboy, all i know is that when i was looking at the Ripley it was 2 weeks after v4 came out and my budget was $2k lower and i was considering a different cheaper bike. Then i got introduced to SC and my budget disappeared. Had my mind been in Ripley budget territory i could be on a very different Bike today, but now i would not change my HT2 for the world....and i will not demo an IBIS for at least a yr so as to give my next budget some breathing room! :-) get riding!


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    Quote Originally Posted by questlove967 View Post
    awesome. Ill definitely have to check it out. We're moving to Cairo area soon from New paltz area so Ill be closer to Saratoga by quite a bit. Check out Port Jervis Watershed Trails if you're ever down that way. Similar to what the guys are doing at Elm. Very fun and well built.

    PS. I was waffling between the TB4 and HT2 as well. Im settling on the Tallboy. My current TB3 is the most fun bike ive ever ridden. Most of the trails around here, really dont warrant anything more than 140mm. Ive raced Enduro at Mtn Creek and ridden Windham on the Tallboy. It takes a bit more finesse but the snappiness i get on 90% of the trails i actually ride is worth it. Even the downhills. I think about riding Run Noot or Levitate down on my TB and it is twice the fun that it ever was on my Enduro. The bigger travel bikes jsut tend to eat up all the stuff that makes our trails fun, whereas the shorter travel bikes let you use the small bumps for popping off of and playing with.
    Thanks, very helpful and what I was thinking. My 135mm Tallboy LTc (precursor to Hightower) likely does numb the trails a bit. The v3 Tallboy and Ripley V4 are two of the most fun bikes I've ever ridden. Its just that I've had a few close calls that the extra travel may have helped. However the slacker and longer geo of the Tallboy would probably do a lot more to help than my current LTc's 10-15mm of travel do.

    I'm about 15 minutes from Cairo, its a nice place to be for MTBing. Fairly central to a lot. Elm will be 15 minutes, Round Top 5-10 (though its a bit of a mixed bag...until you get to know your way around). Then all the Albany area stuff (NB, CTP) and up to Saragotga and Queensbury (Gurney Lane is very nice for fast fun trails). Check out Capital MTB on Facebook to find more info and rides, or PM me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ribbs76 View Post
    ...
    I have no idea how someone chooses between a Ripley, Ripmo, HT2 or tallboy, ...
    This brings up a good point, I was interested in all of these bikes and the only way I decided was by riding them (again, I did not ride a tallboy. I liked the ripley though and wasn't a fan of the ripmo). OP (Doug), will you have a chance to demo the hightower and tallboy? I think if you ride them yourself you will be able to tell which bike "speaks to you." If you get to ride both, it should be a much easier decision as you could go either way for where you ride.

    But...

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    This is Daniels Road/SMBA which has the most technical riding. Sections are similar to Gooseberry Mesa. Up/down rock slab and structures that require full body workout and skill. Not straight line stuff you can take at speed and let the bike roll over. It is a rock section with roots and tight corners at the exit. The lines are specific unless you want to get up close and personal with the trees.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-0t8mIVJDI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGiqiLyXYME

    Elm Ridge, easier and definitely Tallboy territory:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNZH57HE9fk
    ...the GoPro likely makes things look easier than they are but I am pretty sure I rode more aggressive stuff than that just fine on my old 125mm 29er, so a tallboy is probably more suited to your riding if that's where you ride. If the tallboy is anything like the Ripley then I could see you riding those trails no problem with a tallboy.

    But of course the HT2 will be more plush on those big drops and probably keep momentum better and make it through those technical bits easier than the tallboy. I'd be happy riding all of that stuff on my HT2 and it would have advantages in some areas but in others the tallboy should be overall quicker so I guess it depends on what you prioritize.

    The tallboy, at least in the short chainstay mode, has a shorter wheelbase I think so it should be able to turn sharper too but even there I think the HT2 will handle those turns just fine.

    The only issues I had so far was in slow, tight, tech stuff as the HT2 is totally different than my old bike and I need to learn how to effectively ride those sections. In general, I think a shorter travel bike like the tallboy will pop over the top of stuff and be more playful in the tech sections while the hightower will plow more through them which can be a good or bad thing (good: keeps momentum through those sections and control, bad: might get hung up on rocks easier since you are going through rather than over them).

    So again, demoing both bikes if you can is the best solution, the tallboy should be a better fit for most of your riding I think but the hightower is going to be better for other sections too I think so it depends on what you are looking for.

    Edit: Also, cool trails!

  22. #22
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    I am also torn between the Hightower2 and Tallboy4 (Ibis may be in the mix too). Currently ride a Tallboy LTc and probably would want the one closest to my current bike (very solid trail bike w/a little cushion for mistakes but also lively). I live in NorCal -- ride Demo, UCSC, Downieville, Tahoe. I enjoy climbing and descending equally-- well almost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    Thanks, very helpful and what I was thinking. My 135mm Tallboy LTc (precursor to Hightower) likely does numb the trails a bit. The v3 Tallboy and Ripley V4 are two of the most fun bikes I've ever ridden. Its just that I've had a few close calls that the extra travel may have helped. However the slacker and longer geo of the Tallboy would probably do a lot more to help than my current LTc's 10-15mm of travel do.

    I'm about 15 minutes from Cairo, its a nice place to be for MTBing. Fairly central to a lot. Elm will be 15 minutes, Round Top 5-10 (though its a bit of a mixed bag...until you get to know your way around). Then all the Albany area stuff (NB, CTP) and up to Saragotga and Queensbury (Gurney Lane is very nice for fast fun trails). Check out Capital MTB on Facebook to find more info and rides, or PM me.
    Love Gurney Lane


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    Give the 429 a roll / I liked the XT pro over the SCHT GX build and Imo the 429 pedaled better.
    Fox > Rockshox Imo too.
    I wanted to love the new HT believe me - and had I not tried the Pivot, itíd be my ace today.


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    Quote Originally Posted by GMM View Post
    I am also torn between the Hightower2 and Tallboy4 (Ibis may be in the mix too). Currently ride a Tallboy LTc and probably would want the one closest to my current bike (very solid trail bike w/a little cushion for mistakes but also lively). I live in NorCal -- ride Demo, UCSC, Downieville, Tahoe. I enjoy climbing and descending equally-- well almost.
    For those trails and since you are coming from a 135mm bike I'd go with the hightower. But at least you are close to the SC factory so you can demo both there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ribbs76 View Post
    would love to know what tire ďgripsĒ off camber wet roots....i close my eyes and hold my breath :-) (on an HT2)


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    MM Soft or UltraSoft front n' rear, or MM Soft (front) and HD Soft (rear).

