Exclusive: 2013 Bible Review – Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc

Trail? All-mountain? Any way you slice it, the Tallboy LTc impresses.

Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc
Price: $5,700 (with SPXam29 build kit)
Weight: 28.7 pounds

By Brice Minnigh
Excerpted from Bike’s Bible of Bike Tests, now available in print and digitally (on Apple Newsstand)

For at least half of our test team, this was not the first tango with the carbon fiber, long-travel 29er, Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc. A couple of us had spent several days shredding the trails of Sedona, Arizona, during Santa Cruz Bicycles’ official press launch in February 2012, and since then almost everyone else had found ample opportunity to become acquainted with the bike’s carbon incarnation. Likewise, most of us had spent considerable time aboard the Santa Cruz Tallboy–their first (albeit shorter-travel) 29er, which debuted a few years ago.

One tester, however, had never ridden the longer-travel Tallboy LTc, and had even been unable to test the original Santa Cruz Tallboy during our first Bible of Bike Tests in Whistler, British Columbia. “I felt like something was missing from my life,” he said. “I now believe the hype. Long-travel 29ers and carbon make a perfect match.”

After getting even more trail time on the slabby drops of Fruita’s Horsethief Bench trail, our agreement with this sentiment was unanimous— so much so, in fact, that one tester picked the Tallboy LTc as his favorite bike of this year’s Bible, while others put it toward the very top of their lists.

Several of us experienced the ‘in the bike’ feel—as opposed to the less-dynamic ‘on the bike’ sensation—which made maneuvering the Tallboy LTc through snappy turns and tricky drop lines an almost out-of-body experience. On climbs, the Tallboy LTc pedaled extremely efficiently, plowing up the square-edged, stair-stepped sections of our test loop with remarkable ease.

The build on our SPXam29 Tallboy LTc test bike was, for the most part, laudable. The 140-millimeter Fox 34 Float 29 CTD was universally praised, as were the light-and-strong WTB Frequency i23 Team rims. However, the lack of a dropper post stood out like a sore thumb for a bike of this caliber, as did the unforgivably narrow 720-millimeter-wide bars. Several testers questioned the choice of a triple-ring setup, but Santa Cruz offers the SPXam29 build kit with a 2×10 option for the same $5,700 price.

There are plenty of great 29ers on the market at this point (this wasn’t the case a few years ago…evolution has been kind to the breed). The Santa Cruz Tallboy and this longer-travel Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc, however, distinguish themselves as exceptionally capable and versatile members of the big-wheel clan.

Interested in digging deeper into the Santa Cruz Tallboy and Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc? Go to santacruzbicycles.com

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