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When 29er full-suspension bikes started to roll out of boutique manufacturer's doors, they didn't do the larger wheel platform justice. Available forks were stretched, 28mm stanchioned XC units sporting 80mm of travel with standard skewers (shiver), head angles were flatter than a pugs face, and the exorbitantly long wheelbase frames were second to a young sapling in the stiffness department. We've come a long way from those monstrosities, and the Santa Cruz Tallboy was one of the first to break from that mold to give the FS 29er a fighting chance.

Offered here in Santa Cruz's smartly spec'd, budget friendly, R XC Complete Bike kit, the Tallboy continues to lead the 29er revolution. Recent advancements like front and rear thru-axles, angular contact pivot bearings, tapered headtubes, and modern geometry have given 29er full suspension bikes the chassis rigidity needed to drive oversized wheels through turns and over nasty terrain -- rather than snake through them like a wet noodle.

The Tallboy's frame is made of aluminum, with Santa Cruz's signature hydroformed top and down tubes. It's heavier than its carbon brother, but its price is much friendlier. It utilizes Santa Cruz's patented counter-rotating shock link, or Virtual Pivot Point suspension design. This allows for a changing feel throughout the suspension travel. When sag is set correctly, the Tallboy is extremely responsive to small- and medium-sized bumps. For larger hits that push it deeper into its travel, it becomes more stubborn, a necessity to avoid harsh bottom-out. It's also a crisp, efficient pedaler, even in the small chainring.

Another big plus of VPP suspension is its durability; Santa Cruz guarantees its pivot bearings for life. The suspension is sprung by a light and custom-tuned Fox Float CTD rear shock. Its three-position lever lets you select from distinct damping for the terrain you're riding -- Climb, Trail, Descend. Up front is a 15mm thru-axle equipped, 120mm travel, Fox Racing Shox 32 Float with CTD dampening as well. This keeps things simple and intuitive so you can focus on the trail and not whether your suspension is tuned to the correct setting.

WTB ST i23 rims are hand laced and tensioned to a Shimano 142 x 12mm M678 rear hub and XT front with DT Swiss 14 gauge spokes. This ensures reliability and easy field maintenance. The rims are tubeless compatible, and the R AM kit includes 2.1in wide Maxxis CrossMark Tubeless tires -- a nice, low rolling resistance tire to complement the Tallboy's XC nature.

For drivetrain duty, it's hard to beat the bang-for-the-buck ratio of Shimano's SLX components, and for that reason, you'll find a healthy dose of them here. Your finger and thumb get 30 gears to shuffle through via snappy SLX rapid-fire shifters. Those shifters guide an SLX rear derailleur and XT front over an 11-36T SLX cassette and 24/32/42 chainrings mounted to a Shimano M552 crankset.

Keeping speed in check are a set of Avid Elixir 5 brakes with 160mm rotors. The levers are perched on a Race Face Ride handlebar with Lizard Skin grips to provide a seamless connection to the Tallboy. A Race Face Ride stem and seatpost with WTB Volt saddle finish the Tallboy R XC Complete Bike package.

The Santa Cruz Tallboy R XC Complete Bike comes in Medium, Large, and X-Large sizes and two colors; Satin Clear or Satin Black.

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