Introducing the Santa Cruz Tallboy 2. Stiffer, lighter, improved suspension... it's "more better" in every way.
One thing that remains the same is the balanced, tried and true geometry. We've been having a wee bit of fun (okay, a lot) on the new ride in the hills of Scotland over the past few days.
Perhaps the biggest improvement is increased pedaling efficiency. What was learned from the Bronson and Solo projects was applied to the Tallboy 2.
The new, beefier upright on the swingarm boosts stiffness big time. Even with the added material in that area, the carbon frame has lost a quarter pound, bringing it down to just 4.9-pounds (2.2kg) for a large. The aluminum version lost 0.3-pounds.
A direct mount front derailleur has been added to ensure precise placement and better shifting. Running XX1? The bikes will ship with a cover to hide the mount. Out back, a standard or Shimano direct mount hanger can be used.
As we found out while bombing down this Scottish rock pile, it's capable of tackling some pretty hairy terrain. The pedaling improvement was noticeable as well, making the 1,800 foot climb to the top seem easier than it should have been.
One of the biggest goals of the project was to revise the frame in a way that would allow a size small to be made. To do that, the pivot locations had to change and the rear end became more compact as a result. The bike's 100mm of VPP suspension is still delivered via two counter-rotating forged links.
The shock rate has been fine-tuned, and now ramps up a touch less at the end of the stroke making for a more predictable ride.
Internal seatpost cable routing cleans things up nicely. The external cable mounts are still there if needed. Santa Cruz also kept the 73mm threaded BB, sighting the press-fit alternative as sometimes creaky and troublesome.
Those big wheels keep on rollin...
First introduced on 2013 frames, the Tallboy 2 will also sport a 142mm thru axle rear end. IS brake mounts ensure that you don't accidentally goof up your frame by stripping a threaded insert, and are also positioned more reliably during the carbon molding process.
New molded rubber frame protection finds its way onto the frame as well. It's plenty durable and easy to remove. There's also a rubber guard on the inside rear area of the seatstay.
Downhill handling feels nearly identical to the original Tallboy, but even more controlled. That's a good thing.
As with all Santa Cruz bikes, the Tallboy 2 features remarkably well-engineered pivots. The collet axle system uses steel-shielded angular contact bearings that boost frame stiffness. Everything is very well sealed with grease ports for quick and easy maintenance. You don't have to remove the wheel or crank to adjust them either.
Playful, predictable, and incredibly fast. That's the Tallboy experience in a nutshell.
Born a winner and now refined even further, the Tallboy 2 isn't your average 29er. It's available now starting at $2,399. Visit www.santacruzbikes.com for more details.