Field Test: Santa Cruz Hightower - Extra Normal, Extra Good

Dec 7, 2022
by Mike Levy  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Santa Cruz Hightower



Words by Mike Levy; photography by Tom Richards

Santa Cruz has had a Hightower in their catalog for ages now, and while we got a wholesale change to lower-link VPP suspension layout nearly four years ago, the latest version for 2023 is all about subtle refinements to a platform that was already pretty damn good. That might mean it's not the most interesting of the bunch, sure, but it all comes together to make for an extremely fun and competent trail bike.

What hasn't changed is the 145mm of travel paired with a 150mm fork or the 29" wheels, and Santa Cruz describes it by saying, "It's a mountain bike. The mid-length travel and confidence-inspiring geometry mean anywhere tires will roll, then so will this bike. No fussing, no nonsense, no silly category names."
Hightower C GX AXS Reserve Details

• Travel: 145mm rear, 150mm front
• New frame w/ downtube storage, updated geo, kinematics
• 29" wheels
• 64.5° head-tube angle
• 76.4° seat-tube angle
• Reach: 472mm (lrg)
• Weight: 32.4 lb / 14.7 kg
• MSRP: $9,799 USD
• More info: www.santacruzbicycles.com

The Hightower R is the least expensive of the bunch, and it gets a RockShox Lyrik Base, an NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, and SRAM G2 R brakes for its $5,499 USD price tag. Our GX AXS Reserve test bike comes as described, including a wireless drivetrain and those carbon wheels, for $9,799 USD. There are six complete bikes in total spread over two frames - the C version and the lighter CC frame made with fancier carbon - and you can get the latter on its own for $4,099 USD.


Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk
The new bike uses a slightly revised version of Santa Cruz's VPP layout to deliver 145mm of travel.
Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk
New bike, new hole.


So, what's new with this Hightower? While the lower link-driven VPP suspension layout sure looks like the old one, small changes in pivot locations have made for some slight but notable differences to the kinematics. There's a small drop in the lower anti-squat values for the first part of the travel to allow the suspension to be more active, but Santa Cruz says that it's still around 135-percent at sag before lowering later on in the travel. There's also a touch more leverage at the start and a bit more bottom-out resistance from the same size 210 x 55mm shock that the previous bike used, so it's refinement at both ends of the Hightower's travel.

Much more obvious than invisible leverage ratios is the large hole, er, Glovebox, in the Hightower's downtube. It comes with some padded sleeves for your whatever, and the latch is easy to use. That's not the only hole we need to talk about, however, as there's also a new one on the non-drive-side shock tunnel so you can see your shock's o-ring easier. That means you're running out of excuses for not having your sag properly. And unlike some of the other new bikes at this work party, a coil-sprung shock (or Float X2) won't fit on the Hightower; adding clearance would have meant losing about 0.4" of seat post insertion depth.

There are some small changes in the geometry department as well, including a slightly slacker front-end that now sits at 64.5-degrees and 438mm size-specific chainstays on our large test bike. It also gets a 472mm reach and 76.4-degree seat angle, which are basically the same as on the previous bike, and you'll still find a flip-chip at the lower shock mount as well. That little guy will apply just 0.3-degrees and 4mm of change at the bottom bracket, though.




Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk
Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk


Climbing

Santa Cruz does a pretty good job of making bikes ride well without needing to push the limits of geometry or manufacturing, and I mean that as a compliment rather than a critique. You know where things go wrong? At the front of the pack. It's sometimes best to leave that for the smaller brands and instead design something that you know will just work, period. That seems to be what Santa Cruz has done with the third-generation Hightower.

As Kazimer described in the review video above, the bike's pedaling position feels quite neutral and easy to live with compared to bikes with steeper seat angles, the Genius ST being a prime example. There are longer and slacker trail bikes that do benefit from a more upright seat tube, especially if it's really steep, and it would have been easy for Santa Cruz to follow the same path. That can work, but it's probably not going to work as well everywhere; sometimes, it can feel like a bit too much. But the Hightower is more comfortable over a long day, and it's more manageable in the twisties to boot.

The Hightower's VPP suspension is said to have a bit less anti-squat than the previous version, and while I'd have to ride the new and old bikes back-to-back to give you an apples-to-apples comparison, I will say that this bike nails that not too firm, not too soft middle ground. The rear-end tracks as well as it would ever need to, and there's enough grip to put the onus on you rather than the bike when you fall over before you can unclip. At the same time, it seems to have less bob than the shorter-travel Norco Fluid and enough efficiency that I'd never bother reaching for the pedal-assist switch.

How does it stack up against the new Yeti? That's a much closer comparison, but the Yeti might squeak ahead on traction and low-speed handling. So while there's nothing between the two bikes if your climbs don't require much thinking, the SB140 is able to get around tight switchbacks and through awkward stuff with a bit less effort.

I would have thought all of these bikes were impossibly good climbers if I'd ridden any of them as recently as three or four years ago. They'd all be great for your rootiest or smoothest climbs, sure, but Hightower is more agile than the Scott and it pedals better than the Yeti, but maybe a smidge behind the Trek.


Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk

Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk
Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk


Descending

When Kazimer put my name down to ride the Hightower while we were planning this Field Test, I'm pretty sure I said, "Sure," then forgot two minutes later and moved on with my day. When we got to Whistler, the Hightower was the last bike I took out for testing and, up until that point, the least interesting to me. Aside from that amazing paint job, obviously.

Then I rode it and realized Santa Cruz have come up with one hell of a sleeper. On paper, the Hightower looks pretty normal, but it comes alive on the trail, and it only took three or four corners for me to quickly gain a bunch of misplaced confidence in my skills. It usually takes twice as long. That's exactly what you want from your bike, and while I can't quite pinpoint why, the Hightower was especially good at carrying speed through corners. I'd describe it by saying that it felt like I was nearly always in the right position between the wheels without having to consciously think about my movements, and I needed to make fewer mid-corner corrections than when I was on the same trail but riding a different test bike.


Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk
Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk


There's one descent, in particular, that is pretty much just loose, dusty switchback after loose, dusty switchback, giving you about a hundred opportunities to mess things up but also to redeem yourself. All of the bikes could get down it well, but I began to see patterns in performance when doing lap after lap on them. The longer, slacker Genius was great here as well, but I was by far the most consistent and quickest on the Hightower, especially when at my limits. Inevitably, I'd bobble a slippery turn or ricochet off a polished root strangely on the other bikes, but all my laps on the Santa Cruz were about as smooth as I could ever hope for.

All of these trail bikes are fun to ride almost anywhere, but the Hightower also took to the flow quite well. The Norco and Yeti could feel a touch muted when the ground was smooth and flat, whereas the Santa Cruz was happier to reward you for your pumping. At the other end of the spectrum, when things got really rough and pointy, the Scott Genius ST uses its extra length and travel to put a bit of time on the other bikes. If you pressed me to fault the Santa Cruz, I'd probably say that sort of situation, at the outer extreme use cases for this category of bike, is where I could begin to fault the Hightower. It pedals well, but it's not a rocket ship; it descends well, but it's not trying to be a light-duty enduro bike.

In other words, there are other bikes that are better at certain things, but few that are this good at as many things as the Hightower.


2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.


Our Hightower's build kit includes some fancy bits like carbon wheels and a wireless derailleur, but it wasn't trouble-free. The GX Eagle AXS derailleur's clutch was soft enough to cause noticeably more chain slap than on the other bikes, and the chain even fell off a couple of times as well. On top of that, one of the parallelogram's pivot pins started to work its way out after losing the c-clip that holds it in at the opposite end. This could have been from a rock strike, but there were no scars to give me that impression. Speaking to SRAM, it sounds like this would be a warranty issue that a local shop could help with, or a rider could visit SRAM's rider support page for more information.

The Hightower isn't the light and speedy trail bike you'd want to do the odd cross-country race on, and it's also not a burly one that you'd take to a bunch of rowdy enduro races. But it's most certainly a damn good trail bike that's easy to get along with everywhere... even on a nightmare climb or when you rolled into a descent that you had no business riding. That makes it a great choice for anyone who'd check the 'All of the above' box on their singletrack lunch menu.




