The Santa Cruz Tallboy’s refresh sees the shock slung lower in the frame and now driven by the lower link of the VPP suspension system.
It also gets 10mm more travel at both ends: 120mm at the back, 130mm up front. This new layout suggests that the previously cross-country-focussed trail bike now has gnarlier tracks in its sights.
Santa Cruz Tallboy CC X01 Reserve frame
The lower-link VPP system drives the low-slung shock in a manner that boosts late-stroke progression for plenty of control on bigger impacts. At the same time, it’s designed to have plenty of anti-squat to prevent too much wallow while pedalling.
Both the front and rear triangles are made from Santa Cruz’s top-grade CC carbon fibre. A rubber underbelly protector guards against rock strikes, and there’s also a mini fender to shield the shock from mud and debris.
This latest Tallboy now has Santa Cruz’s lower-link VPP suspension. Russell Burton
The new Tallboy’s geometry is entirely contemporary, with the large size in its ‘low’ flip-chip setting sporting a 468mm reach, 65.5-degree head angle, 76.2-degree seat angle and 332mm bottom bracket height.
At 430mm, the chainstays are relatively short, although a second flip-chip changes them to 440mm for more stability.
Santa Cruz Tallboy CC X01 Reserve kit
A RockShox Pike Select+ fork delivers 130mm of front travel, while Fox supplies the Performance Elite DPS shock out back.
SRAM’s X01 Eagle groupset is complemented by a set of its new G2 RSC brakes and a RockShox Reverb dropper post.
The Santa Cruz carbon Reserve rims (27mm internal rim width) are laced to DT Swiss 350 hubs and shod with Maxxis Minion DHF and DHR II tyres, both 2.3in wide. My test bike was finished with a Santa Cruz carbon bar, WTB Silverado saddle and Burgtec stem.
Santa Cruz Tallboy CC X01 Reserve ride impressions
You’d be forgiven for not realising the Tallboy has only 120mm of travel, because it’s very well doled out, allowing you to confidently pilot the bike over rocks and roots, and push it through corners and compressions.
The VPP suspension is decidedly unfussy, rarely catching you out, and simply getting on with the job. The Fox DPS shock gives you open-mode tuning options – on rougher stuff I left it fully open, but added a click of compression for smoother-rolling tracks to boost the bike’s reactivity.
Rather than accelerating with an XC-like kick, the Tallboy provides a steadfast, solid feel with buckets of traction. As expected, with decent reach and a steep seat angle, it’s a comfortable climber, although not as eager as its predecessor.
The Tallboy provides a steadfast, solid feel with buckets of traction. Russell Burton
Of note, though, is that at more mellow speeds the Tallboy feels perhaps a touch inert. Its travel belies its capability, and to really make the most of the trail and get maximum enjoyment out of the bike, you’ve got to push it hard.
While Santa Cruz’s short-travel 650b bike, the 5010, retains a really fun character, the 29er Tallboy is a more serious-feeling machine that rewards full commitment.
While the spec is good, a triple-compound rear tyre is conspicuous by its absence over damp roots and rocks, where the lack of traction occasionally surprises.
Santa Cruz Tallboy CC X01 Reserve geometry
Based on Low setting:
Seat angle: 76.2 degrees
Head angle: 65.5 degrees
Chainstay: 43cm / 16.93in
Seat tube: 43cm / 16.93
Top tube: 62.2cm / 24.49in
Head tube: 12cm / 4.72in
Bottom bracket drop: 4.1cm / 1.61in
Bottom bracket height: 33.2cm / 13.07in
Wheelbase: 1,211mm / 47.68in
Stack: 62.1cm / 24.45in
Reach: 46.8cm / 18.43in