More aggressive than ever.
When Santa Cruz's team riders were spotted racing enduros on modified 29-inch Hightowers, it became the internet's worst secret. Spy shots circulated and everyone was curious what Santa Cruz had up its sleeve. And while the original HT opened up a lot of people's eyes of what a big-wheeled machine could do on technical terrain and its ability to carry momentum and speed over aggressive trails, for the rough and tumble EWS circuit, there's no replacement for displacement. With the original Hightower, Santa Cruz already had an excellent foundation that it was able to tweak and reconfigure into the long-travel beast we have here that's ready to decimate anything in its path. If this sounds like your idea of fun, and you value a bike that can tackle enduros, park, or long days pedaling in the backcountry, have a look at the Hightower LT Carbon S Complete Mountain Bike and marvel at its capable spec that leaves some cash in your pocket for road trips and race entries.
The Hightower LT uses the exact same front triangle as the original Hightower so it retains the positive riding attributes we've come to enjoy, namely, it's low-slung geometry and stiff chassis that rails corners and handles intrinsically when pushed to its limits. Whereas the original HT had 135-millimeters of travel at the rear and 140-millimeters up front in 29er form, thanks to revised linkages and a longer stroke on the shock, the Hightower LT bumps up to 150-millimeters of travel at the front and rear. That also creates a slacker head tube angle at 66.4 degrees and a slightly longer wheelbase, which injects a ton of confidence while navigating steep descents with wheel sucking rock gaps, massive root lattices, and drops o' plenty.
As opposed to the Hightower's dual wheel size persona, the LT is purely intended as a 29-inch mobber, and the engineers at Santa Cruz eliminated the flip-chip, refining it for its dedicated wheel size and its aim at enduro racing and aggressive all-mountain use. The Hightower LT's shock linkages and rear end were redesigned to accommodate the extra travel, but, as we stated above, the front triangle remains the same, which is a good thing. As expected, the Hightower LT employs Santa Cruz's much-lauded VPP suspension platform offering firm pedaling during those long stage transfers, so it doesn't bobble to and fro like some punch-drunk, heavyweight pugilist in the 12th round. Open it up on the descents, and the 150-millimeters of VPP suspension is a treat, devouring up chunky rock sections and ensuring that any line is the right line.
This particular build kit complements the Hightower LT's aggressive design, with Santa Cruz's S build offering components that can handle the abuse without troubling the scales too much. The 780-millimeter Race Face Aeffect R riser bars are the goldilocks width for leverage while still sneaking in-between the trees on choked down trails. Its AR Offset rims offer greater support and plump up the 2.4-inch Maxxis Minion DHRs with their 30-millimeter wide profile and you'll experience heaps of traction and greater bump compliance. Up front, a FOX 36 Performance fork offers excellent torsional stiffness with a plush stroke that has plenty of room for adjusting for your terrain, weight, and riding style. The drivetrain gets SRAM's GX Eagle 1x12 and its wide range of gears so you still find the right gear on those rides that take you beyond your limits.
- Santa Cruz's longest travel 29er with aggressive trail intentions
- Designed for the extremes of professional enduro racing
- 150-millimeters of VPP travel makes rough trails feel buff
- Slacker 66.4-degree head tube offers high-speed composure
- New VPP linkage and swingarm eliminates the previous flip-chip
- Carbon C frame offers high levels of stiffness and strength
- FOX 36 Performance fork for stiff tracking over rough terrain
- SRAM's GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain provides a large 1x gear range