Bike Check: Steve Peat's Santa Cruz Hightower LT - Trans Madeira 2018

Jun 14, 2018
by Simon Nieborak  


Steve Peat may be retired from professional downhill racing, but this definitely does not stop him from having as much fun on the bike as possible.

Steve is still a big part of the Santa Cruz Syndicate, and recently took part in the Trans-Maderia enduro, a five day race that features 25 stages of blind racing and covers over 200km of wild terrain. His bike of choice for that event was a Hightower LT, Santa Cruz's 150mm 29er.



Shimano XTR cranks. E13 chain guide.
Shimano XTR derailleur, XT 11-46 tooth cassette.

Lizardskins' "Peaty" grips, and the remote for e*thirteen's TRS+ dropper post.

Fox Float X2 shock, 2 and a bit tokens, 230 psi.

Fox 36 fork, 3 tokens, 84.5 psi, Santa Cruz Reserve Wheels, Peaty's tubeless sealant, push ons, valves and "Rim Job" rim tape.

Crankbrothers Mallet pedals.
Fizik Gobi saddle.


Burgtec 50mm stem, Chris King headset, Burgtec Carbon bars - 20mm rise, 9 degree back sweep and 7 degree upsweep.

50to01 signature Marsh Guard.
Chris King front and rear hubs.

Maxxis Assegai tyres, 27psi front 28psi back

Peaty ended up the week in 4th place, less than two minutes from the top spot after almost two hours of racing time.



142 Comments

  • + 58
 Mark weir has some comp for best stache.
  • + 19
 He looks like that bloke that Ragnar sacrificed at Ragnarok when the priest said Athelstan was not suitable.
  • + 1
 @jaame: hahahah your so right
  • + 47
 If SC made the seat angle any slacker the HTLT would qualify as a recumbent
  • + 13
 It looks super slack because it is offset in front of the bb so much. On my XXL HTLT my STA measures at 74.0 degrees at my pedaling height. I don’t have long legs though so the daddy long legs riders might find it too slack.
I was convinced that it would be too slack until I demo’d one. Once I demo’d one I realized that it was perfect.
  • + 6
 @bogey: +1 on my XL. At 6-1 with 33" inseam I'm at 74.5° I have my seat 5mm forward of center and it's awesome. Climbs just as well as my 429 Trail.
  • + 4
 @bogey:
@MikeAzBS:

Out of curiosity, you guys calculated or measured this?
  • + 10
 I know people are saying they ride fine etc even for larger riders but surely sitting over the rear axle isnt a nice place to be when climbing?
  • + 3
 Is it also possible that the know the bike looks completely absurd with the saddle fully up so these pictures are with the post at 1/2 extension.

This picture seems to tell the full story, looks pretty horrendous - cdnmos-bikeradar.global.ssl.fastly.net/images/news/2017/05/26/steve-peats-santa-cruz-hightower-cc-2-_-1495797858883-10nlfk5pijbhy-630-354.jpg
  • + 7
 The slack seat tube angle on the HTLT is its major downfall. Even though I have very short legs (28inch inseam, 5'9"), and therefore should feel less of an impact than a long legged rider, I felt the climbing position was really uncomfortable and inefficient. It feels as if you are hanging way off the back and pushing forwards on the pedals instead of down. Comparing the HTLT to a bike like the Transition Sentinel (my current bike), which is probably ~4lbs heavier, I still find the Sentinel to be a much better climber, as it allowed me to pedal from a much more bio mechanically advantageous position, with my weight centered over the BB and my pedal stroke pushing down instead of forwards. This is especially advantageous on steeper climbs.
  • + 11
 People love to criticize the seat angle... If you LOVE to climb then don't buy one. I hate climbing and still find it not too bad on my xxl HTLT (6'6"). However, the thing is a monster truck going DH, which is primarily what it was designed for. The enduro boys asked for more travel because the EWS is basically a long ass DH comp with some climbing in between. Say what you want, but its a badass bike.
  • + 8
 It's funny all these number crunchers and how it should ride in theory. Go ride one, climbs awesome, it's been a non-issue.
  • + 3
 @jollyXroger: I measured the angle. I put my bike on a level surface in my garage (checked with my iPhone level app), then ran a straight edge from the center of my bb through to center of my saddle clamp, then checked that actual angle. Turned out to be right on 74deg.

