Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 Review – What Is Extreme Country?

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The Tallboy 4 is Santa Cruz’s full suspension XC bike. It’s a 29r and we’ve had our hands on this CC model for the past week to give it a first ride review. It being an XC bike I naturally took it to an urban trail centre.

Before we get to my Tallboy review, Andi has prepared a complete first look article for you here that contains all the finer details of this bike. Worth a read before we get to my first ride thoughts on the Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 CC.

tallboy 4 first look santa cruz tallboy review
Available in XS,S,M,L and XL

Leeds Urban Bike Park, in.. Leeds

Now, Leeds Urban Bike Park is not your typical bike park. It’s crafted from an old golf course so the descents are far from vertical. It’s much more flow and pump than down and gnar and the red XC loop is pretty ideal for sessioning a bike that Santa Cruz refer to in their press release as ‘Extreme Country’. No really.

For the video I tried to find some usable licence free music that would illustrate the genre but the only thing the Youtube audio archive threw up for ‘Extreme Country’  (pun intended) was this… 

If you last 10 seconds then trust me, there’s no point carrying on.

Apparently this is what Youtube label as ‘Angry Country’. uh huh?

Anyway.. The bike?

We have a full carbon frame with a brand mixing combo of a Fox Performance Elite shock and Rockshox Pike Select+ fork at the front. The Shock gives 120mm of travel at the back and the Fork gives us 130mm at the front, which is a 10mm upgrade on the Tallboy 3.

SRAM X0 shifting with SRAM G2 Ultimate brakes featuring easy to use reach and bite point adjustment. And there’s a trigger for the Rockshox Reverb dropper post to complete the cockpit lineup.

So what’s changed?

Well, we now have not one but two ways to adjust the geometry. At the bottom of the shock is a flip chip which allows you to alter the geometry of the bike to a greater or lesser extent – Lesser in that it only moves the head angle by .2 of a degree. And on that note lets look at those angles and go ‘Aaaaah’.

This year’s Tallboy is super slack at 65.5 degrees. The flip chip adjusts that to 65.7. Not a huge difference but it does also change the stack, BB drop and standover too. It’s not a dramatic adjustment but for the sake of what is essentially a slightly odd shaped bit of metal it offers up something worth having a tinker with.

I didn’t flip it for this first look review but I will be playing with it in the future.

tallboy 4 mini mud guard santa cruz tallboy review
Small built-in mudguard protects the rear linkage.

A more noticeable change can be affected with the rear axle flip chip. This lets you extend the chainstay length by 10mm. Again, not massive but the extra clearance you get there does mean you can slot a slightly bigger tyre in. Up to 2.6 is the rated maximum with the long setting. Is ‘plus’ now officially dead?

The obvious form difference though is the suspension. The Tallboy now has Santa Cruz’s Lower Link VPP suspension system at the back and it’s here that the big changes have happened.

Previous Tallboy’s had the shock attach to the top tube. This obviously eats up a lot of space inside the main triangle. The new, Lower VPP, has the shock attach on the downtube. This has allowed all that space above to be reused and the big winner is standover clearance.

santa cruz tallboy 4 review

What is VPP Suspension?

VPP stands for Virtual Pivot Point and the quick answer is it is a way of separating the rear triangle from being directly connected to the front triangle, which it does by connecting the top and bottom points of the rear triangle by two counter rotating linkages.

By tuning those linkages along with the shock position (this year’s model has a lower shock position) the bike designer can ease or eliminate unwanted suspension characteristics like pedalling induced bobbing or brake jack.

In this case Santa Cruz have tried to design the Tallboy to have a consistent suspension action whether the rider is pedalling while sat down or stood up or neither. They just want the suspension action to be as independent from the riders input as possible, especially while climbing.

Has it worked with the Tall Boy?

Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 On the Trail

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The Models in the range

  • Frame Only AL: £1899
  • Frame Only CC: £3299
  • Tallboy AL D: £2899
  • Tallboy AL R: £3499
  • Tallboy CR: £4199
  • Tallboy CS: £4999
  • Tallboy CS RSV: £5999
  • Tallboy CC X01: £6199
  • Tallboy CC X01 RSV: £7299
  • Tallboy CC XTR: £8399
  • Tallboy CC XX1 AXS RSV: £9299 *

Santa Cruz bikes are distributed in the UK by Jungle Products Ltd.

If youve got any questions then stick them in the comments and I will do my best to get you answers.

*For your convenience we have prepared the words ‘HOW MUCH!?’ complete with exclamation AND question mark. Feel free to cut and paste this in the comments below. You’re welcome.

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Review Info

Brand:Santa Cruz
Product:Tall Boy 4 CC
Tested:by Mark for 3 days

Comments (18)

    its surprisingly difficult to read the whole article with that angry country playing over the top!!

    I did warn you to knock it off after 10 seconds! 🙂

    That music is like the soundtrack to a bad flashback….

    £500 price rise from the blur XO1 I bought last year prices are getting ridiculous now even the C builds are stupid money.

    Jungle doesn’t even list the Alu versions, £4,199 entry fee – HOW MUCH?!

    Yep, wanted until I got to the price list. Oh well….

    Seems to me prices are going up by hundreds each year I wonder why? Brexit?

    Looks good and has some nice features. I prefer the look to the Ibis Ripley. The Orbea Occam is on my shortlist, but I don’t think that will take a 2.6″ tyre.

    brexit indecision is definately why our currency has dropped and dropped just about to/already has hit its 10 year low against the dollar


    Alloy frame only £1899
    Entry level alloy complete bike £2899

    I’ll stick with the Sonder Cortex.

    I’m 48 and my spine is very offended by your comment. I can easily touch my toes (even if a fart comes out these days whilst doing so). Nice bike though, thinking of selling my 48 year old kidney to pay for one.

    Do you know the weight penalty for the aluminium version frame, please?

    I’ve got a Blur CS, which is an absolute rocket ship, but I mince a bit on the downhill sections even with a 120mm fork. How much of the XC rocket ship do you lose?

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