Pros

+ A very impressive all-rounder
+ Loves any and all corners
+ Middle of the road geo will work for everyone

Cons

- Not the absolute best at anything... but it is good at lots of things.
- We had issues with the derailleur, brake levers
- It's your money, but the price seems... pricey




The 2022 Fall Field Test is presented G-Form




374 Comments

  • 342 3
 Anytime a new review comes out I look at the price, check the pros/cons then straight to the comments.
  • 124 4
 man i just go straight to the comments
  • 22 1
 absolutely, despite the cons always being passive aggressive, you spoke to me with this post. lol.
  • 52 2
 I check the price and straight to the build kit...then to the comments. Five-figure GX (wireless or not) is just B-O-N-K-E-R-S!!!
  • 4 0
 @NoahJ: I’m just trying to make the disappointment last a little longer.
  • 6 0
 @nyhc00 it's the obvious TLDR way
  • 2 2
 At least most of the bikes in this grouptest are at a similar price bracket, with a couple of wildcards thrown in.
  • 31 8
 Now that bike geometry has settled down, bikes have become boring. Is it from a major brand? It will ride well. Whats the geo? Don't bother looking it up, they've all mostly converged. Bikes are better than ever now, and you have to go out of your way to find one that rides poorly, but man it makes the industry kinda boring.
  • 43 1
 They really should just put the comment section at the top
  • 11 1
 @smartyiak: considering that GX AXS at the moment is $400, I’ll agree with the Bonkers. What’s even more bonkers is that people pay that price.
  • 32 0
 I really don’t get it. You can buy the over priced frame and build it up with better spec for less money! People have to be insane to buy this stuff?
  • 15 0
 @sunringlerider: yeah it’s crazy especially when you see all the deals on Sram components right now. Granted I got a deal on the frame but I just built an X01 Stumpy with carbon wheels for under 6k. NX garbage for 5500 is a joke.
  • 24 1
 Even the Yeti was cheaper and had a better kit…
  • 22 2
 @Monkeyass: It's incredible that people pay these prices when you have companies like Guerrilla Gravity with essentially equivalent builds that sell between 4-5K.

ridegg.com/collections/outlet-bikes
  • 14 0
 @the00: They cost about the same, but the other ones in a similar price range come with better components. I don't know about you, but when I build a bike the majority of the cost is in the components. I know that OEM prices are far different, but even if you're the type to drop $10k on a full bike, why buy one that needs component upgrades?
  • 16 2
 @DizzyNinja: Yes, I get all my highest quality information from a bunch of cynics who more than likely have never ridden the bike and have deeply ingrained brand loyalties bias (for or against)

*I know the value in the comments is the entertainment*
  • 8 0
 @hamncheez: Maybe you've just over indulged? imagine being into ski's... or golf.. way more stagnant.
  • 9 7
 @SvenNorske: but they are hideous...
  • 5 0
 @ridingofthebikes: hey when I got into skiing in 2008 the industry was being revolutionized. I got some hellbents, and then some Surface Skis with "triple stage rocker", and man I was the cool kid on the mountain with my reverse camber ultrawides in the park. Then a few years later I got some SPK books that had a rubber toe to prevent toebang! Those were the days. Now ski tech is boring too...
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez: I miss the funny looks I'd get standing in the lift line with my Live Life 2's. So much fun, but legit looked like someone drove over them and they were broken. I also miss my New Life's. Most fun ski I've ever had.
  • 1 0
 @awitty: let that one sink in...
  • 4 18
flag scary1 (Dec 7, 2022 at 10:35) (Below Threshold)
 They should start with the pros and cons a then there might be a chance that I read all that.
There’s a point to where that many words looks like you’re trying to justify your job.
  • 2 1
 I immediately buy anything that is posted or reviewed by Pinkbike. My trust is bigger than my wallet
  • 16 0
 ooof 10k and they still felt the need to go non-factory... bold move cotton
  • 20 2
 The all new 2023 Santa Cruz Meh.
  • 7 0
 @NoahJ: after pausing auto-play?
  • 5 0
 @scary1: Sacrificing the Reserves for some DT Swiss 1700 or similar and getting factory suspension would be my idea of a good all-rounder.
  • 15 0
 Do you guys ever get to the end of the comment section and wish there was a comment section commenting on the comment section?
  • 7 0
 @jrfields: You mean the hidden down voted comments? That's where some of the best stuff is hiding
  • 9 2
 the HT is probably at this point one of the most iconic all-mountain 29ers, dad bike or not.
  • 6 0
 @iantmcg: yeah that’s crazy I just built an XO1 banshee for around 4500
  • 2 0
 @jsnfschr: Yes! I still have my New Lifes, but I haven't used them in a few years since they are traditional bindings and not touring.
  • 3 1
 It would be quite helpful, and insightful, if we had side by side reviews of the least expensive and most expensive of each model.
  • 1 0
 @zanekenley: which frame? Deciding between a dirt cheap brand new rune frame or a used prime. For a mullet.
  • 12 0
 @hamncheez: I get your point. I too enjoyed seeing the rapid improvements in bikes until a few years ago. However, I didn't enjoy flipping my bikes every year to keep up. Which Is why I'm still very happy to be riding the 2020 hightower I've had since the day it came out in 2019. This review has confirmed that I will keep it for at least a couple more years. The frame is a great platform to keep changing parts as needed, and if I ever manage to break it SC will give me a new one...It is kinda funny that the biggest difference between this one and the previous version is the price, paid $4300 for the Carbon R in 2019, 28% is a pretty big jump in 3 years.
  • 3 0
 I just check for cable routing
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez @jsnfschr loved that ski and probably my favorite ski I ever owned. So fun inbounds given that absurd shape and weight. Backlands and Bents are great skis but they are pretty vanilla in comparison.
  • 1 0
 Same
  • 1 0
 @Hayek: They were so stiff! Doing butters and nose presses in the part was way fun (fun, and you got funny looks). Since the effective camber was so short you could spin so easily.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: And you could monster truck over any kind of chop/crap snow because they were so stiff. And rail long, high speed carves on groomers. They held an edge so well.
  • 1 0
 @jsnfschr: Ah the good old days. Now with kids, I can go on 5am bike rides, but getting away to ski is too much of a time commitment. I haven't even been skiing at all since 2020, and that was backcountry.
  • 1 0
 @SvenNorske: while as a general notion I agree with you, limited or lacking distribution and ease of access to parts and service in some countries is a major deterrent in regards to the purchase of some brands (the aforementioned GG and the like).

While SC prices are getting more ridiculous every year, I have no doubt they will continue to sell easily in NZ for example, as we are severely limited when it comes to availability of anything but the most mainstream brands. I don't imagine we are the only ones.
  • 1 0
 @Edgibson: I have a rune v3 and have been considering a mullet it will take a 180mm 27.5 fork so a 170mm 29r should do it would be a little high. Right now I am in 27.5x2.6 mode and I love it.
  • 1 0
 @tprojosh: usually not lol, thats why my data use is so high on safari. I scroll so fast that I miss it before it loads and then don't remember.
  • 2 0
 @sunringlerider: If we can buy it for $400, imagine what’s SC pays for it.
  • 4 0
 When even Pinkbike says the price is a problem tho.. Wink
  • 10 0
 finally a quiver killer that costs as much as a quiver
  • 1 0
 @Monkeyass: a price list of this bike's components would be entertaining to go poo. Are you not entertained?
  • 2 0
 @Monkeyass: imo a lot of it comes down to time. When you have a wife, litter of kids, work full time plus and you still want to get out it’s hard to get the time to mess with building a bike.

I’ve been having the dealers build more and more as I’ve gotten older. When you buy complete your buying time to spend riding over a day putting a bike together.
  • 2 0
 @meathooker: Definitely. I don't have any of the above and have probably built about 15 custom bikes in the last 3 years. But lately I've started to get less interested in doing fork service and swapping parts, etc. It is good to know how to work on your bikes and bleed brakes but there's a point where you want your time more than you want to work on the bike. For me, I pretty much decided my line in the sand is suspension. That goes to DirtLabs from now on.
  • 4 0
 @meathooker: i have all those things and i’m old asf. It takes a few hours to build a bike? Particularly if you’re flipping parts from another bike…add in an evening for internet shopping for other parts and you’re done. You just saved 3k and have better bike than these yeti/sc 10k builds with mid range components
  • 2 2
 @meathooker: my mechanic is independent, not tied to a shop. He charges 60 an hour and could probably build a bike in about 3 hours. I agree with family and everything I just don’t have a strong desire to do a lot of my own work.
  • 2 0
 Time to start bringing the weight down on these bikes. Like 5 lbs less. @hamncheez:
  • 2 0
 @cgmorais: 5 pounds off the body does you way more good than a few bike pounds
  • 1 0
 @foggnm: would like to know how this version compares to the previous versions? I still have a v1 Hightower C and although there’s no way to justify the price of upgrading to a newer version Im still curious as to how much better the 2nd and 3rd versions ride compared to the first? It doesn’t seem like much has changed on the last two. At least SC has stayed away from HS cable routing.
  • 118 4
 Is Pinkbike counting all these first 2 seconds of those damn videos auto-playing before everyone rage-stops them as "unique video impressions" when presenting the numbers to their corporate overlords?
Because that's exactly the bullshit numbers execs would love to see.
  • 35 0
 It's the same as IT support rebooting a PC 3x a day instead of fixing the problem so they can get their ticket-closed count up for their next annual review
  • 4 0
 @DizzyNinja:
@notoutside-CEO ???
  • 7 1
 It doesn't autoplay for me. However the image shows the Yeti instead of this Santa Cruz bike. Does this go for others too? Not saying it bothers me, just surprised.
  • 1 1
 @vinay: exact same situation for me.
  • 4 0
 turn down yer WHAMULATOR
  • 5 1
 @initforthedonuts: Robin is busy handing out pink slips...
  • 5 1
 @ReformedRoadie:
Thumbs down! Not negative props for your comment, just general disapproval of the layoffs.
  • 3 0
 Once I hit mute one time, it's stayed muted for all the other videos, so I don't even notice it's autoplaying as I scroll past before it even starts. It's probably still playing now...
  • 3 0
 @TucsonDon: and outside+ thanks you for your bandwidth sacrifice
  • 4 2
 If you like a conspiracy theory, then let's go with Levy and the gang doing an Inside job on Outside by forcing those videos to play... Thousands of views an hour (from autoplay), articles full to bursting with comments (see above).... The stats don't lie, send the money to the mountain bikers!
  • 1 0
 @DizzyNinja:

