Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 Review 2022: Worth Your Money Or Not?

There’s no denying that Santa Cruz makes excellent bikes, and the Tallboy is a fantastic example of them creating a machine that can take on a challenging trail and absolutely own it. 

They are not at the bottom of the price range, and they have a lot of competition, so is the Tallboy 4 worth your hard-earned money? This article will tell you all about the bike and if it’s a wise investment for your bike collection.

In-Depth Santa Cruze Tallboy 4 Review

Specs

  • Aluminum Frame with VPP Suspension system
  • Rockshox Recon RL Front / Fox Permance Float Rear DPS
  • SRAM SX / NX Eagle Groupset
  • SRAM Level Hydraulic Brakes
  • WTB ST i25 TCS Rims with Maxxis Tires 29″.

The Design 

Santa Cruz is not known for making ugly bikes. They make bikes that you take to a bike park or trail, and people are drooling over it. They make a gorgeous bike with the performance to back it up. 

The Tallboy comes in two colors. The first is the Earth, a light creamy brown color, and the second is Aqua, a light blue. They both have orange detailing, and they look that part even when caked in mud. 

The bike is made of Aluminum, and although it’s not a Carbon Frame, you can trust us in saying it offers incredible stiffness and is surprisingly lightweight. It also has internally routed cables to keep it looking smooth and clean.

This is what they call a short travel bike. It is a full-suspension bike that is made for XC and light trails. The first thing to mention is that they have put a lot of time into tailoring this bike’s geometry for comfort and speed. 

It has a 65.5-degree head tube angle, an 1187mm wheelbase, and a bottom bracket height of 41mm. This is an improvement from the last year’s Tallboy. 

As far as handling goes, it will feel like it’s on rails with all that low down weight and length. Yes, the geometry does seem like they have slapped two bikes together, but it is a balanced geometry, and it works. That’s all that matters. It does come away from conservative geometries and bring us to new-school geometry.

If that wasn’t enough, you could adjust it yourself as Santa Cruz has out a flip-chip in the rear shock mount and the chainstay, so if you wanted the bike geometry to change, you have options to make some modifications here. 

If you want a steep seat tube angle for a race, you can have it with a simple adjustment. This is a fantastic way Santa Cruz offers adjustable geometry. 

All in all, the bike offers maximum control even though it might not have the big suspension travel that some of its competitors have.

Credits: Jenson USA

The Suspension

The Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 has an incredible suspension setup. For a short travel bike, this is an absolute beast that, in my opinion, would destroy some more capable longer travel bikes on a trail given a chance. It’s not to be underestimated. From the previous Tallboy, we see an extra 10mm in travel front and rear. 

Santa Cruz makes amazing suspension designs. They are using the legendary VPP suspension (Virtual Pivot Point), which is fantastic. It’s Santa Cruz’s way of reducing compression in the suspension system when it isn’t required. Basically, the suspension is designed to give you bump absorption only when needed. 

You have a mixed suspension set up here, on the front of the bike Rockshox Recon RL travel fork with 130mm of travel. This is one of the most used front suspension forks because it is excellent. 

You have a Fox Float DPS Shock on the rear with 100m of rear travel. It’s a wonderful pairing, and you would be surprised at how well it works, keeps the bike’s weight right down, and gives it a race bike feel. This will not beat Downhill bikes if you’re planning more vertical bike rides on the roughest terrain but will be great for XC and Trail riding.

Credits: Santa Cruz Bicycles

The Gearing

Santa Cruz, when they put a bike together, they don’t go cheap anywhere. Many bike companies think they can get away with just throwing anything on, but Santa Cruz doesn’t share this attitude. 

Typically, you will get excellent gearing as standard on a Santa Cruz bike.

The groupset is a mix between the SRAM X01 Eagle NX and the SX. You have the shifter of the NX, and the rest of the components is SX. It has a 32t chainring on the front and a monster 11/50 on the rear. This will give smooth pedal strokes no matter whether you are riding slow or giving pedal strikes.

They have gone for a single front chainring on this bike so that you won’t have a front derailleur. This saves weight, but it makes getting around your gear ratios much quicker than if you had a double chainring on the front. It does give you fewer options, but this isn’t road racing; it’s mountain biking. The majority of riders enjoy a 1x Groupset.

