Santa Cruz Bicycles Hightower Carbon 29 R Complete Mountain Bike - 2018 $3,999.00
Tower of Power.
Once relegated to the wheelsize of choice just for the cross country set, more manufactures and riders are experiencing the advantages of the larger wheels on trail bikes while riding demanding terrain. The industry trend towards bigger wheels is building with a momentum akin to what we experience when riding bikes with wagon wheels. The 2018 Santa Cruz Hightower Carbon 29 R is another example of a do-it-all trail bike and it is dressed up with SRAM's excellent NX componentry and powerful Level T hydraulic brakes. The bike boasts 135mm of super composed VPP suspension and 140mm of plush travel from the RockShox Revelation fork to get you down the trail quickly and confidently.
The 1x only setup on the Hightower allows Santa Cruz to shorten the chainstays to provide near telepathic handling in tight terrain and crawl up techy climbs with the greatest of ease. When the time comes to bomb back down, a 67-degree head tube angle, the added stiffness afforded by the boost spacing, and the latest version of the excellent Virtual Pivot Point suspension, allow for a shoot first ask questions second demeanor. Fast-flowing, buff singletrack or rocketing through baby head chunder, the Hightower attacks both with speed and grace.
Santa Cruz drew inspiration from the Nomad when designing the suspension pivot placements on the Hightower. By doing so, the linkages remain out of the way and have the ability to accommodate a shock with a reservoir and a bottle cage, hinting at the bike's ability to handle enduro racing or backcountry epics alike. If you are looking for a machine that can handle an all-day death-march one weekend and multiple lifts to the top of the mountain the next, the Hightower is an able and happy playmate.
Santa Cruz sets the bar on carbon frame construction and the top-notch fit and finish is present on this frame. The Hightower Carbon C is fully constructed from carbon fiber and boast the same ride quality and durability of Santa Cruz's top-of-the-line Carbon CC frame. It packs more value since it's a less costly material, carrying just a little more mass but bringing down the price of admission substantially. Construction methods are identical and each triangle is built as whole units, allowing the engineers to continuously shape high-stress junctions which avoids weak points or areas of the frame with less structural integrity. The carbon is compacted from the inside as well, further eliminating excess material build-up inside the tubing and saving more weight over quicker and less precise construction methods.
The Hightower's two triangles are joined by the 3rd generation VPP suspension. The lower link now finds a home above the bottom bracket increasing ground clearance and its location prevents errant trail debris, thrown up by the front tire, from smashing it. The upper link makes the move higher up on the frame as well improving standover height for smaller pilots and letting rider size up if they want a bike with a longer wheelbase for more stability. The latest VPP changes aren't limited to just relocated links, the leverage ratio throughout the travel is also tweaked. Santa Cruz explains how the travel of the old suspension curve resembled a "U," whereas the new VPP's curve takes on a flattened check mark which creates less ramping on either end of the arc. Translation to the trail, you will notice increased compliance off the top and through the mid-stroke, keeping the rubber glued to the trail for more traction and a more comfortable ride. Have no fear if you are racing your buddy to the top of the singletrack or if standing up mashing over the crux of a climb, the excellent pedaling characteristics are still present and your pedaling will not be lost in the ether of the pivots. The FOX Float rear shock offers excellent adjustability and is custom tuned to maximize the performance of the VPP design.
We do feel that the Hightower is a beast in the 29in version offered here but if you feel like experimenting with 27.5+ wheels, the bike is certainly willing and able. Traction benefits definitely exist and your terrain and riding style will ultimately dictate what wheel size proves advantageous for your riding. A flip chip that sits at the shock's lower mount allows a geometry shift that accommodates the slightly smaller diameter wheels. Santa Cruz recommends extending the fork 10mm as well to bring the bike's geometry back to its intended numbers.
- Santa Cruz's superlative shredder
- Efficient pedaling platform offering 5.3in of VPP travel
- Balanced geometry for all-day pedaling or shuttling
- Flip chip allows compatibility with 27.5+ and 29in wheels
- C Carbon construction reduces weight and increases stiffness
- Santa Cruz brings speed and stability to the trails