Exactly why everyone thinks we are clowns cos no one bothers with RCA anymore!
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: Yeah, I think it is their revenge. "You're not going to auto-watch our video? We're going to make your life horrible. We're going to show you the wrong image in the article." And it does work like that, doesn't it? I feel horrible. Wrong image in the article, oh dear...
  • 84 2
 Man, for that amount of money, I would hate to have my bike be called "normal."
  • 25 14
 It's a unfortunate term, but i think SC have a such a well sorted range of bikes. Their bikes should be used as a benchmark in every grouptest. Normal in this context just means good at everything, without ever screaming out as outstanding. This spec is expensive, but I see plenty of them on the trails. Because so many people know them, that would be another good reason to reference them as a benchmark.
  • 9 0
 Ha. True. Needs more sizzle. Hard to phrase "not weird" in a positive way. Smack dab in the sweet spot of all around goodness doesn't get enough respect.
  • 8 15
flag chrismac70 (Dec 7, 2022 at 9:21) (Below Threshold)
 @the00: I guess it’s one way of making everything what look good value. SC bikes aren’t that good that’s why they keep tweaking them every year to fix the problems. As for the free bearings that just marketing bs. Your going to get through slot off bearings for that to stack up
  • 17 0
 For that kind of money, I would buy two quiver bikes that do their individual range of performance really good... much more fun than a "jack of all trades master of none" sort of ride.
  • 8 2
 I don’t know if “normal” is all that bad when in the context of a Trailbike. By design trailbikes are intended to be well rounded, good at everything. So 50/50 maybe 60/40 split descending/climbing performance.
In most cases if these bikes were to excel in one. It would most likely be to the detriment of the other. Not always the case but more than likely.
I think if I was in the market for a do everything trailbike. a jack of all trades master of none would be precisely what to look for.
  • 8 1
 I just bought a rival to the Hightower and paid $6200 USD. Carbon frame, fox factory front/rear/dropper, XT kit with rear derailleur being XTR. Make it make sense, Santa Cruz!
  • 2 1
 @peterman1234: Meta TR?
  • 3 0
 @SeanDRC: meta TR isnt carbon
  • 12 0
 @brycepiwek: "Normal" not only describes this bike's handling characteristics, "normal" also perfectly describes this bike's specs. Select+ shock, non-Factory fork, Code RS brakes, non-AXS reverb seatpost, 32lbs; all of that is corner-cutting bullshit you shouldn't have to deal with for this price.
  • 9 0
 You pay a big premium for the 'SC' badge it seems.
  • 10 0
 Being bummed about a bike with new kinematics, new geometry, and new features - even if none of them are radically new - is why some companies lead with industrial design, follow with bold new colourways, and finish with hastily cobbled together engineering.

Hopefully, people will continue to realize a bike doesn't need to look new to ride new. An original Turner Burner, for example, doesn't look that different from some modern bikes, but geometry, kinematics, pivot design, and frame features have changed considerably. A modern VPP, Horst, etc. can all have nearly the same ride feel, while ancient VPP, Horst, etc. ride very differently from their modern counterparts.

Ride characteristics aren't defined by how the bike looks or even the suspension linkage configuration, it's all about subtle placement of the links that produces the kinematics, the geometry, strength & stiffness, wheel & tire set-up, dropper stroke, spring & damper, etc. - many of which are visually inconspicuous.
  • 3 0
 @Dtwillow Or from the review, "it just works." That's a summary for testing a Toyota Corolla.
  • 10 1
 @the00: It's hard to call something "benchmark" that is out of the price range to most of those who even work in the industry. To be testing a bike with GX axs (far from the top of the line) and performance elite suspension with a price tag of over 10k is not normal. There are many of them on the trails but people now just pay for the name, like paying for a Lexus badge when you are driving a Toyota.
  • 5 0
 $9800, with a 150mm fork and carbon wheelset weighing 32.4 lbs BAHAHAHAaaaa!!!!!!!
  • 4 0
 @the00: Your post just reinforces why this bike at this price is a total fail. For that kind of money, i'd expect every single aspect of the bike to be "screaming out as outstanding".
  • 1 0
 @wburnes: Haha missed the carbon frame part somehow
  • 1 0
 @SeanDRC: no sweat. I got a pivot switchblade during a 20% off sale -- deals to be had out there, making the thought of full price for a SC even more insane
  • 63 0
 I know it’s been said, but these prices and looking at the build kit is just insane. Almost $11,000 and you only get a Select+ shock?! That’s just dumb. Slap a cable on that derailleur and bump the shock to an Ultimate. It’s still terrible value but at least it’s not completely nonsensical.
  • 55 0
 Santa Cruz are now masters at cheaping out on some components if you don't pay attention : GX AXS shifters on X01 builds, GX carbon cranks on X01 builds, no RS Ultimate shocks on some top tier builds, no Reverb AXS on ''AXS'' builds (even on XX1 AXS), i9 1/1 hubs instead of i9 Hydra, no DD tires on air shocks builds for the same price & ETC.
  • 19 0
 The most insane is the lowest spec bike with an NX drivetrain and base suspension for $5500 USD or $7500 CAD.... it's made even more crazy by other brands offering the same or better spec for thousands of dollars less... and the bikes perform equally as well if not better in some cases.

And to your point you can't even get the Ultimate shock until you spend two levels up!

I've had extended 3 day demos on the Hightower and Megatower and they did not offer anything performance-wise that was better than most others. I actually preferred a number of other bikes. I really don't get why anyone who did their homework would buy one of these.
  • 22 0
 Agreed - the build kits are offensive to your end consumer. To be shelling out nearly $11k and to have to settle for lesser suspension AND drivetrain is patently absurd.

I'd suspect you could easily build a nicer bike from the frame up. If the frame-only is valued at $4,100, that leaves you $6,650.00 to get your build kit put together. I'm fairly confident you could buy all the parts individually for less than $6,650.00.

Years ago, you definitely got a modest "discount" on your parts kit for buying a complete bike. It's utter B.S. that bike companies will overcharge you to deliver a complete bike.
  • 4 0
 @islandforlife: That's Insane. Can hardly believe that.
  • 13 0
 Fair play to @mikelevy for bringing up the pricing with eye rolls a few times in these reviews, especially with respect to the specs...
  • 14 0
 @KJP1230: That's what I'm thinking as well. $1000 for a fork, $1500 for a wheelset, $1000 for a groupset. $1000 for everything else. That puts me at ~$8600 with nicer parts than the $8800 stock build.
  • 16 1
 @smartyiak: it gets worse. This one came with the cheap frame. You don’t even get their high end frame for that money
  • 8 12
flag endorium (Dec 7, 2022 at 9:37) (Below Threshold)
 Not just bikes though. Energy prices tripled, oil record high, cars electric and ice have increased a lot. All adds up. Mark up is high on bikes, but tell me an industry where it's not
  • 6 0
 I purchased two SCs for my family in 2021 before the prices went bananas. At the time, it seemed like they were a decent value, especially for the workmanship in the frame, performance and ease of maintenance. 1.5 years later I don't feel the same anymore. For example, the base Alu build on the hightower in 2020 was LITERALLY $1k less than the same spec'd model version they sell today... we are talking a greater than 30% price increase. What is SC thinking I would like to know? SCs are good bikes but no way I would pay those prices with those kind of specs. They are good bikes but so what? Everybody makes good bikes these days.
  • 16 0
 You know it's wild when Pivot and Specialized are starting to look like a killer deal
  • 9 1
 @islandforlife: I cannot imagine paying $7,500 for an NX drivetrain.

How much is SC saving with NX shifter and derailleur over GX, $100-$200?
  • 7 1
 @endorium: you're generally correct, but (crude) oil is not at an all-time high: tradingeconomics.com/commodity/crude-oil
  • 1 0
 It is Select+ because you have to match it with Grip damper (not Grip2) Wink
  • 1 1
 @pmhobson: to the public it is don't care what it costs the companies at the top
  • 2 2
 @endorium: Maybe in the UK, but oil prices have been coming down in the US. I pay $3.80 a gallon right now and I am in a sort of expensive state.
  • 2 0
 @HB208: Yeah it's down below $4/gallon at some stations in near me in Portland, OR. Interestingly, other stations close by seem to be continuing their march towards $6/gallon
  • 4 0
 @islandforlife: yeah that “entry level” build made me spit up in my mouth a little. I think you can get a Stumpjumper with GX/XO1 and performance elite suspension for about US $6k (same build was $5000 2 years ago). Im not worried about the sucker who pays $11k for the top model, but $5500 for that NX crap build?
  • 3 0
 @toast2266: Always buy the frame and build your own bike. You will save a minimum of 25% off retail complete bike... and get the high-end frame and shock.
  • 7 0
 Friends, if you drop 10 grand on a new bike with a lower-end frame and a Reverb dropper, you need your head examined. In the past I owned a Bronson and a Hightower, both new, and can't imagine being willing to buy a Santa Cruz again ever.
  • 1 0
 @Phillyenduro: Please examine my head, I have no money left to get it done.
  • 2 0
 @Baller7756: Depends on the bike. I couldn't build my Propain from the frame up for the price I paid for the complete.
  • 1 0
 on a positive note they spend some of their ridiculous margin on sponsoring pinkbike racing.
  • 3 0
 @toast2266: Take 20 minutes and price it out... you may be surprised. Of course I dont mean just buy all your parts at big box retail price. Look for the lowest price, and particularly this time of year, look for sales and promo codes.

