Friday, September 20, 2013

Santa Cruz Tallboy LT + RS Pike: A review

There's been a number of topics on mountain bike forums asking about the Tallboy LT. Specifically, one outfitted with a Rock Shock Pike and angle-set headset. So instead of posting in a forum, everyone is going to be forced to come and check out the blog for what they want! Brilliant, right?

Getting into it.

I've been racing enduro in the rocky mountains on my aluminum Tallboy LT all season. I can say it's an amazingly capable machine and by far the most fun bike I've owned. I've ridden, jumped, and dropped things with more confidence than with a previous 160mm 26er.

For the first handful of races this season, I rode the bike mostly stock with XT drivetrain, RP23 shock, and Rock Shock 140mm Revelation RCT3. Only changes were going to a single-ring with either an MRP AMg or G3 guide and different tires. The bike was fantastic! The Big Mountain Enduro races at Angle Fire, Crested Butte, and Keystone were all raced with this setup. I won Angle Fire and Crested Butte in the Am men 30-39 and finished 4th at Keystone. The bike and Revelation never missed a beat, even at Keystone. Being mountain bikers and Americans, something can always be better though.

Enter the Rock Shock Pike (150mm) solo air and Works Components 1.5 headset.









For the first 3 weeks I only had the Pike, as the headset was backordered. I rode my local trails and raced the Enduro World Series in Winter Park with this setup. First date with the fork and huge difference. The stiffness and suppleness of the fork is incredible. The end of stroke ramp is excellent. The Revelation was superior to the Fox's (Float 36, Fit 32, CDT 34) I've ridden and the Pike blew it out of the water.

While the fork was great, I honestly wasn't overly crazy about how the bike felt with the change. I couldn't quite pin it down. Seemed somewhat twitchy maybe. Either way, I squeaked out a slightly disappointing 6th at Winter Park. (EWS recap post)

A few days after the race (typical, huh) the headset showed up. Had it popped in and went out riding. First ride was down a local DH trail, rough, flowy at speed, large drops, steep rollers, and max fun. Instant change. Bike really came alive. Stability in chunky fast stuff is great. Popping up the front end for wheelies and manuals is easier. The bike is much more confident on steep rollers and chutes. Steering is excellent. The bike can bob and weave as well as any big wheeler. I've noticed no negative changes to the bike's climbing abilities, so kick that worry to the curb. As many have said, Santa Cruz needs to sell the bike slightly more slacked on the front. It makes a fun, capable bike even better.

Reasons not to do it?

That'd be none
iPhone measurements place the head angle around 67. 
Pike with 3 air tokens, 50psi. Rider weight about 165 with pack

11 comments:

  1. What offset did you get for your PIKE, 46mm or 51mm?

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  2. I have an the same angle set on my LTc and was wondering the same thing before ordering my Pike. I don't know which Pike to order, the one with a Fork Rake of 46 mm or 51mm. HELP.

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  3. I stuck with the spec'd 51mm.

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  4. Can you comment on the wheelbase length with this setup(and your frame size)? Trying to decide between an LTC with your same modifications (150mm + headset) or an Intense Carbine with 150mm. I'm thinking at that point, they are pretty much the same bike, as I either slacken out the LTC or steepen the Carbine 29 a bit with the shorter fork.

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    1. Tom, I don't have the Tallboy anymore and couldn't give you the wheelbase. I can say that unlike many of the reviews of the Carbine, I never felt the Tallboy LT was slow, ponderous, or too long. I think you're right, either bike would be great. I'd go with the one you get the best deal on

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  5. Good info, thanks! How come you are not riding a Tallboy anymore? What are you riding now and why?

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    1. I'm on a Bronson now. Check this link for the TBLT vs Bronson:
      http://jesseselwyn.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-great-debate-santa-cruz-tallboy-lt.html

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Looking to put a Works headset on my medium Tallboy LTc. Do you remember what Works Components set you used: the 'Set 1: 93-99 mm' or the 'Set 2: 100-107 mm'?
    And of course: what framesize was yours?

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    1. I had a Med frame as well. When I got my headset, I don't remember there being an option for sizes. I remember the headset length was too long on paper, but worked with no issues. 100-107mm maybe?

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  8. I'm considering putting a minus 2 degree works on my tallboy lt and leaving my fork at 140. Should give me about the same HTA as your setup. Do you think this will kill my bottom bracket height?

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