This was only after I test rode one at 3 different SC demo days and was surprised at how it felt compared to how it looked. I bought one after that.

For comparison, the actual STA on my Tallboy3 is slacker by approx 0.5deg.

I’ve spent plenty of time on bikes with steeper STAs and never got on with a 75deg STA because my center of mass was too far forward on rolling trails. Also, my knees would hit the bars when riding turning steep, switchbacky trails (owned a Honzo ST and Honzo C). Sure, the HTLT takes more attention to keep the front wheel down on straight up steep climbs but it is better balanced everywhere else.
  • + 2
 @bogey: This makes sense! I was worried about it too with my XXL. think climbs like a beast and STA doesnt feel slack at all!
  • + 2
 It is interesting that Peaty runs his saddle quite far back on the rails. Most XC pros also run their saddles way back too. Definitely a power position. Road bikes also sit you pretty far back especially on the bigger sizes.
  • + 1
 @bogey: What is your inseam and height btw?
  • + 3
 So as an owner of a Hightower, yes it is too slack. Once you try other bikes with more current geo, you quickly realize that this bike is out of date and in need of a revamp. I’m betting there’s a new one on the way. Love my Santa Cruz bikes
  • + 3
 @bogey: I measured mine the same way. I'm an aerospace machinist and have access to a certified airframe work surface and Mitutoyo digital protractor/angle finder. I am curious if one of the reasons the SC bikes seem so unaffected is because of how the VPP gives a high pedal platform. Meaning when body weight is transferred to the rear in a climb, it sets higher in the travel than some of the other suspension designs. I guess it could be considered the active seat angle during ascent. I know my Nukeproof Mega 290 would sag in deep during steep climbs compared to the HTLT which sits up much higher.
  • + 3
 @eblackwell: Same experience. My Sentinel is far from the lightest bike with the best pedaling platform, but climbing on it has been the best experience on any bike because of where it places you over the BB.
  • + 4
 Just rode Trans Madeira on my Hightower LT. I rode every transfer without problems. And the dirt roads are really steep at Madeira. When riding seated at more level trails the angle also seems fine. Why do you think Schurter and the other xc guys run set back seat post Smile
  • + 1
 @MikeAzBS: this definitely is the case with the VPP. It still shows some of the mid-stroke wallow that used to be quite bad but SC has tamed that very well in their newer iterations. If I put my shock in Trail or climb mode it sits very high in its travel which is great. The VPP anti-squat likely helps a bunch too.

Other designs I’ve ridden tend to cause an odd reward weighshift on steep climbs but I admit that I didn’t take much time to dial them in because they weren’t mine. With my SC bikes I’ve spent time setting up the forks and shocks really well (volume spacers, air pressure, damper settings).
  • + 2
 Does VPP design prevent a steeper STA? It's not a huge thing on a consistent climbs, whether they're mellow or steep. It's when the climbing is techy that I start to notice being so far behind the pedals, almost like I'm getting pushed back. This is also true in slow speed, flat techy areas where you might stall out and then need to move forward/over something.

Is this also a feature of the VPP design, sort of like sitting in a hammock? I don't not like the way the bike rides fast but it seems to have its shortcomings on slower speed, chunky terrain. Probably an east coast thing.
  • + 0
 @map-guy: Plenty of these bikes locally and of those who ride often, they all mention how slack it is.
  • + 3
 @LB887: I have a XXL too it's a beast on the descents and climbs better than my old 140mm stumpy 29er, I run a 160mm fork on my LT
  • + 3
 @bogey: Glad to hear I'm not the only one who thinks the trend in super steep seat angles feels weird.Few knew 73-74 was slack until the Marketing Boys told us. I climb a very slow increment slower on my HTLT than on my 5010, given that I'm a sucky climber anyway and I basically don't give a rat's ass that it takes another minute to get up because being at the top of the hill on my Hightower always makes we want to go fast on the way down.
  • - 1
 Fucking whiners. Move your seat forward.
  • + 2
 @jflb: But then that alters knee over pedal and can affect pelvis rotation resulting in back pain on those long liaisons. Moving shit around to adapt lame geometry is lame.

