Item added to cart. Check out.

TPC Blog

Back To Blog

Choosing The Santa Cruz Blur vs Tallboy

By Bruce Lin

Santa Cruz currently has two short-travel 29er full-suspension mountain bikes in its lineup, the Blur and the Tallboy. The Blur is a pure XC bike with 100mm of travel while the Tallboy is more of a trail bike with 110mm of travel in the rear, and 120mm in the front (130mm for 27.5+ versions). If you’re looking for a fast, short-travel, full-suspension mountain bike, what are the pros and cons of each, and how do you choose between the two?

Comparison Chart:


Blur (X01/Carbon CC)

Tallboy (X01/Carbon CC)


22.91 lbs

26.09 lbs

Fork Travel



Rear Travel




Fox Step-Cast 32 

Fox 34 


Fox Float

Fox Float

Head Angle



Seat Angle




588mm / 598mm (M/L)

603mm (M/L)


440mm / 460mm (M/L)

430mm / 450mm (M/L)


Syntace P6 HiFlex Rigid

RockShox Reverb Dropper


Maxxis Aspen

Maxxis Minion DHF / Crossmark II

Blur vs. Tallboy Details

For 2019, Santa Cruz introduced the new 100mm full-suspension Blur as an XC bike to take the place of the old Tallboy. It came with a redesigned carbon frame that uses Santa Cruz’s VPP suspension. The Blur promises to give XC riders a bike that is lighter, more efficient, and faster up climbs but still capable enough to handle modern XC trails that have become more technical and rough.

The newest generation Tallboy 3 has drifted further away from its XC roots, growing in travel and becoming more relaxed in geometry. The head tube has been relaxed to 68° and the reach lengthened across all sizes. This has made the bike far more trail-worthy compared to earlier Tallboy models, able to tackle burly terrain and big features. To do so, however, it had to sacrifice weight and efficiency.

The Blur’s race-focused features include a dual lockout for the suspension, lower stack height for an aggressive race position, and slightly more clearance to run a larger chainring. The frame is nearly a pound lighter than the Tallboy’s, without giving up much in terms of stiffness. This makes it a rocket on flat sprints and climbs.

The Blur is built with a 100mm Fox Step-Cast 32 fork, with is significantly lighter than the Fox 34 that comes standard on the Tallboy, but has less travel and isn’t as stiff. As a result, it will get overwhelmed in rough terrain. The standard Blur also does not come with a dropper post, but one can be added if desired. The more trail-oriented Blur TR adds a beefier 110mm Fox 34 fork and a dropper, and comes close to a standard Tallboy, but it is lighter, bridging the gap slightly between the two bikes well.

The Tallboy has slacker geometry, more travel, and a burlier fork which will help inspire more confidence as descents get steeper and more technical. The frame is slightly heavier but with less focus on weight, it should also be more robust and composed when things get rough. Small choices like the Minion DHF front tire point to its more downhill-focused intentions. 

The Tallboy also has much more potential to be made burlier by extending the fork length to 130mm (some have even experimented with a 140mm!) fork to make it a more extreme trail bike. Because the Tallboy also uses VPP suspension, it will still pedal almost as efficiently as the Blur on climbs so you can still conquer hard climbs and long rides.

Rider Type

Santa Cruz Blur
  • Riders more focused on racing, weight, fitness, hard pedaling, and hunting uphill KOMs.
  • Marathon and endurance riders looking for an efficient full suspension to complete epic feats of distance.
  • XC riders who need a bike that can occasionally step up and handle hard technical descents when called upon. 
Santa Cruz Tallboy
  • Trail riders looking for a lighter, more efficient bike.
  • XC riders less concerned about weight and efficiency and more interested in having a rugged bike to tackle technical trails rather than racing.
  • Riders who like mixing in flow with technical trails, who don’t need a big bike but don't want to be limited by a traditional XC bike.

