Introducing the Tall Tale Mountain bike from Sklar.

My philosophy around mountain bike design is informed by 12 years of building custom mountain bikes. In that time I have designed and built hundreds. Though I didn’t realize it then, having the intimate conversations involved with custom bike clientele about what they wanted in a bike was the best education I could have asked for before designing a production bike. Questions like “what do you like and what would you change about your current bike?” or "what kind of riding are you trying to do?” can tell you a lot about what people are looking for. Even for the bikes I didn’t build I have had thousands of people ask me for something they couldn’t find off the shelf. Being able to listen to them was invaluable. Through the years I was able to see those conversations turn into similar numbers on a geometry drawing and eventually an aesthetic on a bike. A different recipe or variation for different needs, but mostly made of the same ingredients. One thing I like about mountain bikes is that you can tell by looking at one if it is going to be fun. I think lots of riders were drawn to the mountain bikes I built because I was on the ground listening to what riders wanted and turning it into bikes that you could see just looked fun to ride.

The Tall Tale is Sklar’s first production mountain bike. It is the essence of this design philosophy driven by my own riding experience and that rider feedback over the last ten years. It has been a long time in the making and we are excited to finally share the full details on this super sweet bike. Let's dive in.

sklar tall tale hardtail


I’ve always been keen to try new ideas. I was one of the first builders to work with plus tires and also one of the first to stop. I was early to the party with super-long front center, steep seat tube angle, short stem geometry. Unlike big brands I was able to build a bike in a couple days and try out an idea quickly to see how it felt. A lot of the ideas from this new “progressive” geometry are awesome. The longer front centers paired with a shorter rear end, short stem, lower BB, all make for a bike that is extremely stable and capable. However as I slid all the way over to the agro end of the spectrum my customers and myself found those bikes to lack the soul we love about a hardtail. Something bunnyhoppable and nimble, still fun to pedal on a huge day or bikepacking trip. So I reigned it in a bit. That led us to the first rendition of the Sweet Spot hardtail. A stock geometry MTB that I built to order for many years. Those bikes were a huge hit. Not too agro, not too old school but a super fun bike for all around biking. Informed by going to the extremes and thoughtfully dialed in for a bike that feels fun, familiar and exceedingly capable.


I don’t think I can brag enough about the materials on the Tall Tale frame. Geometry is important but frame material goes a really, really long way for the ride quality of a frame and I have done some cool stuff with the Tall Tale. Some notable items here are a fully custom drawn tubeset. For this frame I went with a factory called ORA. They do all of their tube butting, drawing and heat treating in house which means we have second to none control over the tubing that the frames are made out of. We were able to use things like a down tube with an oval shaped butt, that has thicker walls on the top and the bottom of the tube so that we did not have to use a gusset on the down tube. The tubes are also heat treated after forming which means they are even stronger and we can also use thinner tubes that reduce weight and make the bike ride better. Even the chainstay yoke that I designed and had investment cast is heat treated. A nice touch that makes this part nearly four times stronger.

sklar tall tail mountain bike
sklar tall tale brake mount

For the rear end, the tubing is just what I would use on a US built frame which is smaller than most production hardtails. This means a really supple ride. Smaller tubing diameters are where a steel frame really shines - smoothing out chunky rock gardens and flexing into corners for better traction and more comfort too. These little notes make a big difference in the overall feeling of the bike and I am psyched on what we were able to do here.


Other fun little things were designing our own headtubes, brake mounts, cable guides and seat clamps. This bike is truly designed from the ground up.


One thing that has been nice is to see some standards in mountain bikes actually become… standards. I’m talking about 148mm spacing, boost chainlines, 2.6” tires. Those are a few of the things that the Tall Tale is designed around. You may notice that the different sizes are designed around different fork lengths - 130mm travel for the small, 140mm for the medium and large and 150m for the XL. This helps with standover on the smaller end of the spectrum and compliments lighter riders who might not need as much travel as well as helping with handlebar height for larger riders on the tall end. That said, does 20mm make a ton of difference? Not really. For example, I run a 150mm fork on my size Large frame because I like the bike a little more slacked out. If you feel like running a little longer or shorter, go for it. I also went with the UDH dropouts because people want that transmission these days and it also works great with a traditional derailleur. Why not?


Everything else on this frame is tried, true and tested. The will-be-here-forever BSA bottom bracket standard. EC 34/33 headset. 31.6mm seatpost for a dropper. External routing because mountain bikes need to be easy to maintain. It is all that good stuff that will make this a long-lasting, easy to work on, fun to ride care-free bike. At the end of the day we want to forget all these design decisions so we can just pull the bike out of the shed and go ride.



There’s nothing like that feeling of catching up with your friends at the bottom of a fun trail. Everyone is out of breath, high on adrenaline. Telling tall tales of a corner you almost washed out on or a drop that took you by surprise. This is the hardtail to do it on. Just a fun mountain bike you will want to take everywhere.


Pre-order opens 3/29 at 9AM PST


sklar tall tale mountain bike

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