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    This is Daniels Road/SMBA which has the most technical riding. Sections are similar to Gooseberry Mesa. Up/down rock slab and structures that require full body workout and skill. Not straight line stuff you can take at speed and let the bike roll over. It is a rock section with roots and tight corners at the exit. The lines are specific unless you want to get up close and personal with the trees.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-0t8mIVJDI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGiqiLyXYME

    Elm Ridge, easier and definitely Tallboy territory:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNZH57HE9fk
    For these trails, either one of these bikes will work. Its up to you whats your priorities - climbs (TB4) or descends (HT2).

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    Both bikes with an identical build will be within .5lb, so basically the same. Get the Hightower unless you are going to run lighter weight tires, then get the tallboy.
    I'm not sure about that. I was at my LBS yesterday and their XL TB4 was 29.3 lbs w. tubes, whereas the XL HT2 was 31.2 also w. tubes. Both were CC X01 builds with the Raceface wheels - so nearly identical components. That difference (about 2 lbs.) is pretty close to what SC lists on their website for the same build levels also. Part of it is the weight differences between the Lyrik and Pike and also between the DPS and the DPX2 but I'd guess at least a lb of it is in the frame and linkage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatNateDude View Post
    I'm not sure about that. I was at my LBS yesterday and their XL TB4 was 29.3 lbs w. tubes, whereas the XL HT2 was 31.2 also w. tubes. Both were CC X01 builds with the Raceface wheels - so nearly identical components. That difference (about 2 lbs.) is pretty close to what SC lists on their website for the same build levels also. Part of it is the weight differences between the Lyrik and Pike and also between the DPS and the DPX2 but I'd guess at least a lb of it is in the frame and linkage.
    Why do they set them up with tubes? They come with sealant and no tubes unless I'm mistaken...?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikezest View Post
    Why do they set them up with tubes? They come with sealant and no tubes unless I'm mistaken...?
    My shop told me that they ship with tubes so the bikes on the sales floor will hold air in the tires - brand new tubeless setups that aren't ridden tend to leak, make a mess, etc. The SC dealer sets them up tubeless with the included supplies when the bike is purchased.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatNateDude View Post
    I'm not sure about that. I was at my LBS yesterday and their XL TB4 was 29.3 lbs w. tubes, whereas the XL HT2 was 31.2 also w. tubes. Both were CC X01 builds with the Raceface wheels - so nearly identical components. That difference (about 2 lbs.) is pretty close to what SC lists on their website for the same build levels also. Part of it is the weight differences between the Lyrik and Pike and also between the DPS and the DPX2 but I'd guess at least a lb of it is in the frame and linkage.
    I did some quick calculations for the different brakes, fork and shock is just over 1lb. So the frames are about .9lb different. Tallboy is lighter than I thought it would be.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

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    2019 TBís 110 rear travel starting to show up for sale ...

    Hmmm that Bloodred is pretty badass


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    This doesn't directly address your question, but I thought it was pretty interesting insight from Competitive Cyclist comparing the various new bikes in the Santa Cruz lineup. They seem to think the deciding factor between the Hightower and Tallboy is not really the terrain, but how you want the bike to handle:

    ďWhat of the Tallboyís siblings at Santa Cruz? Itís easy to imagine many riders finding themselves on the fence between the Hightower and the Tallboy, especially given that the Hightower gives up so little in terms of climbing prowess or efficiency. Where many decisions between models are driven by terrain, in this case, it might be more fruitful to decide based off the feel youíre looking for. If you want planted and stable, go Hightower. If you want lively and exciting, go Tallboy. . . . Finally, for those who might feel that the Tallboy has evolved too far in the trail bike direction for their tastes, Santa Cruz offers the Blur TR, which is essentially a lighter weight, more refined version of the Tallboy 3.Ē

    https://www.competitivecyclist.com/l...cruz-tallboy-4

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    Quote Originally Posted by GMM View Post
    I am also torn between the Hightower2 and Tallboy4 (Ibis may be in the mix too). Currently ride a Tallboy LTc and probably would want the one closest to my current bike (very solid trail bike w/a little cushion for mistakes but also lively). I live in NorCal -- ride Demo, UCSC, Downieville, Tahoe. I enjoy climbing and descending equally-- well almost.
    The new Intense Primer 29 has geo number that are not quite as extreme as the HT2. Also a VPP platform (upper link).

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    One thought, your TBLT is a couple generations old so I'm guessing the much more modern TB4 will be at least as capable as your current with the HT2 being significantly more capable. With that being said, the HT2 will likely out climb your current bike while being significantly more stable on the downs.

    Do you want similar climbing performance as your current bike but with better descending capability? HT2.

    Do you want better climbing performance as your current bike but with similar descending capability? TB4.

    Regardless of which choice you make, I think you'll end up with something that out performs your current bike everywhere.

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    I also have a Tallboy LTC. I demoed the new XL Ripley and it was way more capable in technically decents and cornering. It climbed about the same. I would have bought it but it was too small. I street tested the new HT and TB4. The new TB4 will decent better than the new Ripley, but the Ripley felt more snappy on climbs. I loved the HT2 handling and it pedaled well, but I think its over kill for me. I will be demoing both bikes when they come available for off road testing. I weighted both bikes with pedals which had the same XO build XL HT-30.8 lbs. TB4- 28.5 pounds. You can definitely feel the 2 pound difference. Given the new suspension and geometry I think the TB4 is the ticket. It will be more capable than your TBLT. I ride mostly in So CA. The TB4 can handle El Prieto all day. Mt Wilson HT2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dustyman View Post
    I also have a Tallboy LTC...Given the new suspension and geometry I think the TB4 is the ticket. It will be more capable than your TBLT. I ride mostly in So CA. The TB4 can handle El Prieto all day. Mt Wilson HT2.
    GREAT feedback dustyman. Just what I was looking for from someone with my same bike. I guess I have a hard time believing the TB4 will take drops as well as my old TB LTc, but if it's close and better everywhere else, I am in. I think I am ruling out the HT2. Sounds like I need to demo the Ripley and TB4!

