STAFF BIKE CHECK: Matthew’s Santa Cruz Tallboy Trail Bike

STAFF BIKE CHECK: Matthew’s Santa Cruz Tallboy Trail Bike

When our shop manager, Matthew isn’t busy running our shop on Innerleithen’s bustling High Street, you’ll most likely find him either out trail running, heading for the hills in his campervan, or riding amongst the spectacular singletrack and trail centres we have right here on our doorstep. His Santa Cruz Tallboy is the perfect tool for that job, here we dive into the details of Matthew’s custom build, his reasoning behind the parts he’s used, and what it’s like to ride.

Rider Details:

Matthew is 186cm, that’s 6ft 1 inches, and weighs in at 74kg – he rides the extra large frame and finds it a perfect fit.

Why did you choose the Santa Cruz Tallboy?

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to ride and own a few Santa Cruz’s, and the Tallboy has always been one of my favorite bikes in the range. So much so that this is the second Tallboy I’ve owned. 

Between working for Dirt School and my own riding, I need a bike that’s very versatile and can handle anything the valley has to throw at it. Whether I’m smashing out an all day epic linking up some of the amazing natural singletrack we have here in the Tweed Valley, or blasting down an EWS stage, I know this bike has my back and is ready for nearly anything.

 Where the bike really shines is on fast flowing singletrack or trail centres. I have my frame set-up in the slack head angle setting with the short chainstays. I find this gives me a nice balance between stability from the slighter slacker head angle, while the short chainstay keeps the rear end feeling snappy and playful, which definitely helps when I’m dodging trees up the Golfie. 

 Suspension Set Up

Rockshox Pike Ultimate. 

78 PSI with 3 Tokens. 

Rebound 4 clicks from fully open. 

Compression 2 clicks from fully open.

Fox FLoat Factory DPS. 

190 PSI. 

Rebound is 3 clicks from fastest.

 Cockpit Set Up

At the moment I’m running the Burgtec Ride High 38 bar which I’ve found works well for me. Being a taller guy I don’t want to feel like I’m reaching down a lot for my handlebar, and these have really helped to get the grips in a comfortable position for me. I’ve cut the bars down to 760mm. 

I’m also using a Burgtec Enduro mk.3 stem, in 42.5mm length. Being at the lower end of the height range for the XL frame, I didn’t want to increase the reach too much by running the long stem that I typically favour. This 42.5mm stem puts me in the middle of the range between the 50mm and 35mm and gives me a nice fit on the bike while still getting a decent amount of pressure on the front wheel.

My brake setup gives a little nod to this bike’s hooligan intentions. The standard Tallboy comes equipped with SRAM’s G2 brakes. On my bike, I have fitted the more powerful Code RSC brake. The difference in weight isn’t really enough to concern me but the extra power they provide is incredible and gives me so much confidence to hammer down the steepest trails the valley can offer in confidence. When these brakes are set up well, the power they deliver is brutal and very controllable. As a nice bonus, running all SRAM on my bike means I can make full use of the matchmaker system to keep the handlebars clean and tidy with just two clamps.

For grips I’m using the staff pick at Tweed Valley Bikes, the Burgtec Greg Minaar signature grips. I’m currently using the standard set but I have my eye on the super soft set for when these wear out.

Wheelset & Tyres

I’m using a set of Reserve 27 rims, laced up to DT Swiss 350 hubs. These are my first set of carbon mountain bike wheels and safe to say I’m sold. From a maintenance point of view these wheels have been amazing. The rims are stiffer than alloy, so resist flexing more. This means trips to the truing stand are a thing of the past, and also translates to a great ride feel with a wheel that wants to stay on line and not get pinged aout by trail chatter as much as alloy options. The lifetime warranty on Reserve rims is also good peace of mind when I find myself mid air above some nasty looking rocks.

The DT Swiss hubs are a reliable workhorse, with common spoke sizes and simple maintenance procedures, exactly what you need when your bike is your job. 

For tyres, I’m currently using WTB front and rear. Up front is a Verdict in 29x2.5 with the Light casing and High Grip rubber compound. Out back is a Judge 29x2.4 in Tough casing and Fast Rolling compound. This tyre set up gives the bike a sure footedness on chunky terrain that a lighter setup doesn’t give. If I wanted to change the feel of the bike to a faster rolling and more efficient setup, a lighter weight set of tyres would be the first thing I would change. But for now, with the riding I most commonly find myself doing, these tyres are working well for me.


To keep things rolling I’m using a full SRAM set up. X01 cranks, 10-50t X01cassette and X01 shifter, paired with a GX mech and chain. The only part that’s not SRAM is the 32t Burgtec direct mount chainring.

The oil slick cassette looks so good, it’s my main incentive to keep the drivetrain clean!

Full Specification

Frame/Shock: Fox Float Factory DPS 120mm Travel

Fork: Rockshox Pike Ultimate 130mm Travel

Wheelset: DT Swiss 350 hubs with Reserve 27 Rims

Seatpost: Rockshox Reverb 150mm drop

Tyres:  Front - WTB Verdict lite high grip 29 x 2.5 Rear - WTB Judge Tough Casing Fasting Rolling 29 x 2.4

Cockpit: Burgtec Josh Bryceland Ride High 38mm Bars cut down to 760mm wide, Burgtec MK3 Enduro Stem 42.5mm in Silver and Burgtec Minnaar Grips.

Drivetrain: Sram GX/XO1 12spd and Burgtec 32T Silver Chainring

Brakes: Sram Guide RSC Front and Rear, 180mm on the front and 160mm on the back.

Saddle: Burgtec Cloud

Pedals: Burgtec Penthouse MK5

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