Spur_Tallboy-3.jpg
REVIEW | COMPARISON

2021 Transition Spur v. Santa Cruz Tallboy

Words Cooper Quinn
Photos As Noted
Date Feb 22, 2021
Reading time

I almost started this article off with a rant about shitty bike category labels but I trashed it because I don't think I can handle more cynicism this week. Wait, sorry. That’s Pete’s writing from his long term review of the 2021 Transition Sentinel. This is the Transition Spur, a 120mm bike that hates labels, too.

As a refresher, the Spur is a new for 2021, light, aggressively geometried bike from Transition designed to be your Everyday Driver. It was probably pretty clear from my launch review: I liked it quite a bit. But once the honeymoon phase was over, would I feel the same? How this bike survive a season of smashing on Boogieman? Should you be looking down travel for your next bike? And a common question from the comments and my Instagram; how does it compare to the Santa Cruz Tallboy (previously reviewed by Cam, here). Spoiler: they’re quite different.

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I dragged the Spur all over BC to test it, for you, dear readers. While the loam shelf meter is no longer printed on the seattube, I can assure you Powell River filled it.

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Searching for Spur Country, somewhere in BC.

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Lest you think this job is easy, I took the Tallboy places, too. Again, I did this for you, not for me.

Components

Most of my initial impressions about the Spur stayed true; I still like this bike, a lot. It punches well above its weight class making it a great bike for a lot of rides, and trips. It does have limits – maybe the best option here is to first talk about what I’ve changed on the Spur and why, and then we can delve into riding it and where it differs from the Tallboy.

I tried to keep changes to a minimum and within the ethos of the bike – once you start down the tempting path of adding a bunch of stiffer or beefier parts to the Spur, you’re trying to make it a bike it isn’t and you’ll likely ruin how well everything works together. Tires were swapped throughout the summer, but most of the time there was some combination of a Maxxis DHF up front and a Dissector on the rear. Rotors grew 20mm on both ends (if this bike were mine, I'd consider SRAM Code RSCs, and probably go back to stock sizing), and a 150mm RockShox AXS Reverb post kept the WTB Volt going up and down wirelessly over the stock ANVL/OneUp combo. The Sensus grips were recently removed and replaced with my favorite ESI grips.

Beyond that, the bike stayed as spec'd from Transition for much of the year.

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Everyone runs 203mm rotors on their SiD, right?

Tallboy_Spur_Geo_FINAL

Very similar numbers. I ran the Tallboy in slack-long for most of the test. I tried short, but didn't love it.

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In 2020, this was as close to Transition's home state of Washington as I was able to ride the Spur; this part of the border wall isn't super secure. For big alpine days that are likely to require walking, I swapped on flat pedals.

Pedaling and Climbing

The Spur excels at long days in the saddle; be warned that if ¾ of the way through a 16-hour alpine push a friend picks up your bike… they’re going to hate you. It also loves a quick backdoor rip; be warned if you show up on a Spur to the hour long lunch ride where you’re going to sprint a quick lap with a buddy… they’re going to hate you.

To find a balance between a slightly taller front end for descending confidence and body position versus liming the (relatively minimal) front end wander on climbing, I did play with the cockpit, and ultimately landed right back at the stock setup. Overall, the Spur has a progressive pedaling platform that’s quite stiff and efficient, yet offers enough small bump for all day bum comfort and a riding position that leaves my lower back happy.

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This is definitely Spur Country. Photo: Callum Hayes.

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Light bikes mean bonus descent energy. Photo: David Kenworthy.

There’s no way around it – the Tallboy is heavier, and doesn’t pedal as well. There’s noticeably more pedal bob, and as such it’s a bike that rewards a sit and spin over hard standing efforts. The flip side of this is that the Tallboy’s active suspension scores points over the Spur on rough technical climbs with excellent rear wheel traction. I was more prone to using the climb switch on this bike - it's less of a lockout than the SiDluxe, and the active platform benefited from it on smoother climbs. The low shock mount does mean it's really far away, so don't forget to flip it before you drop in at the top.

Descending

If you get nothing else out of this review, the takeaway is that the Spur and Tallboy are each more capable than you think a 120mm bike should be. But let’s dig a little deeper.

On anything short of Very Gnarly, the Spur is a riot. No, you’re not going as fast as you might be on a modern enduro sled,* but the geometry is confidence-inspiring, and the bike snaps and pops wherever you like – a quick pull over those roots instead of smashing through them is usually the easy way. In the parlance of our times, it does have some ‘compliance’ and at speed in rougher terrain, the bike flexes around a bit. I never really found this unnerving or surprising; it’s the nature of the chassis.

*I’d also say on most trails short of double black, in the right hands, it's at least as fast or faster.

Once you get up into the Gnarly end of the spectrum, you’ll surprise yourself and others (“Is that a f***ing SiD?!” ) with the terrain this bike works in, but there are some caveats. Enter slowly – you don’t have as much traction as a bigger bike, or the same room for mistakes. Whatever speed you carry into the top of steep technical terrain will multiply rapidly, if you find a big hit somewhere towards the bottom that you weren’t expecting you’ll be very glad you didn’t come barreling in from the top, or you’ll be out of tickets for the ride.