The Brakes

You want good brakes when you buy a bike, and there’s no yes or no. If you can’t stop quickly, it will put you in danger and maybe even others. 

The Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 is equipped with the Hydraulic SRAM Level brakes. They create fantastic stopping power and use fluid to push the calipers together. The brakes are lightweight, have incredible stopping power, cool very well, and work efficiently even on the steepest of trails. They are also great for feathering at slower speeds.

Credits: Lantau Basecamp

Wheelset and Tires

I absolutely love the route that Santa Crus has gone down for the wheelset. They haven’t used their brand or just thrown anything on. They have outsourced it, and they went to precisely the right place and asked for the right thing.

Santa Cruz runs the WTB (Wilderness Trail Bikes) ST i25 TCS. Not only is this rim absolutely solid, but it is nice and wide to sit mountain bike tire properly. It also is tubeless, so not more pinch flats or pesky inner tubes because you can chuck sealant straight in to ensure your tubeless tires last long.

The tires they have equipped have also had a lot of thought. They are running two different tires, a Maxxis Dissector 29″ X 2.4″ and a Maxxis Rekon 29″ x 2.4″ 3C EXO MaxxTerra TR. It’s a great mix of tires that will give you grip and speed.

Credits: Bicycling.com

Accessories

The Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 is full of accessories, and I love what they have added to the bike. The first thing to mention is the SDG Tellis Dropper. It’s not often you see bikes at this price range with such a good dropper post, and even when it comes to XC light trail bikes, many don’t have this equipment.

You also have a Race Face Ride handlebar and Race Face Chester Stem. Paired with these, Santa Cruz has their grips to add to the bike.

They haven’t used a crap saddle either. The bike comes with either WTB Silverado Comp or a WTB Volt, both excellent saddles.

Pros

  • Great Looking Solid Frame with Excellent handling
  • Dual Suspension 100mm rear, 130mm front
  • 29″ WTB Wheelset with Maxxis Tires
  • SRAM Eagle Gearing SX/NX
  • Loads of great accessories

Cons

  • Isn’t the cheapest

Santa Cruz As A Brand

Santa Cruz is a fantastic brand and has been in the market since 1993. They are based in Santa Cruz, California, and they have been a big part of mountain biking since they started.

They sponsor professionals, and it’s not rare to see a Santa Cruz on a podium. They make a very high-end bike, and the attention to detail is incredible.

Verdict: Should You Buy This Bike?

There’s no denying that the Santa Cruz Tallboy is an excellent bike, and honestly, I was impressed at the time and thought that has gone into this bike. 

Firstly looking at the frame, not only does it look great, it offers incredible performance, and they have spiced it up since the Tallboy 3. It might not be as light as some carbon models, but it will feel stiff and responsive. 

You can’t be put off by the suspension here. It might not have the travel of a larger trail bike, but I believe it has the performance. It handles surprisingly well, and with the flip chips, you can fine-tune it to your riding style.

The gearing is fantastic, and getting up a hill won’t be difficult. It is super reliable, and it’s is probably one of the best mountain bike groupset brands available. Also, the brakes can stop you on a pin, and you can trust them while flying down a hill at 25mph+. 

The wheels and tires are well thought through, and they will give you many trouble-free performance miles. Accessories like the dropper post and the Race Face components also add to this bike’s value.

If you were to buy this bike, you would be making a wise choice. It is an incredible machine, and the performance for the price is impressive. 

In a bike shop, the Santa Cruz bikes are not cheap, but you do get what you pay for when it comes to them. There are no weak points, and they haven’t cut any corners. It’s a great bike and well worth every penny. 

With the Tallboy 4, they are offering plush suspension on a lighter frame than other bikes, and it will handle the technical terrain. So, are you going to join the Santa Cruz Tallboy CC?

*Featured Image Credits: Santa Cruz Bicycles*

Photo of author
Written By Robbie Ferri
My name is Robbie Ferri, I’m an Ultra Endurance cyclist from the UK. I have been lucky enough to have cycled all over the world. With some amazing world record attempts, bikepacking races, and many miles under my belt I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than on my bike.

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