2020 Hightower thoughts? YT Jeffsy comparisons

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2020 Hightower thoughts? YT Jeffsy comparisons
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Posted: May 1, 2020 at 8:27 Quote
I'm selling my carbon hardtail (Salsa Woodsmoke) and moving into the trail/all mountain bike world. I'd been looking at the YT Jeffsy (newer models with longer reach) for a while but the 2020 Santa Cruz Hightower caught my eye. I am familiar with the better better parts for your money vs. LBS dynamic, what I'm curious about is if anyone has ridden both or can speak to either of these. They are basically the same geo, 2020 Hightower has 7mm shorter chainstays in my size (XL) and 7mm longer top tube. Shock placement is different, I wonder how different they would be. I'm looking for a bike for rougher, steeper CO front range trails and Moab, I still have a steel SS for flow and easier trials.

Anyone ridden both or either and can speak them for climbing or descending?

FWIW I demoed a Spot Mayhem XL and loved how fast it was, found it sluggish to corner but otherwise amazing, I expect that might be the 448mm chainstays. Smaller sizes have 440mm and would probably be perfect if I were shorter

Posted: May 2, 2020 at 9:13 Quote
Cant help you. I have a Jeffsy and will be building a Hightower clone soon. I would be interested if anyone else has opinions, though.

Posted: May 3, 2020 at 9:02 Quote
They're extremely different. I'd describe the Jeffsy as a long-travel trail bike, whereas the Hightower 2 is much more aggressive and feels like "enduro lite".

I owned a Jeffsy OG for a couple seasons and loved it. Several bikes later, when the Jeffsy got a facelift, I was in the process of upgrading and heavily considered the new Jeffsy. But, after putting in 20 miles on a CF Pro Race, it just didn't fit the bill. It's a long-legged trail bike. Considering it has 150mm, it felt rather "skippy", as though it wanted to get on top of obstacles. Very agile, and easygoing trail manners. Pedals great, rides light, easy to corner, and generally a great all rounder.

I ultimately ended up on a Hightower 2 CC X01, which I've put in about 300 miles on so far. Where the Jeffsy is playful, the Hightower is purposeful. Pedaling efficiency is fantastic, but where it really delivers uphill is in technical climbs. The suspension is really isolated from pedaling, and it just tracks the ground under power really well. It's also really stable and reasonably light, and doesn't take much effort to muscle around. Where the HT really departs from the Jeffsy, though, is downhill. It's a stable, planted, business-like descender. It's also really adaptable. If you want to just chill and cruise, it's comfortable and neutral. If you want to get over the front wheel and contest a KOM, you're going have a hard time finding the end of it's capabilities.

Simply put, the Hightower is more capable than the Jeffsy, with no climbing penalty. That said, I wouldn't think about these bikes that way. If you wanna get rowdy and push the limits of your speed, go HT. If you like to play and dance and prefer flow trails to rocks, you're going to like the Jeffsy more.

Posted: May 3, 2020 at 14:49 Quote
Right on, thanks. That's helpful.

Posted: May 5, 2020 at 14:24 Quote
zsandstrom wrote:
They're extremely different. I'd describe the Jeffsy as a long-travel trail bike, whereas the Hightower 2 is much more aggressive and feels like "enduro lite".

I owned a Jeffsy OG for a couple seasons and loved it. Several bikes later, when the Jeffsy got a facelift, I was in the process of upgrading and heavily considered the new Jeffsy. But, after putting in 20 miles on a CF Pro Race, it just didn't fit the bill. It's a long-legged trail bike. Considering it has 150mm, it felt rather "skippy", as though it wanted to get on top of obstacles. Very agile, and easygoing trail manners. Pedals great, rides light, easy to corner, and generally a great all rounder.

I ultimately ended up on a Hightower 2 CC X01, which I've put in about 300 miles on so far. Where the Jeffsy is playful, the Hightower is purposeful. Pedaling efficiency is fantastic, but where it really delivers uphill is in technical climbs. The suspension is really isolated from pedaling, and it just tracks the ground under power really well. It's also really stable and reasonably light, and doesn't take much effort to muscle around. Where the HT really departs from the Jeffsy, though, is downhill. It's a stable, planted, business-like descender. It's also really adaptable. If you want to just chill and cruise, it's comfortable and neutral. If you want to get over the front wheel and contest a KOM, you're going have a hard time finding the end of it's capabilities.

Simply put, the Hightower is more capable than the Jeffsy, with no climbing penalty. That said, I wouldn't think about these bikes that way. If you wanna get rowdy and push the limits of your speed, go HT. If you like to play and dance and prefer flow trails to rocks, you're going to like the Jeffsy more.

