The Santa Cruz Hightower is Santa Cruz’s go-fast mid-travel 29er mountain bike. It’s been released to a myriad of accolades; riders love how efficiently it pedals (as does every Santa Cruz) without compromising on descending prowess. The Santa Cruz Hightower C, their entry-level carbon frame, is an excellent example of everything that Santa Cruz has to offer to the mountain bike market, distilled in one do-it-all full suspension mountain bike.
Built after years of dominance with the last Santa Cruz Tallboy LT and Blur LT, the new Hightower has the versatility to deal with whatever appears on the horizon. It starts life with a 140mm fork and couples it with a 135mm travel rear shock. This shock is paired to their classic VPP suspension kinematics, which gives the Tallboy a higher initial leverage rate and a flatter overall suspension curve. In a nutshell, the company was looking to improve the bike’s feel over small bumps while also making it feel more consistent throughout its range of travel. Combine that with the requisite longer, lower, slacker frame upgrades, and there is no doubt that the Hightower feels steady and confident when descents get rough. Running either proven 29″ wheels or the new 27.5”+ standard, the Santa Cruz Hightower all mountain bike seamlessly adapts to the trails and style you ride. Other neat details include a threaded bottom bracket for greater reliability, a high/low flip chip (depending on wheel size), and internal cable routing.
On the trail, the VPP kinematics prove to be a total boon when trying to climb efficiently. Regardless of whether the trail is smooth or rocky, it pedals efficiently and leads to a relatively inactive suspension, at least until it hits rockier terrain. And while some 29ers feel much more playful, and others feel much more truck-like, the Santa Cruz Hightower C seems to strike an interesting just-right. While it doesn’t feel like the kind of bike that only works correctly when it’s at race pace, it still does well when pushed. It’s not the most playful bike either, but it feels plenty flick-able, even at low speeds. Most 29er trail bikes like this stick to one side of the spectrum, so it’s very impressive that the Hightower C is able to moonlight as both styles of bike.
The Santa Cruz Hightower C is available in two build kits, five sizes (S-XXL), and two colorways (Mustard and Slate Blue,), with a choice of 29er or 27.5”+ wheels:
- Santa Cruz Hightower R/Santa Cruz Hightower R+ – RockShox Revalation RC fork, Fox Float Performance DPS shock, SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain, SRAM Guide T brakes, and a Race Face Aeffect dropper seatpost. It retails for $3999.
- Santa Cruz Hightower S/Santa Cruz Hightower S+ – Fox 34 Float Performance fork, Fox Float Performance DPS shock, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain w/10-50t cassette, SRAM GX Eagle 32t crankset, SRAM Guide R brakes, and a Rock Shox Reverb Stealth seatpost. It retails for $4899.
R+ 27.5”+ bikes receive Race Face AR 40 rims to Novatec hubs & Maxxis Rekon 2.8” tires. R 29er bikes receive WTB ST i23 rims to Novatec hubs & Maxxis Minion/Crossmark tires, while S & XE 29er models receive Race Face AR 24 rims and Maxxis Minion DHF/Ardent Race tires. Santa Cruz offers a lifetime warranty for each frameset they sell.
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