But f*ck it, lets just ride canti-brakes and rigid forks, climb better that way.
  • + 35
 That Burgtec stem is one of the ugliest bicycle components ever to adorn a bike.
  • + 2
 I assumed I'm just too old to get it. Are you old also? Are we off-cycle, stem-fashion-wise?
  • - 2
 Followed closely by the Santa Cruz head tube badges. A pimple on an otherwise handsome nose. They could have had someone like Jeff Philips design something so good. Anything would be better.
  • + 3
 @phile99: Hi, a 20 year old here. No the stem is indeed painful to look at.
  • + 3
 @chillrider199: Heh. Pleased to meet you, young feller. Glad we had shared this cross-generational moment. (age 44)
  • + 0
 @endlessblockades: while we're at it... Same with the lines of the bike... Santa cruz seems to have lost their aesthetics a long the way(subjective, I know)... A bike like that new yeti sb100 or the new YT Capra are miles ahead in terms of looks.. Yess, looks are important.. Especially when I'm forking out big coin!
  • - 1
 Funny because I have that feeling about nearly every single thing Burgtec makes. This company seems to me like some mafia money loundry because the only thing I have ever seen from them in person were their pedals which were rebranded wellgos or VPs
  • + 7
 6 guys posting because a stem isn’t pretty enough. It’s a stem, not a bra lads. And Waki; Bugtec make some of the best components I’ve ever tried, and the boss is a top bloke, so wind your neck in.
  • - 1
 @rickcd: heh sorry, it all looks like a low end Race Face group, and smells of unfounded fanboism. If I wanted quality I's order Chris King, RideWorks, Hope. If I wanted what Deity or Burgtec represents that involves rebranded Asian catalogue stuff I'd go for Nuekproof or Superstar components. They make the best pedals I have ever tried
  • + 2
 @phile99: 33. So between old and young I guess.
@WAKIdesigns: The DM stem looks alright. Appears their DH carbon bar is being run by The Syndicate now. I notice none of their products state the country of origin; unlike Hope, etc.
Likely a lot of UK Fanboi-ism going on with Burgtec; similar to us Greasy Canadians and our love for all things Chromag.
  • + 6
 @WAKIdesigns: If you think their pedals are rebranded, it’s unlikely you’ve ever seen a pair. So essentially you’re criticising a company run by guys who are passionate about the sport, who’s products you know nothing about, and have never even seen in the flesh, let alone tried. But then again what do I know... I spend more time actually riding my bike than I do talking shite on PB articles.
  • + 0
 @gonecoastal: UK fanboism with Burgtec is strange since they are just like Nukrproof or Superstar, defo not like Hope or Rideworks
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: want good flats... Check out one up components composites... Awesome pedals.
  • - 1
 @bohns1: tried them, good. Better than their alu pedals. I still prefer El-plastique by Superstar.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I have some Hope bits on a few bikes now. It does what it claims to do. Picked up some blue hubs for the V10C to replace the DT240s. Interestingly loud. All my previous hubs had been DT240s. Now onto the silent ONYX hubs. I'm tempted by the Hope brakes though.
Been liking the Renthal stuff as of late too. Have 3 sets of bars on various bikes. Tried out the traction grips, getting some push-ons soonish. Might get the Apex stem instead of a Chromag Ranger V2.
No idea what Rideworks is.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: for the record... My race face sixc 35 carbon bars have been absolutely stellar dude.. Nothing low end about them!
  • + 0
 @bohns1: I was talking Aeffect and Chester not Race Face as a whole. And they are fine, there’s no hype around them.

