After 18 months and 2 frames - back on the tallboy (sizing and fork travel thoughts)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    11 is one louder than 10
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    After 18 months and 2 frames - back on the tallboy (sizing and fork travel thoughts)

    Back when the Tallboy was announced I ordered one. So, I had one of the first ones in the country, an orange medium frame. After a few rides I declared it the best bike I had ever owned. My 2nd 29er after literally dozens of frames since the early 80's.


    I sold it after the 2010 season. I had it crack in two spots (seat tube and down at one of the tabs for the rear end). Santa Cruz was awesome about the warranty though and I can't say enough about that. A HUGE advantage for SC in my opinion is that I can deal directly with them on warranty and support issues. Fox is the same way. I worked in a shop for years, do my own work etc. I hate having to be at the mercy of my dealer if I can avoid it.

    So, I bought an Ellsworth Evolve, my first Ellsworth in over a decade. Tony E had burned me like many but I heard things were better. Loved the front end and suspension action but sold the frame after 3 rides as it didn't fit quite right and the rear end was a flexy noodle.

    Ordered a Ventana El Rey in Feb of last year, I finally got it in August. The bike was very nice. Typical Ventana, great build quality, stiff as heck rear end etc. A great bike, honestly the El Rey is very, very nice.

    But after a few rides I still missed the Tallboy.

    So sold off the El Rey at a big loss to order up a new tallboy. Arrived this week. I did go bigger on the frame size this time with a large. I had to run a 100mm stem and a layback post on the medium and my brother has a large and I always preferred his fit. I am barely 5'10" but absolutely have found I preferred the large with a 90mm stem and straight post.

    So, sizing wise I do feel the Tallboy runs a bit short in the TT, when I bought the first one I went medium based on 26er sizing with a 23 inch TT which was always perfect for me. I do think for whatever reasons 29ers do work better with longer TT's and shorter stems.

    Fork travel - the first time around I had a 100mm fork, and it was fine. Didn't think much about it but it was quick steering. This time I did go with a 120mm Float RLC. Honestly the bike handles just fine with the 120. Maybe a bit slower handling but not much. It's a bit more travel than I likely need in Michigan and a bit slower steering but neutral more than anything. I like a slightly quicker bike so I'll probably just drop this down 10mm and run it at 110 which for me will be perfect.


    Another difference this time is having Kashima Coated shocks front and rear. These are my first and originally I had non kashima coated shocks. I actually notice it on the rear more than the front. On my first tallboy I ran the shock wide open with a 0 pro pedal setting and it barely moved when pedaling. I have found thus far with the Kashima Coating that setting the PP at 1 is about perfect. So a slight difference there.

    Not sure if that will help anyone on size or fork travel, but some thoughts from someone who has owned 2 sizes and run 2 different travel forks. Lots of other changes this time around but I'll post those in the 29er section.

    Went with some Enve Carbon hoops (because of a killer deal) and running DT swiss 240S hubs for the first time after 15+ years on kings. Definitely some differences in the hubs and I have thoughts on the carbon rims also.

    Went with Acros for the BB and Headset - VERY nice stuff as I've used King in the past also. Though one small drawback on the Acros stuff.

    Here are a couple pictures. Setback post has been changed as it was too long in the TT like this for me. The steerer will get trimmed a bit more here today. Cranks - those will change soon also.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails After 18 months and 2 frames - back on the tallboy (sizing and fork travel thoughts)-img_0818.jpg  

    After 18 months and 2 frames - back on the tallboy (sizing and fork travel thoughts)-img_0819.jpg  

    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  2. #2
    mtbr member extraordinair
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    Welcome back, and nice bike!

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Giant View Post
    I like a slightly quicker bike so I'll probably just drop this down 10mm and run it at 110 which for me will be perfect.
    I have seen mention of this before. Can you elaborate more on how this is done? Im guessing it involves adding or removing spacers, but Ive never seen clear DIY instructions.
    Grit, spit, and a whole lot of duct tape!

  3. #3
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    Great input! I'm 5'10" with a 32" pant inseam, and the medium just feels small to me. My LBS recommended a Med but others have said a Large with a stem resize is the way to go.

    Mind me asking why you came back to VPP instead of going DW Link?

  4. #4
    11 is one louder than 10
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    I'll try to answer both.

    On dropping the travel - it's "simple" really just dropping the lowers, adding a 10mm spacer to each side, adding some oil back in and re-installing the lowers. Should take about 15 minutes or so. I think it will be perfect.

    Westin - Yup, the medium felt the same way to me. I was running a 100mm stem and the layback post. The large feels great. My insteam is also right about 32, but it's really the TT that feels so much better now (put a straight post on it and it's perfect with a 90mm stem, and 12deg sweep bar).

    As for the VPP vs DW... I honestly really like the Pivot 429, if it was carbon I likely would have tried one this time. Having ridden both I think when set up correctly they both really ride well. I found the pivot to ride a bit firmer when set up properly.

