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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnson

Salt Lake City, Utah

Connor Johnson's Bio

Howdy! I am an Expert Gearhead who specializes in skiing (resort & backcountry touring, I don't discriminate in my powder hounding), mountain biking, hiking & camping. When I'm not getting lost in the woods, you'll catch me tinkering with my bikes, snappin' photos, and eating burritos.

All of the photos in my reviews are either my own or one's that friends have shot of me enjoying the gear! Check out my latest adventures on my Instagram @connorjuliusjohnson

For any gear questions or adventure advice, give a shout to cojohnson@backcountry.com or call me at 801.204.4547

Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 17, 2018

Protect Yo' Chest!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I wear this for rowdy riding - shuttle or lift access DH primarily. I bought the S/M size and have a 39" chest. It fits well, plus there is a plenty of adjustment.

Just like any other piece of body armor or protection, its not necessary but provides great peace of mind. I have taken some pretty hard slams that this helped me from getting beaten up more than I did. I don't normally wear a neck brace, but like that this is compatible with one.

As for actual riding in it, I wouldn't mind pedaling a touch with it, but its not ideal for a long climb. With that said, its definitely low profile and it's not a hassle to have on for any sort of descent with it!

One feature that would be way cool would be an integrated GoPro chest mount with it. Might epoxy one on myself though!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on August 28, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Ditto on Andrew's review below - many water bottle cages do not fit on my Santa Cruz Hightower (size large) and this works great. Can finally fit water bottles in, but because of the frame design can only fit smaller bottles in. Not Lezyne's fault though! No issues with losing bottles though, works great. Light and cheap side loader!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on August 22, 2018

Jack Of All Trades, Master of None Tire
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I mounted the Magic Mary up front and the Nobby Nic rear on an Industry Nine Trail 245 wheelset on Niner's Sir 9. I'll be honest, I've had negative experiences with the durability of Schwalbe tires in the past, but wanted to give them another chance in trying out their Addix compound. I tested them in the Salt Lake City foothill trails and Park City trails that had mostly flow trails with a bit of chundery descents. Mostly dry or tacky conditions. I've put in just under 100 miles so not exactly a long term test but at least gave me a good sense of how they performed.

Schwalbe advertises the Nobby Nic to be an all arounder tire that excels in a variety of conditions and think that's a pretty spot on description. Its relatively light, has decent side knobs, and rolls relatively fast. It's also historical been the tire I tend to destroy quickly, but keeping an open mind with trying out the Addix rubber compound.

As a rear tire, cornering was decent with it. I appreciated that full 2.35" but the Nobby Nic didn't quite bite as much as I would have loved for it to have when railing corners. At no point did I feel out of control on descents, but wouldn't have minded something that packed a bit more of a punch in terms of tire tread. It did brake pretty well though With smaller center tread, its certainly a fast rolling tire, which was welcome for the relatively smooth and flowy Northern Utah trails. Those knobs still give enough traction to be able to clean stout climbs without compromising.

With that said, the worry of long-term durability and puncturing the tire was on the back of my mind. There was considerably more wear on it (not too surprising for a rear tire) than the Magic Mary and think it would be pretty beat up after another 100 or so miles. I've had other tires that have lasted easily double the mileage I put on before showing as much wear. The good news is I did not puncture this time around, even if it is anecdotally speaking.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on August 22, 2018

Big, Bad, Burly, Rubber
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I mounted the Magic Mary up front and the Nobby Nic rear on an Industry Nine Trail 245 wheelset on Niner's Sir 9. I'll be honest, I've had negative experiences with the durability of Schwalbe tires in the past, but wanted to give them another chance in trying out their Addix compound. I tested them in the Salt Lake City foothill trails and Park City trails that had mostly flow trails with a bit of chundery descents. Mostly dry or tacky conditions. I've put in just under 100 miles so not exactly a long term test but at least gave me a good sense of how they performed.

The Super Gravity casing is definitely pretty stiff of a casing so I was somewhat surprised that setting them up tubeless had tried to no avail with a high volume pump. It was a cinch with a compressor though. They held air off the get go and didn't burp air at all.