The Santa Cruz Tallboy rides like a bigger, heavier bike (it is the latter, for sure) than the Spur. It's more confidence inspiring, and it's often hard to believe that they both have the same amount of rear travel (note to Santa Cruz: let's see the graphs... how much travel is really back there?). Unlike Cam, I wound up enjoying the longer chainstay option, which could also be a factor here. To me, the bike was a bit more balanced and composed at speed and in chatter than in short chain stay mode, where it felt a bit more nervous and front end heavy.

I found previous generations of the Tallboy’s longer-legged VPP siblings had a bit of a marshmallowy feel that deadened feedback and trail noise to the detriment of playfulness, leaving the bike feeling a bit glued to the ground. Perhaps due to its reduced travel, or updated VPP kinematics, the Tallboy manages a nice balance of suppleness and zest, and I was more comfortable on steeper/gnarlier terrain than when I was aboard the Spur.

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Transition Spur Maintenance and Issues

I’m not sure how many kilometres I’ve logged on the Spur, but it was the bike I reached for the most this summer, and some basic maintenance was required. Consumables were replaced, and disassembling the rear end for some grit cleaning and a re-lube was a simple process. The hardware utilized by Transition is well-engineered, and the paint has held up remarkably well. The rubber bumpers do their job, keeping the frame tidy and relatively quiet (hopefully keeping you from making aesthetically poor additions!).

The only issue during the test period with stock components was some premature bushing wear inside the SiD; this was quickly sorted with new lowers by Rock Shox through Fluid Function in Squamish. The performance of this fork is very impressive but, pushing it as hard as I have, a reduction in service life isn’t shocking. I didn’t love the stock wheelset – I find OEM DT Swiss wheels are made of cheesium and I crunched a star ratchet right out of the gate – but these were swapped out for another review wheelset. Overall, considering what the Spur has been through, I’ve been happy with how everything has held up.

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Tallboy vs Spur Cage Fight Winner (Conclusions)

When folks see the Spur, right after asking “What bike is that, it looks great”, people then ask, “How does it compare to a Tallboy?”

And the answer is that it doesn’t, really. While both bikes are very similar in many respects on a spreadsheet, and likely to be cross-shopped, in the real world they’re quite different. If we think of bikes across a spectrum from XC through to Downhill (or… freeride? I’ve fallen for Pete’s trap and am putting shitty labels on bikes), the Spur falls a fair bit left of the Tallboy, which I’d plunk solidly in ‘Trail.’ I have no idea what Santa Cruz has coming, but I'd pit the Spur against an updated (lower, slacker) Blur before this Tallboy for a fair fight up or down the hill.

What does that mean for you as a potential bike buyer? The world’s your oyster; think carefully about where you live, what you ride, and what your strengths as a rider are. Personally, I'd take home a Spur over a Tallboy – this decision is driven both by my love of a good backcountry mission and a 37-minute lunch hour smash on Seymour, both situations where the Spur (and its lower weight) really come into its own, but my personal ride - a Rocky Mountain Altitude - factors into that equation as well. I have a big, smashy bike for big, smashy trails, so the separation between the two suits me well.

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If I’m only allowed one bike, I’d likely land on a Tallboy out of these two. It’s more comfortable when the going gets rough, making it a bit more versatile. For proof it's all the bike you may need, Santa Cruz brand manager Seb Kemp has been aboard one as his personal ride for a couple of years now, and has no qualms about anything from Whistler Bike Park sidecountry laps to his personal favorite, the IMBA Epic Comfortably Numb.

So, what's your pick of the two?

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Comments

hongeorge
+6 DMVancouver 4Runner1 JVP Dogl0rd ChocolateThunder Chad K
hongeorge  - Feb. 22, 2021, 3:53 a.m.

Funny how marketing affects perception, in my mind the Tallboy was a more old school steep XC geo and the Spur was this new, aggressive short travel bike with modern numbers, but this review seems to suggest the exact opposite.

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:03 a.m.

I mean the geo charts are remarkably similar - what I'd suggest with the review is that the ride experience is very different. I would say both are aggressive, short travel bikes with modern numbers.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 22, 2021, 4:47 p.m.

Pretty much since the Tallboy was released and rose to prominence as one of the first 29ers to ride well, it's been positioned as a short travel bike that rides bigger than the numbers suggest. Maybe you're thinking of the Blur? That's the one SC targets to XC riders and it's got steeper, more traditional geo.

Reply

hongeorge
0
hongeorge  - Feb. 23, 2021, 3:31 a.m.

Maybe more to do with how the bike has evolved, while my impression of it stood still somewhat.  When the tallboy first came out it didn't appeal to me at all because it was short and steep, but over the years it's quietly become something much more modern and aggressive.

Reply

oldmanbike
+2 WasatchEnduro Cam McRae
OldManBike  - Feb. 22, 2021, 5:32 a.m.