I agree with this assessment. I was also debating between these two bikes. I rode my friend's 2019 pro race and thought it felt really quick and felt very "light" on its feet. I ended up getting a decent deal on a hightower 2 frame and built it up. The one thing that i did struggle with was deciding which size to go with. The geo numbers for each size are fairly close for the yt and the santa cruz, but the size chart recommendations for santa cruz suggest a size smaller than the yt chart. I ended up following the santa cruz chart (M) and it feels great, but the Large Jeffsy never felt too big Big Grin

Long story short: I'm really happy with my Hightower

Posted: May 5, 2020 at 15:38 Quote
zsandstrom wrote:
They're extremely different. I'd describe the Jeffsy as a long-travel trail bike, whereas the Hightower 2 is much more aggressive and feels like "enduro lite".

I owned a Jeffsy OG for a couple seasons and loved it. Several bikes later, when the Jeffsy got a facelift, I was in the process of upgrading and heavily considered the new Jeffsy. But, after putting in 20 miles on a CF Pro Race, it just didn't fit the bill. It's a long-legged trail bike. Considering it has 150mm, it felt rather "skippy", as though it wanted to get on top of obstacles. Very agile, and easygoing trail manners. Pedals great, rides light, easy to corner, and generally a great all rounder.

I ultimately ended up on a Hightower 2 CC X01, which I've put in about 300 miles on so far. Where the Jeffsy is playful, the Hightower is purposeful. Pedaling efficiency is fantastic, but where it really delivers uphill is in technical climbs. The suspension is really isolated from pedaling, and it just tracks the ground under power really well. It's also really stable and reasonably light, and doesn't take much effort to muscle around. Where the HT really departs from the Jeffsy, though, is downhill. It's a stable, planted, business-like descender. It's also really adaptable. If you want to just chill and cruise, it's comfortable and neutral. If you want to get over the front wheel and contest a KOM, you're going have a hard time finding the end of it's capabilities.

Simply put, the Hightower is more capable than the Jeffsy, with no climbing penalty. That said, I wouldn't think about these bikes that way. If you wanna get rowdy and push the limits of your speed, go HT. If you like to play and dance and prefer flow trails to rocks, you're going to like the Jeffsy more.

Interesting. You assessment sounds a lot like my HTLT, but it is also playful on the flow trails like the Jeffsy sounds like. I need to throw a leg over the new HT, may be just a little more stable down, but sounds like very similar. Thanks.

Posted: May 6, 2020 at 11:35 Quote
gmoss wrote:
Interesting. You assessment sounds a lot like my HTLT, but it is also playful on the flow trails like the Jeffsy sounds like. I need to throw a leg over the new HT, may be just a little more stable down, but sounds like very similar. Thanks.

The descending is pretty similar, but the HT2 is a little more supportive overall than the HTLT and a little more aggro. But pretty similar. However, the bigger difference between the 2 is climbing manners. Simply put, the HT2 is a full letter grade better uphill.

I actually hated the original HT, and didn't like the HTLT all that much either (even forgiving its climbing), since it still had the soul of a trail bike. But after endless demos on Evil/Yeti/Spesh/YT/Orbea.....here I am. The Hightower 2 is badass.

Posted: May 6, 2020 at 11:51 Quote
zsandstrom wrote:
gmoss wrote:
Interesting. You assessment sounds a lot like my HTLT, but it is also playful on the flow trails like the Jeffsy sounds like. I need to throw a leg over the new HT, may be just a little more stable down, but sounds like very similar. Thanks.

The descending is pretty similar, but the HT2 is a little more supportive overall than the HTLT and a little more aggro. But pretty similar. However, the bigger difference between the 2 is climbing manners. Simply put, the HT2 is a full letter grade better uphill.

I actually hated the original HT, and didn't like the HTLT all that much either (even forgiving its climbing), since it still had the soul of a trail bike. But after endless demos on Evil/Yeti/Spesh/YT/Orbea.....here I am. The Hightower 2 is badass.

which shock on your HTLT? I had a 19 HT as well, at the same time and did not like it. sold it in a few months. I luv my HTLT. climbing for me is great, tracks better over tech stuff than my TB CC did. I have no issues with how it climbs. From my understanding, the HTLT shock placement is a more pedal efficient platform, but not quite as much on the downs, which is where SC seems to be focusing now. I really cannot find any faults with my bike other than the color. LOL

Posted: May 6, 2020 at 16:28 Quote
The HTLT climbing wasn't so much a question of efficiency as it was of position. The rearward bias and slack seat tube, mostly. That said, the HT2 is more efficient AND has better climbing geo, so.....yeah.

I didn't actually own a HTLT, but a friend rode one for a season and I clocked probably 40ish miles on it over the course of a few months. It had the DPX2/36 combo, which was fine. To be clear, my gripes on the LT are about handling and attitude, not suspension performance. It just didn't have enough gusto for me to feel like it was worth hauling around 150mm of travel.

Posted: May 7, 2020 at 6:39 Quote
zsandstrom wrote:
They're extremely different. I'd describe the Jeffsy as a long-travel trail bike, whereas the Hightower 2 is much more aggressive and feels like "enduro lite".

I owned a Jeffsy OG for a couple seasons and loved it. Several bikes later, when the Jeffsy got a facelift, I was in the process of upgrading and heavily considered the new Jeffsy. But, after putting in 20 miles on a CF Pro Race, it just didn't fit the bill. It's a long-legged trail bike. Considering it has 150mm, it felt rather "skippy", as though it wanted to get on top of obstacles. Very agile, and easygoing trail manners. Pedals great, rides light, easy to corner, and generally a great all rounder.