My typical go to and gold standard for a front tire on both my hardtail and full suspension is typically the Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5"€. The Magic Mary is definitely a comparable tire, though both excel in certain conditions. Being that Utah typically ends up being fairly dry, I spent more time on loose over hardpack. Fast rolling is not a quality I would give the Magic Mary, no surprise there on a meaty tire like this, but honestly did feel that it was a bit faster rolling than the DHF. I ran them at 24 psi and found that to be the sweet spot for trail riding. No hesitation smashing into turns and having the tire hook up without any fear of washing out or loosing traction. The big square knobs did the trick. I did not get a chance to ride this in wet conditions, but I would imagine that would be where it would really shine.

I was pleased to see that I had no issues with durability with the Magic Mary in terms of punctures or tread wear. The Super Gravity casing did its job apparently - at the weight of 1165g that I weighed it in at, it's a tire that should do its job and not puncture easily. It'll be interesting to get a couple hundred more miles and time in the desert to see if it continues to hold up well.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on August 22, 2018

Turn That Commuter Into A Party Bike
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought this to mount up on my commuter so I could rip around to pick up groceries, beer, etc. Way more convenient than a rack / pannier system. Literally throw it in, wrap the net up and over and cruise on that road to nowhere!

Like Dana mentions below, this does come with pretty vague instructions. If you're handy enough, you'll figure it out, but I would recommend planning on having some p-clamps, nuts & bolts, and some rubber shims (I use popped bike tubes cut into strips) if you need to improve some mounts or don't have any. Some bolts did loosen up on me (or just as likely I didn't end up tightening them initially). Make sure to check after a few trips with it to make sure all is tight and still good to go.

While it is heavy, it rides surprisingly well when loaded. I also really like that it includes a U-Lock mount, even if it slightly rattles when riding.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 16, 2018

Goatworthy Bike Shorts
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I am 5'11" and about 175-180lbs. Typically wear a size medium or 32" short and got the medium here. They fit pretty well off the get go, but there are integrated belt loop attachments that allow for it to dial in the fit perfectly.

The material is fantastic. Stretchy and feels relatively durable for how lightweight it is, I was immediately impressed with them. After spending some time in them trail riding (in both dry & hot and rainy environments) they seem to dry very quickly and held up well. The stretch on them allows for great mobility and I am a huge fan of any shorts with a gusseted crotch. They breath great, I would imagine the laser venting does help on that too.

Pocket situation is decent - two open hand pockets and a zipped thigh pocket. I personally prefer a zipped hand pocket with another open one on the other side - if putting a phone or something essential (keys, etc) I don't like them hitting my lower/mid thigh when riding but still want them zipped up.

I personally prefer a slightly shorter inseam, but these fit nicely with knee pads underneath them! They are at the lower part of the knee cap when standing.

All in all, pretty great short, especially for the price! For reference, they feel similar to a Patagonia Dirt Craft short, but are half the price! I've been pretty impressed with them all around so far and will be a go to pair of bike shorts for me.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 16, 2018

Simple & Solid!
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I am 5'11" and about 175-180lbs. Typically wear a size large jersey and got that here - fits perfectly. Probably could get away with a medium if you like a more athletic fit. I was stoked to see Backcountry put out some branded apparel and wasn't disappointed in the least - definitely Goatworthy here!

The material is definitely heavy and sort of thick when you first pick it up, enough to make me worry about riding in the heat. Once you actually have it on, it feels great. The jersey feels exactly how a trail jersey should be - soft, very comfortable feel on the skin, and breaths great. The initial pick up impression vs impression after a few rides in it left me very pleasantly surprised! There is a sneak pocket on the right side of the back that you could put keys/multitool or a snack in, honestly don't see myself ever using it but neat feature to have.

One thing that I love is the Backcountry branding is subtle - it has a few logos but doesn't scream in your face branding like a few other companies like to do. I also am a huge fan of the Lava color option. Its bright and the color pops nicely without being overly flashy.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 5, 2018

Go Fast Do Wheelies
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am 5'11" and have a 32" inseam. I ride a size large with a 50mm stem and it fits perfectly. I am riding in Salt Lake City/Park City and Moab/Fruita come the shoulder seasons. I came off a large Yeti SB5.5 for frame of reference, just wanted to try something new.