@rickcd: show me a company that didn’t started from love for bikes? Most of them did Specialized, Trek, Race Face One Up
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: buddy you just need to stop talking bullshit.. It's ok if you don't have a clue...
See these pedals(and other Burgtec components also) in real and come tell us if you see Nukeproof or Superstar quality.. I say they are way better than Hope.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: yes, and those companies who started in the same way decades ago, didn’t have to deal with some keyboard warrior dope criticising their products and company on a popular online forum, based on no facts, knowledge or experience at all. I am a Burgtec fanboi, but regardless I’d never criticise any other company I knew nothing about as you do. We’re a small community who should be getting behind anyone having the balls to get products out there for us to use and enjoy.
  • - 3
 @thebikings: well, these are rather simple components so yes Superstar can do them just fine. Even One Up has pulled it off by the first attempt. You want to believe, I appreciate that. I have that for One Up components, I’d totally suck their dicks. They are all things awesome to me. BTW if you haven’t noticed I am criticizing fanboism more than burgtec or deity.
  • - 2
 @rickcd: the difference between you and me is that I don’t behave have like a lioness protecting her cubs or old dog protecting his territory as soon as some online troll says something about company I like. We are not a community, what the hell?! I don’t know you, you don’t know me, if I got splashed by a truck within next 5 minutes you wouldn’t ever know. You wouldn’t care. How could you? So no, we are not a community, we owe nothing to each other just because we both happen to ride a stupid bike.
  • + 7
 @WAKIdesigns: No, the difference between you and I is that I don’t sit behind a computer screen slating small companies to elevate my online persona. And you’re right, if you got splashed by a truck I wouldn’t care. But if you got hit by a truck, I’d do what I could, however small, to help you get back on a bike. Community.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: of course these are simple components that OneUp can do just fine. But besides fine there is also finer and finest. Hope is finer, Burgtec is finest. And no, i don't want and i don't care to believe. I'm just selling them at the shop and i have seen them in person. That's all i told you that you need to do in order to change your mind and cut the shit.
  • - 1
 @thebikings: burgtec finest? Ok I’ll let you talk then. What makes Burgtec better than Nukeproof?
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: You know what is the difference between machining an aluminium billet and pouring melted aluminium into a cast? That is the difference between finer and finest.
That paired with a 35% weight reduction makes us the difference between fine and finest.
  • + 0
 @thebikings: heh, so Nukeproof doesn’t do CNC? LOL
  • + 1
 @thebikings: well, when it comes to dropper posts I'm going to say one up is finest. That thing is hands down finally the best one I've tried yet! I've damn near had them all.. They keep that up they will be finest at all they do!
  • + 1
 @phile99: age 35... and I do agree, it’s ugly as can beSmile
  • + 1
 Have you seen the joytech stem?
  • + 13
 Cane Creek headset with a Chris King top cap. Maybe someday King will make a headset for Integrated headsets.
  • + 2
 You're right - CK doesn't make a headset for the HTLT.
  • + 3
 Definitely not a King headset... If they can't make ALL the parts, they don't make ANY of the parts.
  • + 1
 So sad that all their new bikes (except V10) have gone to integrated headsets. You can tell Peaty is not stoked - he's got his CK top cap and his CK trucker hat!

I've been a long time Santa Cruz fan but this is a deal breaker. Integrated headsets are trash.
  • + 1
 You can have the CK bearings and race with just a cane creek dust cap, no? But yes. Still sad CK doesnt just make the package
  • + 12
 I like how he has a bit of Ratboy and Minnaar on there!
  • + 8
 ...one of the main things I like about this, is that the bike looks well used...not some fresh out the box job...
  • + 7
 Thought you said Enduro was “lame” Peaty.
  • + 0
 He was going #notarealsport, meanwhile he himself made Lenzerheide, there’s Leogang with one off camber, Fort Bill consisting mainly of gravel, meanwhile EWS runs on sht as gnarly as Schladming or VDS. Not to mention trans BC Enduro. He may have some problem to distance himself from His sport, yeah, exactly, “his” sport.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: can't picture Peaty climbing, at all! Lol
  • + 4
 Blows my mind when they do a bike check and don't tell the fork travel... besides the tires that's most important thing you could tell us about the setup.
  • + 1
 @lunatyk any ideas?
  • + 0
 @brianpark:

