Considering the Tallboy and Tallboy LT have been some of Santa Cruz’s most popular bikes, the decision to cease production of the LT in July was a surprise. But it was also a signal, that something new was probably on the horizon. Anyone following the industry trends could probably fashion a guess at what was coming, and that guess may look something like the new Santa Cruz Hightower.
Keeping with the Tallboy LT’s 135mm travel, the Hightower bridges the gap between 29″ and 27+ wheels. Can’t decide which wheel size best suits your needs? Don’t worry – Hightower is built around both…
One of the benefits of the 27+ tire size is that the outer diameter is roughly that of a standard 29″ set up. Because of that, many companies are looking to effectively offer two bikes in one with both 29″ and 27+ set ups. The biggest constraint seems to be making room for the 27+ tires at the chain stays – something that seems to be solved with 12x148mm Boost rear spacing, and 1x drivetrains capable of running Boost offset crank spiders. In this case, the Hightower uses a RaceFace crank which naturally runs a 51mm chainline. That means no need for a “Boost specific” 52mm chainline crank spider since Santa Cruz finds the 51mm works just fine on either 142 or 148mm rear ends.
In the case of the Hightower, the geometry is also tweaked for the two wheel sizes with a Toggle Chip on the lower shock mount. In the low position it’s ideal for a 29er with a 140mm fork, and in the high position it’s designed for a 150mm 27+ fork. Santa Cruz recommends changing the fork to best suit the handling characteristics of the wheels with the frame, but if you were to try to run one fork for both, the 150mm travel fork would be the better option. If you wanted to get techy, you could switch out the air shaft in a Pike to get the two travel settings out of a single fork.
Other than that, you’ll need the two wheelsets if you want to roll both 29″ and 27+.
Sold in either 29″ or 27+ stock builds, both bikes use the same 135mm travel VPP suspension frame. Built to be “long, low, and slack” with a modern trail bike geometry, Santa Cruz calls it “a big bike for big rides.”
Standard features for the Hightower include a 73mm threaded BB shell with ISCG05 mounts, a built in downtube and chain stay protector, internal cable routing with pass through tunnels for the rear derailleur and 150mm Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper post, and Boost 12×148 and 15×110 axle spacing. The 29″ builds are equipped with 29×2.3″ Maxxis Minion tires while the 27+ bikes will include a 27.5×2.8″ Maxxis Rekon/Ikon combo. Santa Cruz states that the frames are capable of running up to a 29 x 2.4″ or 27.5 x 3.0″ tires.
Hightower will be sold in the $4599 C S model with a SRAM GX 1 drivetrain, the $6499 CC X01, and the $7799 CC XX1 build, with the prices identical for either wheel size. The carbon frame will also be sold as frame only with a Rockshox Monarch RT3 in Burgundy or Black for $2899. Any builds that don’t include ENVE wheels can be upgraded to the M Series 60 Forty HV wheels for $2000. To list the weights, Santa Cruz weighed all of the large bikes as listed with “real world” conditions including tire sealant, but without pedals. In those parameters, all of the builds came in under 30 lbs, with the top end build with ENVE wheels weighing in at 26.93 lbs (12,217g). The frame itself weighs in at 2,678g/5.88lbs.
The new Hightower is available starting today in select Santa Cruz dealers.