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    I absolutely love my HT2. It has exceeded my expectations in every regard. Iím sure the Tallboy is great too.

    Does everything better than my V1 Hightower.

    Iím debating selling my TB3 now too.
    2016 Hightower
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMM View Post
    GREAT feedback dustyman. Just what I was looking for from someone with my same bike. I guess I have a hard time believing the TB4 will take drops as well as my old TB LTc, but if it's close and better everywhere else, I am in. I think I am ruling out the HT2. Sounds like I need to demo the Ripley and TB4!
    I rode the ripley v4 back to back with my LTc and a v3 Tallboy at nembafest. Ripley was the best of the group. Easy to get the front wheel off the ground for drops, great feel on fast sections due to slack angles, the short offset fork made handling feel so much better than the TB and LTc. It carved corners like nothing Iíve ridden. Climbs were also great with the steep seat tube angle.

    The only downside is the short cockpit when seated. The steep sta does shorten it up more than Iíd like. How much a problem depends on how much you pedal flat ground seated. Slamming the seat back does help of course but also affects seated climbing

    I expect more of the same in the tb 4. May get on one this week but if not at least the ht2.
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    I plan to demo the Hightower next week. The Tallboy with be harder to demo. SC doesn't have many dealers here, those that are here are low inventory and don't demo many bikes. Santa Cruze rarely comes around for a full demo with their fleet. I may have to find a local and give it a test spin.

    These trails are not that aggressive. There certainly isn't the consequences where a fall can mean rag dolling down a few hundred feet of exposure. The rock features tend to be the short technical bits that require you pick a good line and commit. The wrong line will take you into a tree, or a wheel eating hole/crack/root that sends you OTB. I think head tube angle, reach/stem length (weight back), and the reduced offset fork will do more to help on these trails than 20mm of travel. Given how similar the Geo is both should do well.

    Wheelbase and the adjustable chain stays of the Tallboy will likely help with the tight sections. I also like the idea of it making the easy trails more fun. Most of my rides are on stuff I can ride no problem.

    I'm leaning towards the Tallboy now. I'm concerned the STA may mean an XL is too small seated, but the XXL too big standing. I will do some trigonometry on that once I can confirm how they measure those angles. My seat is higher than most my height (long legs short torso) so that may allow me to eek out a little more effective top tube length. Sliding the seat back could get what I need. I had to play with those on the Ripley to get it to fit right. With the seat in the middle it was definitely a bit small seated.

    I like what Comp. Cyclist says...pick based on how you want the trail to feel, not terrain. With the relatively easy terrain the Tallboy is more of a fit here.

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    Interesting thread for me though in my case, I've narrowed the choice down to three SC bikes. Hightower C S, Tallboy C S and Bronson C S+. All are current models. I keep thinking I need to finally go with 29" wheels but the 27.5+ on the Bronson really work in my northwest Jersey rock gardens and tight trails.

    There is no simple answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev Bubba View Post
    Interesting thread for me though in my case, I've narrowed the choice down to three SC bikes. Hightower C S, Tallboy C S and Bronson C S+. All are current models. I keep thinking I need to finally go with 29" wheels but the 27.5+ on the Bronson really work in my northwest Jersey rock gardens and tight trails.

    There is no simple answer.
    I have some similar trails here. SMBA and Blue Mountain both have the slab and roller rocks to go up and down with plenty of rock and tight turns. I also rode Trumbull in CT which is a rock playground. There doesnít seem to be a bike that is ideal for those conditions. But as you say several good options. A friend rides a 27.5+ Salsa and itís got grip my 29 2.3 tires canít match.

    Have you considered 27.5+ on the Tallboy? Youíd get the grip and the advantages of shorter travel and the geo (especially the reduced offset).

    Another option is a mullet bike. I demoíd The new primer and the intense guy said his personal ride was a 29f 27.5+ rear Primer. He said it rolls great and corners better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    I have some similar trails here. SMBA and Blue Mountain both have the slab and roller rocks to go up and down with plenty of rock and tight turns. I also rode Trumbull in CT which is a rock playground. There doesnít seem to be a bike that is ideal for those conditions. But as you say several good options. A friend rides a 27.5+ Salsa and itís got grip my 29 2.3 tires canít match.

    Have you considered 27.5+ on the Tallboy? Youíd get the grip and the advantages of shorter travel and the geo (especially the reduced offset).

    Another option is a mullet bike. I demoíd The new primer and the intense guy said his personal ride was a 29f 27.5+ rear Primer. He said it rolls great and corners better.
    I don't think the TB4 would work with 275+
    At least that's what SC says.
    Maybe the stays are too narrow where the 275+ would be... + Very low BB

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzanova View Post
    I don't think the TB4 would work with 275+
    At least that's what SC says.
    Maybe the stays are too narrow where the 275+ would be... + Very low BB
    The TB4 thread has a few measurements that indicate 27.5+ would work. BB would be a bit low. Abiut 0.4Ē lower than TB3 so Maybe .25Ē lower with a 29Ē front.
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    I just got back from a semi-technical and very fun ride on my 26" steel hardtail with only 100mm in front which leads me to think that the Tallboy may really be best since it would be the best climber.

    I'll be honest, after spending $5000+ on a new bike, I'm not spending another chunk on an extra set of wheels in a different size and as some others have already pointed out, 27.5+ are not an option on the Tallboy according to SC.

    Also, because of what my shop carries, years of good experience with Santa Cruz, (my current FS is a 5010 V1), etc. I plan to stick with SC.

    My mind is always churning. During todays ride, I was thinking how nice a Chameleon C S+ would be with an advertised weight of around 26 lbs. Saves me a couple thousand and I could keep my 5010.

    So damned many options even when I cut the search to one brand. I guess that part of the fun, though.

    PS: I've ridden all the places you mentioned. I think I was still on a hardtail the few times I rode Trumbull and dropper posts didn't exist at that point. Somehow we all survived.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev Bubba View Post
    PS: I've ridden all the places you mentioned. I think I was still on a hardtail the few times I rode Trumbull and dropper posts didn't exist at that point. Somehow we all survived.
    I learned to ride in trumbull. Rigid Yo Eddy and then 80mm of travel with my Z2. Sometimes I see the trails and lines through those eyes and canít believe how well modern bikes handle the terrain. Iíve taken to Yo back out and itís fun but super sketchy and I feel beat up the next day.