    If the 429 carbon was available, particularly with a 142 x 12 rear axle that would have been a tough decision. I really like how the Tallboy rides though, and I can't keep going through frames.

    I will say that the 429 helped me on sizing. I found that the 24 inch TT on the pivot was perfect, as was my brothers large Tallboy.

    Thought about the Jet 9 RDO also, but one issue there is they are just unavailable in a medium (23.75 tt).

    The one fear I have is the tallboy resale prices are starting to fall with the LT... but what the heck I know I love the bike and the only potential bike on the horizon that will be tempting is if Pivot brings out the 429 carbon...
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  5. #5
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    I'm also 5'10 and as fitted at my LBS. Just by looking at me he said I was a medium. Then after taking all my measurements and looking at the geometry of the Tallboy on the SC site he said I was a Large. I have a 31 inseam, which is a bit smaller than you. He allowed me to use his aluminum large Tallboy demo bike until my carbon comes. I must admit, the large feels great, just right. I have longer arms so maybe this makes all the difference. I did go with the 120 Fox shock also. He said what I can do is if this feels a bit too chopper like, I can put my (from my last bike) easton haven 70mm stem on and it will change the whole feel because the easton has a zero degree on it so I wont have to mess with the travel. A few guys around here have told me they did the same or they just flipped the stem and left the 120mm the way it is and the bike feels quick and snappy.

    Glad to see you have yours... Still waiting for mine. I too was concerned about the tallboys going down in resale value because of the LT. All of a sudden ebay is full of Tallboys for sale when before the LT there was maybe one here and there. I know because I checked all the time. Still considering the LT model as mine has not arrived yet, but I like that red/black color and not too comfortable with the black/orange carbon color, not too up on the yellow and black attack either. So I may just go with this and wait.

    I did speak with SC recently and they guy said they are kicking around an idea to do something with the Carbon bikes to customize the colors. When? He didn't say but he did say it is on the table and they are in discussion about it. IF that happens then I make a move on the LT.

    Green Giant, you Tallboy is looking outstanding man!

  6. #6
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    If you purchase the new red or Blue colored Tallboy, I doubt the resale would be hurt much. The original colors would not bring top dollar,IMO. You don't really see too many of the Red being sold. I like the Blue, but that could be a tougher resale if the right person isn't out there.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjedoaks View Post
    If you purchase the new red or Blue colored Tallboy, I doubt the resale would be hurt much. The original colors would not bring top dollar,IMO. You don't really see too many of the Red being sold. I like the Blue, but that could be a tougher resale if the right person isn't out there.
    I think this red black would not be a hard sell to make. So, I agree with you. This red/black looks sick! Also the ones on ebay are the original orange, and then the black with red/silver decal and they are bringing in a high price and seem to be selling. I'm sure there is a loss but its not that bad.

  8. #8
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    Hey Green Giant, what are you using on your down tube?

    Are you using "Shelter" to protect the downtube or did you go with frameskins?

  9. #9
    11 is one louder than 10
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    On the down tube I put a layer of helicopter tape, then put Cytoe's down tube/linkage protector on it. It's a great little piece he put together and they are only 70 grams or so. Worth every penny.

    My brother put a nice dent in his down tube (he had a very early tallboy also) and we were ripping down the Colorado Trail at about 30mph, a rock kicked up etc... after that day we started looking for a solution. Started with helicopter tape and a cut tire, then Cytoe put his little piece together and he has not had a problem since.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  10. #10
    ...is still one gear
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    120 to 110mm

    Rather than reducing the travel from 120 to 110 to speed up the handling, you could also go to a zero stack lower headset. It may not give you the full 10mm drop, but will be close. I am running a rather cheap FSA 1.5" to 1 1/8" reducer lower (which I felt tipped red!).
    FSA Orbit Z 1.5R Headset | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com
    As the rear end on the tallboy is awesome and feels like more than 100mm, there is no way that I wanted to give up any fork travel!

    If you have a tapered steerer, there aren't many options of going to a zero stack lower. The only one I have found to work is the FSA Orbit E 1.5"
    Orbit E 1.5R
    I am running one of these on my Nomad 2 with a 180 Talas without problems! Check out the post here:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/santa-cruz/no...ry-776974.html

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  11. #11
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    Hey Green Giant, what kind of grips are you using on that bike?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Giant View Post
    I have thoughts on the carbon rims also.
    .
    Care to share?

  13. #13
    11 is one louder than 10
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    enve's

    Quote Originally Posted by litany View Post
    Care to share?

    I put a post in the wheelset section but the synopsis.

    If you can swing them - get them. The weight is nice, but it's the stiffness that is just absolutely outstanding. I can see how on a hardtail people have commented on how stiff they are, but on a full supsension bike, at my 190lb + weight - they are just great. They really hold a line in the corners, and I find I am carrying much more speed and confidence.. and I had a nice wheelset (kings and flows)

    I do miss the engagement of the kings, but part of that is what I am used to for almost 2 decades... The DT's do roll fast though, and I'll likely upgrade to the 36pt engagement here soon.

    But the enve AM Rims are awesome.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

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