Last Updated on November 14, 2023 by Emmanuel
Finding a perfect mountain bike that meets your requirement can be challenging. It is why some people prefer to build customized bikes independently from scratch.
So, if you are one of these people, we will take you through the 4 top Santa Cruz full-suspension mountain bikes you can buy at great prices.
Table of Contents
Building Vs. Buying Your Bike.
Some people prefer to buy a complete cycle to save time, but this option can require more money than purchasing a bare frame and building a bike yourself if you can.
What is in it for you? By building your bike, you have the freedom to put whatever components that fit on the bike.
Some people go the extra mile by purchasing top-notch parts for their custom bikes, while others try to save money by using unused parts to build a bike from the frame up.
No matter how much money you want to invest, you can get creative when deciding the budget for each part.
Therefore, it is fair to say that building a custom bike is money well spent.
You may want to spend extra money on the drivetrain but not so much on the rim. Or, you want expensive disc brakes but are happy with a tolerable saddle.
These are the freedom you have when you build your bike. However, you need to have little assembling skills if you want to do this.
Of course, this approach is not for everyone, but the satisfaction you will feel when you are finally done building a bike is unmatched.
Do not worry! There are plenty of assembly instructions on the internet to learn from.
Why Starting With The Frame?
First, building a custom bike is not like building a Lego house set with all the needed parts ready to assemble.
You must buy all parts separately and carefully choose them based on your requirements.
Not all parts are compatible with a specific frame. So, it would be easier to buy the frame and figure out the other parts afterward.
That way, you can determine the compatible parts needed to complete the bike.
From the appearance point of view, the frame is the most prominent part of a bike that dictates how your bike will look.
Purchasing the frame first will let you choose the look of your bike.
Regarding the bike handles, fits, rides, and reactions, a bicycle, specifically a mountain bike, relies on its frame.
For example, you can expect stiffness and durability from a frame made of carbon fiber or a comfortable riding position from the frame’s geometry.
Even big manufacturers, like Santa Cruz, invest thousands, if not millions, of dollars in R&D for creating bike frames alone.
So, it is better to consider choosing a frame before anything else unless you already have some usable bike parts.
Now that we have covered the importance of the frame, it is time to pick the right one to build your custom bike.
Whether you want to get a carbon frame or an aluminum one, here are the top-rated full-suspension mountain bike frames for you:
Tallboy AL Frame.
|Seat Post||31.6mm – Minimum Insertion 100mm|
|BB Shell Width||73mm – Threaded.|
|Recommended Max Tire Size||2.6 inches – may vary by tire and rim model|
|Max Chainring Size||36T.|
Let’s start with an aluminum one. If you buy a complete Tallboy bike, you will get one of the most popular models from Santa Cruz.
Many people have stated that the Tallboy is not impressive enough regarding the specs.
However, you can still expect greatness from the frame as it can handle the beating quite well.
So, purchasing only the frame is brilliant if you want to put better parts on it to get the most out of the Tallboy.
If you need to cut the budget, the Tallboy AL Frame is the least expensive full suspension frame on this list.
You can only concentrate on the parts that support the performance, like the drivetrain and fork.
An aluminum frame is more efficient and lightweight than a steel frame. Plus, you don’t need to worry about rust as aluminum does not rust, and it is cheaper.
The Tallboy frame has 120mm rear travel with lower-link VPP. Couple it with a 130mm travel fork to make your custom bike.
Remember to Install a recommended tire size to get a mountain bike capable of handling deep landing like a champ.
This frame costs $2,299.99, but you can still buy a complete bike if you have the budget or don’t want to build a bike yourself.
5010 CC Frameset.
This frame has the same characteristics as the previous one except for some improvements that make it stronger and more expensive.
It is the high-end material for a bike frame. It is also made out of carbon CC material. It costs $3,699.99.
The weight of this material is less than the carbon C material. But do not worry about durability and stiffness, as carbon material is better than aluminum.
If you like a lightweight bike, a carbon frame like the 5010 CC to build a custom bike is a wise option.
With a carbon frame, you can pedal your bike in the roughest environment possible without losing the performance.
The 5010 CC frameset features 27.5 inches wheels, enabling a faster ride on trails.