    Were you part of the NYC/NJ crew that rode there occasionally? I rode with Thai/chef, Kathy, CT, and a few others a few times I remember admiring their Titus Ti FS Bikes and eventually the Santa Cruz Superlight someone got. Back when FS was ďcheatingĒ.

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    Ah, you remember Chef? There was Fred3 from Maine who occasional came south and the crazy Russian couple and so many more. Yes, I was part of that group and I remember Chef's multi color Titus. I was usually on a GT Zaskar with a SID, a GT I-Drive for a while and eventually in the early 2000's settled into a long term relationship with a Giant Trance. Somewhere I was also riding an early Chameleon I had fixed up to ride at Diablo before they changed the name back to Mountain Creek Bike Park or whatever it is today.

    Did you visit Jim Thorpe too? I went to most of the JTMBW's and a picture I took of my wife (aka Turbob!tch) with Maurice Tierney at the 20th and last JTMBW made the cover of Dirt Rag. A number of stories loosely based on our rides got published in Dirt Rag too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    The TB4 thread has a few measurements that indicate 27.5+ would work. BB would be a bit low. Abiut 0.4Ē lower than TB3 so Maybe .25Ē lower with a 29Ē front.
    I believe the bigger problem is the stays needing too narrow for 27.5+.
    Someone in that TB4 thread asked SC and the response was "Sorry, no 27.5+; TB4 was designed only for 29.

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    Quote Originally Posted by questlove967 View Post
    awesome. Ill definitely have to check it out. We're moving to Cairo area soon from New paltz area so Ill be closer to Saratoga by quite a bit. Check out Port Jervis Watershed Trails if you're ever down that way. Similar to what the guys are doing at Elm. Very fun and well built.

    PS. I was waffling between the TB4 and HT2 as well. Im settling on the Tallboy. My current TB3 is the most fun bike ive ever ridden. Most of the trails around here, really dont warrant anything more than 140mm. Ive raced Enduro at Mtn Creek and ridden Windham on the Tallboy. It takes a bit more finesse but the snappiness i get on 90% of the trails i actually ride is worth it. Even the downhills. I think about riding Run Noot or Levitate down on my TB and it is twice the fun that it ever was on my Enduro. The bigger travel bikes jsut tend to eat up all the stuff that makes our trails fun, whereas the shorter travel bikes let you use the small bumps for popping off of and playing with.
    If youíre moving up that way - itís well worth a drive for you to hit gurney lane in Queensbury...


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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzanova View Post
    Someone in that TB4 thread asked SC and the response was "Sorry, no 27.5+; TB4 was designed only for 29.
    The Hightower and Tallboy have some interesting limits by ďdesignĒ. No coil, few piggyback shocks, and no 27.5Ē.

    They seem to have a much more narrow focus for these versions: 29Ē wheels and XC/Trail air shocks. Theories abound that these are designs to help SC sell more bikes and make them less of a one bike quiver killer due to cannibalizing sales.

    27.5+ does seem to work as some have already tried it. Not designed for it, true, but works nonetheless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNatureBoy View Post
    If youíre moving up that way - itís well worth a drive for you to hit gurney lane in Queensbury...
    Gurney is the kind of riding that makes the TB vs HT decision tricky here. Gurney is TB territory for sure. SMBA, pittstown are HT territory.

    I like the ďold guyĒ insurance of over biking. Get you through the sketchy stuff when you may not make the best line choices. However the geometry of the Tallboy may go a long way to making it better in those sections just not as smooth.

    The more I consider them both the more it comes down to this: Tallboy is the right bike but the Hightower May keen me off the ground a few times a season. After a recent visit to urgent care for a stick in my arm Iím more aware than before that riding has risks. Of course that happened on an easier trail and my elbow pads would have been up to the task had I worn them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    The Hightower and Tallboy have some interesting limits by ďdesignĒ. No coil, few piggyback shocks, and no 27.5Ē.

    They seem to have a much more narrow focus for these versions: 29Ē wheels and XC/Trail air shocks. Theories abound that these are designs to help SC sell more bikes and make them less of a one bike quiver killer due to cannibalizing sales.

    27.5+ does seem to work as some have already tried it. Not designed for it, true, but works nonetheless.
    Specifically, no 27.5 plus for Tallboy 4. HT2 runs 27.5 plus just fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    Gurney is the kind of riding that makes the TB vs HT decision tricky here. Gurney is TB territory for sure. SMBA, pittstown are HT territory.

    I like the ďold guyĒ insurance of over biking. Get you through the sketchy stuff when you may not make the best line choices. However the geometry of the Tallboy may go a long way to making it better in those sections just not as smooth.

    The more I consider them both the more it comes down to this: Tallboy is the right bike but the Hightower May keen me off the ground a few times a season. After a recent visit to urgent care for a stick in my arm Iím more aware than before that riding has risks. Of course that happened on an easier trail and my elbow pads would have been up to the task had I worn them.
    You can also look at it in terms of easier pedaling ... the TB might make your day easier & longer . .. 90% of your rides ...

    The HT is gonna be better in the chunk but how much chunk are you gonna ride?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    The Hightower and Tallboy have some interesting limits by ďdesignĒ. No coil, few piggyback shocks, and no 27.5Ē.

    They seem to have a much more narrow focus for these versions: 29Ē wheels and XC/Trail air shocks. Theories abound that these are designs to help SC sell more bikes and make them less of a one bike quiver killer due to cannibalizing sales.

    27.5+ does seem to work as some have already tried it. Not designed for it, true, but works nonetheless.
    IMO its kind of backwards, I would expect someone with the tallboy to care more about having 27.5+ tires than 29x2.6 while most hightower users probably couldn't care less about 27.5+ but could use some extra tire clearance to fit bigger 29er tires. So I think SC designed the bikes with priorities a bit flipped.

    Edit: Of course this is coming from a hightower owner who will forever be slightly concerned about "will it fit?!" when buying new rear tires, I am guessing some others out there might think things were designed as they should be.

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    Hey everyone, can you tell me if you think this is a crazy idea or not? I currently have a 2018 Hightower LT that Iíll never sell for itís value. It has a bunch of upgrades everywhere and itís currently on PB for a steal and no biters (due to the release of the new 2020). TBH Iím surprisingly not that interested in the new HT and leaning towards the new TB.

    So...Iím thinking about buying the Tallboy frameset and throwing all my HTLT parts on. This includes a Fox Factory Kashima 36 that iíll reduce to 140mm. Iím pretty sure everything else will fit.

