Highball Carbon CC Mountain Bike Frame
Remaining unchanged for 2021, save for extremely captivating Ember colorway, the Santa Cruz Highball Carbon CC Mountain Bike Frame continues to be the hardtail mountain bike of choice for dedicated cross-country racers. The Highball makes a great addition to the stable if you already own a trail bike but don't want to be at a disadvantage on the cross-country course. Or it serves exceedingly well as a primary rig for riding on smoother, buffer trails where you don't need the added weight and complexity of a full-suspension bike.
The Highball remains lightweight when comparing it to its previous self, saving nearly half a pound, in this top-tier Carbon CC layup. If you've taken the time to read this far into a product description about a carbon hardtail frame, we feel safe placing you firmly into the weight weenie camp. If you're not, our apologies, but if you've come to terms with your condition, we think you'll be just as excited as we are with this frame weighing in at only over two pounds. It seems like not too long ago, this was an impressive feat on a road frame, and now it's arrived in brilliant form to the trails. Santa Cruz's engineers achieved this absurdly low weight by starting with the finest carbon fiber and resins to work out an incredible layup schedule netting increased stiffness and structural integrity while trimming away any extra material for maximum weight savings.
Hardtail enthusiasts typically enjoy brutal efficiency and lightweight builds, knowing that comfort usually comes secondary. But a bike that isn't comfortable or wants to buck you off when the trail turns rough isn't going to be fast in the long run, so Santa Cruz wisely sought ways to increase the compliance. The bridgeless seatstays meet in a wishbone design lower on the seat tube than the previous version to send incoming vibration into the frame versus up to the rider over rugged racecourses. Additional comfort comes from Santa Cruz's selection of a 27.2-millimeter diameter seatpost to further bolster compliance saving your lower back from repeated jolting.
While it is a hardtail, it has no intention of shying away from more technical lines on the XC course. Santa Cruz slackened out the head tube angle on the new Highball and instead of the previous head tube angle of 70 or 70.5-degrees. It now sits at 69.5-degrees for a bit more surefootedness on the descents. It achieves this slacker angle without compromising the razor-sharp handling by spec'ing and recommending a 44-millimeter fork offset. This increases the bike's trail so you'll get calm stability at downhill speed without losing the ability to handle slow-speed maneuvers uptight uphill switchbacks.
The Highball uses a moderately long reach and wheelbase for a bit more composure on descents and over rougher terrain and runs well with a wide bar and short stem combo. Santa Cruz maintains the 12.4-inch bottom bracket and snappy-short 16.9-inch chainstays for spirited handling characteristics.
The Highball's exceptional stiffness means every ounce of rider energy will be directed into rocket-like acceleration. And its reliable strength is backed by a lifetime warranty — all without rider weight limits imposed by other manufacturers. And because racing speed isn't the only thing desired on a bike of this pedigree, you'll find all the thoughtful design features that define a Santa Cruz. These features include a threaded bottom bracket for creak-free reliability, three bottle mounts, internal dropper compatibility, and internal routing of all cables to keep everything looking tidy.
- The feathery light XC machine remains unchanged except for the color
- Carbon CC provides ample torsional stiffness for racers
- Bridgeless seat stay and 27.2mm seat post quell trail noise
- Threaded bottom bracket for creak-free reliability
- Three bottle mounts and internal dropper routing adds versatility
- 69.5° head tube angle, with a 100mm fork, balances quick handling with stability