While this is a review of my semi custom build from the 2018 frame, it should give some frame of reference for if you're considering the Hightower. as there is no change except for its paint job for 2019. I have it set up with a 150mm fork and 29" wheels in the high chip setting. I figured I wanted a bit snappier of a feeling bike, but still feel like it has plenty of travel for more of the stuff around here.

I build my large C frame up with Santa Cruz Reserve 30 i9 wheels paired with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29" x 2.5" front and Minion DHR 29" x 2.3" double down rear, GX Eagle drivetrain, Guide RSC brakes, Fox Performance Elite Float 36 & Float DPS suspension, Rockshox Reverb 150mm, Raceface Turbine cranks Deity Copperhead 50mm stem, and 780mm Santa Cruz Flat bars. Also have a OneUp bashguard & chainguide, aluminum pedals, and the cherry on top, their EDC tool. With this build, it comes in at 31.5lbs. Not the lightest build out there, but its built beefy and with workhorse components. I did put on custom Santa Cruz and Fox decals to give it my own personal flair, but both are available on our site and could give your build a bit of bling.

I think it climbs decently. It doesn't have the liveliness that the SB5.5 does when climbing with the rear shock wide open,. Maybe I could tune my rear shock a bit more on the Hightower, but still think that would hold true. It doesn't have an immediate supportive feel, but I should say it doesn't feel inefficient. I often climb in the "trail" or "lockout" setting and it'll climb much better than wide open.

With that said, it smashes on the downhill. I was surprised to find how deep feeling the 135mm of rear travel felt. I spent a few days smashing Angel Fire's bike park and only a few times did it feel undergunned in the amount of travel. I will say that going fast and pointing it through some rowdy terrain is when the Hightower comes alive. It wants to be pushed. I've been digging riding steep, loose trails with it as the traction is great and the rear tire seems to track really nicely.

I did want to give a specific shout out to the Santa Cruz reserve wheels - if you can swing it, they are pretty awesome. They're stiff (one thing i noticed on my SB5.5 with aluminum rims was tire rub on the chainstays when slappin' into corners) and have a wide internal rim width, really opening up those wide tires. I've been impressed with their durability - smashing into rock gardens without hesitations. If anything were to happen to them, they do have a lifetime warranty.

If you have any questions on the Hightower or would like to look at building your own custom build, feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 5, 2018

Go Fast Do Wheelies
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am 5'11" and have a 32" inseam. I ride a size large with a 50mm stem and it fits perfectly. I am riding in Salt Lake City/Park City and Moab/Fruita come the shoulder seasons. I came off a large Yeti SB5.5 for frame of reference, just wanted to try something new.

While this is a review of my semi custom build from the 2018 frame, it should give some frame of reference for if you're considering the Hightower. as there is no change except for its paint job for 2019. I have it set up with a 150mm fork and 29" wheels in the high chip setting. I figured I wanted a bit snappier of a feeling bike, but still feel like it has plenty of travel for more of the stuff around here.

I build my large C frame up with Santa Cruz Reserve 30 i9 wheels paired with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29" x 2.5" front and Minion DHR 29" x 2.3" double down rear, GX Eagle drivetrain, Guide RSC brakes, Fox Performance Elite Float 36 & Float DPS suspension, Rockshox Reverb 150mm, Raceface Turbine cranks Deity Copperhead 50mm stem, and 780mm Santa Cruz Flat bars. Also have a OneUp bashguard & chainguide, aluminum pedals, and the cherry on top, their EDC tool. With this build, it comes in at 31.5lbs. Not the lightest build out there, but its built beefy and with workhorse components. I did put on custom Santa Cruz and Fox decals to give it my own personal flair, but both are available on our site and could give your build a bit of bling.

I think it climbs decently. It doesn't have the liveliness that the SB5.5 does when climbing with the rear shock wide open,. Maybe I could tune my rear shock a bit more on the Hightower, but still think that would hold true. It doesn't have an immediate supportive feel, but I should say it doesn't feel inefficient. I often climb in the "trail" or "lockout" setting and it'll climb much better than wide open.