I own a YT Izzo, which gets compared with these 2 also. I can't compare it to them, but fwiw I feel about the Izzo much the way Cooper feels about the Spur.

Reply

mrt
+2 Cam McRae AndrewR
Mr.T  - Feb. 22, 2021, 6:30 a.m.

I was on the Tallboy all of last season, albeit on East Coast New England rocky rooty and short punchy up/down terrain and just didn't love the bike vs. my Knolly Fugitive or Stumpy.  Maybe VPP =/= Clydesdale bike?  I would actually say its better to compare the Evil Following (had Mk I and MB but not MkIII) to the Tallboy, where I'd say its no where near as good in the all-rounder up/down and even send it category.

Picked up the Spur for this season so will see how it goes, that said I do have a big squishy Enduro/Freeride rig and want something snappier for quick "dad break" rides or for long days in Pisgah or (hopefully) out and about in Whistler Valley for a couple weeks every (normal) summer... LOTS, Duncan's, Uncomfortable Bum, Out There, etc.

First Spur ride was yesterday, but on top of 10 cm of well packed snow so about as useful for gathering an opinion as riding a bantha.  It is wicked light and the two little drops that were packed in nicely the Sid Rear handled smoothly (I have a Pike dropped to 120mm and stuff with custom bits and tune for the Spur).  The tech was buried by the snow so more to come.

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:06 a.m.

I'd say your middle paragraph suggests all the right reasons for picking up a Spur, but I'm also surprised you didn't like the Tallboy that much! 

The SiDluxe is quite impressive and the way the Spur ramps up it bottoms *very* softly, which is nice. If you check one of those landing photos above, you can see what it looks like at full compression.

Reply

mrt
0
Mr.T  - Feb. 23, 2021, 10:03 a.m.

Tallboy really didn't give me the pop or playfulness I want in a short travel/snappy rig.  I do think Evil The Following and Tallboy are much more comparable to the Spur.

Reply

GladePlayboy
+6 4Runner1 Mark Forbes Cam McRae Pete Roggeman Spencer Nelson pedalhound
Rob Gretchen  - Feb. 22, 2021, 6:54 a.m.

It was game over... when I saw your truck... sweet rig!!

Reply

vincentaedwards
+1 Cam McRae
Vincent Edwards  - Feb. 22, 2021, 7 a.m.

I haven’t ridden the spur yet, but I’d love to get a demo on one.

I’ve owned both the TB3 and the current tallboy. Right out of the gate I put on a fox 36 set to 140mm travel... so that may have some impact on my experience. I’m in total agreement that the TB is all ‘trail’ bike. The XC character of the previous tallboy has been traded for modern geo and increased stiffness. 

Right now the tallboy is my only bike. When I know my rides will be more rough and DH focused, I put on a dpx2 imperial shock that takes the travel up to around 129mm. The rear end is noticeably more composed in the rough with this setup, but it trades away a bit of support and crispness. I also run a 30t chainring to boost the anti-squat slightly.

I’ve found the tallboy to be a great all around mountain bike- it strikes a nice balance for big rides. I tend to prefer a shorter travel bike, but often ride trails where more travel is the norm. I think this is where the tallboy really shines. 

In a way, I think the strength of the TB is also its weakness. With the extra weight and stiffness, plus fully modern geo, it’s easy to take the bike into situations where the travel feels like the limiting factor.

Reply

4Runner1
+1 Timer
4Runner1  - Feb. 22, 2021, 8:55 a.m.

Curious as to why you didn’t choose the Hightower, considering your mods?

Reply

vincentaedwards
+2 4Runner1 Cam McRae
Vincent Edwards  - Feb. 22, 2021, 10:11 a.m.

Ive always biased towards shorter travel bikes, and I was coming from a ripmo, looking for something a little more playful. I wanted to see how far modern geo would let me push a bike like this. (I actually just swapped frames and reduced fork travel to learn as much as I could from the comparison) 

Bottom line... between the ripmo and my slightly modified tallboy, I still get bigger grins on the tallboy for most of my rides. I do a lot of technical climbing and traversing... I’m in NW Arkansas where we have big hills rather than proper mountains. If I was in BC, Colorado, Pisgah, Moab, etc I’d have stuck with the ripmo. 

To cite an example- I took the TB to Moab this year. It was absolutely brilliant on Captain Ahab. On the whole enchilada, it got pretty tiresome on areas like the porcupine double track. Sustained high-speed descents with lots of square hits are where it falls short (but sill lets you stay in control)

I chose the bike that best fits my riding 90% of the time- and as the review states, the tallboy is a great ‘one’ bike option. Especially when you factor in the versatility of how well it rides in a 129/140 configuration.

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:16 a.m.

You've nailed it with "the strength of the TB is also its weakness", and its why there's no winner of this test - it depends on your needs.

Reply

ackshunW
+2 Carlos Matutes Allen Lloyd
ackshunW  - Feb. 22, 2021, 7:09 a.m.

Yeah, the Frontier is yours? Can you share just a little about your cap&tent setup? Rear spring upgrade? We have a 2011 and trying to decide if worth the investment to outfit it further.