I ultimately ended up on a Hightower 2 CC X01, which I've put in about 300 miles on so far. Where the Jeffsy is playful, the Hightower is purposeful. Pedaling efficiency is fantastic, but where it really delivers uphill is in technical climbs. The suspension is really isolated from pedaling, and it just tracks the ground under power really well. It's also really stable and reasonably light, and doesn't take much effort to muscle around. Where the HT really departs from the Jeffsy, though, is downhill. It's a stable, planted, business-like descender. It's also really adaptable. If you want to just chill and cruise, it's comfortable and neutral. If you want to get over the front wheel and contest a KOM, you're going have a hard time finding the end of it's capabilities.

Simply put, the Hightower is more capable than the Jeffsy, with no climbing penalty. That said, I wouldn't think about these bikes that way. If you wanna get rowdy and push the limits of your speed, go HT. If you like to play and dance and prefer flow trails to rocks, you're going to like the Jeffsy more.

I agree with these opinions. I am currently on an OG 29er Jeffsy with a 150mm fork and got to demo a HT LT a few summers ago. The HT was definitely more purposeful about everything it did. Climbed really well with minimal suspension bob and descended very stably. I would imagine the new HT and new Jeffsy are probably both more stable and composed than either the OG Jeffsy or HT LT.

Posted: May 7, 2020 at 11:21 Quote
Interesting. I just demoed a HT2 (size XL, XO1 build w/ reserve wheels too) for two days and loved how it descended but found it sluggish on the climbs, it felt kind of lifeless. I tried a bunch of different suspension settings and flipped the chip from low to high but nothing made it feel as responsive and quick as other bikes I've ridden, most recently the Spot Mayhem XL. Thinking I might demo an Ibis Ripmo next, maybe a Pivot Switchblade in large. Too bad I can't try the YT Jeffsy until late September when they come to Vail (if that even happens).

I wonder if the ride feel might be sizing dependent given input from people here so far.

I was hoping that given the similarities in geometry between the HT2 and the 2020 Jeffsy that they'd ride similarly w/ the Jeffsy being way cheaper. Sounds like the suspension design matters more than the geo numbers.

Posted: May 7, 2020 at 12:21 Quote
susp design absolutely matters. Shock plays a role too. One member here has the HT2 and pulled the RS off and installed a DPX2, night and day for him. So, that could be a part of what you are feeling.

I need to throw a leg over the HT2 before I can even compare to my bike, but talking with the same person I mentioned, whom went from a Jeffsy to the HTLT and now the HT2, says the HT2 is not that much better than the LT.

Posted: May 8, 2020 at 5:25 Quote
mplsjeff1988 wrote:
Interesting. I just demoed a HT2 (size XL, XO1 build w/ reserve wheels too) for two days and loved how it descended but found it sluggish on the climbs, it felt kind of lifeless. I tried a bunch of different suspension settings and flipped the chip from low to high but nothing made it feel as responsive and quick as other bikes I've ridden, most recently the Spot Mayhem XL. Thinking I might demo an Ibis Ripmo next, maybe a Pivot Switchblade in large. Too bad I can't try the YT Jeffsy until late September when they come to Vail (if that even happens).

I wonder if the ride feel might be sizing dependent given input from people here so far.

I was hoping that given the similarities in geometry between the HT2 and the 2020 Jeffsy that they'd ride similarly w/ the Jeffsy being way cheaper. Sounds like the suspension design matters more than the geo numbers.

The HT definitely has a dead feeling while climbing, but this seemed like a benefit to me. When on gravel road climbs very little of my pedal stroke went into suspension bob, and on technical climbs the suspension seemed to just soak everything up.

In fact, on the one I demoed I couldn't really feel a difference between the various compression settings on the shock while climbing. Open or super damped the suspension was just dead and efficient. Sounds lame, but I'd be riding a High Tower if they weren't so damn pricey.

Posted: May 8, 2020 at 7:38 Quote
Will1848 wrote:
Sounds lame, but I'd be riding a High Tower if they weren't so damn pricey.

Preach.

When I brought the demo back the shop recommended the Pivot Switchblade, I was stoked on it until I learned there is no aluminum model and no NX build on the carbon, cheapest is $5,500! Also superboost means I couldn't use my current wheels.

I'm going to try the Ibis Ripmo AF next or just pull the trigger on the Jeffsy when I sell my Woodsmoke.

Posted: May 8, 2020 at 7:53 Quote
I don't think you could go wrong with a hightower 2 or Ripmo OG/AF/2. You'll love any of them. I don't know anything about the YT rides. I will say that I thought I had my suspension dialed in for the last year on my Ripmo OG. But then I sent the fork off and had the shock looked at. Now I have a completely different bike and it feels wonderful. True hoverbike now. Likely having a lot to do with running air spring pressures for mere mortals instead of what's on the recommendation charts.

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