With that said, it smashes on the downhill. I was surprised to find how deep feeling the 135mm of rear travel felt. I spent a few days smashing Angel Fire's bike park and only a few times did it feel undergunned in the amount of travel. I will say that going fast and pointing it through some rowdy terrain is when the Hightower comes alive. It wants to be pushed. I've been digging riding steep, loose trails with it as the traction is great and the rear tire seems to track really nicely.

I did want to give a specific shout out to the Santa Cruz reserve wheels - if you can swing it, they are pretty awesome. They're stiff (one thing i noticed on my SB5.5 with aluminum rims was tire rub on the chainstays when slappin' into corners) and have a wide internal rim width, really opening up those wide tires. I've been impressed with their durability - smashing into rock gardens without hesitations. If anything were to happen to them, they do have a lifetime warranty.

If you have any questions on the Hightower or would like to look at building your own custom build, feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 5, 2018

Go Fast Do Wheelies
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am 5'11" and have a 32" inseam. I ride a size large with a 50mm stem and it fits perfectly. I am riding in Salt Lake City/Park City and Moab/Fruita come the shoulder seasons. I came off a large Yeti SB5.5 for frame of reference, just wanted to try something new.

While this is a review of my semi custom build from the 2018 frame, it should give some frame of reference for if you're considering the Hightower. as there is no change except for its paint job for 2019. I have it set up with a 150mm fork and 29" wheels in the high chip setting. I figured I wanted a bit snappier of a feeling bike, but still feel like it has plenty of travel for more of the stuff around here.

I build my large C frame up with Santa Cruz Reserve 30 i9 wheels paired with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29" x 2.5" front and Minion DHR 29" x 2.3" double down rear, GX Eagle drivetrain, Guide RSC brakes, Fox Performance Elite Float 36 & Float DPS suspension, Rockshox Reverb 150mm, Raceface Turbine cranks Deity Copperhead 50mm stem, and 780mm Santa Cruz Flat bars. Also have a OneUp bashguard & chainguide, aluminum pedals, and the cherry on top, their EDC tool. With this build, it comes in at 31.5lbs. Not the lightest build out there, but its built beefy and with workhorse components. I did put on custom Santa Cruz and Fox decals to give it my own personal flair, but both are available on our site and could give your build a bit of bling.

I think it climbs decently. It doesn't have the liveliness that the SB5.5 does when climbing with the rear shock wide open,. Maybe I could tune my rear shock a bit more on the Hightower, but still think that would hold true. It doesn't have an immediate supportive feel, but I should say it doesn't feel inefficient. I often climb in the "trail" or "lockout" setting and it'll climb much better than wide open.

With that said, it smashes on the downhill. I was surprised to find how deep feeling the 135mm of rear travel felt. I spent a few days smashing Angel Fire's bike park and only a few times did it feel undergunned in the amount of travel. I will say that going fast and pointing it through some rowdy terrain is when the Hightower comes alive. It wants to be pushed. I've been digging riding steep, loose trails with it as the traction is great and the rear tire seems to track really nicely.

I did want to give a specific shout out to the Santa Cruz reserve wheels - if you can swing it, they are pretty awesome. They're stiff (one thing i noticed on my SB5.5 with aluminum rims was tire rub on the chainstays when slappin' into corners) and have a wide internal rim width, really opening up those wide tires. I've been impressed with their durability - smashing into rock gardens without hesitations. If anything were to happen to them, they do have a lifetime warranty.

If you have any questions on the Hightower or would like to look at building your own custom build, feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 5, 2018

Go Fast Do Wheelies
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am 5'11" and have a 32" inseam. I ride a size large with a 50mm stem and it fits perfectly. I am riding in Salt Lake City/Park City and Moab/Fruita come the shoulder seasons. I came off a large Yeti SB5.5 for frame of reference, just wanted to try something new.

While this is a review of my semi custom build from the 2018 frame, it should give some frame of reference for if you're considering the Hightower. as there is no change except for its paint job for 2019. I have it set up with a 150mm fork and 29" wheels in the high chip setting. I figured I wanted a bit snappier of a feeling bike, but still feel like it has plenty of travel for more of the stuff around here.