Reply

Losifer
0
Carlos Matutes  - Feb. 22, 2021, 7:28 a.m.

Second the truck and camp set up question. 

I’ll have an opportunity to ride both of these this year, but it’s unlikely either will pry me away from my Knolly Fugitive.

Reply

cooperquinn
+4 Vincent Edwards Mark Forbes ackshunW pedalhound
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:19 a.m.

Sure - its an AT Overland Habitat (of course, Tacoma sized, because no one makes anything for the Frontier, and resale value would be nil...). 

Running custom Alcan leafs in the rear with an extended shackle, and some remote resi Bilsteins. Front is Titan swapped with 2.5" Radflo w/ 700lb spring, Dirt King UCA & outer tie rods, stock titan LCA, front diff, CVs, and inner tie rods.

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ackshunW
0
ackshunW  - Feb. 22, 2021, 11:45 a.m.

Nice! The tent setup looks so very ....  spacious. But also pretty light overall. Did your suspension upgrades become necessary with that extra (high) weight? Anyway, beautiful setup! Plan to spend a lot more internet time on AT overland....

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:22 p.m.

Before this I had a canopy and RTT. Given the weight of bumper, skids, etc, I needed upgraded springs before the switch to the Habitat (I had a 10leaf pack from Deaver, but it was just too soft). The ride quality of the Alcans is really good, even when unloaded. Would recommend. (and if you want, more truck pics on IG @thefrontieradventure)

Reply

colemaneddie
0
colemaneddie  - Feb. 22, 2021, 8:34 p.m.

Sick Titan swap! I want to swap mine real bad. What rack setup are you using on the back? I've got some ideas on a custom rack but can't find exactly what I'm looking for yet.

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:26 p.m.

As in... bike rack? I've got a fork mount rack inside the bed, and then a 1up single bike rack on a swingout on the passenger side.

Reply

colemaneddie
0
colemaneddie  - Feb. 23, 2021, 8:21 a.m.

Nice. Is the swingout built into the bumper? Or just running from the hitch? I've been thinking about a custom bumper with a swingout rack. That would be special.

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 23, 2021, 9:06 a.m.

I don't seem to have any good pictures of it posted... but here's the drivers side?

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCR7GBZg2tk/

The passenger side is like that, but in reverse and with a 2" receiver off the end towards the center of the truck (with a gusset). As you can see the swingout attaches to a full wraparound high clearance bumper from Hefty Fab that they don't make anymore.

mrbrett
+2 DadStillRides Cr4w
mrbrett  - Feb. 22, 2021, 7:55 p.m.

Can we please get a detailed vehicle check too? One of those Pistons and Pedals, MaxxGrip and Motors, or whatever the series I liked was called?

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:34 p.m.

Haha, that's up to Cam and Pete I suppose. I like MaxxGrip and Motors!

Reply

slyfink
+10 Grif JVP WasatchEnduro YDiv Mammal Cam McRae Ryan Walters Cr4w Paul Lindsay Chad K
slyfink  - Feb. 22, 2021, 7:26 a.m.

thanks for the review, I always enjoy NSMBs thoughtful and unique perspective on things. But (there's always a but?!), I'm starting to find there's always one thing missing in the reviews of these "new-school" short travel bikes... which you touch on but don't delve into. While these bikes have adopted "correct" geometry, and undoubtedly (as you mention) can go as fast or faster than bikes with more travel, they also don't have the suspension, and aren't specced with parts to deal with the impacts that they can now expose themselves to. The durability aspect is glossed over.

My opinion/theory is that people are drawn to these bikes because they are lighter and pedal better. If they are told they can ride in terrain just as gnarly as a heavier, squishier bike, why bother with all that heft? Durability, that's why. I had to talk a buddy out* of an Optic and into a Sight last year. He's always been on short travel xc bikes, but rides hard and fast. He was constantly wearing parts out. He wanted to try something with new-school geometry. I was able to convince him that the Sight is the better bike for him because it's built for the kind of abuse he dishes out. Lo and behold, he didn't need to replace anything on it last year.  

IMO, this point should be made more explicitly in reviews. You touched on it a bit (worn fork bushings), but didn't really attribute it to riding a lighter bike faster on smashier trails. I think readers would be well served by having this pointed out to them more often... again, just my opinion...

*And I say I 'had to talk a buddy out of it', but this was entirely for self serving purposes. Not only is he fast, but he's also one of those people that doesn't carry what he needs to fix his bike himself (i.e. a tube, a pump and a puncture kit), so whenever he breaks down, we all suffer, lending him the shit we schlepped around, and standing around getting eaten by bugs!

Reply

deleted_user_8375
+2 slyfink goose8
[user profile deleted]  - Feb. 22, 2021, 8:45 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:32 a.m.

The fork bushing wear wasn't really premature in the context of small bikes pushing light components, it was premature, period. 

Aside from the suspension on the Spur, though... there's nothing on these bikes that's exceptionally light specc'd on either of these bikes, really? I'm running effectively the same cockpit, drivetrain, and seatpost on my Altitude as the Spur. Wheels and tires are the biggest difference - and wheels are likely a point of concern. 

