It’s always a pleasure bringing a customer’s custom dream bike to life, especially when budget isn’t the main concern. It gets even better when the customer is eager to incorporate the latest technology into the build and we get some hands-on time with the best components on the market. Here is what we came up with: The concept for this bike was to start with a Santa Cruz Tallboy CC carbon frame and build up a mountain bike which would be light and snappy enough to feel at home in a cross-country or endurance mountain bike race, but at the same time be capable enough to handle rugged, back-country trails. We went with the top of the line CC carbon version of the Tallboy frame in Forest Green with Baby Blue logos. The Tallboy is the perfect frame for this project with it’s 110mm of VPP suspension, 68 degree headtube angle, and boost spacing, placing it firmly at the trail end of the cross-country category.
A Fox Step-cast 34 120mm fork is the highlight of the suspension package. The Step-cast version saves a half a pound of weight over a regular Fox 34 fork while retaining the same stiffness. The fork is paired to a custom-tuned Fox Float Factory shock at 110mm to handle the suspension duties at the rear of the bike. We also went with a Fox Transfer dropper post at 125mm.
You can buy Santa Cruz Reserve x Chris King wheels straight from the Santa Cruz factory, but we decided to source the parts and build the wheels in-house. We mated Chris King ISO B hubs in turquoise to Reserve 27 rims using Sapim Race spokes. The carbon rims carry a lifetime warranty through Santa Cruz, and Chris King hubs have one of the best reputations in the industry for durability and longevity, so we are confident these wheels will be able to handle many miles and years of hard riding. We covered the wheels with Maxxis tubeless tires; a Minion DHF on the front and an Aggressor on the rear.
A Santa Cruz 760 carbon riser bar with ESI Extra Chunky grips will control the bike. We also used a Chris King Dropset that matches the hubs.
The most exciting part of the build is the Sram XX1 Eagle AXS electronic drivetrain. Like their previous road groups, the AXS wireless shifting was easy to set up and shifts flawlessly.
The rainbow coating on the chain and cassette is stunning in person.
The shift button is very ergonomic, and feels natural to use if you have been using Sram mountain bike shifters in the past.
One of the coolest features of the new AXS system is the ability to customize the system through the companion app. You just pair the system to your phone and you can adjust the shift functions, check for firmware updates, and check your battery levels.