    So it will be a burly build and overforked but based on the reviews I think this would be a super capable bike. Think of it something like the ďBC editionĒ akin to the Rocky Mountain Bikes option.

    Is there anything Iím missing on compatibility? Solid idea yea or nay?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNatureBoy View Post
    2019 TBís 110 rear travel starting to show up for sale ...

    Hmmm that Bloodred is pretty badass


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    It's called Oxblood! Buy mine?
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    Hey man. I think the Tallboy 4 would work pretty well with a 140 fork. Itís kind of begging to be built up burly. Compatibility off the top of my head, only thing I can think of is the fork offset. The new TB and Hightower utilize a 44mm offset fork I believe whereas the LT uses a 51mm. It will likely chance the handling a bit. Iím not sure how noticeable the difference will be but itís work pointing out. Check the Tallboy 4 thread and thereís quite a bit of talk about offset.

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    Right ya the offset 🤔 Iíll have to look into that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAGPIE!!! View Post
    Right ya the offset 樂 Iíll have to look into that!
    This was actually discussed recently in the Tallboy 4 thread, and the general consensus from those who've tried it seems to be that it's maybe not ideal but it works fine.

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    Interesting... awesome thanks!

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    So - Doug (OP) - what did you end up with? Did you get the Tallboy? Iím in same boat trying to decide on TB vs HT. My LBS only has HT/MT demo bikes so I got a real ride on a HT and around the parking lot ride on the TB.

    The HT was amazing and climbed a lot better than I expected. However it feels a little more bike than my ability and Iím too old for big jumps so figure Iíll never use all the travel. A TB with 140 would be sweet spot but I think I can manage with the 130.

    Curious where you ended up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenhot View Post
    So - Doug (OP) - what did you end up with? Did you get the Tallboy? Iím in same boat trying to decide on TB vs HT. My LBS only has HT/MT demo bikes so I got a real ride on a HT and around the parking lot ride on the TB.

    The HT was amazing and climbed a lot better than I expected. However it feels a little more bike than my ability and Iím too old for big jumps so figure Iíll never use all the travel. A TB with 140 would be sweet spot but I think I can manage with the 130.

    Curious where you ended up.
    You sound like a perfect candidate for a Tallboy. Its awesome
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    Agreed. The Tallboy 4 is the biggest little bike Iíve ridden. Itís more capable than I give it credit for. The Hightower is amazing but definitely more All Mountain oriented than the nice trail characteristics of the Tallboy 4.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenhot View Post
    So - Doug (OP) - what did you end up with? Did you get the Tallboy? Iím in same boat trying to decide on TB vs HT. My LBS only has HT/MT demo bikes so I got a real ride on a HT and around the parking lot ride on the TB.

    The HT was amazing and climbed a lot better than I expected. However it feels a little more bike than my ability and Iím too old for big jumps so figure Iíll never use all the travel. A TB with 140 would be sweet spot but I think I can manage with the 130.

    Curious where you ended up.
    Personally I really like the tb better, Iíve got an og Hightower which I love. Tried the ht2 and didnít connect with it for some reason but absolutely loved the new tb, just had a really fun time on it and the geo gives you great confidence when things get rowdy. If youíre not into jumping Iíd definitely say the Tb is the way to go, it definitely hits bigger than itís numbers suggest. It felt like a more capable 5010

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCFord View Post
    Personally I really like the tb better, Iíve got an og Hightower which I love. Tried the ht2 and didnít connect with it for some reason but absolutely loved the new tb, just had a really fun time on it and the geo gives you great confidence when things get rowdy. If youíre not into jumping Iíd definitely say the Tb is the way to go, it definitely hits bigger than itís numbers suggest. It felt like a more capable 5010
    Sure wish I could demo the TB before dropping 7k..., but my gut says you're right. I'm coming off a 26" Blur - so either one of them with modern geo is mind-blowing by comparison.

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    Here are some Youtube reviews/videos on the comparison between these SC bikes

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKGG7BXnkBA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulPviM8Cddw&t=79s


    Curious to know that the OP ended up deciding on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T_Lundell View Post
    This doesn't directly address your question, but I thought it was pretty interesting insight from Competitive Cyclist comparing the various new bikes in the Santa Cruz lineup. They seem to think the deciding factor between the Hightower and Tallboy is not really the terrain, but how you want the bike to handle:

    ďWhat of the Tallboyís siblings at Santa Cruz? Itís easy to imagine many riders finding themselves on the fence between the Hightower and the Tallboy, especially given that the Hightower gives up so little in terms of climbing prowess or efficiency. Where many decisions between models are driven by terrain, in this case, it might be more fruitful to decide based off the feel youíre looking for. If you want planted and stable, go Hightower. If you want lively and exciting, go Tallboy. . . . Finally, for those who might feel that the Tallboy has evolved too far in the trail bike direction for their tastes, Santa Cruz offers the Blur TR, which is essentially a lighter weight, more refined version of the Tallboy 3.Ē

    https://www.competitivecyclist.com/l...cruz-tallboy-4
    +1 - Wisdom.

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    I can't figure this one out either. The conventional wisdom says buy for your local trails and Tallboy 4 would be great at home. I get about 10 days a year between Crested Butte, Angel Fire and Bentonville where I would prefer the the Hightower 2. I look forward to those 10 days all year, and would like to have the bigger bike for those days

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibanda View Post
    I can't figure this one out either. The conventional wisdom says buy for your local trails and Tallboy 4 would be great at home. I get about 10 days a year between Crested Butte, Angel Fire and Bentonville where I would prefer the the Hightower 2. I look forward to those 10 days all year, and would like to have the bigger bike for those days
    Just get the Tallboy. 140mm fork. 190x50 shock will give you 134mm travel. Cane Creek coil inline has a removable spacer. With it installed, it will be 190x45 = 120mm travel. When removed it will be 134mm, so very close to Hightower.
    At least that's what I am planning to do.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibanda View Post
    I can't figure this one out either. The conventional wisdom says buy for your local trails and Tallboy 4 would be great at home. I get about 10 days a year between Crested Butte, Angel Fire and Bentonville where I would prefer the the Hightower 2. I look forward to those 10 days all year, and would like to have the bigger bike for those days
    If you aren't racing, get the HT2. I have the same situation; most days in Hudson River Valley (rocky) and 10-15 days at Killington or Mountain Creek. I went HT2 as the Tallboy was fine for the parks, but definitely harsh. I don't really race any more, so why do I care about weight or a bit too much suspension? HT2 is a fine trail bike; that was all I needed to know.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzanova View Post
    Just get the Tallboy. 140mm fork. 190x50 shock will give you 134mm travel. Cane Creek coil inline has a removable spacer. With it installed, it will be 190x45 = 120mm travel. When removed it will be 134mm, so very close to Hightower.
    At least that's what I am planning to do.
    No issues with clearance with the 134mm travel? Pretty cool