160 for sure!
  • + 0
 @brianpark: guessing 160... but saw someone (Mark Scott?) was running 170
  • + 5
 No bar width. No care.
  • - 1
 Other than that pretty dang detailed bike check! We're definitely a tuff crowd, lol.
  • + 3
 @gonecoastal: no bar height no care
  • + 2
 @raditude: 20mm rise. Unless you want to know from ground.
  • + 3
 Frame Size?? I assume XL?
  • + 1
 if you read the article then your question will be answered.
  • + 2
 @gonecoastal: Yea, it was a joke from the previous pinkbike bar height video coverage with Hill.
  • + 1
 @deez-nucks: RockShox, yes.
  • + 5
 Dead mother fucking sexy
  • + 4
 Common shimano. Old school needs to be on the new......xtr
  • + 2
 HE cant. Chris King, like everyone else cant make the freehub without paying shimano
  • + 1
 @CM999: oh ya right. Good catch. Forgot that
  • - 2
 Surely that chain is too short? Once it compresses....snap?
  • + 3
 DREAM BIKE STATUS FOR SURE!
  • + 3
 Is that a new Chis King Boost fronthub? Never seen thus one before.
  • + 0
 Blue on blue compression dials. 100mm
  • + 2
 @fussylou: Not necessarily, I have a 2018 36 with blue dials an it is definitely 110mm boost spacing.
  • + 3
 Is he sportin´ a 44 mm off-set fork?
  • + 2
 Aren’t those tires DH casing only? Peatys got legs if he pedaling those over 200km.
  • + 1
 Unless it's some kinda prototype these should be the DHone's Minaar was introducing recently...
  • + 1
 love how 2.5" tyres on a 29er make the bike look like a monster. Big bikes for big riders. Shame they manage to also make even 36s look noodley though.
  • + 4
 Is he on a XL or XXL?
  • + 1
 Didn't Steve Peat once slate enduro, stating he'd never do it because its what old downhillers did once they retired?
  • + 1
 And it's not like he's an old retired downhiller, no sir... Wink
  • + 2
 You had me at "rim job"... Just sayin'
  • + 3
 That Trucker cap tho
  • + 1
 why does santa cruz use what looks like Phosphated hardware? seems really ugly and you never see any titanium kits.
  • + 2
 Ass-we-guy
  • + 1
 Dem spacers under the stem!
  • + 5
 Despite all the tall dudes on their team Santa Cruz really dislikes tall people if you judge then by the geo on the bigger sizes.
  • + 2
 "Dem spacers under the stem!"

How dare he choose function over style!
  • + 1
 Still on of the coolest feckers on’t scene.
  • + 1
 Chris King Headset????? Looks like a Cane Creek to me.
  • + 1
 Not that there is anything wrong with any of that
  • + 1
 Pinkbike keep going with the bikechecks! pretty sweet
  • - 1
 How do you pronounce that maxxis tire??

Ass-ee-gay?
Ass-ee-guy?

Anyone.....?
  • + 2
 Ass-ee-guy
  • + 1
 Careful, there's some dude from Switzerland in the comments above who is pretty bent out of shape about us ig'nant English-speaking folks making fun of this name. But I do take great joy in pointing out to him that you're from Britain, not "Trump-Land."
  • + 2
 "Ace egg-wine.
A segway to a siege. Why?
Ah, sea-guy!
I say Guile... (...you say Sonic Boom.)"

Sorry. I'll see myself out.
  • + 1
 What is the bike size?
  • + 1
 That shock is stiff...
  • - 1
 I'm surprised anyone is using E-Thirteen chain guides any more. Their top guide is so outdated! One-up FTW
  • + 1
 XTR trail brakes.
  • - 2
 That tire pressure though...27 and 28 lbs? He riding on the greenway or what!
  • + 2
 Real riders can't get away with much less than that...
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2018. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.080865
Mobile Version of Website