Updated to add pricing info.
Santa Cruz has updated most of their full-suspension lineup this year including the Nomad, Hightower, Megatower, 5010, and now, the Tallboy.
The Tallboy received a significant transformation three years ago when it transformed from a 110/120mm travel that “muddles the line between XC and trail,” to a dedicated “downcountry” bike with some of the most aggressive geometry we had seen on a short-travel trail bike at that time.
From the 2019 Tallboy to the 2020 Tallboy, the head tube angle dropped almost 3°, the seat tube angle steepened more than 3°, while the wheelbase grew almost two inches on a medium.
For the latest generation of the Tallboy, it’s clear that the updates Santa Cruz wanted to make aren’t primarily in the geometry but rather in frame features and suspension feel.
The 2023 Tallboy’s revised leverage curve is pretty moderate too, and falls in line with updates made on the Megatower and Hightower. Santa Cruz reduced progression to improve sensitivity further in the travel which should help “the bike ride higher in its stroke and give a more responsive, snappy feel.”
Anti-squat on the bike has been reduced too and Santa Cruz says this improves small bump sensitivity and square edge compliance, “because anti-squat values trend with anti-rise, we were also able to reduce the anti-rise to improve braking sensitivity on the new Tallboy 5.”
Like the Megatower and Hightower, the 5th gen Tallboy adds a frame storage box in the downtube. Santa Cruz calls it the Glovebox and it comes with a tube purse and tool wallet.
Geometry changes on the newest Tallboy are minimal, as mentioned above. On a size medium frame, the reach grows by 5mm, the head tube angle is unchanged, and so is the seat tube. The wheelbase shortens by 2-3mm but the bottom bracket height remains the same. What has changed is the implementation of size-specific chainstays, so different size frame will now have different sized rear centers.
Aside from the refinements, and new colorways, the Tallboy seems like it will feel close to the previous version.
Santa Cruz starts the Tallboy offerings with an R build on their C frame with a SRAM NX drivetrain, a RockShox Pike, and likely the most reliable dropper post, an SDG Tellis, as the other higher-priced builds get the RockShox Reverb.
The high-end XO1 AXS RSV build gets all the components the abbreviations imply: a SRAM XO1 AXS build with Reserve wheels, a Pike Ultimate fork, and a Fox Float DPS Factory shock. Santa Cruz did not include pricing in their press materials.
- Price: $4199 to $10,399.
- Buy from Competitive Cyclist.
Matt is a staff writer and features editor at Singletracks and lives in the Front Range of Colorado. He served in the Marines and has a journalism degree from MSU-Denver. Want to talk MTB news? Send him a message: [email protected]