Blogs about Mountain Bikes

Staff bike check – Scott’s Megatower.

Scott loves his Megatower!

Welcome to the first post of what is hopefully many in our new Bike Check series! Here at Steed we’re super lucky to be able get our hands on some super cool bikes and parts. This means that sometimes our bikes can be a little out of the norm in the best possible way, and we think it’s worth sharing with you guys!

Our service manager Scott loves his Santa Cruz Megatower. He bought it right after launch and wasn’t disappointed. While he admits that it’s a lot of bike for him, it’s his daily ride and is a great bike for the shore and a much better all rounder than you might expect. Despite the big wheels, it still handles the tight janky riding on the shore and corners way better than expected. He’s left wondering how he could improve on it and if anything else would indeed be an upgrade?

Scott’s bike has some cool customisations going on!

Let’s start with the most obvious thing – the decals! Santa Cruz provide decal kits in a range of colours to customise your bike (available in store). Instead of going right over the top, he staggered them to give it that cool 80s throwback look. We all think it looks awesome!

We all love the throwback decals Scott has fitted!

 

The cockpit set-up is super important on any bike, as it’s one of the places that you’re always in contact with the bike. As such it can define whether or not you’re comfortable on the bike and can make or break the feel of the bike for you. Scott has opted for Ergon grips for that optimised hand position, a Race Face Atlas stem and OneUp’s carbon bars for some extra compliance and comfort.

Cockpit set-up is super important, so Scott has his dialled.

 

Those of you with eagle-eyes might have noticed the Sram G2 brakes rather than the stock Codes. Scott has fitted these as though they’re a little less powerful than the Codes, they have a lot more modulation, which he prefers. Though you can feel the slight power difference on big bike park days, that only makes up a small amount of his riding, so he doesn’t mind.

He’s also changed up the Fox 36 fork for a Rockshox Lyrik. The 36 is a great fork, but Scott is a Rockshox fan all the way. He opted for the Lyrik to match the Super Deluxe on the rear and he loves the Charger 2.1 damper.

Sram G2 brakes take the stopping duties here.

 

If you’d like to talk to us about bike fit or about custom builds/upgrades, don’t hesitate to get in touch or come see us in store. We have a bunch of super experienced staff on hand that can help you get your bike to where it needs to be!

 

 

Riding the Santa Cruz Tallboy 4

The 2020 Tallboy 4 is a purposeful looking bike.

The Santa Cruz Tallboy 4, new for 2020 is the latest of their bikes to be updated, and has followed suit with the rest of the line-up and the lower-link driven shock.

The new Tallboy comes with 120mm of travel out back, and 130mm up front. With numbers like that, it would be easy to write it off as a twitchy XC bike, better for riding uphill and on flat XC trails than anything else. But you would be wrong. Very wrong!

The premise behind the new lower-link bikes is that the new leverage curve on the shock both enhances suppleness and small bump sensitivity at the start of the stroke, but ramps up towards the end. What this means is that it’s comfortable and grippy when the rider is sitting on the bike, but when they hit large bumps it resists harsh bottom-outs.

The new Tallboy 4 is the latest bike to receive Santa Cruz’s lower-link design.

Geometry:

Not only have Santa Cruz moved the shock to the lower link, but they’ve given the geometry a total overhaul in line with modern standards. It has a slightly longer reach, similar BB height, and importantly a super slack 65.5 degree head angle and a steep seat tube angle of 76.5 degrees. It’s in these numbers that the magic happens.

With the new geometry, the bike takes on a very different character, without wanting it to sound like a cliché, the Tallboy 4 really is a downhiller’s XC bike. The head angle might be slack, but the seat angle helps keep that front wheel weighted. This is the magic of their new-school geometry, and while these numbers may not be particularly progressive on a big travel enduro sled like the Megatower, it certainly is when applied to the Tallboy.

The Tallboy 4 climbs like a goat!

The ride:

You’re probably asking how this feels on the trail, with a rightful amount of skepticism. Well, it’s certainly a very different feeling bike to most out there. The short travel combined with the steep seat angle and light weight make it a breeze on the climbs. I found myself standing sprinting on technical climbs where I would sit and spin on my Nomad, and cleaning technical sections that I quite often wouldn’t even attempt. You point this thing up, and it goes! Not only is it light and responsive, it has the grip to put that power down.