Santa Cruz has built both bikes cover a similar range of riding styles. They will both perform well on a variety of trails, and most riders would be hard pressed to pick one over the other. In general, though, the Blur will cater more to riders who are interested in racing or who value efficiency, speed, and weight, while the Tallboy will cater more to riders who need a bike that is more versatile, rugged, and capable on descents.

Both can be modified to better suit you and your riding. If you feel torn between the two, the Blur can be beefed up to be more trail-worthy, and the Tallboy can be lightened up to be racier if necessary. But in general, the Blur is easier to make lighter and racier while the Tallboy is easier to customize to be more burly and downhill-worthy.

Imagine your perfect ride. Are you sprinting away on a bike that seems to propel you forward with ease? Go Blur. Are you riding away on descents, hitting rocks and roots hard, jumping and slashing turns? Go Tallboy.

Look at the trails you ride most or those you want to ride the most. What matters more to you when you ride them? A more efficient bike (Blur)? Or more confidence-inspiring bike (Tallboy)?

Think about the friends or people you hope to ride with. What do you need to keep up with them? A bike that helps you climb with them (Blur) or a bike that helps you descend with them (Tallboy)?

Choosing between the two is an exercise in knowing yourself, your true self. But if you can't decide and need more help, our Ride Guides are always here to chat!

Check out our Santa Cruz Collection

Read our Santa Cruz Blur Review.

Read our Santa Cruz Tallboy Review.


Bruce is a writer who loves getting his bikes dirty, trying new tech, and riding tough trails that make him suffer for hours at a time. 


  • Hi Jim,

    I wouldn’t worry too much about messing with the geometry. I run a 120mm Fox 34 step-cast fork. Even at ~68 degrees, I don’t feel like the head angle is slack enough to negatively affect climbing for everyday riding. I also use a 50mm stem with wide 760mm flat bars. The stack height is low enough that I have a couple of centimeters of saddle-to-bar drop, so it’s still a fairly aggressive climbing position. I tackle a lot of big climbs here in Colorado. The seat angle slacking out will only be a factor if you need a more forward riding position. I have to move my saddle most of the way forward on the rails to feel good. 73 degrees is as slack as I’d go personally. Maybe compare to your current bike. Some riders will have no issues.

    In my opinion, if you’re not a super competitive racer chasing grams, the TR is the better all-around bike. The 34 Step-cast is an excellent fork, and for someone my weight (~180lbs), riding rowdier terrain, I prefer the stiffness and confidence of the 34 over the 32.

    Bruce Lin on

  • Hi Brucem

    I’m tyring to decide between the regular Blur or the Blur TR. The TR version is intriguing to me because it comes with dropper and slightly more travel w/o adding too much extra weight. My question is, how much am I compromising on climbing and handling by going with the TR and the slightly slacker STA 73.5 and HTA at 68.5? I do both technical and fire rd climbing in the 1000-3000ft range. I might also need to swap out for a 50mm stem too regardless of the version I get which could make me even more upright? Just trying to ensure I can still fly up the hills like I was able to when I demo’d the non TR version. It’s debatable whether I need 110 in travel, but would go for it if it doesn’t require compromising in these areas as it will help on the descents I ride in Marin county. Thanks in advance!

    Jim on

  • Hi Andi,

    For the type of riding you’re describing I would choose the blur. It will be lighter and more efficient. You can adjust the position by raising the stem or using higher rise handlebars to make the riding position more comfortable.

    Bruce Lin on

  • Hi, my name is Andreas. Sorry for my bad english, but i need help to decide between the Santa Cruz Blur and the Tallboy. I ride long Daytrips on Roads, Foretpath and easy Trail that are not rough. I am sure the 100mm suspension from the blur is enough for me, but i am afraid the sitting position on the bike could be to much race and stretched for me, what are you thing is the best bike for relaxed daytrips ? I dont want a Hardtail, so i have to decide between this two bikes. Thank you very much for answering.

    Andi on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Newsletter Sign Up