Friday, October 17, 2014

2015 Santa Cruz Tallboy LT R : Value-Packed Trail Maniac

2015 Santa Cruz Tallboy LT R - Decidedly Aggressive, Yet Balanced Performance

At A Glance:
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Color: Gloss Black Frame, Red decals
  • Shock: Fox Float CTD
  • Fork: Rockshox Sektor Gold RL 140
  • Kit: R

If big wheels, big rides, big races and big adventures are your thing, the Tallboy LT is your big ticket.

  • 135mm (5.3") VPP™ suspension
  • 29" wheels
  • Forged upper and lower links
  • Double sealed pivots for long bearing life
  • Dual grease ports on lower link for easy maintenance
  • Full carbon dropouts and disk mounts
  • Angular contact bearings maximize stiffness
  • Collet axle pivots lock in place without pinch bolts
  • Stealth and external seatpost cable routing
  • 142mm rear axle spacing
  • Threaded BB for creak-free riding and easy installation
  • ISCG-05 tabs for chainguide compatibility
  • Direct mount rear derailleur option

The Tallboy LT is made of aluminum, with Santa Cruz's signature hydroformed top and down tubes. A medium frame is about a pound and a half heavier than its carbon brother, but its price is much friendlier, and it’s still amply strong. And the strength and stiffness are further enhanced with the mechanic-friendly, oversized 15mm collet-style hardware and a 12x142mm thru-axle out back. The result is a frame that's light enough for endurance racing, and strong enough for anything you can throw at it.

At the heart of the LT's handling is a highly refined VPP suspension. It's a suspension platform that's widely beloved for its blend of pedaling efficiency and trail-erasing smoothness. VPP employs two aluminum counter-rotating links to achieve this balance. If you're wondering how it works, the upper link provides most of the rotation as the bike compresses into the sag point. This yields a vertical wheel path, which you'll notice in the form of a firm feel during acceleration. As the bike compresses deeper into the suspension, the lower link activates, moving the axle path rearward. The rearward axle path enables the rear wheel to travel out of the way of impacts, so the ride is smooth, not jarring. And you'll find the same collet-style pivot hardware that has become standard for Santa Cruz's suspension bikes. That means that your pivots stay tight and are simple to service, even for home mechanics.

Anyone who's ridden the LT will tell you that the feel is balanced, yet decidedly aggressive, and the geometry of the LT is an integral part of its near-magical handling. The 69.5-degree head angle doesn’t look particularly slack on paper, but with the larger wheels and longer-travel fork, it inspires incredible confidence at speed, while remaining maneuverable when you need it. Roomy top tubes per size enable the use of a modern cockpit setup consisting of a shorter stem and wider handlebars. The seat angle is fairly steep at 72.6 degrees, for an aggressive climbing position that enables efficient power transfer.

At 17.7 inches, the chainstays are long enough for incredible climbing traction and confidence inspiring stability, without being so long as to compromise the quickness of handling. The short of stature will notice that the smallest size that the LT comes in is a medium. That's due to the increased standover height associated with the longer-travel platform and larger wheels. While that will keep some riders off of the LT, we can't help but admire Santa Cruz's approach to not build smaller 29ers if the handling would suffer.

FOX handles rear suspension duties with a CTD Evolution shock and its Climb, Trail, and Descend modes, while a RockShox Sector Gold RL fork does its thing up front. The Shimano SLX drivetrain is light, but tough and reliable, while the Deore M615 disc brakeset will give you smooth, predictable stops every time. The Race Face Ride stem, bar, and seatpost are tested to RF's rigorous durability standards, which should instill plenty of confidence. Tubeless-ready 2.3-inch Maxxis tires wrap around bombproof WTB STi23 tubeless-ready rims, and WTB also tops off the package with a comfortable-all-day Volt Race saddle.

Full Specs:

Frame Material: aluminum
Suspension: VPP
Rear Shock: FOX FLOAT CTD Evolution
Rear Travel: 135 mm
Fork: RockShox Sektor Gold RL
Front Travel: 140 mm
Headset: Cane Creek 10 Mixed Tapered
Shifters: Shimano M670 (SLX) 10spd
Front Derailleur: SRAM X5
Rear Derailleur: Shimano M675 SLX Shadow Plus
Crankset: 22/34 t SRAM S1000
Bottom Bracket: SRAM GXP
Cassette: 11-36 t Shimano SLX HG81
Chain: Shimano SLX HG75
Brake Set: Shimano Deore BR-M615
Rotors: Shimano RT66
Handlebar: Race Face Ride
Handlebar Width: 740 mm
Grips: Santa Cruz Palmdale Lock-on
Stem: Race Face Ride
Saddle: WTB Volt Race
Seatpost: Race Face Ride
Seat Collar: Santa Cruz bolt-on
Hubs: [front] SRAM MTH 716, [rear] SRAM MTH 746
Rims: WTB ST i23 TCS
Spokes: DT Swiss Champion 2.0
Tires: [front] Maxxis High Roller 2 EXO Tubeless, [rear] Maxxis Ardent EXO Tubeless
Tire Size: 29 in x 2.3 in 
Ride-A-Bike Shop
116 NE. Court Square
Lincolnton, NC 28092
(704) 735-1746

Brantley SmithAbout Me
Hello, I am Brantley Smith and have been riding road and mountain bikes since the mid 90's. I previously worked here at Ride-A-Bike from mid-97 to mid-2000 doing repairs and other duties around the shop. I attended Wester Carolina University and graduated in 2004 with a computer information systems degree. Add my to your circles.