Santa Cruz Bicycles Tallboy Carbon - R XC Complete Bike - $4,149.95

Technology has finally caught up with consumer demand; 29ers now benefit from tapered headtubes, front and rear thru-axles, and advanced materials. Before, frames and wheels were too noodly to let the large-wheel platform shine. Santa Cruz was one of the first to unlock that true potential, and its latest version -- the Tallboy Carbon dressed here in the R AM Complete Bike kit -- builds on their proven formula. On particular feature is Santa Cruz's proprietary carbon process. It allows the frame to offer line-holding stiffness in an incredibly light package. The front triangle is constructed as once piece, rather than having components produced separately, and then bonded or wrapped. Additionally, the carbon fibers are continuous around tube junctions to distribute loads and absorb impact energy better. One thing that you can't see without cutting the frame in half is that it looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside. There's nothing there except smooth carbon, and this isn't because SC's engineers are obsessive cleaners. This actually prevents stress risers in failure prone areas of the frame. For that reason too, there are no riveted or bonded-on cable and hose guides--they're incorporated into the original layup. That layup provides stiff and solid mounting points for the latest generation of Santa Cruz's Virtual Pivot Point rear suspension. The upper and lower links flatten out the shock rate and provide a more active feel to the early part of the axle path. The suspension allows the rear wheel to move up and back as you ride over a bump, and it balances the downward force of pedaling with the pulling force of the chain through its link configuration and axle path. The resulting movement makes it easier to roll over a bump or through a dip, and the suspension doesnt change whether youre in the saddle or not. The Tallboy Carbon has a carbon fiber upper link that shaves weight and enhances lateral stiffness. - $4,149.95