The 'downhillers' XC' bike gets the upgrade treatment, bringing it in line with the rest of the Santa Cruz line-up


The beloved Santa Cruz Tallboy joins the rest of the Santa Cruz range in getting an update and refresh, but this is less of a makeover and more about making improvements on what is already a very popular bike that punches well above its weight. It’s certainly already close to being one of the best mountain bikes out there.

Need to know:

  • Size-proportional geometry; steeper seat tube angles and rear centre growth as sizes go up
  • Cheaper C & lighter CC frame options
  • 29in Wheels
  • XS-XXL frame size options
  • 120mm rear travel / 130mm fork
  • Max tire width: 29 x 2.5in
  • Fork Compatibility: 130-140mm
  • Boost 148mm spacing
  • Threaded BB
  • More robust alloy Santa Cruz UDH


For lovers of the Generation 4 iteration of the bike, let’s start with what’s the same. The Tallboy still has 29er wheels, 120mm rear travel and 130mm fork travel. The VPP suspension is still lower link driven, and yes, it’s still very much a trail bike, albeit one that can push your definition of ‘trail’.

As for the changes, it should come as no surprise to anyone who’s spotted the updates to bikes like the Santa Cruz 5010 or Nomad to discover that the Tallboy now comes with down tube storage. Unlike those two bikes, however, the Tallboy stays a 29er and doesn’t go mixed wheel size.

Geometry and suspension have also been tweaked to provide improvements.

Santa Cruz Tallboy suspension updates

Anyone who’s ridden the Santa Cruz Tallboy will know that it’s a bike that punches well above its weight and numbers, something that MBR editor Danny can attest through after putting the generation 4 Tallboy through its paces paces on the techy terrain of Scotland’s Tweed Valley.

Santa Cruz state that the focus for the Tallboy 5 was to keep this impressive performance, but improve it to give more predictable and active suspension.

Progression was reduced on the leverage curve by lowering the starting ratio and increasing the ending ratio, which, the brand claim, help improve sensitivity and help the bike ride higher in its stroke for a more responsive ride.

Small bump sensitivity and square edge compliance was improved by reducing peak anti-squat, which had the knock-on effect of reducing anti-rise resulting in a claimed improvement on braking sensitivity.

Geometry updates


Like the rest of the Santa Cruz range, changes have been made here to ensure that whatever size Tallboy you ride, you’ll have the same ride experience. This means as you go up sizes, the chainstay length increases and seat tube angle increases, and rear centre grows.

Other need-to-knows include a maximum tyre width of 29×2.5, boost 1498 spacing and post mount brakes with 180mm rotors. It’s always good to see a threaded bottom bracket on a bike, and the new Tallboy also has the Santa Cruz UDH or Universal Derailleur Hanger.

And while it won’t affect performance (probably) there are two frankly gorgeous colours available, the incredibly blue Gloss Ultra Blue and the more subtle but equally lush Matte Taupe.