A few week back Santa Cruz announced the new 5010, with a bold move to a frameset designed for a mixed (MX) 27.5/29″ wheelset. 130mm travel, a trail friendly purpose and every likelihood of another successful model from Santa Cruz.
This led to Lloyd and I speculating over beers about exactly where that left the Tallboy V4 which was a 120mm travel 29″ trail friendly design. We couldn’t quite work out quite where Santa Cruz could go with it beyond adding a storage box and a sag adjust window and it turns out Santa Cruz agreed with us.
We got the sag adjust window wrong – sadly and somewhat surprisingly as it feels like a missed opportunity at this point. Our view was ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and that appears to be the case with today’s launch of the Tallboy V5.
There are some differences though between the V4 and V5, which reveal themselves on close inspection.
The frame may sport similar numbers but is all new; so the storage box is there but also the top linkage moves slightly forward of the seat tube and the shock sits slightly lower into the frame. Carbon layups are size specific but the rear center also changes with sizing, growing longer as rider height increases, affecting the seat tube angle too. A seat tube angle of 75.7° in size Small is 76.8° in size XL.
Broadly, these are very small differences aimed at ensuring all riders experience the Tallboy V5 in a similar way.
As with all bike launches, there are also claims of ‘betterness’ as well as difference. Here Santa Cruz say they have tweaked the shock curve so the bike sits higher into the shock stroke for “a more responsive, snappy feel” and “improve[d] small bump sensitivity and square edge compliance”, but what does that even mean? I suspect back to back with the V4 it will be hard to tell but assume lush just got lusher.
All in all, choosing a 5010 vs the Tallboy V5 look like being quite a tricky decision and likely to boil down to personal preference. The 5010 is going to handle a slightly wider range of trails, but the Tallboy might well turn out to be the precision guided connoisseurs choice. It all depends on the rider and their riding taste I think.