Tuesday, 3 April 2012

2012 Race Bike #1 - Santa Cruz Tallboy "The General Levi"

Everyone that knows me, knows I don't just love riding my bike, I particularly love riding my XXL Orange Santa Cruz Tallboy, nicknamed the "General Lee" by my friends. So, when it was inevitably time to move over to the 2012 bike and it was no longer available in orange, the new bike was always going to have a lot to live up to. It was with this in mind that the new bike (another XXL Tallboy - accept no substitute!) was, very carefully, built up by me.

I started by updating the drivetrain to a 2×10 affair that I have really enjoyed on my Highball, this was the easy bit. Then the changes became more dramatic as, like the Highball, I ditched the Syncros FL riser and swapped out all my finishing kit for that of my new sponsor, USE, including their wonderful 710mm wide Atom Flat bar. The reasoning behind this was to enable me to wring the last little bit of speed out of this amazing bike; for 2012 this would be a little easier as I would be awarded by the most exciting thing (after the frame!), the new Reynolds XC 29er Carbon wheels, super stiff for amazing trail handling. Here's how it looks all put together:
First thing to decide was colour, which gave the new bike its new name: the General Levi
First thing to decide on, after colour, was the name (priorities!), the General Levi
Makes a great stablemate for my General Lee, I hope you like it!
At the front of the bike it's all change, and the setup's the same as my revamped Highball. RockShox' Reba RLT fork connect the bars to the front wheel and provide a bar mounted lockout, handy on the ups. Steering is proided via a new USE CNC stem and their rather wonderful 710mm wide Atom flattie handlebar, that I am already a huge fan of. Coupled with Ergon's hand protecting GX-1 grips, importantly in colour matching white, I'm enjoying the extra confidence on the descents and the leverage and lockout on the climbs
All change up front
The other, potential, big change for me was sponsorship from Reynolds wheels, who have provided me with some of their XC 29er carbon wheels to race on this year. Reputedly extremely stiff offering potentially fantastic ride characteristics and respectably light with a UST rim, my first impressions are that of a rider who is suitably impressed with how they handle rough and twisty technical trails and the ability for the bike to hold a line and carry yet more speed through singletrack with even more precision is something I am truly delighted with. 
Keeping me rolling forwards with alarming speed - Reynolds XC 29er Carbon wheelset, they're wonderfully fun too!
Lezyne have supported me again with accessories to keep both rider and bike going. Their caddy seatpack takes tube and spares and includes the ingenious and time saving tool pouch in which I stash their V10 tool, that is all the tool kit I need to keep the bike ticking over, in the frame water is held in a colour co-ordinated silver flow bottle cage and a similarly colour matched blue HV alloy drive pump. Thanks Lezyne!
More weight is shaved with Ashima's air rotor front and rear, held in place with 6 titanium bolts at each end, 15mm Maxle Lite up front but more weight saving is provided from Mount Zoom's Die Schoenberg titanium rear skewer
Colour matched discs, it's all about the attention to detail
Things to make me go take the form of a slick SRAM X0 2×10 drivetrain, I have opted for a super tough but pleasingly light XTR chainset as it's a component I have absolute faith in and, after the horrid experience of snapping a crank last year, a component where I won't take any risks at all to save weight. Those XTR cranks are pretty light though!
X0 2×10 light, functional and durable
Last, but by no means least, as I'll hopefully be spending a lot of hours sitting here, my perch is provided by the tried and tested Syncros FL saddle, held in place by USE's Sumo Carbon seatpost, both of which are light but strong.

How does it all behave? Well, I'm very impressed indeed, I think my changes from last year are all positive, particularly the wide bar and stiff Reynolds wheels, but it's early days so I'm reserving my judgement for now but, if I'm honest, this is more an excuse to go "testing" some more until I have a few hundred hours on everything, than any real doubt ;-)
Hard at work "testing" in the sunshine
For those that are interested, the full spec is:

Frame - Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon, size XXL
Fork - RockShox REBA RLT 29er with 15mm Maxle Lite
Wheels - Reynolds 29er XC Carbon
Brakes - Hope Race X2, with Matchmaker clamps
Seatpost - USE Sumo Carbon
Handlebar - USE Wide Atom Flattie
Stem - USE CNC
Grips - Ergon GS-1
Shifters - SRAM X0 2×10
Front Mech - SRAM X0 2s
Rear Mech - SRAM X0 10s medium cage
Chainset - XTR M970 + TA Chinook Chainrings
Cassette - SRAM XG 1080 10s 12-36
Pedals - XTR M970 SPD
Saddle - Syncros FL
Tyres - Maxxis IKON 2.2" 29er EXC
Rear Skewer - Mount Zoom Die Schoenberg
Pump - Lezyne HV Alloy Drive
Bottle Cage - Lezyne Flow
Brake Discs - Ashima AiRotor 160mm Blue F&R
Brake Pads  - RWD Sintered

Now, let's go racing! 


  1. Good luck for the weekend Rob, I'll be cheering you on for the win. I'll no doubt muster the energy to shout encouragement from my bike when you over lap me!

    Ps can I use the pictures of your bikes for my Bloggers bike page. I'll link them up to your blog.

    1. Cheers Jez, good luck to you too. Hope you have a good ride and enjoy it. I'll ask Grace in my pit to cheer you back on the way past :-)

      No problem to use some pics, links back to the blog much appreciated, as is asking up front.

  2. Thanks rob I've posted them on my blog page so hope you approve. Links are all in place too. http://followingthechainline.blogspot.co.uk/p/technical-tips.html to see :)

  3. Hey Rob, I hope the knee is a bit better. Sorry to hear that it ruined your race. Stil it was good to meet you and Grace and thanks for the advice and support! :)

  4. Very informative and detailed article is this. Love to read it
    Home Mart NZ