That said, having talked to folks at RockShox, I know these bikes (Spur, Epic EVO, etc) are really pushing them to push this end of the product line to new strength, stiffness, and durability realms.

Reply

JVP
0
JVP  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:37 a.m.

Great point - I'm right there with you as a not small rider who likes big rides. I've always bought the 150-160mm bike, not necessarily because I want more travel, but because I figure I'll quickly break anything smaller built with lighter bits. I can't imagine keeping a SID alive for long. Carbon cranks? I give them a couple weeks, and the list goes on.

I've got my eye on a shorter travel rig to complement my smashier daily driver, but wondering if I'd just end up with the same (durable) parts, so what's the point? I mean, will rims less than the MK3/KOM30/XM481 actually hold up for most of a season? You couldn't pay me to run lighter bars. It's not like we'll dial it back on a trail whip, we'll just ride hard differently. Still tempted...

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 JVP
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 10:51 a.m.

Yeah, as always it depends on you as a rider. The heavier you are, each pound you shave off a bike makes a smaller percentage difference in the overall weight you're pedaling around (you+riding kit+bike), and you're putting different stresses through the bike. 

A shorter travel bike will (well, should) pedal more efficiently which does make a difference, even with all the same parts as your bigger rig, but its up to you if that's something worth chasing or not. 

FWIW, I'm running basically the same cockpit & drivetrain on my personal Altitude as the one spec'd on the Spur. The biggest weight differences are wheels/tires, suspension, and a couple hundred grams of frame.

Reply

Timer
+2 Cam McRae Ryan Walters
Timer  - Feb. 22, 2021, 10:16 a.m.

"My opinion/theory is that people are drawn to these bikes because they are lighter and pedal better."

The thing is, once a shorter travel bike gets "upgraded" with a Fox 36, big brakes, burly wheels, maxxgrip tires, etc. the weight advantage is gone and the pedaling is only marginally better than a bigger bike. I don't see the point, honestly. Keep the light bike light, and if that isn't possible get a bigger bike.

Reply

cooperquinn
+5 LWK Paul Stuart Cr4w JVP Timer
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 10:45 a.m.

Yeah I kinda covered this in my launch review. Once you start swapping out too many parts, you're just admitting you bought the wrong bike.

Reply

craw
+1 Timer
Cr4w  - Feb. 22, 2021, 11:35 a.m.

At some point the bikes end up all but identical except one has less travel and is less capable but weighs the same...

Reply

SprSonik
0
Mark Forbes  - Feb. 22, 2021, 11:30 a.m.

You don't need a big burly bike to hammer most trails. I've run my local trails on true XC, light trail, and "Enduro" bikes as well as on my hardtails. The down times are barely different, favoring the bigger bikes. The up times are ridiculously different favoring the lighter bikes. Unless someone is truly smashing it, an Enduro bike is complete overkill. Of course people will ride what they want, and marketing is still favoring bigger bikes. But this new breed of more agile trail bikes might shift that soon.

Reply

Vikb
+1 Cooper Quinn
Vik Banerjee  - March 4, 2021, 5:50 a.m.

It's the same reason I have a heavy steel HT with a 160mm Lyrik and a 62 deg HTA leaning against my desk. It's not better than a FS enduro rig, but it rides different and that difference is fun. 

My next FS bike will be a short travel aggressive bike like the Spur or TB and I'll probably put some beefier parts on it. Will it make sense? I don't care as long as it's a blast to ride.

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vincentaedwards
0
Vincent Edwards  - Feb. 22, 2021, 10:21 a.m.

I think I may fit into that category - I’ve had the tallboy for a year and it’s held up great! I’ve serviced the shock and fork, and checked the linkage bearings. Everything is still smooth and clean. The extra heft, plus the great Santa Cruz warranty does certainly make me feel better when pushing this bike past its usual limits.

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cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 12:52 p.m.

And bonus - if the bearings were dead, SC gives you free ones fo' evah!

Reply

rwalters
0
Ryan Walters  - Feb. 23, 2021, 7:19 a.m.

You don't bring a knife to a gun fight. And I seem to be surrounded by gun fights these days.

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 Ryan Walters
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 23, 2021, 9:07 a.m.

We do happen to live somewhere big brawler bikes are actually appropriate, and often necessary. Especially where you ride.

Reply

boomforeal
+1 Cooper Quinn
boomforeal  - Feb. 22, 2021, 7:29 a.m.

nice review cooper

i appreciate your willingness to "give the people what they want" and compare the spur to the tallboy

wish someone had done that with the optic and the tallboy (not pointing a finger at aj; just wishing) as they seem pretty close in purpose (i.e. a bit burlier than the spur)

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 Kurt Adams
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:44 a.m.

Thanks Omar!

And agreed the Optic and Tallboy seem well matched in marketing and on paper, AJ, you're up!

Reply

rigidjunkie
+1 OldManBike
Allen Lloyd  - Feb. 22, 2021, 7:32 a.m.