  72. #72
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    I'm also sitting on the fence between the tb4 and ht2, my lbs doesn't have any available yet for test rides. I'm currently riding my trusty 2012 130mm satori overforked with a 150mm pike. In the hudson valley region 90-95% is tb territory, short but steep and twisty rocky climbs and usually slowish but techy trails. But there are those times where I wonder how well it could handle a set of steep rollers or 2-3ft drops. I have a dh bike, so the only bike park here I would take a tb or ht would be windham's tamer flow trails. I guess my real question would be about the extremes, how well can the tb handle chunky techy trails, and would the ht be too much bike for climbing steep twisty xc stuff?

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by masterofnone View Post
    I'm also sitting on the fence between the tb4 and ht2, my lbs doesn't have any available yet for test rides. I'm currently riding my trusty 2012 130mm satori overforked with a 150mm pike. In the hudson valley region 90-95% is tb territory, short but steep and twisty rocky climbs and usually slowish but techy trails. But there are those times where I wonder how well it could handle a set of steep rollers or 2-3ft drops. I have a dh bike, so the only bike park here I would take a tb or ht would be windham's tamer flow trails. I guess my real question would be about the extremes, how well can the tb handle chunky techy trails, and would the ht be too much bike for climbing steep twisty xc stuff?
    I rode the HT at Ferncliff and it was good. I never rode the TB4 because they didnít have one to test and then got a used Canfield Riot and it is like a Tallboy on the ups and a HT down. CBF is legit and itís great in the tight tech. I was cleaning climbs at Elm Ridge that gave my TBLT trouble.

    A new Riot is coming. Maybe carbon.

    Of course the Ripmo AF with DVO is another string contender.

    Hard to go wrong these day.
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    Bikeway down in wappingers and Montegomery should have demos in the spring. I know a couple of the guys there ride the new Hightower. Im elm ridge rider primarily but have ridden most of the HV trails. Just got a new TB4 in August coming from a TB3. My good buddy has a HT2. It feels good but i prefer the light handling feeling of the TB. Ive ridden some pretty gnarly shit on it and it handles it all but keeps you on your toes.

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    I ride Blue Mountain and Ringwood all the time and just switched from a TB3 to a HT2. My wife and I started riding Killington ~8-10 days per year and will also start heading to Mountain Creek a bit, but we are blue/black riders, not double black (I'm 50). I found that taking less punishment and the stiffer front end were a goal, and having ridden Blue and Ringwood with the HT now, I have -0- regrets. I agree with the comment of if you want more precision, the TB4 is the answer.

    If I wasn't doing park days, I would've flipped to a TB4 and not thought twice about it. The other option is getting a 35mm RockShox fork or a Fox 36 for a TB4 and you have the added stiffness. If you only take the DH to the park, then the precision vs. cushy/stability is the difference, and would suggest a TB4. The HT2 is outstanding for both Blue and Ringwood in my opinion and I'm now an ex-Cat 1 MTB racer, so a recovering race bike guy. Perhaps I'm just getting old; I do still have, and enjoy, my Indy Fab Ti Deluxe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tedh View Post
    I ride Blue Mountain and Ringwood all the time and just switched from a TB3 to a HT2. My wife and I started riding Killington ~8-10 days per year and will also start heading to Mountain Creek a bit, but we are blue/black riders, not double black (I'm 50). I found that taking less punishment and the stiffer front end were a goal, and having ridden Blue and Ringwood with the HT now, I have -0- regrets. I agree with the comment of if you want more precision, the TB4 is the answer.

    If I wasn't doing park days, I would've flipped to a TB4 and not thought twice about it. The other option is getting a 35mm RockShox fork or a Fox 36 for a TB4 and you have the added stiffness. If you only take the DH to the park, then the precision vs. cushy/stability is the difference, and would suggest a TB4. The HT2 is outstanding for both Blue and Ringwood in my opinion and I'm now an ex-Cat 1 MTB racer, so a recovering race bike guy. Perhaps I'm just getting old; I do still have, and enjoy, my Indy Fab Ti Deluxe
    Ringwood is outstanding- I rode that last year on a hard tail Stache.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ibanda View Post
    I can't figure this one out either. The conventional wisdom says buy for your local trails and Tallboy 4 would be great at home. I get about 10 days a year between Crested Butte, Angel Fire and Bentonville where I would prefer the the Hightower 2. I look forward to those 10 days all year, and would like to have the bigger bike for those days
    Back and forth for several months, finally made a decision, ordered a Tallboy 4 frame and will put a Pike on it. I think it is the best option for my local Oklahoma trails. If I move to a more downhill oriented place I will trade or buy a second bike. I surprised myself buying without a demo ride, but I have ridden two other SC XL sized bikes and the fit really works for me.

  78. #78
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    My current ride has a 13.3in bb height (same as the ht) and I smack the pedals more than I like on steep chunks climbs, I can only imagine the lower bb of the tb would be a PITA. The fox 34 might be a little flexy for my 185ish lbs, and I'm not willing to spend even more $$$ for a pike.
    tolerance is a skill I haven't mastered yet

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by masterofnone View Post
    My current ride has a 13.3in bb height (same as the ht) and I smack the pedals more than I like on steep chunks climbs, I can only imagine the lower bb of the tb would be a PITA. The fox 34 might be a little flexy for my 185ish lbs, and I'm not willing to spend even more $$$ for a pike.
    Pedal strikes were an issue on TB3 too.