If you fancy a mullet bike, you can always get a compatible fork and install a 29 inches wheel.
This is one of the advantages you can get when building a custom bike on your own. Cool, right?
Not only that, but you will also have better handling when traversing through corners.
The 5010 CC frameset features 130mm rear travel VPP with 140-150mm travel fork compatibility.
Optimizing these features will give you the best performance possible from this carbon CC frame.
The frame also has a super-low standover height, so you won’t have trouble stopping on challenging terrain.
Nomad CC Coil Frame.
|Seat Post||31.6mm – Minimum Insertion 100mm.|
|BB Shell Width||73mm – Threaded.|
|Recommended Max Tire Size||2.6 inches – may vary by tire and rim model.|
|Max Chainring Size: 36T||36T.|
The Nomad CC Coil frame is the most expensive frame on this list. Like the previous frame, it uses carbon CC as a base material.
However, unlike the 5010 CC frameset, the Nomad sports 170mm rear travel VPP.
So, off the bet, you get lightness, stiffness, and good shock absorption from this carbon frame.
Those are a good base for a high-performance mountain bike, especially when the Nomad CC sports coil shock instead of air suspension.
A coil shock is superior to an air shock; it doesn’t need tight seals to capture pressurized air.
A coil shock generates less friction, affecting the suspension’s sensitivity to bumps and impacts.
The Nomad CC Coil frame is 27.5 wheels compatible. You can combine it with 29 inches wheel at the front.
However, Santa Cruz doesn’t recommend it as it creates an unbalanced suspension feel.
Sticking with 27.5 inches wheels that provide better acceleration and maneuverability is better.
Moreover, the frame allows you to tidy up the cables inside the frame, making your bike looks neat and stunning.
Chameleon AL 29 Frame ($949.99).
Yes, I know the Chameleon AL 29 is not a full-suspension frame. I put it on the list as an alternative for those who want to experience off-road biking with minimum investment.
The Chameleon AL 29 is an aluminum hardtail frame capable of taking you on a Sunday ride over relatively rough terrain with fellow riders.
With an affordable aluminum frame, you can focus more on getting high-end parts like a 130mm travel fork and crankset.
That way, you can still enjoy the most out of your trail adventures.
Where Can You Buy These Frames?
You can find all these frames at Bike’s Bikes, one of the leaders in the bicycle industry for many years.
Besides frames, Mike’s Bikes sells all types of biles from big brands like BMC, Cannondale, and Giant.
Other bikes on Mike’s Bikes are Juliana, Liv, Salsa Cycles, Specialized, public, and many more.
What are the types of bike frames?
Four bike frames typically exist in the cycling industry: aluminum, carbon fiber, steel, and titanium. You can pick the most ideal for your riding style.
Which bike frame material lasts the longest?
Many say carbon and titanium bike frames are more durable than the other frames, but it also depends on how you maintain your bikes.
Other cyclists prefer aluminum and steel bike frames because they are lightweight and can last six to ten years if well-maintained.
The Final Thoughts.
Purchasing a frameset is ideal if you aim for a custom bike with components of your choosing.
You can get any high-end part you want to assemble if you have more money.
However, if you are on a budget, you can carefully spend your money on essential parts for the bike’s performance.
The Tallboy AL frameset is a good choice for an affordable aluminum frame. It is also strong enough to handle the beating.
A 5010 CC frameset is for people who fancy a carbon CC frame and 27.5 inches wheel compatibility or even a mullet setup to get traction and speed.
The Nomad CC Coil frameset has a responsive suspension for 27.5 inches wheels enthusiasts.
If you don’t mind a hardtail bike, build a custom bike with a limited budget by purchasing the Chameleon AL 29 frameset.
It’s an aluminum frameset that is more than capable of tackling moderate terrain.
There you go, the list of 4 top Santa Cruz full-suspension mountain bike frames for you.
However, buying an already-made bike is the best option if you don’t want to build a bike from scratch and have the budget.
Mike’s Bikes online store has all types of bikes from the most popular brands and for all budgets.
Thank you for reading this article. You can ask questions or comment at the bottom of this page. I will get back to you quickly.