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The next generation.
When revising the Tallboy, Santa Cruz made sure that any improvements were exactly that, an improvement. After all, why mess with a good thing? So, rather than make changes to the geometry on its best-selling model, Santa Cruz instead looked at ways to shave weight and improve stiffness. The resulting frame takes roughly 150 grams off of the previous aluminum version by making some changes to the tubing. But, saving weight isn't everything, which is why Santa Cruz managed to also make the Tallboy 2 stiffer. You'll also find that Santa Cruz incorporated the same collet-style pivot hardware that's become standard for Santa Cruz's suspension bikes. This means that your pivots will stay tight, while also making service a breeze.
Santa Cruz's spirit of improvement is furthered with some of the Tallboy 2's more subtle details. The first improvement that you'll notice in the saddle is the modified suspension rate. Specifically, the progressivity at the end of the stroke has been reduced in comparison to the original Tallboy. In translation, modern shocks are more capable of resisting bottoming-out than they were during the genesis of the Tallboy. So, this revised suspension layout provides full travel with the current generation of suspension dampers. More specifically, it's tuned for the Fox Racing Shox Float CTD Evolution shock, which features Fox's CTD adjustment scheme for simplified suspension tuning. And, piggy-backing off of improved suspension action, the overall efficiency receives a boost as well.
The suspension is a refinement of Santa Cruz's dual-link, counter-rotating VPP suspension design. When compressing the suspension from the beginning of the stroke, most of the rotation happens in the stiff aluminum top link, which pulls the wheel closer to the bottom bracket. That keeps the Tallboy soft off of the top, making for a supremely smooth ride. And, once you pass the sag point and get deeper into the travel, the forged aluminum lower link handles most of the rotation. This means that the rear wheel is traveling away from the bottom bracket, so it's better equipped to handle larger, square-edged impacts. VPP is also incredibly effective at neutralizing braking forces, which prevents either stiffening or extending under hard braking. But, the main benefit that you'll notice with this suspension platform is that it isolates pedaling forces in order to keep the bike from bobbing.The lower link has easily accessible grease ports, once again increasing the ease of service.
Perhaps the biggest change is that Santa Cruz is providing the Tallboy 2 in a size Small. Previous iterations of the Tallboy weren't available in sizes smaller than Medium, because the suspension platform provided a limited stand-over. Stand-over is of particular importance to riders, especially on bikes with 29-inch wheels. However, the updated suspension layout lowered the shock mount enough to provide plenty of stand-over for a Small size to be added. Not surprisingly, this provides the same fit that you'd expect from Santa Cruz's other models.
The D XC complete mountain bike build runs on a Shimano Deore drivetrain. The Deore level drivetrain enjoys trickle down technology from Shimano's top-tier offerings, so you get the same precise shifting that you've come to expect, only at better price. Avid Elixir 1 brakes handle stopping duties in order to keep you in control, and the RaceFace stem, handlebar, and seatpost round out the cockpit. Additionally, Santa Cruz built the WTB i19 TCS rims on Shimano hubs in-house. This way, you know that they're up to any task at hand. Basically, you get a build kit that's ready for years of hard riding, and easy to upgrade when the time comes.
Those with considerable saddle time on the Tallboy platform know that despite its modest 100mm wheel travel, this is a bike that begs to be pushed hard. This has been further enhanced through the the VPP's pairing with a trail-worthy RockShox Recon Silver TurnKey fork. Additionally, the Tallboy 2 receives stealth routing for dropper seatposts. So, you have several options if you're looking for more control on descents and technical sections. For compatibility with tapered forks, the mixed-tapered 44/56mm head tube carries over, as does the 142x12mm thru-axle rear end. Both traits not only boost the stiffness of the frame, but of the bike as a whole. This equates to a precise level of tracking, which is particularly noticeable on rough lines and off-camber sections.