Santa Cruz Hightower 29 – Test Ride

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I have been anxious to get to ride Santa Cruz’s new Hightower. Dane and I spent an afternoon putting this bike through it’s paces at the legendary trails of Santa Cruz.

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While the Hightower can run 29 inch or 27.5 plus wheels, we chose to test it with 29 inch wheels. With 135mm of rear travel, 140mm up front, and a 67 degree head tube angle, the Hightower doesn’t appear to be the most capable bike on paper. However, when you throw a leg over it, you are quickly proven wrong. There’s a reason why this is the bike of choice for Enduro World Series Pro riders Mark Scott, Iago Garay, and Evan Turpen; its a very fast bike.

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We rode a medium frame equipped with the XO1 build and Enve M60 wheels. This build includes Sram XO1 1×11 drivetrain, Sram Guide RSC Brakes, 140mm Rockshox Pike RC3, Rockshox Monarch RT3, and a Rockshox Reverb 150mm dropper post.

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As is standard with all Santa Cruz bikes, the Hightower features a threaded bottom bracket for a creek free drivetrain. Collet style pivots bolts mean you wont have to worry about anything coming loose. Finally, the internal carbon tubes make internal cable routing easy and keeps everything quiet.

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Over the course of our ride I wasn’t able to find the limit of this bike. Rocks and roots were no problem and handling through fast berms was easy. I haven’t ridden too many 29ers but I am starting to find them more and more attractive. Their ability to hold a straight line through technical sections is impressive. Whats more, nothing seems to slow them down.

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Overall this bike was extremely impressive. I felt comfortable on this bike from the moment I hopped on it. Handling was easy and it accelerated faster than most 29ers. Its  surprisingly capable on technical terrain yet is a blast to ride on more mellow trails. Its ability to swap between 29 and 27.5+ and overall versatility mean this bike can handle nearly anything you throw at it.

5 thoughts on “Santa Cruz Hightower 29 – Test Ride

  1. Great review! How did you find the sizing? For reference I´m 187 and am considering an XL. Do you plan to review the Ibis Ripley or Tallboy 3? Thanks!

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  2. hey Trailpeek! Diggin your videos so I was stoked when you rode a bike I’m going to likely buy very soon – the hightower 29. I have a sc heckler now and love it, but it seems I have to work very hard to keep momentum on more mild trails. the HT seems like a bike that can handle just about everything the Bronson can, but it can hold its speed much better. my big question to you is how much of the playfulness is numbed on the HT vs the bronson? climb, pedal, descend, flickability. super stoked watching you ride your bronson, but I mostly ride in Indiana about 1000-1200 ft elevation or in az where I can usually get around 1500 per ride. so there’s a fair amount of pedaling! any info is appreciated!

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  3. Even though the HT is built for aggressive more experienced riders, I cant help thinking that this would be a great bike for any level rider. Santa Cruz just makes awesome bikes that make the riding experience so much fun. Looks like you felt comfortable on the bike. Your usual smooth style. I want one.

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