Santa Cruz Tallboy

BikeRide Score

Summary of Reviews

We have read all expert and user reviews on the Santa Cruz Tallboy. In summary, this is what cyclists think.

20 reasons to buy

  • The Santa Cruz Tallboy is a cross-country oriented bike that excels on the descents. It has 130mm of travel in the fork and 120mm of travel in the rear.
  • The bike is very versatile. Experts found it stable riding through technical, slow terrain and down rocky descents.
  • Experts found the Tallboy playful and easy to pop off jumps on.
  • The suspension rarely bottoms out during rough descents on the bike, according to experts.
  • The 760mm RaceFace Ride handlebars and 50mm stem place riders in a position of leverage, control and power riding the Santa Cruz Tallboy.
  • The 29-inch wheels paired with Maxxis Minions roll over rocks and roots with ease.
  • Experts agree the Tallboy’s geometry and componentry make it comfortable for taking on endurance distances.
  • Santa Cruz offers riders several build options with both aluminum and carbon frames. This allows riders to find a bike that best fits their preferences and budget.
  • Available in six sizes, the Tallboy fits a wide range of riders.
  • The bike’s geometry and grippy Maxxis Minion tires allow riders to tackle almost any climb.
  • Experts rarely had to adjust the shock from open on climbs. The Tallboy allows riders to climb with stability and minimal pedal bob.
  • A 0.4cc volume spacer is included with the Tallboy to provide riders with a more supple ride.
  • Flip chips allow riders to fine-tune the geometry of the Tallboy to their riding style and the terrain they ride.
  • The frame has ample space for a bag, allowing riders to take the Tallboy on backcountry bikepacking adventures.
  • Experts found the bike stable to ride with gear and additional weight.
  • The 76.4° head tube angle places riders in a position on climbs that keeps the front end of the bike down and allows riders to stay in line.
  • Santa Cruz provides riders with a lifetime warranty on the frame of the Tallboy.
  • Every size of the bike has room for a water bottle in the frame.
  • A ribbed chainstay protector prevents chain slap and damage to the chainstay from trail debris.
  • A small mud flap protects the shock from trail debris on the Tallboy.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Experts found that pedal strikes were frequent in the low flip-chip setting on the bottom bracket.
  • The stock tires on the bike are 2.3”. Several experts expressed they would have preferred wider tires. The bike has clearance for tires up to 2.6".
  • Experts agree the sag setting was hard to determine due to the low position of the suspension in the frame.
  • One expert noted the steering was slack and that the front end could wander.

Bottom line

The Santa Cruz Tallboy is an efficient climber that excels on the descents. The VPP suspension provides riders with support and comfort on a variety of terrain. Experts found the suspension rarely bottoms out on rough descents or causes pedal bob on climbs. They also found that the 29-inch wheels, paired with grippy Maxxis Minion DHR and DHF tires, allow riders to maneuver over obstacles with ease. Test riders found the Tallboy comfortable for long days in the saddle. With room in the frame for a bag, this bike has the potential to be a bikepacking rig for the backcountry.
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Release Year
Wheel Size
Number of Gears
Gearing Type
33.2, 31.94, 30.42, 29.46, 28.44 lb
Brake Type
Frame Material

Expert Reviews

91/100 based on 3 rated expert reviews

Downcountry Dominator? 2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy Review

The fourth generation of the Tallboy and its Juliana counterpart, the Joplin, sport a little extra travel and massively updated, slacked-out geometry. Built to charge far and fast, this would be a great addition to your quiver.

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Bike Perfect

Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 Tested

After three generations of evolution, Santa Cruz have gone all out with the fourth Tallboy. Heavier weight and reduced suspension ‘kick’ won’t suit previous Tallboy die hards but that brings the Blur TR into the limelight. Impeccably damped and focused suspension character mean it won’t suit riders who like the lumps taken out of their trail or their hands held if they overstep their skill/speed ratio either.