I ride a last generation SC Hightower and every time I read a Tallboy or Spur review I want to buy 2 bikes.  A Spur for my local riding and a Megatower for bike parks and rougher trails. I have exactly 2 pedal strokes on a Spur and it instantly felt like a great bike for my local trails.

Reply

cooperquinn
+2 Mark Forbes Allen Lloyd
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:34 a.m.

Totally. The Spur (and Tallboy) really make a solid case that for a large amount of riding, a lot of people are overbiked. 

A quiver with one of these two, and a Megatower, would be just about what I have, and fills pretty much all the needs outside a dedicated DH race bike.

Reply

D_C_
0
DMVancouver  - Feb. 22, 2021, 8:10 a.m.

I moved the parts from my Chromag hardtail to an alloy Devinci Django frame (120 mm travel) for the Nimby 50 but ultimately went back to the hardtail. Also owning a long-travel 29er, the Django was TOO capable and didn’t offer a different enough ride experience. I was hoping the Django would be a hardtail-like experience with slightly more compliance but it turned out to be beyond that - it was planted, suspension was active and I could charge rough sections, at the expense of efficiency and responsiveness.

Is the Spur that hardtail-like ride (snappy, efficient, direct handling) with a bit more compliance, or does it still overlap with your Altitude to a point where you’d rather have a hardtail as a second bike?

And a question to others - what other short travel 29er frames are good candidates for hardtails with some squish?

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cooperquinn
+2 DMVancouver Sanesh Iyer
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:39 a.m.

Ya, its a tough one, right? I mean as you know, I've typically also had a hardtail in the quiver (I don't currently). But its kinda hard to compare... my last hardtail was like 34lbs, 62deg HTA, 160mm Lyrik... so the ride was apples to oranges over the Spur or Tallboy. But, neither one of these rides like a hardtail - its a full suspension experience for sure, and I totally see why you'd go back. I'd have a hard time justifying either one of these if I also had a hardtail (outside of n+1, really). 

It has made me think I'd like to try a much lighter hardtail, instead of the brawlers I've built up, but I dunno about things like EXO casing on a hardtail if you want to get rowdy. Brian Park at that other website has an interesting experiment going on - aggressive geo hardtail with a SiD.

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SprSonik
+3 Velocipedestrian goose8 DMVancouver
Mark Forbes  - Feb. 22, 2021, 11:32 a.m.

you won't get hardtail feel out of a squishy bike. If you like hardtails, you will likely always own one. I say that as a guy with a modified Chameleon and a Yeti SB 5.5.

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cooperquinn
+6 Velocipedestrian goose8 Spencer Nelson Chad K Sanesh Iyer Derek Baker
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 12:30 p.m.

"modified Chameleon".... 

go on. I'm listening.

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denomerdano
+2 Mammal Todd Hellinga
Deniz Merdano  - Feb. 22, 2021, 8:34 a.m.

the Dudeism really tied the review together Coop...

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cooperquinn
+3 Mammal Deniz Merdano Todd Hellinga
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:40 a.m.

That's just like your opinion, man.

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mhaager2
+2 Deniz Merdano Cam McRae
Moritz Haager  - Feb. 22, 2021, 10:34 a.m.

Best. Movie. Quote. Ever.

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cooperquinn
+2 Kurt Adams Cr4w
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 12:52 p.m.

Nice marmot.

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jt
+1 4Runner1
JT  - Feb. 22, 2021, 11:28 a.m.

The fork bushings getting toasted is one part blessing, one part curse. Blessing being that it happened within the warranty period but curse that instead of just replacing the wear item you need to replace the entire lower. Sram isn't the only one that goes this route unfortunately, but if this would happen outside of a warranty period the cost of the swap is plenty high enough to point one to a new fork instead of repair. I am trying mighty hard to not get all ol'man here about how fork bushings used to be easily replaced by a shop, and that's mighty difficult to keep in check.

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cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 12:50 p.m.

Yeah, I know. But hey, the CSU has survived! So that's a nice surprise. These new little bikes can push suspension bits *really* hard. 

And I hear you on serviceability; its certainly not a problem endemic to SRAM/RS, but it'd be nice to see more at least shop serviceable parts. (user service is.... yikes.) That said, part of how companies can squeeze so much performance out these days is by integrating more things and making the tolerances and whatnot more and more difficult to achieve outside places with super special tooling.

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dbozman
0
dbozman  - Feb. 22, 2021, 6:30 p.m.

No experience on the Spur, but it’s arguably the best-looking bike on the market. I have the V4 Tallboy. I wouldn’t want it to be my only bike here in Phoenix gnar. But I can’t tell you how impressed I am with it. Hell, I rode National at South Mountain on it today and it was rad.

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kurt-adams
+3 Paul Stuart Will McBeath Vincent Edwards
Kurt Adams  - Feb. 22, 2021, 8:51 p.m.

I bought a new Tallboy V4 to start the season last year. Honestly this bike is the cliché indulging "quiver killer"!

I was coming off a 2016 5010 and really wanted a bike that pedaled better. My local rides(Fernie) were definitely more fast (up & down), but it wasn't the slightly more xc machine I had hoped for. This Tallboy was 29lbs, a little portly for an xc rig. I soon came to realize what I had was definitely not an xc bike and that was ok.

