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Santa Cruz Bicycles Highball Carbon R XC Complete Bike

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Item # SNZ0322

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Item # SNZ0322


Ready to rip.

In the automotive world, mention cheap speed and hot hatches, and muscle cars, or Japanese sports cars quickly come to mind. It's a popular segment, and equally applicable to the land of mountain bikes. Not everyone needs a supercar to explore the limits of traction or a $7k über mountain bike for that matter -- and, the Santa Cruz Highball Carbon R XC Complete Bike is an excellent example of what's capable when smartly spec'd components are combined with a highly refined chassis.

Sure, this Highball hovers slightly above the three-thousand dollar price point, but keep in mind this is the same frame used in competition by professional racers. We're talking pure speed here, not versatility -- that's where the less expensive and adaptable aluminum Highball comes into play. The Highball Carbon is a racer's rig that provides excellent handling dynamics, lively response, and energy-conserving dampening.

The secret to those appealing traits the Highball's one-piece carbon lay-up and curing process -- as opposed to assembling joints that require bonding or wrapping. In structurally important locations like the headtube and bottom bracket, continuous fibers flow around the junctions and spread throughout the frame. The layers are compacted from the inside as they’re applied, which eliminates voids, prevents delamination, and creates a smooth, stress-free interior with no waste -- in short, it cuts excess material while making the frame stronger.

The resulting construction distributes lateral, vertical, and torsional loads throughout the frame to boost the Highball’s performance. This design absorbs impact energy, while efficiently and accurately transferring bio-inputs like steering and propulsion. Translated into trail talk, this means the Highball loses nothing to flex when you stomp on the pedals, dampens high-speed trail chatter, and holds its line like a WRC champion.

To complement those inherent characteristics, without the need for a second job, you'll find Santa Cruz's R XC build. Starting out, a 100mm Fox 32 Float CTD with a tapered steerer tube and the 15QR thru-axle ensure 29ers’ dreaded steering deflection is a thing of the past. The CTD damper offers three distinct settings: climb, trail, and descend, for simplified user experience and optimum performance without a degree in suspension dynamics.

The meat and potatoes of the R XC drivetrain consist of Shimano's unfailing 10-speed SLX components. The beauty of SLX is you get XT/XTR trickle down technologies without the high cost of entry. A stiff Shimano MM552 crank spins 24/32/42 chainrings which, through a HG 74 chain, twists a M552 11-36T cassette. The SLX trigger shifters’ precise actuation quickly directs SLX derailleurs to the selected cog. Speed is kept in check with powerful Avid Elixir 5 hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors.

For wheels, Santa Cruz hand laces WTB Frequency Team i19 TCS rims to SLX hubs with 14 gauge spokes. Maxxis Crossmark tires provide an ideal balance of low rolling resistance with traction. Finishing off the build are a Race Face Ride stem, bar, and seatpost topped with a WTB Volt Race saddle.

The Santa Cruz Highball Carbon R XC Complete Bike is available in Medium through XX-Large sizes and comes in Black/Green, Black/Black, Matte Carbon/Silver, or Carbon/Red.

Tech Specs

Frame Material:
carbon fiber
100 mm Fox Racing Shox 32 Float CTD
Rear Axle:
135 x 10 mm
WTB Frequency Team i19 TCS
Shimanio SLX
DT Swiss 14g
Front Derailleur:
Shimano Deore XT
Rear Derailleur:
Shimano M663 SGS (SLX) 10spd
Shimano Deore M660 (SLX)
Shimano Deore M552
Chain Rings:
24 / 32 / 42 T
Brake Levers:
Avid Elixir 5
Brake Calipers:
Avid Elixir 5
Race Face Ride
Race Face Ride
Shimano HG74
11 - 36 T Shimano SLX
MAxxis Crossmark
Tire Size:
29 X in
Race Face Ride
Seatpost Diameter:
30.9 mm
WTB Volt Race
Recommended Use:

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Unanswered Question

What is weight of this bike with this...

What is weight of this bike with this component spec?

5 5

Perfect assy, great deal, fast delivery

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Normally I don't take the time to write reviews unless things are really bad or perfect. This was perfect! Very professionally packaged and assembled. It took me 20 minutes to put the wheels, seat, and handlebars on the bike. It was all perfectly adjusted and I was riding single track trails. Great deal and delivered in only two days from placing order with 2 day shipping. Sweet!