Save it for the trail.
Besides the signature color options, Santa Cruz's Highball 29 R2 Complete Mountain Bike has a checklist of qualities that recommend it for the mountain bike recreationalist who also has occasional interest in pinning on a number. The newly upgraded Shimano SLX M7000 drivetrain, the 29in wagon wheels, Santa Cruz's meticulously dialed XC geometry, the no-nonsense hydroformed aluminum frame—the only things separating it from the California firm's enduro models are half-a-dozen inches of unnecessary rear travel and a few thousand more dollars of cost. We're sure that money would be better directed toward race entries, national park fees, or your knobby tire crew's traveling gas fund.
In order to accommodate its big wheels, the Highball 29's chainstays register at a hair under 17 inches, but a steep head tube brings the wheelbase to over a half-inch shorter than the smaller-wheeled Highball 27. The Highball 29 is nimble enough to gently pick through trail furniture and it tracks through berms like a cat on carpet, but it still shines brightest when the throttle is fully open. The 12 x 142mm rear axle is the stiff rear triangle's best friend, ensuring that every possible watt goes straight into the trail, but the slimmed-down 27.2mm seatpost helps to alleviate chatter from the countless more miles of trail you'll be able to cover compared to the hulking six-inch bikes your buddies are on.
- An XC bike as tough as the trails you take it on
- Steep front end stays on point while grinding out climbs
- Alloy frame doesn't crumble under off-road abuse
- Shimano's wholly upgraded SLX M7000 drivetrain
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