I upped the fork to 140mm and embraced what I had... an all out weapon of a bike that really could ride all I could throw at it. After 50,000m of climbing last summer the bike was flawless, more bike than I thought was possible for 120mm.

Long rides and short quickies it was good for everything. This is a very complicated case Maude. You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous.

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cooperquinn
+1 Kurt Adams
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 22, 2021, 9:29 p.m.

Fernie! You should recognize a couple of photos in the review then! 

And yeah, I know other folks have had a similar experience with the scale after they built up a Tallboy. Beefing it up *a touch* if its your only bike is the route I'd go. And then maybe keep a very lightweight set of wheels/tires in the closet for those other days?

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kurt-adams
0
Kurt Adams  - Feb. 23, 2021, 6:11 a.m.

Haha, yeah I noticed the pics! Randomly I was riding the same trails the same days you were here... noticed your name on Strava.... great write up! 

In an ideal world I want something that splits the difference between the TB and the Spur.

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cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 23, 2021, 8:19 a.m.

Man, I *really* liked Project 9. And either one of these is the perfect bike for that (same with Hyper). 

I also managed to wash the front end and bin it on the gravel path just above Coal Creek road on the way over to ride Hyper, so scrubbing all the black carbon dust out of my leg at the beginning of the ride was fun. 

Between the Tallboy and Spur... man you're splitting hairs to a degree here, haha. I'd possibly say... Tallboy with light wheels/tires? I'm not sure what really inhabits that zone, what are you looking at?

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kurt-adams
0
Kurt Adams  - Feb. 23, 2021, 7:13 p.m.

That's great you crashed on, what I'm assuming is the Coal Creek Heritage Trail, a hard right hander just before crossing the road potentially. Dirty...excuse the pun.

Oh I don't think anything really exists between the two bikes, I really just wish that Santa Cruz made the tallboy frame a bit lighter, just for those BIG days in the saddle. I will "reluctantly"  ride this bike another season.

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cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 24, 2021, 8:38 a.m.

Ha, yep, exactly the spot. At least I had the river right there to scrub my knee and elbow out before the ride. 

I have faith you'll be able to manage this summer with your Tallboy!

vincentaedwards
+1 Cooper Quinn
Vincent Edwards  - Feb. 24, 2021, 5:35 p.m.

Possibly now that new pivot 429? 

I agree about the tallboy frame weight. Is this a byproduct of the lifetime warranty, or the lower link vpp? Either way, Santa Cruz bikes used to be significantly lighter.

DaveSmith
+1 Cooper Quinn
Dave Smith  - Feb. 23, 2021, 7:56 a.m.

That Spur sure is a sharp looking frame too.

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xy9ine
+1 Cooper Quinn
Perry Schebel  - Feb. 23, 2021, 1:22 p.m.

indeed. hard to beat the classic elegance of a straight-tubed silhouette.

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Speeder1
+3 Paul Lindsay Velocipedestrian Benny
Speeder1  - Feb. 23, 2021, 10:49 a.m.

If you are a one bike guy on a longer travel rig set up for smashing and don't want to spend on a whole new second bike for that light feel, try this: add a bit of pressure to your fork and shock and put some lighter rubber on, like 900gm rubber, or at least sub 1kg that has a compliant sidewall (exo). Your longer travel rig will snap to life and you just might find romance there again. Light tires and a firmer suspension platform change the character of the bike massively and are a big part of the short and medium travel recipe for fun. 

Not sayin I wouldn't love to have either a Spur or a TB in my quiver, I surely would! Either one looks very very nice.

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cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 24, 2021, 8:37 a.m.

Totally.

Lots of bikes out there that pedal well enough (or smash well enough) out there these days that a two-wheelset quiver is a great way to go. (or even just swapping rubber, as you suggest). 

Not all bikes will love too much air pressure change (kinematics @ sag), but there's no *need* for two or more bikes certainly.

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Benny
0
Benny  - Feb. 25, 2021, 3:28 p.m.

I can 100% vouch for this. I've been on my V1 Bronson for the past 7 years. Besides the roadie that gets the occasional spin, this is the only bike I have. In those 7 years, 3 kids have appeared, and my approach to riding has completely changed. No longer looking for big hits to #sendit (not that I ever did), my riding is now all about maintaining physical fitness & mental well being. 

I'm in Australia & both the Tallboy and the Spur have been on my wishlist for a while. But convincing the bosslady of the house that a new bike purchase is justifiable has been a long, drawn out process of inception. 

So 6 months ago I ditched the Minions for some lighter and racier rubber and aired my shock up. Stopped wearing a pack on every ride and decided to ride light. It has transformed my bike and my overall riding experience, and as a result I'm more motivated than ever to get out and peddle. 

But... I still find myself reading every review posted on these two bikes. Wish me luck!

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cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 26, 2021, 1:01 p.m.

Fingers crossed for ya!

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Suns_PSD
0
Sun Hester  - Feb. 24, 2021, 2:13 p.m.