I build my large C frame up with Santa Cruz Reserve 30 i9 wheels paired with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29" x 2.5" front and Minion DHR 29" x 2.3" double down rear, GX Eagle drivetrain, Guide RSC brakes, Fox Performance Elite Float 36 & Float DPS suspension, Rockshox Reverb 150mm, Raceface Turbine cranks Deity Copperhead 50mm stem, and 780mm Santa Cruz Flat bars. Also have a OneUp bashguard & chainguide, aluminum pedals, and the cherry on top, their EDC tool. With this build, it comes in at 31.5lbs. Not the lightest build out there, but its built beefy and with workhorse components. I did put on custom Santa Cruz and Fox decals to give it my own personal flair, but both are available on our site and could give your build a bit of bling.

I think it climbs decently. It doesn't have the liveliness that the SB5.5 does when climbing with the rear shock wide open,. Maybe I could tune my rear shock a bit more on the Hightower, but still think that would hold true. It doesn't have an immediate supportive feel, but I should say it doesn't feel inefficient. I often climb in the "trail" or "lockout" setting and it'll climb much better than wide open.

With that said, it smashes on the downhill. I was surprised to find how deep feeling the 135mm of rear travel felt. I spent a few days smashing Angel Fire's bike park and only a few times did it feel undergunned in the amount of travel. I will say that going fast and pointing it through some rowdy terrain is when the Hightower comes alive. It wants to be pushed. I've been digging riding steep, loose trails with it as the traction is great and the rear tire seems to track really nicely.

I did want to give a specific shout out to the Santa Cruz reserve wheels - if you can swing it, they are pretty awesome. They're stiff (one thing i noticed on my SB5.5 with aluminum rims was tire rub on the chainstays when slappin' into corners) and have a wide internal rim width, really opening up those wide tires. I've been impressed with their durability - smashing into rock gardens without hesitations. If anything were to happen to them, they do have a lifetime warranty.

If you have any questions on the Hightower or would like to look at building your own custom build, feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 5, 2018

Go Fast Do Wheelies
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am 5'11" and have a 32" inseam. I ride a size large with a 50mm stem and it fits perfectly. I am riding in Salt Lake City/Park City and Moab/Fruita come the shoulder seasons. I came off a large Yeti SB5.5 for frame of reference, just wanted to try something new.

While this is a review of my semi custom build from the 2018 frame, it should give some frame of reference for if you're considering the Hightower. as there is no change except for its paint job for 2019. I have it set up with a 150mm fork and 29" wheels in the high chip setting. I figured I wanted a bit snappier of a feeling bike, but still feel like it has plenty of travel for more of the stuff around here.

I build my large C frame up with Santa Cruz Reserve 30 i9 wheels paired with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29" x 2.5" front and Minion DHR 29" x 2.3" double down rear, GX Eagle drivetrain, Guide RSC brakes, Fox Performance Elite Float 36 & Float DPS suspension, Rockshox Reverb 150mm, Raceface Turbine cranks Deity Copperhead 50mm stem, and 780mm Santa Cruz Flat bars. Also have a OneUp bashguard & chainguide, aluminum pedals, and the cherry on top, their EDC tool. With this build, it comes in at 31.5lbs. Not the lightest build out there, but its built beefy and with workhorse components. I did put on custom Santa Cruz and Fox decals to give it my own personal flair, but both are available on our site and could give your build a bit of bling.

I think it climbs decently. It doesn't have the liveliness that the SB5.5 does when climbing with the rear shock wide open,. Maybe I could tune my rear shock a bit more on the Hightower, but still think that would hold true. It doesn't have an immediate supportive feel, but I should say it doesn't feel inefficient. I often climb in the "trail" or "lockout" setting and it'll climb much better than wide open.

With that said, it smashes on the downhill. I was surprised to find how deep feeling the 135mm of rear travel felt. I spent a few days smashing Angel Fire's bike park and only a few times did it feel undergunned in the amount of travel. I will say that going fast and pointing it through some rowdy terrain is when the Hightower comes alive. It wants to be pushed. I've been digging riding steep, loose trails with it as the traction is great and the rear tire seems to track really nicely.