SRAM drivetrain and brakes are on sale right now 25-40% off.
OneUp just had 20% off everything.
Cane Creek just had 40% off everything.
Various tires have been on sale 25%-50% off.
Ibis had wheel sets 35% off.
Spesh and Ibis had frames 25% off.
Of course you can also find new or like-new components and frames on PB Buy/Sale for much less than retail.
  • 3 0
 @peterman1234: comp level specialized often is solid value
  • 2 0
 @KJP1230: Yup, that is the way!

In 2020 I bought brand new 2019 Tallboy CC V3 frame on 45% discount, and then spend few enjoyable months hunting for best deals - and now I have my dream bike with full XT, nice DT swiss 1500 wheelsets, bike yoke dropper, thomson stem and handlebars.
(And 2019 Tallboy v3 matches my riding style better then newer versions!)
  • 2 0
 @drib: That's awesome
  • 38 1
 11k, 32lbs and doesn’t even get a factory fork. Insane. At least take me out to dinner first if you’re gonna f*ck me like that on price.
  • 7 15
flag Chippps (Dec 7, 2022 at 9:51) (Below Threshold)
 Surprised how pissy everyone is about 32lbs on a trail bike. Enduro rigs seem to have landed in the 32-35lb range and people seem to accept that fine. Trail bikes today are basically light-duty enduro and mostly seem to be in the 30-32lb range. Trail and enduro bikes have been over 30lb for a while. You could always go XC or "downcountry" if you need a lighter bike.
  • 9 0
 @Chippps: 32 lbs for $11k tho. I’m not one to complain about weight considering I ride a 38lb enduro rig but at that price it’s just wild to me
  • 15 0
 @Chippps: I would hate to blow 11k on a 32lb bike when a 6.5k top-end Propain Hugene is sub-30. Not to mention you will get fox factory front and back on the Hugene, not some budget build lol
  • 7 0
 @Chippps: My 28lb. V2 Ripmo disagrees.
  • 1 0
 @Chippps: my bike: 28lbs with 150 f/r & a coil. www.vitalmtb.com/community/marktuttl3,49559/setup,45250#comment-250924

Plus this Occam new is only $6,400…
  • 37 0
 I can buy everyone in my family a Vitus, or 1 of these.... Tough call.
  • 19 1
 I can buy everyone in my family one of these, for the same price as just buying myself one of these
  • 25 1
 I can buy a family for that. Wait - I forget - are we still on the dark web here?
  • 32 0
 On a positive note.. this round of Field Test episodes seem to be a bit longer than others, and Mikes are always a classic pair to listen to talking about bikes. Enjoying the casual, unhurried reviews. Nice work y’all.
  • 26 0
 Pinkbike Autoplay. Getting more normal, not getting any less annoying.
  • 10 1
 the kids can't understand anything unless there's a youtube video that comes with it. Only us old people read.
  • 27 2
 Boring and overpriced
  • 17 0
 Just for a bit of context, I built a 2022 s-works stumpjumper with xx1 axs, factory level fox suspension front and rear, roval carbon wheels, oneup carbon bars, specialized carbon railed saddle and xtr brakes for less than $7500. If I had the shop build it up for me, it would still have been well under $8k.
  • 5 0
 Last two bikes I've built (21 S-Works Stumpy and 22 Stumpy EVO) were nowhere near these prices. Both are full XT, We Are One carbon wheels with DT350's and all high-quality other bits that surpass what I am seeing in this field test. I'd say your $7500 number is in the ballpark. The EVO less since the frame was on sale for $2200 recently.
  • 3 1
 still over $10,000 canadian. wowza.
  • 6 0
 @Tinshield: seems like savvy buyers can easily build complete bikes with specs that match factory builds for thousands less, or build something that is significantly better for the same or less than the factory mid-tier builds.
  • 5 0
 Vitus and Nukeproof offer 14kg carbon for 5500
  • 2 0
 @fruitsd79: he’ll yeah. The giga really tickles my turnip
  • 3 3
 @Tinshield: There's really no reason to complain about the cost of these ~10k builds. No one is forcing anyone to buy that model. You have to be either a complete idiot or just rich and lazy to pay that much for those builds. Like you said, it's still easy to build great high end bikes for thousands less than these prices. Just takes knowing how to use the internet or being friendly with your LBS. I will say its a bit ridiculous that the cost of this CC frame has gone up by $1100 in only 4 years time.
  • 4 0
 That's definitely the way to go now, build up frames and even keep your parts or at least most of them from build to build. Worse case scenerio you end up with a top level build for low level build retail cost. If you are smart with buying parts or retaining them it can be way less. Sram fucked everybody by introducing NX and SX but you can't blame manufacturers for trying to increase profit margins, that's just what they do. It's a business. Realistically a good drivetrain, good set of wheels, good suspension can last a long time. Swap out things like bars, stem, cranks ect to adjust to different bike dimensions and preferences.
  • 3 0
 @warmerdamj: exactly what I do is move parts and sprinkle in new stuff.
  • 3 0
 @Tinshield: This is the way.
  • 20 1
 11k dollars for a 15kg bike
  • 9 1
 Even has carbon wheels and is still a total pig on the scales. Ridiculous. Buy some catalogue frame direct to customer bike instead, build it up with the nicest parts you can find and still save money.
  • 4 0
 My first thought too. My bike is 16kg, but has more travel and cost less than half that.
  • 11 1
 Brands got tired of giving warranty to Clydesdales and other ham-fisted frame and parts breakers. Now you and me ride this tanks because of them.
  • 13 0
 @nozes: Nailed it. But to be fair, PB commenters do post incessantly about third-hand stories they heard 12 years ago about some manufacturer's frame having an issue, so this seems like smart business, especially since consumers have been accepting 30+ lb bikes trail bikes for a while now. People are gonna complain regardless - you put EXO casings on a tire and people bitch about the tires not being heavy duty enough. You put DD and someone else is going to bitch about the weight.
  • 1 0
 @Chippps: I think it's the weight (which I agree is pretty average, most trail bikes are well over 30lbs) combined with the eye watering price, which people take issue with. For that much money you'd expect slicker, lighter engineering.

@rarerider: Or get your bike on cycle to work and pay 30% less than retail Wink Then you can happily switch out some parts and keep others.
  • 4 1
 @nozes: I will happily to take a 2lb penalty for stuff that is bombproof. That extra 2 lbs is just more cardio on the climbs. A lot people pay monthly fees just to lift heavy things in a gym. 2 lbs isnt going to make or break my average ride time of 2 hours.
  • 4 0
 @DKlassen8: I'd love to not have any warranty to be able to take 2 more lbs off my bike!
  • 18 1
 $5.5k for NX Big Grin
  • 15 2
 At least that implies you're getting a regular HG freehub body hence you can always upgrade to Microshift.
  • 4 0
 @vinay: thanks for saying what I'm thinking, Microshift is awesome
  • 2 0
 @Rexuis-Twin: it actually is. My winter bike has microshift acolyte with a 46tooth on the back and its phenomenal, thats micro shifts mid tier at best offering. Really impressed. and the clutch is strong as hell.
  • 2 0
 @ridingofthebikes: Thats great, I am a die hard shimano guy, but have been so interested in Microshift. everytime I talk about them, I only hear good things. they are going to be my next drivetrain, can't wait. and the priced are bargain barrel compared to similar groups from sram and shimano.

and they sponsor enduro race teams, so their products are out there competing with the best in the industry.
  • 2 0
 @Rexuis-Twin: Heck yeah, Well I can confirm they work excellently. Not a sigle mishap, chain drop or adjustment needed in hundreds of kilometers in a short time! and that's in ice and snow. Also setup was easy and they have excellent youtube support videos. Great company. I think my 12-26 cassette was like $50 Cad. and The clutch deraileur was $55 cad. hela value.
  • 2 0
 @ridingofthebikes: I have the wide range 8sp version on my daughters mountainbike and it works very well. I'm considering replacing my Zee setup (10sp 11-36t cassette) with the "kids" 8sp version. Not too unhappy about Zee but because the sprockets are so close together, wear and dirt can cause it to jump between sprockets. The further distance could sort that, as I didn't have that already with 9sp. The downside might be that if I do need to replace sprockets, I'll probably have to replace the entire cassette. With my XT cassette, I only replace the sprocket I need to replace (for the smallest four) or a cluster of two. I rarely need to replace the bigger sprockets so replacing the individual smaller ones is cheaper for me. That is, unless I don't need to replace them as often in the first place if the 8sp setup isn't as sensitive to wear.
  • 16 0
 $10,750 USD

for that reason , I 'M OUT
  • 4 0
 $16000CDN
  • 1 0
 Chill, this isn't the most expensive model. If they would have featured that one, I'm sure people would have got a bit upset.
  • 13 0
 At least with Yeti you are supporting a Colorado company owned by a couple of mountain bikers. With Santa Cruz you are supporting a Dutch Billionaire conglomerate.
  • 3 0
 100%
  • 2 0
 But Santacruz supports some trails developments (including in ColoradoWink ) through their program Paydirt Projects..
  • 2 0
 Id' rather pay 7k for an equivalent Propain/Nukeproof/Banshee/whatever and donate 4k to a trail association than spend 11k on a bike. No matter who owns the company behind it.
  • 10 0
 Process of elimination = Norco was Kaz's fastest downhill time Wink ...and at less than half the price of these other bikes.