What goes up must come down though, right? And boy does this thing come down. The slack head angle and long reach on the new Tallboy make this thing super stable, it absolutely rips down the trails. I found that you can pick up speed quite quickly, and the geometry inspires confidence to ride this bike fast! You have to be careful though; the lack of travel means that rowdy moves can catch up with you a little quicker than on a longer travel bike, and there’s certainly less margin for error. It definitely isn’t as forgiving a ride as it’s longer travel counterparts, but it rides with the same character – fast with a plush rear end that ramps up quickly.

Riding on Fromme on the North Shore, I found myself riding as fast as my Nomad in places, the bike really coming to life on the smoother trails such as Lower Expresso. I did find that the arm pump set in a lot faster than on my Nomad however!

What goes up must come down, and boy does it come down fast!

The Tallboy 4 certainly isn’t an XC race bike for the reasons you would imagine. It sits somewhere in a niche between the Blur (XC race) and the Hightower (aggressive trail), so I guess this makes it a slightly less aggressive trail bike. Either way, I get it, and there will be others out there that do too. “Downhiller’s XC bike” makes sense to me, as somebody who always prioritises fun over climbing prowess and would never own an XC race bike.

It may seem as though lately Santa Cruz have been consolidating the design of their lineup of bikes, and it could appear that there are a lot of very similar bikes in the lineup, but I don’t think this is a bad thing. They have certainly refined their design template and that’s no bad thing, but all of their bikes fall into a very deliberate bracket. You simply have to choose your wheel size, and choose your travel for your intended riding.

The Tallboy 4 is all about fun at the end of the day.

So who is the new Tallboy for?

The Tallboy is really a swiss army knife of a bike, but it’s not for everyone. Maybe you love the climb, and don’t mind sacrificing a little comfort on the descents on your ride. Perhaps you like to put a lot of miles into your rides and don’t want to give up pedal efficiency whilst enjoying the ride. It could also be a great bike for stage racing, for example BC bike race. It would also make a great second bike, if your first bike is a downhill bike or a long travel enduro rig.

Spec options:

The 2020 Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 is available in both Aluminium and Carbon, C and CC models, in a range of build specs, from basic to bling. Complete bikes start at $3649 for a solid build with SRAM SX Eagle 12sp and Santa Cruz’s legendary build quality. The carbon C models start at $5649 and the range tops out at $13699 for an AXS wireless CC build with carbon Reserve wheels. Incredibly all models (apart from the base model aluminium) come with a 12sp drivetrain, either a 35mm stanchion Rockshox Pike or a Fox 34, 4-piston brakes. These features to me speak volumes about the bike’s intentions of being a real shredder, both up the hill and down. Check out the full specs here.

Tidy cable routing is just one nice design feature on the new Tallboy

Final thoughts:

The new Santa Cruz Tallboy 4 is a bit of an oddball of a bike, ushering in a new age of  capable mountain bike geometry. For something that climbs like it does, it really has no business being such a ripper on the descents. I can only suggest you try one!

Dealing in Santa Cruz bikes since their infancy, Steed Cycles is Canada’s oldest and biggest Santa Cruz Dealer. We have a fleet of Santa Cruz bikes available to demo and hold stock of all the bikes we demo, so don’t hesitate to contact us to try or buy one! Visit our Demo Bikes page for more information or see our range of stock.

Four-piston brakes and a 1×12 drivetrain make the Tallboy a super-capable bike.

Digger Kneeds Knees

Photo by Pinkbike

Back in 1996 I was first introduced to Todd “Digger” Fiander on a bike ride on Mt. Fromme. At the time all the good trails were the secret ones and Todd rode them all. I was lucky enough to get the invite on a few of these rides and knew Todd was going to be a big part of the next revolution in mountain bike trail creation.

He was building trails and filming friends insane enough to ride his trails to make his famous North Shore Extreme Videos. Todd asking me to be in his first NSX video not only got my name into the video and out into the community but also gave publicity to my new bike shop – Steed Cycles. The timing was great and so was what Todd was up to.

The North Shore Trails are well known not only locally but by mountain bike enthusiast all over the world. This is all owed to the hard work and passion of one man – Digger. Because of Diggers work on and off the trails we were able to captialize on the growing mtb scene. People wanted bikes that would allow them to keep up with Todds work and to make sure that their bikes were North Shore worthy. This meant that bike manufacturers changed their suspension requirements, tire sizes and geometry to keep up with Todd’s trails.

Steed Cycles and myself personally owe a lot to Digger not only for his constant support of Steed but for making trails that I personally love to ride and get so much enjoyment from.

We have learned that Todd will be taking some time off from the trails later this Summer as he goes under the knife to replace both of his knees. He will potentially be taking 1 year off and the community has banded together to create a fundraising campaign for the man himself – Digger Kneeds Knees!