Great review, thanks!

I've ridden the Spur and did enjoy the heck out of it, but really don't think it pedals any faster at all than a 150mm bike when on comparable tires. And therein lies the rub, keep it a light duty trail bike with fast XC style tires (the slipping and sliding adds to the thrill), or mount the tires you really want/ need and now you are doing more than this bike was designed for.

I dig the jump photo but I also think that's well beyond what the SID for instance was designed for. Perfect example and really, what a pita for the warranty department.

I'll build a WW Spur someday to compliment my Evo but don't intend to attempt to build it in to a mini-Enduro rig and I think people need to consider their intentions (and probably weight!) before purchasing.

Transition has been hitting it out of the park lately. Glad for their success!

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cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 24, 2021, 4:07 p.m.

I would disagree and say the Spur (and Tallboy) pedals a lot better than any 150mm+ travel bike I've ridden, and that the difference is a lot more than just wheels/tires. Tires will help a lot, certainly (see above comment about wheelsets), but its not like you can slap Rekons on a Megatower and its a wash. My last bike was a 150/160mm sub-30lb rig. It pedaled well, but the Spur pedals circles around it even with the same tires - I've run both with an identical EXO Maxxterra DHF/Dissector combo. And the total bike is nearly five pounds lighter. Which is a lot

I'd also disagree a bit with the design of the SID. While I certainly pushed the fork, I spent quite a bit of time talking to a couple different folks at RS about about the engineering and development of the fork (as I didn't want to snap the thing and die), and this and all the other stupid dorps to falt I took it off were within its capabilities. Will people who push this fork hard wear things out faster than people riding rail trails in Iowa? Well, yes. But that's the same for anything. 

Anyone trying to make the Spur or Tallboy into an enduro bike bought the wrong bike, for sure. 

Santa Cruz and Transition have both been turning out some great bikes lately, for sure! The new Transitions fixed the biggest problem with Transitions for me... the aesthetics.

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Suns_PSD
0
Sun Hester  - Feb. 25, 2021, 7:07 p.m.

I'll definitely defer to your greater experience riding so many different bikes even though it didn't match my personal, but very brief experience.

I will be getting a Spur as my light duty trail bike as something to set up much more light duty than my Evo once availability increases.

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cooperquinn
+1 Sun Hester
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 26, 2021, 1:01 p.m.

Ya... availability in 2021 is... challenging. haha.

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vincentaedwards
+1 Cooper Quinn
Vincent Edwards  - Feb. 24, 2021, 5:42 p.m.

Hmmm. I was on a ripmo for a year, and now have been on a tallboy for 1yr.

I swapped frames so parts are identical.

The ripmo pedaled just as well on fire road climbs, but when it comes to technical single track climbs and traverses, the tallboy is noticeably better. I think it actually weighs 1/2lb more than the ripmo did. 

And the Ripmo is one of the best pedaling platforms around on a longer travel bike.

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arca_tern
0
arca_tern  - Feb. 28, 2021, 5:51 p.m.

Wondering how the Ibis Ripley (not the newer, slacker Ripley AF) fit's in with these.

Read nothing but good about the Ripley, and feel like it sits between the stability of the tallboy and the playfulness of the spur?

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Suns_PSD
0
Sun Hester  - March 1, 2021, 11:53 a.m.

Cooper, how about timing a long section on a Spur vs. an AM rig (i.e. V2 Sentinel)?

Like a 30-45 minute nonstop ride where you ride a pace that you would typically maintain on a decent Sunday morning ride? Not all out, but a pace that you can maintain in spite of trail traffic and becoming tired. A trail that you can consistently clear every obstacle on either bike.

Of course include a good description of the terrain, fun levels experienced, tires utilized & so on. For my selfish needs, the rougher the terrain the better.

Something that can help us non- bike testers/ consumers gain an objective measurement of what we stand to gain/ lose moving to a short travel rig from an AM rig.

If I was running this test I'd insert one important set of controls, I'd run the timing tests 1-3x on wheels/ tires that I'd consider appropriate for each bike, importantly I'd then do it again by actually using the exact same wheel/ tires on both bikes removing that as a factor entirely.

BTW, I have a buddy that is a heck of an athlete on a bike, and on a chunky local trail that is very pedal heavy (but still within the realm of a XC rig) he told me he was (edited, checked with friend) 7-8% faster over a lengthy trail on his high end, Fox Live valve equipped, Rocket Ron having 22# XC race bike compared to his 27.5" 6" travel DHR2 having AM rig. My opinion is that about 70% of that time difference is the the wheels/ tires, 15% in the 8# bike weight difference, and about 15% is in the additional efficiency of his 100mm Live Valve. Just educated guesses. If he swapped the wheels/ tires to his AM bike, locked out his AM shock to replicate the Live Valve, and strapped 8#s to that XC frame I'd guess the total time difference to be tiny. A minute or 3 max over that run. Clearly that's just a guess on my part. Wouldn't expect you to test these other elements as they are ultimately irrelevant. However the wheel/ tire control test is well worth pursuing.

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