These high end bikes have some cool looking linkages with special sounding names...but they still can't compare to a tried and true horst link lol.
  • 14 2
 Clearance for a coil shock > "0.4" of seat post insertion depth"
  • 13 10
 Santa cruz wants to appease the bros that flex over how good their 240mm dropper is even though they don't need anything above 175 lol.
  • 5 0
 I would agree for the larger frame sizes, but this is a pretty big issue on smaller frames. That shock tunnel cuts out a ton of room for the seatpost.
  • 4 0
 @nskerb: What about the bros who want to fit a coil shock just because it looks cool but who won't actually feel the difference?
  • 4 0
 @nskerb: Is dropper post flexing a thing? Doesn't everyone just get the longest one that fits their bike and body?
  • 1 0
 How to they account for this on the mega/nomad?
  • 1 0
 @nskerb: lol, why would you not want as much drop as you can, legs are where you get the most suspension from anyways.
  • 2 0
 @Austin014: haha we should definitely make it a thing. Like boasting about the length your shirt sleeves.
  • 10 0
 Reviews like this really make me appreciate that there are still sane bike companies making good bikes at a good price... Just not this one
  • 10 3
 Great review, I built up one of these recently. I have the CC frame in the same color and as the Mikes mentioned, the paint is incredible in person. It's mostly a tinted clearcoat over the carbon and it looks insane in the sunlight. It's my favorite paintjob ever.

I have owned the Hightower LT (V1), V2, and now the V3. The V2 when Santa Cruz switched to the lower link arrangement was a huuuuuge improvement over the LT. With the V3 the differences between the V2 are more subtle but they are there. As Kaz (I think) said it's a much sportier ride than before.

The bike rides higher in the travel, some of which probably has to do with the new generation of RockShox suspension on the bike (Lyrik Ultimate, Super Deluxe Ultimate). There are a lot of punchy climbs on my neighborhood trails and it's much easier to scoot up them on the new bike. The V2 climbs just fine, but it's mushier when really on the pedals.

Frame quality/fit and finish is excellent, however, I did have a rattle that took a few rides to chase down. The noise was coming from the door covering the frame storage. A couple tiny pieces of foam tape helped the door squeeze tighter when latched and stopped the rattle. It sucks that the drivetrain was banging around for their review bike as my V3 is even quieter than my V2, mainly due to the new suspension.

On the topic of frame storage, it's really nice to have but the space is a little smaller than expected. For instance, I can't quite get a large OneUp pump inside there which is a bummer since it works great. Seeing the inside of the frame is really cool; again, very well made bikes. There's really only room for a pump, tool, and tube. It's nice to have that stuff stashed away, but you can't also fit a jacket and some snacks in there.

I'm still getting used to the V3 but after going back and riding my V2 this weekend, the differences were more obvious, and I like the V3 better. That said, I do feel like it's at the limit of what I want for an all purpose trail bike. The V3 is a degree slacker and 14mm longer than my old bike which is noticeable on the tight stuff around town I often ride.
  • 25 0
 $15,000 bike CAD needing foam bits to quiet it down is something that has me questioning humanity's ability to refine things. just bonkers.
  • 2 1
 Agreed, I have had most of the HT's as well. The only downside to the new design and reach (for me) makes me wish I bought a medium. The HTLT version in large fit my dimensions perfectly. Did your V2 have the cascade link? I wonder how much that link made pushed the new changes you like in the V3?
  • 1 0
 @map-guy: I had the stock link on my V2, but I ran it with a 160mm fork and I'm running the same setup on the V3. There's a lot of pedal tech on my local trails so I like the extra BB height.

I personally like the reach better on the V3 (~475mm) because my wingspan is 10cm more than my height, but I don't want any longer reach or wheelbase for a do-it-all bike.
  • 7 0
 Santa Cruz's current frames are well thought out and designed, and their warranty service is really good (Giant, take notes on that last one). Where SC loses the plot is their build kits. Yetis are expensive, but their "entry level" build kit has details (XT shifter on SLX build) that make it ready to go out of the box. 5-6k is still a lot of money to spend on a bike, but a lot of us who won't spend 10k will spend about half of that. At that price, the drivetrain might be SLX or GX, but I think it's fair to expect a bike ready to rip out of the box. NX and crap hubs don't cut it. Upgrading to GX for 1k too much and getting a Reverb as an "upgrade" doesn't cut it.

Sister company Cervelo is also expensive and (to their credit) their frames have gotten pretty durable and the warranty service is also good. Cervelo's "entry level" bikes are ready to ride/race out of the box. If one Pon "boutique" brand can do it, so can Santa Cruz. Start spec'ing better parts SC, and I'll start saving my pennies (so many pennies!!!) to buy one of your bikes.
  • 10 0
 not only overpriced but heavy?
  • 6 0
 I applaud Mike and Mike scrutinizing Yeti and SC's pricing, which I'm sure isn't easy to do provided they probably give PB a decent chunk of funding. I hope, in some small way, it pressures brands to revise their pricing models.
  • 5 0
 I have the '21 V2 version of this bike, and I love it. Having said that, I kinda gotta agree with a lot of the commenters on price. The value just isn't there. I wouldn't have this bike if I was paying SC retail prices, I had a dealer-cost hookup and paid just under $7k (Still far more than I've paid for any bike I've ever owned.) for the CC X01 build (before they started swapping in lower-end parts) with Reserve wheels. $10k for GX and lower end carbon is nuts.

I wonder how many of the SC bikes we see out on the trails are shop employees, friends of shop employees, and second-hand buyers, 'cause the rest are almost certainly dentists/doctors/lawyers. Think my SC is one of the few at the trailhead hanging off the back of a ratty 10+ yo Subaru (Proud, long-time member of the bike is worth more than car club.) and not a shiny new Sprinter van, or some "overlander" 4x4 with 0 scratches and and an extra $10g worth of doo-dads bolted to the bed rack.
  • 4 5
 Wealth is all relative to one's situation. I own a house, Tacoma, Hightower v3 (had a htlt, v2 now v3 via warranty) and just scratch a 6 figure salary. I'm in my mid 30s.

These dentist/lawyer jokes are starting to get a bit out of hand. If someone makes a decent salary, these bikes aren't out of reach tbh. I can understand the frustration with these prices for people making $75k USD and below. But bikes like SC and yeti are the BMW and Mercedes of the bike world. Gotta pay a premium for them new.
  • 3 1
 @Mkrol: Look at the average wages for the world, 75K USD is above average everywhere en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_average_wage
  • 4 1
 @korev: I'm totally aware that $75k is above average income. It's a good starting threshold amount where a financially responsible individual without too many other financial obligations can budget a bike like a yeti and SC.
  • 5 0
 I'm 6'4", went for the Stumpy in S6, the best bike I've owned by far, if for the simple reason, it fits. It also has perfect geo for a trail bike. My SB 150 was too small. At least SC is getting the stack height right and offering a true XXL, they have gone too far on pricing, especially considering listing a frame only pricing on the website is most likely fiction. The current overstock of parts and the pricing thereof, makes building up, the way for sure. The SJ frame only came in a distinctive color to sweeten the deal. Spech is the bargain these days for well designed, well made carbon with spot on Geo.
The LBS has been having to warrantee GX AXS mech's, they are having issues with build quality, it seems this somewhat of a trend, Fox shocks as well.
  • 2 0
 I agree it's nice that they offer XXL. I'm just not sure the seat position is very good at that extreme extension, it looks very far back, resulting in a very large distance to the bars and a very rearward weight placement.
  • 6 1
 Solid review. I own one and surprise, I don’t miss my money and I absolutely love my bike. SC should just spec the tellis on all the bikes though. Low key great post a lot sleep on. No coil blows but I’m sure something compatible will come out.

And the point about the versatility of this bike is great. It’s a solid foundation for a light trail ripper or shred sled depending on what you want. You pay for details with SC too.

I take personal offense to all the economists who flood the comments and can’t get past the price so we can maybe discuss that actual bike.

I hear eggs are getting crazy expensive though.
  • 1 2
 I don’t object to SC prices, but the build kits are awful. At 6k,GX or SLX, mid level suspension and DT hubs is what I’m looking for.

Yeti does it as a small company, Cervelo does race ready spec across the board. With Pon’s buying power, the lousy spec is a decision made by an inept spec manager. And that IS an issue.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: I’d be willing to bet its more about that bottom line and capitalistic greed coming from the top. Highly doubt the spec manager equates a $5600 bike to a “Lyrik” w/ a rush damper, lol. Bet you they agree with us.

No one here thinks SC is teeming with value. Not sure why people insist on re-writing several other people have already re-wrote across several articles.
  • 7 1
 the best thing about GX AXS, is when youve complained enough and sent them back their garbage derailleurs back for clutch issues, they send you a shiny new X01 AXS kit you can sell to buy XT.
  • 1 4
 only a shimano fanboy would do that
  • 5 0
 Great to see this year’s Pinkbike Trail Bike Field Tests. Production quality always seems to be getting better and better. I hope that Pocket Outdoor Media are coughing up $ to all the folks that are putting these videos together, and that paywalls are never a thing. Kaz and Levy are super entertaining as well, they are like the Siskel and Ebert of MTB... Hopefully they remain with Pinkbike and don’t get traded off to Red Bull or Velo News.