I did want to give a specific shout out to the Santa Cruz reserve wheels - if you can swing it, they are pretty awesome. They're stiff (one thing i noticed on my SB5.5 with aluminum rims was tire rub on the chainstays when slappin' into corners) and have a wide internal rim width, really opening up those wide tires. I've been impressed with their durability - smashing into rock gardens without hesitations. If anything were to happen to them, they do have a lifetime warranty.

If you have any questions on the Hightower or would like to look at building your own custom build, feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com

(0)

 

0 Comments

Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 5, 2018

Go Fast Do Wheelies
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am 5'11" and have a 32" inseam. I ride a size large with a 50mm stem and it fits perfectly. I am riding in Salt Lake City/Park City and Moab/Fruita come the shoulder seasons. I came off a large Yeti SB5.5 for frame of reference, just wanted to try something new.

While this is a review of my semi custom build from the 2018 frame, it should give some frame of reference for if you're considering the Hightower. as there is no change except for its paint job for 2019. I have it set up with a 150mm fork and 29" wheels in the high chip setting. I figured I wanted a bit snappier of a feeling bike, but still feel like it has plenty of travel for more of the stuff around here.

I build my large C frame up with Santa Cruz Reserve 30 i9 wheels paired with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29" x 2.5" front and Minion DHR 29" x 2.3" double down rear, GX Eagle drivetrain, Guide RSC brakes, Fox Performance Elite Float 36 & Float DPS suspension, Rockshox Reverb 150mm, Raceface Turbine cranks Deity Copperhead 50mm stem, and 780mm Santa Cruz Flat bars. Also have a OneUp bashguard & chainguide, aluminum pedals, and the cherry on top, their EDC tool. With this build, it comes in at 31.5lbs. Not the lightest build out there, but its built beefy and with workhorse components. I did put on custom Santa Cruz and Fox decals to give it my own personal flair, but both are available on our site and could give your build a bit of bling.

I think it climbs decently. It doesn't have the liveliness that the SB5.5 does when climbing with the rear shock wide open,. Maybe I could tune my rear shock a bit more on the Hightower, but still think that would hold true. It doesn't have an immediate supportive feel, but I should say it doesn't feel inefficient. I often climb in the "trail" or "lockout" setting and it'll climb much better than wide open.

With that said, it smashes on the downhill. I was surprised to find how deep feeling the 135mm of rear travel felt. I spent a few days smashing Angel Fire's bike park and only a few times did it feel undergunned in the amount of travel. I will say that going fast and pointing it through some rowdy terrain is when the Hightower comes alive. It wants to be pushed. I've been digging riding steep, loose trails with it as the traction is great and the rear tire seems to track really nicely.

I did want to give a specific shout out to the Santa Cruz reserve wheels - if you can swing it, they are pretty awesome. They're stiff (one thing i noticed on my SB5.5 with aluminum rims was tire rub on the chainstays when slappin' into corners) and have a wide internal rim width, really opening up those wide tires. I've been impressed with their durability - smashing into rock gardens without hesitations. If anything were to happen to them, they do have a lifetime warranty.

If you have any questions on the Hightower or would like to look at building your own custom build, feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com

(0)

 

0 Comments

Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 5, 2018

Go Fast Do Wheelies
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am 5'11" and have a 32" inseam. I ride a size large with a 50mm stem and it fits perfectly. I am riding in Salt Lake City/Park City and Moab/Fruita come the shoulder seasons. I came off a large Yeti SB5.5 for frame of reference, just wanted to try something new.

While this is a review of my semi custom build, it should give some frame of reference for if you're considering the Hightower. I have it set up with a 150mm fork and 29" wheels in the high chip setting. I figured I wanted a bit snappier of a feeling bike, but still feel like it has plenty of travel for more of the stuff around here.

I build my large C frame up with Santa Cruz Reserve 30 i9 wheels paired with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29" x 2.5" front and Minion DHR 29" x 2.3" double down rear, GX Eagle drivetrain, Guide RSC brakes, Fox Performance Elite Float 36 & Float DPS suspension, Rockshox Reverb 150mm, Raceface Turbine cranks Deity Copperhead 50mm stem, and 780mm Santa Cruz Flat bars. Also have a OneUp bashguard & chainguide, aluminum pedals, and the cherry on top, their EDC tool. With this build, it comes in at 31.5lbs. Not the lightest build out there, but its built beefy and with workhorse components.

