I'm on my second Highball now, both 29ers. In between I had a Scott Spark 29er (read: XC speed) and a Santa Cruz 5010 (read: fun). I've come full circle and I'm back on the trusty Highball. Aside from it also being the name of my post-ride cocktail, there are many things to love about the latest iteration of this trusty machine. For full disclosure, I work for Competitive Cyclist; now here is why I say that. At one point, 7 of 10 fastest employees rode this bike. We loved it, most had it geared, a few had it setup single speed with a Philcentric BB (which is great).
Whats' new and great: the aqua color is radical. The internal routing makes the frame look really slick to match the pilot. That said, it's a total bitch to setup. for the rear brake, which was the worst I had to cut the hose and feed it from ass-end forward. Starting at the rear brake mount I tried to route it into the internal sleeve and after about 40 minutes and enough brake oil spilled to mistake it for a job owned by British Petroleum by the time I was done. Amazingly, the Shimano XT brakes (which I praise too) accepted a new sleeve on the end and actually feel 95% of what they should.
The rear derailleur cable rattles a bit in the frame. After 350 miles I still haven't fixed it, I will call Santa Cruz soon. I'm usually in the zone so much with my Spotify rocking that I don't notice it.
The frame is strong as nails. I shred hard. I've broken a few frames from said shredding. I've never broken a SCZ though and have no plans on this being the first.
Geometry is perfect. If I ever order a custom frame (for material/style/ride), I will reference this geometry chart.