I was looking to purchase a SC HT V3 C S build, $6799 MSRP. After pricing all the S build components at MSRP, the remaining balance for the frame and shock alone came out to $4,260 USD. That’s about $160 more than SC quotes the HT CC frame and shock, $4099 USD. My math was likely off a bit here and there, so please don’t kills me. It appears that frame only builds are the way to go with this model. However, SC currently does not have an ETA on frames, and dealers have also been left in the dark. I received the following note from SC when inquiring about a frame only purchase, “ …So no we do not sell the bike as a frame only. It is potentially possible but not guaranteed that your local dealer can add it to their order from us and then sell it to you…”.

I’ve tried about 6 dealers, they have all told me that they cannot order the frame alone from SC, and there is no ETA on the frame.

I’ll likely keep trying to source this frame. I’ve had amazing service with SC on other bikes, and really enjoy the HT platform. If I can find a frame, I’ll be able to say that the bike is worth 5 times the value of my 2004 Lexus ES 330 with 188K on it. Priorities.
  • 8 1
 This bike is expensive and I have no choice but to see it on the internet. I am outraged.
  • 5 0
 As an owner of the original Hightower, I think I would find it hard to look past this bike as and when it's time to get a new one. So a little extra travel and storage is bang on!
  • 4 0
 Not that I have the money, but if I was getting one, I'd be looking at the XO1 CC build... Save some money over the bike tested, get the RS Ultimate kit on the suspension and the RSC brakes and the lighter frame... Yeah, it has alloy wheels, but the suspension and brakes are more important in my book.. Not cheap, but that seems to be the best value to me... Hell, give me a C frame and GX mechanical with the suspension and brake upgrades and I'd be a happy camper...
  • 5 1
 Just make sure your X01 build actually comes with an X01 drivetrain. Santa Cruz has been notorious lately for substituting lower end drivetrain parts.

It’s nearly impossible to buy a frame only from them right now and since this is the only way to get the good carbon frame Santa Cruz is taking the opportunity to pad their margins by a few more points.
  • 5 0
 With how much SC charges, why buy from their builds at all. Honestly makes more sense to just go custom and get exactly what you want. You'll probably save money going full custom if you buy anything on sale
  • 4 0
 "a coil-sprung shock (or Float X2) won't fit on the Hightower; adding clearance would have meant losing about 0.4" of seat post insertion depth."

Did you get that number from them? Either way, that's one of the stupidest things I've seen/heard. I know everyone wants* max dropper; but greatly limiting shock choices to gain ~10mm of seat post insertion? So dumb!

*(even if they don't need it: at my height, much more than the 180 I have currently and my legs would be toasted just from standing up over and over after slamming it. And if my bike happened to have 10mm less insertion, I'd just shim the post shorter, because 170 is also plenty, and because buying a post that can't be adjusted down is just silly.)
  • 6 0
 Extra expensive does seem extra normal these days. Not sure how the good fits in.
  • 6 1
 Enjoying these reviews, but I think they're saving the best for last, the Norco Fluid, lol. Excited to see how it stacks up to these super high end rides.
  • 2 0
 I have a theory that the release the intro video, take a look at the comments to see which was driving the most conversation, then put that one last.
  • 3 0
 Is that picture with the seatpost half way extended? - It looks like it and if so with that seat angle you are sitting over the rear axle.

I know they say this isn't an issue but its not something I find a nice trait in a bike of this type.
  • 2 1
 Seat angle and effective top tube length as quoted on the factory geometry table are totally meaningless for this bike if you have the saddle anywhere other than level with the bars. This is a problem that needs to be improved across the industry. It is especially noticable on SCs with the raked seat tube. They sound like great bikes, but I don't think the geo works at the extremes if the sizing range.
  • 3 0
 This and the Stumpjumper are competing for the most rearward seat position when extended. Even Cam Neely can wheelie these bikes
  • 3 0
 From experience: I ride a V2 size L (I am between a L and XL) with a lot of seatpost extended and really like the pedalling position. Not to short, good power transfer and steep climbs are handled fine.
  • 1 1
 yup - note that the saddle is slid all the way forward for whomever was riding this in the test. also note, the actual seat tube angle is about as slack as the head tube angle - madness for the tall people of planet earth.
  • 3 0
 Replaced a SC Tallboy 3 with a Hightower CS in August. After riding some other bikes in between, it was nice to have a bike that felt familiar and yet way more capable. Overall, I'm super happy with the bike. My bank account however.....
  • 7 0
 You pay for it once, but are rewarded many times over. Enjoy!
  • 3 2
 @the00: you actually pay for it continually over time, it’s called opportunity cost
  • 2 0
 @rickybobby18: is that the cost of not doing something better with that money? What do you suggest is better /$?
  • 5 0
 I bought the cheapest one, stripped it and put my setup on it. Once you get past that, bike is absolutely fantastic. It just works everywhere and is so much fun to ride.
  • 3 0
 I have the Original Hightower with a slackened head angle etc... It is time for a new bike BUT as per the comments it is hard to swallow the price of this thing. The new Hightower (SC$$) is in its own league of mark ups. Given how PON cycles road brands are pricey but there are still some reasonable deals - this is mind boggling. Life time bearing replacement does not justify the premium in my opinion.

My Question is -how would you compare this to the WeAreOne Arrival 152 (WAOA) to the SC$$? The frames are the same price BUT you have the option on converting the WAOA to a 170 by swapping links/shock and fork for the bike park. The in frame storage is nice but you know it is bad when a boutique Canadian manufacturer is beating you on price and spec.
  • 4 1
 You should check out the NSMB review of the Arrival 152 and a few others. TLDR: that bike is notoriously difficult to ride for anyone who isn't an absolute pinner. It can only be ridden at mach chicken speeds and it will bite your head off if you can't commit to that. Think 80's 911 turbo! That makes it a bike to avoid for most mortals like myself.
  • 2 0
 @fentoncrackshell: I know/ride with 5-6 people with Arrival's and they love them. They upgraded from Kona, Forbidden, SC, Rocky, etc. Some shred, but I wouldn't say any of them are "absolute pinner's". Either that or they've got the "I spend $12k on a bike" blinders on. I don't think so, though.

I don't think I would ride an Arrival, just because I'm a big dude and I know smaller guys who are running heavy coils already, but if I was in the market for a $10k bike, I'd run an WAO or Forbidden over any bike in this test just because they are better value. Which is crazy, considering they are small, boutique, Canandian companies.
  • 1 0
 @fentoncrackshell: I have heard that - I just watched a documentary on the old 911 turbo......... A new one is my dream. Will cost less than a Santa Cruz C - NX kit.
  • 3 0
 I bought a last gen aluminum hightower frame and put a 1.3 angle set in it and a slightly longer stem and it's my absolute favourite bike I've ever owned. Does everything I need it to do and more. Would have loved to see them keep going with the AL frames.
  • 8 1
 Over $10K with GX. HARD PASS.
  • 5 2
 Autoplay really is a scourge. @brianpark, protest to your open air overlords. What if for instance I want to listen to @mikelevy rattle on about F1 and aliens on the podcast, while I read a balanced piece by @mikelevy on a bike I will only ever consider if I come a cross a demo? I can’t. Your goddamned autoplay turns off my goddamned podcast.
  • 7 0
 Honestly the mikes be shredding in these clips. Nice work!
  • 5 2
 Look at the heel rub in the first photo! They'd only been riding this bike for a few days when this photo was taken. An $11k bike and the paint sucks?! Throw in the non-factory or ultimate level suspension, 50t (not newest 52t) cassette and it seems like SC is cutting a lot of corners to pad margins. Plus the whole 'our bikes are expensive because we assemble them in the US' has always struck me as a cop-out. So does Propain and an equivalent Hugene build is $3k less...DTC but still
  • 3 0
 I am not a SC fanboy and I'll certainly never buy one so long as they're manufacturing in China, but I appreciate their design approach. I agree with pumping the brakes on the long/low/slack arms race.

1) size specific chainstays
2) tall stacks (people don't typically need to size up anymore to get a proper reach, please give taller riders a reasonable stack height)
3) frame storage

These specs are exactly what I'd be looking at while shopping for a bike in 2022. Most everybody has the reach/head angle/seat angle figured out and it's hard to find a bike that pedals terribly.

It also sounds like they've boosted the midstroke support in the rear end at the cost of a magic carpet ride, which makes sense with the increasing number of machined trails.

Just a smart design overall.
  • 3 0
 I just don't care about carbon bikes. Small gains, huge price increase, plus more plastic to go in the dump. Lose lose lose. SC seems to make nice bikes, but I just don't see the reason to spend so much more. Ibis, Commencal etc. have great options that will basically do they same job for half the price.
  • 1 0
 I like being able to throw my alu bike in the back of a truck with a pile of other bikes and not worrying if it gets scratched up or banged around. It might look a little more beat up, but I just don't care.
  • 5 1
 So it’s not a new bike measly last years with some of the mistakes removed. Does the lunchbox hole leak like the ones on other sc models?
  • 6 0
 GX for 10k. what a time to be alive!
  • 4 1
 I agree from a retail value perspective, but let me play devils advocate with this question....