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  80. #80
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    I have now demo'd both of these bikes, and I still can't decide which to get. I am sure I will be happy with either as they are both great bikes in different ways. The TB V4 feels like it has so much energy through single track and on descents and it corners like it is on rails. Love that about it. Also, I am not a big jumper but on smaller jumps at least, it is really easy to load up the suspension and hit the take-off just right. The rear suspension outclassed the front to me. The HT V2 felt slow to me at first; maybe rolling to the trailhead on pavement with 2.4DHR2 will give that impression. I didn't expect much, but surprisingly my climbing times according to Strava were better than expected. On one 20 minute climb, my time was 20 seconds faster than my time on a demo Ripmo. I rode the HT and Ripmo on different days and the 20-second time difference is of course insignificant, but the point is the HT's efficiency is much greater than expected. Not trying to start an Ibis - SC comparison, but I wanted to make the climbing point since the Ripmo is regarded as such a good climber for its travel. The HT climbs faster than it feels like it is climbing. The TB was faster than both, but no surprise there. On the DH's, the HT felt so darn stable and planted. On my HT demo day, I was having one of those days when the flow is just not there. I had planned to walk a couple of steeper DH's not to damage a demo bike. Lo and behold as I approached one such section I just let the brakes go and the bike Easily handled what is normally a difficult DH for me. I know they say it's not the bike, it's the rider, but I can say without question it was all bike on this day. The HT made me a better descender than I am. I was just rolling over over steep chunk without that nervous feeling that typically accompanies such endeavors. HT => Confidence Booster.

    So I need to decide, do I want that flying through the trees and on-the-gas feel of the TB-- which is absolutely no slouch on the DH's. Or do I want that Diesel up the hill, I've got your back on the DH feel of the HT2-- that margin of safety as they say. First World Problems.

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMM View Post
    I have now demo'd both of these bikes, and I still can't decide which to get. I am sure I will be happy with either as they are both great bikes in different ways. The TB V4 feels like it has so much energy through single track and on descents and it corners like it is on rails. Love that about it. Also, I am not a big jumper but on smaller jumps at least, it is really easy to load up the suspension and hit the take-off just right. The rear suspension outclassed the front to me. The HT V2 felt slow to me at first; maybe rolling to the trailhead on pavement with 2.4DHR2 will give that impression. I didn't expect much, but surprisingly my climbing times according to Strava were better than expected. On one 20 minute climb, my time was 20 seconds faster than my time on a demo Ripmo. I rode the HT and Ripmo on different days and the 20-second time difference is of course insignificant, but the point is the HT's efficiency is much greater than expected. Not trying to start an Ibis - SC comparison, but I wanted to make the climbing point since the Ripmo is regarded as such a good climber for its travel. The HT climbs faster than it feels like it is climbing. The TB was faster than both, but no surprise there. On the DH's, the HT felt so darn stable and planted. On my HT demo day, I was having one of those days when the flow is just not there. I had planned to walk a couple of steeper DH's not to damage a demo bike. Lo and behold as I approached one such section I just let the brakes go and the bike Easily handled what is normally a difficult DH for me. I know they say it's not the bike, it's the rider, but I can say without question it was all bike on this day. The HT made me a better descender than I am. I was just rolling over over steep chunk without that nervous feeling that typically accompanies such endeavors. HT => Confidence Booster.

    So I need to decide, do I want that flying through the trees and on-the-gas feel of the TB-- which is absolutely no slouch on the DH's. Or do I want that Diesel up the hill, I've got your back on the DH feel of the HT2-- that margin of safety as they say. First World Problems.
    Not to derail the thread, but how did the HT2 descend compared to the Ripmo? I'm in a similar dilemma.

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMM View Post

    So I need to decide, do I want that flying through the trees and on-the-gas feel of the TB-- which is absolutely no slouch on the DH's. Or do I want that Diesel up the hill, I've got your back on the DH feel of the HT2-- that margin of safety as they say. First World Problems.
    I'm blown away too with the climbing abilities of the HT2. Add that to increased buffer in those "oh Sh*t" -situations made HT2 no brainer for me. True one bike solution for an average rider with zero access to actual mountains and Megatower-requiring DH sections.
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  83. #83
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    Although I still havent ridden the new Tallboy, this is my third hightower. I'm a bit biased as I have just landed in this 150mm space as the best possible one bike solution. It's the best climbing and pedaling bike I've ever owned, and descends like a beast.

    That being said, the only way I would personally go with a TB is if I had the option of putting a longer travel bike in the garage for bigger party/play days. The TB for me gets into a zone where I am going to really overwhelm that bike once in a while. That being said, I really dont feel like I am giving up that much on the HT2 with a proper suspension tune and trail tires.

    If you plan to just pedal away, never leave the ground, etc...maybe the TB is the better bike? It really does boil down to intent, style and terrain. Both are fantastic sleds.
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  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by velock View Post
    Not to derail the thread, but how did the HT2 descend compared to the Ripmo? I'm in a similar dilemma.
    Velock: It wasn't close for me. The HT2 was way more confidence inspiring and stable. Now I am not a great DHer but I am not bad either. With the HT2, I could just let go of the brakes and roll the steeps with complete confidence. I know there are many skilled riders who fly DH on the Ripmo. It really is a dart on the trail, but for me a little too quick handling. On one fast rutted section of trail, I was grinning on the HT2 picking up speed, and on the same section with the Ripmo I felt out-of-control. Maybe it was suspension set-up although I spent time getting it set at the factory. Those are my impressions and your experience may be completely different.

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMM View Post
    I had planned to walk a couple of steeper DH's not to damage a demo bike. Lo and behold as I approached one such section I just let the brakes go and the bike Easily handled what is normally a difficult DH for me. I know they say it's not the bike, it's the rider, but I can say without question it was all bike on this day. The HT made me a better descender than I am. I was just rolling over over steep chunk without that nervous feeling that typically accompanies such endeavors. HT => Confidence Booster.

    Lance was wrong... It is so about the bike.

    I demoed the TB4 and the HT, each for 2 days on Rocky, technical trails. Long climb, long decent.

    I was just as fast on the HT when climbing, and more confident and a touch faster on the descents.

    There is a double black section with a couple of big drops and a steep long roller that I've never had the nerve to attempt. Walked it, then hit it on the HT, no problem. The geo on the bike is outstanding. I like Ryan Palmer's comment of "why not?" comparing the extra 20mm of travel of the HT to the TB4.

