Debuting all the way back in 2009, the Santa Cruz Tallboy was the Californian brand’s first mountain bike to be built around 29in wheels. We loved that first generation model, which featured progressive geometry (at the time) and smooth suspension that made it a whole load more fun compared to the steep and skittish 29ers that populated the market in the early days.
Fast-forward to 2023, and we now have the 5th generation of the Santa Cruz Tallboy platform. It does look very similar to the previous model, but there have been some notable updates – enough that Mick decided it was time to move his old Tallboy on so he could get his hands on this spangly new version.
2023 Santa Cruz Tallboy CC Frameset
With the latest Blur filling the role as the short travel XC race bike, the Santa Cruz Tallboy has reaffirmed its position as a muscly short travel trail bike. It features 120mm of rear travel and it’s designed to fit a 130-140mm travel fork. It’s purpose-built around 29in wheels, so if you’re after a mullet setup, you’ll need to look toward the latest 5010.
The most obvious change with the 2023 Santa Cruz Tallboy is its adoption of in-frame storage. Called the ‘Glovebox’, this downtube hatch is now found on most Santa Cruz models including the latest Megatower and Bronson.
You’ll also spot that there’s no more dropout flip chip. This is mostly so the frame can be built with a UDH dropout, which makes it compatible with the new SRAM Eagle transmission and its direct-mount derailleur.
The other reason is that Santa Cruz is now building the Tallboy (and most of its other full suspension frames) with size-specific rear centres. By moving the pivots on the mainframe, the engineers are able to shorten or lengthen the rear centre length. It’s not a huge difference throughout the size range though. The XS frame gets a 430mm rear centre, while the XXL stretches out to a 443mm rear centre.
There have been some other subtle changes to the geometry and suspension kinematics, with the new Tallboy claimed to offer better sensitivity than its predecessor.
Mick has only just pulled his new frame out of its shipping box to shoot these photos, and as you can imagine, he’s frothing at the gills to get his new dream machine built up. Stay tuned for a closer look at the finished product in the near future!