Is there a discernable difference between GX, X01, and XX1? Functionally they are the same, quantitively they are the same, qualitatively they are virtually the same. XX1 mechanical has a significant weight saving that can perhaps justify the price difference, but AXS is pretty much the same across GX, X01, and XX1.
  • 3 0
 @Baller7756: I do find it funny how many people here are looking at GX AXS like it's garbage. It's the same as X01/XX1 AXS, except for the cage material, and the bearings in the pulley wheels. The GX shifter comes with the rocker paddle, and X01/XX1 now comes with the two button shifter (a $30cad "upgrade" you can make to GX). It really comes down to personal preference with which shifter style you like better. One is not better than the other for the shifter.

Same goes for "waaah it's a Select + or peformance elite fork, that' BS". Select+ forks are the same as Ultimate, minus the buttercups, and PE is the same as Factory without kashima. You do lose some rear shock adjustments at the Select+ level (should have gone PE Float X), but it will be fine for most people.

Yes, this bike is very expensive, and yes, there are cheaper bikes with similar spec out there. Santa Cruz has always been about well thought out frames that are easy to maintain, and post-sales care. In a time where ALL bikes ride very very well, this is where the price and value comes from.
  • 1 0
 @Baller7756: well there must be some kind of difference: materials, build quality, build location, etc. same difference between the shimano lines. also, they even mention in this very review that they had issues with the GX derailleur. so make of that what you will ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • 2 0
 @novajustin: All AXS derailleurs have weak clutches. It is mentioned in every review. I sold my GX and XX1 AXS for that very reason.
  • 1 1
 @Baller7756: they didn't go over what their issues with the derailleur were if it was the clutch or anything else.. i'd be curious to find that out, but my point still stands. 10k to have issues with a derailleur, what a time to be alive!
  • 3 0
 I'm not going to add to the chorus asking how Santa Cruz can sell this bike for 10k. It's a business decision, and they have determined they can sell at this price. BUT, who are the morons dropping this much on a GX bike???
  • 6 0
 expensive, yeah. But I'd buy this f*cker on looks alone. drop dead stunner
  • 3 0
 The gx build is $6800 which isn't that unreasonable compared to many other premium brands. Totally agree with this build being overpriced, but at least SC has a fair number of build options to choose from.
  • 2 0
 I have a v1 Megatower that I love. Even though I could technically afford to buy another Santa Cruz, I'm super turned off by their greedy pricing. At these prices, I'm much more interested Atherton bikes or We are One. I think Santa Cruz / Yeti and others are hurting their brand image in the long run.
  • 1 0
 " it only took three or four corners for me to quickly gain a bunch of misplaced confidence in my skills"

This was my exact thoughts on mine, albeit aluminum and the generation previous. It's just a fun bike that inspires confidence and likes to go hard. Up that fork to 160 and go
  • 2 0
 That color is super-nice. I would be happy to have that kind of color on my frame. That said, what's up with lots of companies only having SRAM drivetrains? 3/5 of these bikes only come with SRAM drivetrains.
  • 3 0
 It is how Santa Cruz keeps these prices so low.
  • 1 0
 I have been thing that too!
  • 5 0
 What an absolute rip off.
  • 5 0
 You don't even get the CC frame for $11,000? LMAO
  • 2 0
 All these reviews have been showing me is that I should shop based on the component spec I most want. Not by brand or suspension layout. 10k bike with those components is ridiculous.
  • 1 0
 It is a good bike, but nearly 11K? Apparently people want to buy it though. If I was considering buying a bike in this price range, I'd rather buy another lower build and have 5-6K left over or buy two bikes, one trail and one enduro.
  • 3 0
 Value is insanely bad. Compare the parts on this $9,800 build to the $9,200 We Are One 152 SP1 build and you get a real sense of how much rape is going on at SC.
  • 4 0
 This is a good reminder that for $11k with only minor refinements, the bike you have works juuuuuuuust fine.
  • 2 0
 Best option really: get the frameset deal and go whatever you want to spec it. Custom built these things are super cool and you make them more suitable for your wallet and style.
  • 1 0
 I think bikes are reaching the limit with geo numbers, meaning we will see more reviews where nothing has changed. I re-watched a review of a Yeti SB5 LR the other day and they talked about the "slack" headtube angle at 66.1 and the "steep" seat tube angle at 73.1 and that was just 5 years ago. With that being said, it will be harder for these bike companies to justify the cost increase when nothing changes.
  • 1 0
 Santa-Claus can bring me 3 aluminium bikes worth the price of a Santa-Cruz.
But he won’t….
He knows it’s better to buy a Hightower frameset and throw some parts from supasales and get a slapper within the sub 6k range.
Now we have 3k extra cash to get our Satan-Crewz hightowered for the season or just buy a extra NORCO
  • 1 0
 I have a 2020 V2 X01 with a 160 mm fork and love it. The first things I swapped out were the Reverb dropper for a Fox Transfer and the Guide brakes (not sure why mine came with Guides) for TRP DHR-Evos and bigger rotors. The bike was pretty dialed after those upgrades. I also put on a Cascade link, which I like, but dont really think it was worth the money. If I could choose one thing to change on it now, it would be shorter cranks. I've been abusing my 175 mm X01 cranks but they are still holding up fine. I also broke the rear Reserve wheel, but SC honored the warranty and sent me a new one, so I'm happy!
  • 1 0
 Wish more manufacturers would build actual XXL bikes, nut by only adding on the Reach, but also paying attention to Stack for us taller dudes.

On that note; taller, potentially heavier XL and XXL riders would have probably appreciated a (size specific) larger tunnel adding the option for a coil. Who cares about if a dropper can be fully inserted in an XS 29er kinda frame or not.
  • 1 0
 Gotta buy a Banshee if you're a real tall boy
  • 1 0
 The bladder and mold(s) for the glove box must cost some serious dough. 2019 HT was $5k, full GX, Code R, crappy DT 370 wheels (DT350 warranty thank you SC) My first real MTB, what did I know. Like the bike, easy to work on but another SC at these price builds no way. Canfield has my eye now.
  • 1 0
 so... can a comparable experience be met using alloy, good tune, geo and sus design?

I mean you can do a DT Swiss wheel combo w/ solid hubs (or say Atlas), use a deore/slx build w/ 4 pot brakes, and decent suspension combo (fox 34 elite/Pike and DPX2 or super deluxe) and a transx dropper?

May weigh in a couple lbs more, but will overall experience be different with a similar geo and a VPP/ABS/Maestro/DW split pivot type of design?
  • 1 0
 I guess their are not the best ,and the complete bike is a joke as a price cause if you by the frame ,you still have 5800 to spend on parts ,and you could build it better then the stock one ,their are charging you more then the some of all parts ,they do not make you a deal in the complete bike ,and that is just plain ridiculous. But the frame is a very well build one has easy maintenance,and they do last very long ,but as a deal in a complete bike ,it is a very bad deal ,they just ad 20 % more then if you just build one from frame base ,a shame
  • 1 0
 Great bike and in my opinion review. Been riding bikes for a while and sometimes think that bike prices are getting out of hand...worked as a tech for numerous brands here in Switzerland - so I kinda know the market.
Love and have always loved SC bikes. Started out as a project for a friend who dreamed of purchasing the HT 2023 but did'nt have the cash, so it all started.
New CC Frame, complete Shimano XT Drivetrain / Brakes with Burgtec contact points.Fox Factory suspension(yes Kashima).Maxxis and Dt Swiss wheels round off the build. In my opinion this is a dream no holds barred build that made him really happy. All in all it cost my friend appox. 8000 Swiss Francs...and this with all the parts from a second hand but never used market. From the test bike to ordering the frame -and building the bike the SC bikes just work...sure they're expensive and not everyone can afford them, but hey at the end of the day we all dig riding bikes. I just wanted to state that with the availabilty of parts online nowadays..there's really no need to spend that much cash..build it yourself and make it your own. Happy trails.
  • 1 0
 In my opinion 64.5 degree head angle is pushing the limits of being a pedal (able) n up/and down all day bike? My Specialized has a 65 and the wheel flop and long front center is almost too much for tight switchbacks and tech riding.
  • 2 0
 Dad, non-dentist here. I bought this bike. It was expensive. But the way I justified it is that with my job being firmly work from home now, I have no need for newer car. So I just moved that expense over to a new bike.
  • 1 0
 I have said it so many times. The only company right now worth supporting is Orbea imo. Made in Spain, custom paint jobs, employee owned, dealer supported, spec mid tier bikes with fox factory on many models, have killer racing teams, so you know they are battle-proven, and they are great price. Their $6k builds are better spec than these sc and yetis.
  • 1 0
 Also they were raked through the coals last year when they were transparent about price raising for 2022. But for 2023 they dropped their prices back down. Pretty cool to see just because they went up, doesn’t mean they have to stay up.
  • 1 0
 Ripmo smokes this thing for the price, especially if you snag one while on clearance. Even the NGX gets a Factory 38 and X2. The Ripmo can also take a coil, can run the longest droppers out there, can run an Angleset if you wish, can run a 170 fork and not compromise the geo, is lighter and still has a better STA. Ever notice how the front of the saddle on Hightowers is always behind the center of the BB when fully extended, despite what SC claims their STA is? Even this bike has the saddle slid all the way forward on the rails just to get into a decent position, and it's not even close to fully extended in the pictures.