Please contribute what you can or share the story with those you feel could give back. We look forward to seeing Todd back on the trails in 2018 better than ever. The Shore wouldn’t be the incredible mountain biking haven it is without the passion and dedication of this man.

https://www.gofundme.com/digger-kneeds-knees

Thank you for everything Digger! Heal up!

2016 NSMBA Trail Day Report

With two trail days under our belt we are happy to report on some great work happening on Fromme Climbing Trail.

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Big thanks to Santa Cruz for working with us this year! We love their dedication to local trail networks and support with the dig and keeping us powered by the amazing sandwich making of Seb Kemp. Check out the Santa Cruz trail report from our first trail day in March : http://bit.ly/1rplKrk

This past Sunday April 17th, members of the Steed MTB Team and customers came out to lend a hand on the trails and aid in making the climb a little smoother. We will be hosting the next NSMBA Trail Day on Sunday May 22nd 9am. Sign up HERE now if you would like to attend and give back to the Shore.

Please also consider becoming a NSMBA Member or to attend their Community Trail Days. Support where you ride!IMG_6387IMG_6393IMG_6385IMG_6382IMG_6389IMG_6395IMG_6408IMG_6374

 

 

Santa Cruz Hightower Reviews

Don’t just take our word for it. Read the recent reviews on the new Santa Cruz Hightower.

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“The Hightower fills the void left by the departure of the Tallboy LT from Santa Cruz’s lineup, stepping up to the plate with 135mm of rear travel and the ability to run either 29” or 27.5+ wheels.” – Pinkbike

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“It is supple with it’s smooth and responsive suspension and it is a carving machine with its short stays, low bb and stiff wheels.” – MTBR

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“It quickly became evident that the bike boosts confidence, and in some cases almost too much so, playing into our stupid, childish side far too well.” – VitalMTB

 

 

Natasha’s Race Report – BC Cup 2015

BC Cup 3

Even in the calm of early morning, the sunshine dazzled Howe Sound with urgent intensity. Light seared the white peaks along Sea to Sky as I drove to Whistler for the BC Provincial XC Championships, wondering what to expect in a race so different from the technical marathons of the Sunshine Coast and Squamish. The day’s agenda would be multiple laps (6) around a short course (4.4 km) in blazing heat (37+ degrees C) – a very familiar race format and temperature to me from my days racing in the southeastern US. Those days were several years back, though, and until Saturday I hadn’t raced in crazy heat for a long time.

“Warming up” before my race felt like one of the more redundant things I’ve ever done, seeing as how the temperature in my car was 46 degrees when I unpeeled myself from the seat to go spin around. Nevertheless I made my way over to the top of Peaches en Regalia to watch the Juniors come flying past headed for their final lap. Great to see such a huge Junior field, and they can all shred like mad.

Soon enough I found myself in the start corral looking down a dusty gravel path. The heat rolled off the ground in waves. One minute from start, I was not in a cheery mood. My mouth was so dry my lips kept sticking to my teeth. Fifteen seconds from start I was considering bailing straight down the hill into the creek.

Then we were off. In an instant, everything clicked. I stopped being mad at the heat. It ceased to be the personal vendetta of a hateful sun. Instead, it was a force to respect, to work with. My entire race was a contest of temperature, a dialogue between my body and the heat. If I pushed to the line, I gained ground and closed gaps. If I pushed slightly over the line, my legs broke out in goosebumps and chills skittered down my spine. Back off, recover, push again. Skratch mix in my bottles kept me hydrated and electrolyted.

For much of the race I was close to a couple of very strong and talented Whistler racers, Chloe Cross and Cathy Zeglinski. I fought to stay on Cathy’s wheel for the first half of the race but lost touch when she bridged up to Chloe. I spent a lonely couple of kilometers wallowing in despair before cheering spectators gave me the mental push I needed. I got down to business, gave an all-or-nothing effort, caught up, and closed the race in third. Congratulations to Chloe and Katie Button for their respective second and first place finishes – it was an honor to be on the podium alongside these two excellent riders.

Met up with Owen, Andrea, and Cody Scott at the finish and we caught up on the day’s events. Owen had a strong race, we were on the course at the same time so I couldn’t see him but it was awesome to know we had two Green Machine racers representing. Great job Cody on powering through the field in the U15 race despite a flat on the last lap.

I closed the evening with a swim in Howe Sound and a Bridge Brewing Hopilano on the beach. Lovely finish to an exciting day.

BC Cup 4