Santa Cruz Bicycles Tallboy R XC Complete Bike - $3,098.95

When 29er full-suspension bikes started to roll out of boutique manufacturer's doors, they didn't do the larger wheel platform justice. Available forks were stretched, 28mm stanchioned XC units sporting 80mm of travel with standard skewers (shiver), head angles were flatter than a pugs face, and the exorbitantly long wheelbase frames were second to a young sapling in the stiffness department. We've come a long way from those monstrosities, and the Santa Cruz Tallboy was one of the first to break from that mold to give the FS 29er a fighting chance. Offered here in Santa Cruz's smartly spec'd, budget friendly, R XC Complete Bike kit, the Tallboy continues to lead the 29er revolution. Recent advancements like front and rear thru-axles, angular contact pivot bearings, tapered headtubes, and modern geometry have given 29er full suspension bikes the chassis rigidity needed to drive oversized wheels through turns and over nasty terrain -- rather than snake through them like a wet noodle. The Tallboy's frame is made of aluminum, with Santa Cruz's signature hydroformed top and down tubes. It's heavier than its carbon brother, but its price is much friendlier. It utilizes Santa Cruz's patented counter-rotating shock link, or Virtual Pivot Point suspension design. This allows for a changing feel throughout the suspension travel. When sag is set correctly, the Tallboy is extremely responsive to small- and medium-sized bumps. For larger hits that push it deeper into its travel, it becomes more stubborn, a necessity to avoid harsh bottom-out. It's also a crisp, efficient pedaler, even in the small chainring. Another big plus of VPP suspension is its durability; Santa Cruz guarantees its pivot bearings for life. The suspension is sprung by a light and custom-tuned Fox Float CTD rear shock. Its three-position lever lets you select from distinct damping for the terrain you're riding -- Climb, Trail, Descend. - $3,098.95