While everyone has known for awhile that the boys at Santa Cruz have been working on a new 29’er, specifically a carbon 29’er, everything has been prototypes and speculation. Until now.
Meet the Santa Cruz Highball. 2.45 pounds of carbon hard tail 29’er goodness. While Santa Cruz might be a little late to the carbon hard tail party, they tend not to release a new bike before it is full and ready, and I’m willing to bet the final product will sell pretty well even if it isn’t high tech by today’s standards.
Better than me making speculations about it, Tyler is actually en route to Gooseberry Mesa as we speak to get some real life saddle time aboard the new whip. Look for his posts with close up photos, and first ride impressions soon.
In the mean time, jump past the brake for a lot of close up detail photos (click on any image to enlarge), detailed spec, and full geometry!
Regarding the question of “why a hardtail, and why now?” Santa Cruz had this to say:
“ There are still those times and places where the best way to light the fuse and blow everyone else into the weeds is by riding a hardtail. Bigger wheels have revived the venerable double diamond design, and by mixing the smooth rolling hoops with a feathery 2.4-pound carbon fiber frame, we’ve come up with a potent race weapon. Anyone who complains about a bad day climbing while riding this bike needs to find another sport. The Highball is insanely light, razor sharp, nimble but surefooted, stiff as a plank, and designed to do two things: 1. Race. 2. Win.”
The Highball will intially be available in two colors, Matte Carbon/Grey or Gloss Carbon/Red.
Santa Cruz considers the Highball to be fully race ready with a 2.45 lb frame, that built up as shown will allow for a 21 pound build. As you can see, this is accomplished with a standard bottom bracket shell, and seat post.
Santa Cruz claims the Highball features extremely short chainstays, and in comparison they are shorter than say a Gary Fisher Paragon, they are shorter by .2 inches (17.3 vs 17.5). However, there are shorter chainstays available from some other companies.
Up front we find a tapered head tube to keep everything nice and stiff, with traditional 1.5 external lower bearing, and a 1 1/8th internal upper to keep stack height, and handle bar height nice and low.
As mentioned, not BB30, PF30, BB90, BB66, ABCDEFG here. Just a tried and true, threaded bottom bracket.
While the seat tube is curved for wheel slamming capability, it is straight for long enough to allow for plenty of seat post insertion.
In order to guarantee the lightest, strongest, and stiffest design, the Dropouts and disc tabs are molded into frame during a proprietary one piece layup process.
Hard to see here, but there is a metal chain strike plate behind the crankset, to keep the rare chainsuck from completely ruining your day. No sawed through carbon (or aluminum for that matter) here!
Other than that longer than necessary rear derailleur cable, the Highball’s lines are long, sleek, and fast. Highballs will retail for $1899 US MSRP for the frame only , with complete bikes starting from $3099.