Over the years, Santa Cruz Bicycles has developed a cult following for their devotion to building bikes a bit differently than the rest. They’ve stuck to their Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension design from the beginning of their suspension kinematics development, and have always pushed quality design over pricepoint. Santa Cruz has always been known for doing this differently, and their high end cross country hardtail mountain bike is no different. While the 2018 Santa Cruz Highball CC lacks some of their most influential technology (rear suspension kinematics being the primary objective), the Highball promises Santa Cruz quality for the most demanding XC riders.
The Santa Cruz Highball hardtail mountain bike is designed for those with zero tolerance for waste, who want all of their pedaling power to the wheels. For 2018, they started with a half pound lighter frame design. At just 966g for a frame (CC frame, size medium), it is among the lightest hardtails on the market. Not to be limited to weight-weenie status, Santa Cruz’s R&D lab engineered greater vertical compliance than any previous hardtail before, thru offset seatstays and a more refined carbon fiber layup. A slacker headtube angle (69.5 degrees), a steeper 73 degree seat tube, and more reach than the competition across all sizes make the bike overall vastly more performant over the course of a marathon race or an all-day adventure. Full internal cable routing, a 27.2 seatpost for additional compliance, and three bottle cage mounts add to the bike’s newfound versatility.
Generally speaking, prior cross country hardtail mountain bikes have felt fast at the expense of uncertain handling characteristics and comfort over longer rides. With a slightly slacker headtube angle than other XC hardtails, handling feels overall more confident and stable at speeds, while the frameset does a good job of taking the edge off of the trail. This makes it more than a one-dimensional weapon for punchy cross-country courses, but a high-performance mountain bike ready for all-day excursions and XC marathon success.
One-by drivetrains are, by now, a prerequisite for modern mountain bikes; as such, the Highball is 1x specific in the name of frame optimization. The Santa Cruz Highball CC is also 29er specific, and offer a remote suspension lockout each model. All models come with a threaded bottom bracket for greater durability and reliability, as well as Santa Cruz’s lifetime frame and bearing warranty.
The Santa Cruz Highball CC is 29er specific, and offer a remote fork lockout each model. All models come with a threaded bottom bracket for greater durability and reliability, as well as Santa Cruz’s lifetime frame warranty. Santa Cruz Reserve wheelset-equipped models also receive a lifetime wheelset warranty.
The Santa Cruz Highball CC is available in four sizes (S-XL), two colorways (Eggplant and Fog), and three build kits:
- Santa Cruz Highball CC X01 – Fox 32 Stepcast Performance Elite 100mm fork, SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain w/ 10-50t cassette, SRAM X01 34t crankset, SRAM Level TLM brakes, a Santa Cruz XC Carbon handlebar, a Syntace LiteForce stem, and Syntace P6 Carbon seatpost. It retails for $5399, or $6599 with Santa Cruz Reserve wheels.
- Santa Cruz Highball CC XX1 Reserve – Fox 32 Stepcast Factory Kashima 100mm fork, SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain w/ 10-50t cassette, SRAM XX1 34t crankset, SRAM Level Ultimate brakes, a Santa Cruz XC Carbon handlebar, a Syntace LiteForce stem, and Syntace P6 Carbon seatpost. It retails for $7999.
- Santa Cruz Highball CC XTR Reserve – Fox 32 Stepcast Factory Kashima 100mm fork, Shimano XTR 1×12, Shimano XTR 34t crankset, Shimano XTR brakes, a Santa Cruz XC Carbon handlebar, a Syntace LiteForce stem, and Syntace P6 Carbon seatpost. It retails for $8299
X01 models receive a DT Swiss XR361 rims to DT Swiss 350 wheelset with Maxxis Aspen tires, with the option to upgrade to a Santa Cruz Reserve 25 to DT Swiss 350 wheelset. XX1 and XTR models receive a Santa Cruz Reserve 25 to DT Swiss 240 wheelset.
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