I think it climbs decently. It doesn't have the liveliness that the SB5.5 does when climbing with the rear shock wide open,. Maybe I could tune my rear shock a bit more on the Hightower, but still think that would hold true. It doesn't have an immediate supportive feel, but I should say it doesn't feel inefficient. I often climb in the "trail" or "lockout" setting and it'll climb much better than wide open.

With that said, it smashes on the downhill. I was surprised to find how deep feeling the 135mm of rear travel felt. I spent a few days smashing Angel Fire's bike park and only a few times did it feel undergunned in the amount of travel. I will say that going fast and pointing it through some rowdy terrain is when the Hightower comes alive. It wants to be pushed. I've been digging riding steep, loose trails with it as the traction is great and the rear tire seems to track really nicely.

I did want to give a specific shout out to the Santa Cruz reserve wheels - if you can swing it, they are pretty awesome. They're stiff (one thing i noticed on my SB5.5 with aluminum rims was tire rub on the chainstays when slappin' into corners) and have a wide internal rim width, really opening up those wide tires. I've been impressed with their durability - smashing into rock gardens without hesitations. If anything were to happen to them, they do have a lifetime warranty.

If you have any questions on the Hightower or would like to look at building your own custom build, feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 5, 2018

Go Fast Do Wheelies
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am 5'11" and have a 32" inseam. I ride a size large with a 50mm stem and it fits perfectly. I am riding in Salt Lake City/Park City and Moab/Fruita come the shoulder seasons. I came off a large Yeti SB5.5 for frame of reference, just wanted to try something new.

While this is a review of my semi custom build from the 2018 frame, it should give some frame of reference for if you're considering the Hightower. as there is no change except for its paint job for 2019. I have it set up with a 150mm fork and 29" wheels in the high chip setting. I figured I wanted a bit snappier of a feeling bike, but still feel like it has plenty of travel for more of the stuff around here.

I build my large C frame up with Santa Cruz Reserve 30 i9 wheels paired with a Maxxis Minion DHF 29" x 2.5" front and Minion DHR 29" x 2.3" double down rear, GX Eagle drivetrain, Guide RSC brakes, Fox Performance Elite Float 36 & Float DPS suspension, Rockshox Reverb 150mm, Raceface Turbine cranks Deity Copperhead 50mm stem, and 780mm Santa Cruz Flat bars. Also have a OneUp bashguard & chainguide, aluminum pedals, and the cherry on top, their EDC tool. With this build, it comes in at 31.5lbs. Not the lightest build out there, but its built beefy and with workhorse components. I did put on custom Santa Cruz and Fox decals to give it my own personal flair, but both are available on our site and could give your build a bit of bling.

I think it climbs decently. It doesn't have the liveliness that the SB5.5 does when climbing with the rear shock wide open,. Maybe I could tune my rear shock a bit more on the Hightower, but still think that would hold true. It doesn't have an immediate supportive feel, but I should say it doesn't feel inefficient. I often climb in the "trail" or "lockout" setting and it'll climb much better than wide open.

With that said, it smashes on the downhill. I was surprised to find how deep feeling the 135mm of rear travel felt. I spent a few days smashing Angel Fire's bike park and only a few times did it feel undergunned in the amount of travel. I will say that going fast and pointing it through some rowdy terrain is when the Hightower comes alive. It wants to be pushed. I've been digging riding steep, loose trails with it as the traction is great and the rear tire seems to track really nicely.

I did want to give a specific shout out to the Santa Cruz reserve wheels - if you can swing it, they are pretty awesome. They're stiff (one thing i noticed on my SB5.5 with aluminum rims was tire rub on the chainstays when slappin' into corners) and have a wide internal rim width, really opening up those wide tires. I've been impressed with their durability - smashing into rock gardens without hesitations. If anything were to happen to them, they do have a lifetime warranty.

If you have any questions on the Hightower or would like to look at building your own custom build, feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com

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