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Santa Cruz Going Big This Year

Published September 21, 2009

LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN)—Santa Cruz Bicycles is going where no manufacturer has gone before—a carbon fiber 29er called the Tallboy.

According to Santa Cruz marketing project manager Mike Ferrentino, the company has been experiencing a growing demand for a 29er over the last couple of years.

“Initially the volume of this request was low enough to register as little more than static, but as the market grew the volume of demand also went up,” Ferrentino said. “During that time we were also investigating 29-inch bikes—getting our hands on as many as we could and extensively evaluating them in terms of what we thought worked and what didn't work. About a year and a half ago we were fabricating and riding our own aluminum test mules, and soon after that arrived at a set of handling characteristics that we were happy with.”

There was a problem, however. Ferrentino said they weren’t happy with the stiffness to weight compromise with aluminum. And perhaps not coincidentally, during last winter Santa Cruz’s new carbon fiber Blur XC frames started showing up.

“They were blowing our expectations out of the water in terms of stiffness and strength, especially in terms of how little they weighed,” Ferrentino said. “So one thing led to another and we decided that the Tallboy would perform best if made out of carbon fiber.”

Because it’s made from carbon—and due to Santa Cruz’s proprietary one-piece layup process, which maximizes the strength potential while minimizing the weight—the Tallboy is light. The frame/shock weighs five pounds.

“That is anywhere between 1.5 - 2.5 pounds lighter than similar travel and wheel size competition,” Ferrentino said.

Tallboy kit options range in price from $3,895 (R) - $5,888 (XTR). The Tallboy can be seen again at OutDoor Demo today.

—Jason Norman

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