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Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon C S Review

Santa Cruz recently redesigned their popular short-travel 29er and in doing so they’ve created an impressively versatile and capable trail bike.

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BIKE Magazine

Bible Review: Santa Cruz Tallboy X01 CC Reserve

Santa Cruz calls the Tallboy “a gravity rider’s cross-country bike,” and our testers couldn’t agree more.

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First Ride Review: The 2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy Rethinks Trail Bike Capability

The new Tallboy distinguishes itself from the previous version with more travel and much slacker angles. It still keeps a smaller travel spec for go-far XC pedaling, but is now more ready for steep and technical descents than ever.

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MTB yumyum

2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 Test Ride & Review

It’s a bike you can go out and be on all day long.

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Singletrack Magazine

2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 First Look

First look at the 2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 with updated VPP suspension platform, slacker geo, adjustable dropouts, and delicious colours.

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Guy Kesteven

Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 Full Gas Live Ride Review

This thing just makes the trail come alive.

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Santa Cruz Adds 10mm Travel and Heaps of radness to the 2020 Tallboy

Borrowing inspiration from its gravity line-up, the 2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy now gets the Lower Link VPP suspension system with 120mm of travel to improve big-hit performance, as well as improved geometry and a 130mm fork plugged into the head tube.

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Field Test: 2020 Juliana Joplin / Santa Cruz Tallboy – Part Country, But Mostly Rock & Roll

While it’s composed, it still feels light and poppy so it’s really easy to boost off of every little thing on the trail. You know you’re on a short-travel bike, but for all the good reasons.

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2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy | Test Ride and Review | Better than the Ibis Ripley?

It’s a hard bike to describe, I guess Santa Cruz nailed it when they called it the downhillers XC bike.

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Island Bike Life

2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy – Test Ride + Review

It climbed wonderfully. It was super fun on trail riding situations.

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Travel the Narrow Trail

2020 Tallboy Ride Review

This bike reminds me a lot of the version one Hightower. The one that does not have the lower link. It does not seem as kind of snappy as it, but it’s very close. It feels just as capable.

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Santa Cruz’s Fourth-Generation Tallboy Redefines Short-Travel-Trail Performance

The updated Tallboy looks like long-travel geometry glued to a short-travel bike. But it works brilliantly.

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Mountain Bike Rider

Santa Cruz Tallboy: First Ride Review

For some riders this ‘just enough’, ‘less is more’ approach will be appealing, in the same way that riding a hardtail can be liberating; less suspension travel equals more rider involvement and a more direct connection with the ground beneath your wheels. There’s nowhere to hide on a short travel bike, and that forces you to up your game. If you fall into that category, then you’ll love the Tallboy.

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2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy Mountain Bike Tested – First Impressions & Actual Weights

The Tallboy seems to beg for more than our local trails can offer. We have a taste, now it’s time for a bigger meal.

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Tested : Pete’s Santa Cruz Tallboy CC XO1 Reserve Long Term Review

While the Tallboy truly came to life after some suspension twiddling, new cockpit, winter tyres and some fresh bearings, I can’t help but think that I’d be a bit miffed if I’d had to pay for essentially a fork and shock service; new brakes, BB, headset and front wheel bearings had I dropped over seven thousand pounds on the bike some months earlier.

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2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy Review

Technically, the Tallboy fits neatly in the short-travel 29er class—those in the 120-millimeter travel range, give or take a centimeter—a niche that’s alive and well, albeit a little directionally challenged.

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ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine

Reviewing the 2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy CC X01 – Short on Travel, Big on Fun

The Santa Cruz Tallboy isn’t perfect at any single discipline but it’s a great bike nonetheless. Having ridden all of the trail and enduro bikes in the American brand’s portfolio, it turns out their diminutive 120 mm travel 29er is our favourite.

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User Ratings

100/100 based on 5 ratings
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Bike Comparison

Santa Cruz Tallboy in comparison to averages

Forum Discussions

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