    If you're doing big climbs with big descents go with the HT. If I had flatter, or more punchy quick ups/downs, I would probably have gotten the TB4.
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    All - Thanks for all the comments on this thread - very helpful. I am looking to upgrade from a hardtail (Giant Fathom 1) to one of these two bikes and am leaning toward the TB4 in the Aluminum frame R build. I am an intermediate rider who rides 2-3x per week and mainly single track with some technical trails and downhill. I am not planning to enter any races and just enjoy mtn biking for exercise and being outside. Not sure that I need the carbon frame and the aluminum is more budget friendly and plenty for my needs.

    I am interested in:
    1) Your general comments on aluminum v. carbon;
    2) I have a great local shop here that is an SC retailer, but I am also looking for the best price and wanted to see what you all recommend as far as getting a good deal on an SC bike?

  87. #87
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    I'll make this short.

    1. Aluminum costs less but may weigh a bit more. All things being equal, it will add about a pound to your bike. Maybe a bit more.

    2. I'm looking at a new Santa Cruz too. No deals to be found and to my knowledge and very few 2020 models are left. I've heard August for the 2021 Tallboy and will wait for that. I've also heard, but can not confirm, that the new TB colors will be matte black and white.

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    Thanks Rev - I have also read there are some long-term concerns about aluminum durability, is that really valid? Also repair for carbon can be more of a problem for aluminum. For my riding, I would doubt I would know the difference for al.

    For 2021 is there a new TB model, or just new colors? Thanks for the quick reply.

  89. #89
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    If you scroll down some, there is a post on the 2021 Hightower and Tallboy I started a few weeks ago. I was passing information I got from others in response to my question.

    Someone said the Hightower would go from 140mm rear to 145mm. No one mentioned a similar change in the Tallboy.

    With both the Hightower and Tallboy only one year old, I don't think there will be a new version. I'm confident the various builds will change. I've suggested people look at the builds on the 2021 5010 introduced last week to get some idea of changes.

    As for the strength of aluminum, all I can say is I rode an aluminum Giant Trance for about eight or more years and never had issues nor did I have problems with any other aluminum frames by other manufacturers. But then I've never broken a carbon or steel frame either so maybe I'm just not hard on them. I ride a lot of technical but you can ride that hard or soft and I'd be more in the soft category if there was such a category.

    Having never had an issue with frame material, two years ago I replaced a carbon road bike with an aluminum. Those both were full Ultegra, the aluminum bike is over two pounds lighter then the older carbon one. Design has a lot to do with strength and weight.

    Good luck.

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    I'm betwixt and between these 2 bikes as well. I'm currently on a 2016 Camber 29er and am located on Long Island NY. I've been riding a mountain bike for 25+ years, but only got more serious 4-5 years ago. Mostly you could describe our trails as flowy singletrack. Some rocks, roots and sand.

    Camber is fine, its a basic build with a rockshox recon and Xfusion shocks 2x, no dropper. I started thinking of adding a dropper, going 1x, then really started thinking, maybe changing the bike would be the ticket.

    So I was looking at the Stumpjumper ST as a lateral build with the dropper and 1x, then thought the better suspension of the Comp would make sense around $3k, now I'm thinking, well the Santa Cruz is only $400 more than the Comp Stumpy....I'm looking at the TB alum R build


    So I feel like the Tallboy is the one made for my trails (I think). I'm not looking for a race bred XC bike, I'd like something plushish that doesn't feel like a boat or an anchor, if that makes sense. I could go upstate NY, or CT, or NJ and catch some bike parks or heavier riding, though I haven't done it yet, and don't know how realistic that I'd do that regularly. That would definitely be more Hightower than Tallboy. I've seen some reviews seem to say that the Hightower really doesn't have much of a downside compared to the TB 20mm better, no real climbing/turning penalty. Though I'm not sure how that really can be...

    Biggest problem is, I can't demo. Santa Cruz site says they aren't demoing now, LBs doesn't have any inventory... I was contemplating this change to a Stumpy hoping bikes would come in during June and thinking of trying to sell the Camber while the market is still good for used bikes... basically delaying for no good reason, though from what I understand normalcy isn't going to return until the fall and I'm not sure I want to wait that long.

    I like the 2020 TB colors and was hoping to get in on one before they're all gone, but now wondering if I should be really thinking about a hightower.

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    Hey Koogs! Thanks for the reply and it sounds like we are in a VERY similar position here. I recently purchased a Giant Fathom 1, which has proven to be my gateway bike....haha! I upgraded from a previous Trek Marlin Gary Fisher from 2012. This Giant is a great bike with Rockshox Recon, SRAM NX Eagle components, 1x12, and a dropper. It really has excellent features for the price, but after riding for a couple of months now, I am already getting into more technical trails and some downhill here in Knoxville and Asheville area. This has got me thinking about the upgrade. Particularly since the used bike market is so hot right now, I could get nearly what I paid for the Giant and put that toward a new bike.

    I am also looking at the SC TB Aluminum R, I do not need the Carbon and the Aluminum R is a great build with everything I would need and the same SRAM NX Eagle components that I have now. Incidentally, Santa Cruz just posed the new colors in the TB for '21 and they are an off white and matte black.....looks super sweet. I really think they just changed the website this morning b/c I just looked yesterday.

    I think you are right that the TB is going to be the more do-it-all xc bike that will cover you for undulating single track, climbs, downhill, and some technical riding. If you are going to be getting into much more technical trails with long, rock gardens, bike parks, jumps, big roots, and other more technical stuff, the HT would give you the extra that you need for that. The question is, do I really "need" the extra when most of the time I am going to be riding trails likely more suited to the TB.

    The availability of bikes is going to be the big issue now. While it is a great time to be selling a used bike and you will get a premium, it looks like most of the manufacturers are going to just wait for the '21 models as all the '20's are sold out and manufacturing is still ramping back up - mainly in China. I do not think we are going to see many bikes back in shops until Sept/Oct. You should look around your area and see if any of the bike shops have demos to loan you. My local shop is an SC dealer and they have loaners that you can "check out" for a weekend and ride before buying. Some of your local shops might do that, so check that out. I know SC has canceled their official demos though.

    Finally, depending on what you want, I would also recommend looking at the Giant Trance /Trance Advanced Pro line. Trance's start around $2,100 and you can also get a really nice Trance for around 3k. At that level though, might as well spend the extra 300 for the SC. I see what you mean.

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    Rev, you were right about the TB colors man! SC just posted the new off-white and black models of the TB to the website this morning. I was literally looking at the website yesterday and the colors changed this morning. That's a good source you have there....haha. Thanks again for your comments.

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