The SC fanboys always quote quality and lifetime warranty. Sure, the paint is nice. I've seen that red in person. It looks great. Ibis build quality is just as good though. Lifetime warranty is nice but most people who state that, never even keep it beyond 3-5 years anyways.
  • 2 0
 Lol one of 5 test bikes in a fleet with an "evolution" and a few updates - what a contender in the reviews! Only $9,000 wow!!!
  • 3 0
 Everything should be top of the list be for 10 grand. Prices are just getting stupid.
  • 4 1
 Should you marry a normal person or a wild one? Date a few cheaper models first and settle on something stable long term.
  • 4 1
 It's like it's a bike built for wealthy tech types who ride flowy trains in Central California... Imagine that.
  • 2 0
 Also popular in SE England. And Central Switzerland. And Northern Italy. Santa Cruz are not rare bikes, despite the price. And when I check the frame only prices, they're not even crazy expensive when compared to the other well known brands.
  • 1 1
 I'd love to see a Field Test of like, 3 top-tier spec bikes compared with the bottom-tier spec of those same 3 bikes. I'm sure the bike companies would never contribute the bikes to get it done, but it would be interesting to separate geo/design from components/materials.
  • 1 1
 "Middle of the road geo" actually doesn't really work for me. Or rather: It's not ideal.

As far as the sizing on the Hightower goes, I'm right between XL and XXL. Where my fellow 6'1" guys at? We need more bikes with 500-510mm reach!
  • 2 0
 Heavier than Rocky's middle of the road C30 instinct build for half the price with deore. That's messed up. same travel even.
  • 4 0
 Or for a little less ($8900) than this Hightower, you can get the Instinct C90 w/ Factory suspension, full XTR, Race Face carbon kit (cranks, bar, wheels) and it weighs 30lbs.
  • 1 0
 @jsnfschr: right? still insane pricing (over $12,000 CAD) I just cringe at that. but in perspective, it's like Rocky bitch slapped SC. and they ride fantastic.
  • 1 0
 my girlfriend have a last tarvo with intend fork and ext storia shock. x01 drivetrain, mt7 brakes and dt 1700 wheelset. only highend components built in germany, for less than that hightower. what is santa cruz trying here.
  • 2 0
 Slightly slacker seat tube angle described as positive however, all images show the seat slammed forward on the rails presumably to effectively steepen the seat angle.
  • 1 0
 I'd say that's because they are riding a trail bike around a bike park from what it looks like. The average Hightower owner (around here at least and i suspect at least 50% of riders everywhere) would be riding this on terrain that is pretty mellow and the rider forward position is a concern.

For me, we ride alot of trails that are pretty rough, rocky, rooty, etc. but there isn't necessarily long steep slogs. I might literally have a nasty rock garden i'm riding through for 5-10 mins and it has 25ft of elevation change. For that, a steep STA could be a negative. I often drop my post 1-2" in situations like that.
  • 1 0
 @yupstate: Where I am it’s a mix of flow trails but a lot of long climbs as well and some quite steep. My Trance X has 77.2 degree seat tube angle and it is perfect. Any slacker would be less efficient around here.
  • 4 0
 That bike is a F U C K I N G joke.
  • 2 0
 Oddly enough, I'm most looking forward to the Norco review. Only 1 lb heavier and less than half the price. (A little less travel, but fine for what I ride.)
  • 2 0
 Wasting my time with this post, buuuttttt. If people just stop buying bikes at these ridiculous prices, they'd all be forced to bring their prices down.
  • 1 0
 $4500-$5000 frame prices are the real issue here. I could buy a Ripmo AF with an EXT coil for $2500 and it would our ride the HT and sb140. These guys make great bikes but they have totally jumped the shark in frame pricing.
  • 1 1
 I would agree in that the “bike just works’. I am more of an ebike mtb’er these days, but when the e is down like now and over past +6 weeks, I am back on my Hightower V2 w/160 Lyrik Ultimate (Vorsprung Lufkappe), 150 rear end w/CC progression link and Ultimate SD shock. I have been riding a bit of everything lately with it and it handles just fine. Only squabble os braking traction on steeps and wet terrain not as good/active as my Trek Rail w/coil shock and can feel the VPP firm up a bit too much for my liking on steeper terrain on looser soils. Other than, gets the job done nicely and an easy bike to ride, navigate down the hill. I agree SC pricing is a bit out of control foe what you get compared to other big brands. I was a SC rider for a long time and they kind of lost me with 15% price increase across the board an couple years back without offering anything special or unique. Lifetime bearing replacement nice and their customer care support one of the best, but still not worth the large price hike in comparison. I think Trek Fuel Ex a much better deal for what you get with a bit more performance. Heck, think can get Fuel Ex-e with some similar price as Hightower. Sorry SC, got to do better than that in the pricing/spec category as you are getting beat currently.
  • 2 0
 Is this a double-down country bike? Santa Cruz refuses to make up a silly category name for this bike, so we have to do it ourselves.
  • 1 0
 Kaz - I'm in the market for a new ride and have been wavering between this Hightower and the Stumpjumper Evo. I know you like both bikes... which would you choose? I'm in Colorado.
  • 1 1
 I'm amazed how many Santa Cruz bikes I see. They seem to be everywhere. At those prices with so many on par cheaper options you wouldn't think so. On the other hand, I've met like 2 SC riders who can actual ride well. I'm not a dentist but own my own business and can afford nice toys for the first time in my life. However, value still matters to me. I'd be embarrassed to ride an SC or a Yeti and I am a decent rider.
  • 2 0
 Hitting pause one two different Autoplay videos, just to get to an article....Come on PB
  • 3 0
 5 figure price, gx build and the 'cheap' frame
  • 1 0
 It's gx axs and carbon wheels though. The gx build is $6800.
  • 2 0
 The cool thing about this bike is how the sales tax you'll pay on it is almost as much as an X01 groupset costs
  • 2 0
 Lol when I got a handmade last tarvo with carbon wheels and ext suspension for 3k less
  • 3 0
 My fellow Filipinos will buy 10 of these at retail.
  • 1 0
 I've noticed that the Filipino community in Alberta has really embraced mountain biking. I have no idea why, but it's great to see.
  • 1 0
 Trail bikes with 64.5* HTA are now "middle of the road geo". Geesh I need to get to more demo events. My two "trail" bikes are 67 and 66.5 respectively.
  • 2 0
 Auto play complaints , have to be from people saying they are working, instead of eye jacking the internet.
  • 2 0
 "Not the absolute best at anything... but it is good at lots of things."

Yup, VPP in a nutshell.
  • 4 0
 Bring on the Norco!
  • 1 0
 Can’t wait!
  • 2 2
 My wish this Christmas is for Pinkers to stop buying SC due to the non-value they are providing and also to shut the fuck up about weight. Strong, light, or cheap. Pick two dummies.
  • 2 0
 My 28lb. Ripmo disagrees. Solid as a rock.
  • 1 0
 I can't go to a local Greater Van mountain without tripping over a Santa Cruz. I wouldn't buy one, but do they carry a quality that other bikes don't possess?
  • 1 2
 "There are longer and slacker trail bikes that do benefit from a more upright seat tube, especially if it's really steep,"

I think you actually mean "shorter", as in shorter chainstays. Slacker STA with shorter CS equals more/easier front-wheel lift and risk of loop-out, but lots of traction. A longer-front center and reach actually could help mitigate this by moving some weight forward (both the bike, and the rider via long reach). Steeper STA with short CS helps balance that traction to wheel-lift ratio, while steeper STA with long CS helps glue the front wheel to the ground at the cost of traction.

And what does slackness of HTA have anything to do with climbing and STA? Your seat position relative to the front wheel just doesn't matter for climbing steep stuff. Partly because you probably should be out of the saddle if it's "really steep", partly because the rear wheel is doing the important work and that's the relation that matters. Shit, a longer and slacker bike would be easier to lift the front wheel over things during the climb because it takes a smaller movement around the rear axle (and thus at the BB where the weight is concentrated) to move the front wheel further.
  • 2 0
 I'm a big fan of "run of the mill"/"middle of the road". Middle travel, middle geo is the sweet spot.
  • 2 0
 Buy two bikes instead, select+ shock for almost 10g? nx build for almost 6g?... eww
  • 1 0
 Nice review and video!

(Much better then 2-3 of presenters sitting in weird looking room, cramped behind the table - giving some bizarre hostage vibes. )
  • 1 0
 Hostage vibe so come naturally to me
  • 2 0
 A new hole on the wallet for sure
  • 2 0
 Spoiler. Trek wins, Yeti last
  • 6 0
 That Trek seriously looks like an E-bike with the motor yanked and a hole in the frame.
  • 2 0
 for 10k reach could be longer
  • 2 0
 Can't wait to see these on our local beginner flow trails built in 1993
  • 1 0
 The Yeti, at $10,200, is definitely a better choice, solely based on price. this emoji is crying. Not laughing.
  • 1 0
 but it's a yeti.. with switch infinity
  • 2 0
 What exactly were the issues with the brake levers? Or is it in the video?
  • 2 0
 Low quality bushings that allowed a lot of play up and down is what it sounded like.
  • 3 1
 Trek fuel all the way..bike rips
  • 3 0
 except the low stack stack height... a very disappointing geo number on that bike - i believe it couldve been one of the best bikes ever released if it had 10-15mm more headtube.
  • 2 0
 But the yeti is fairly priced?
  • 3 0
 i love mt HT2
  • 1 0
 When I saw the picture, I instantly thought it was the Santa Cruz 50-BronNomaBoyTower
  • 2 0
 Straight up Beautiful bike.
  • 2 0
 There's a heavy hole in the frame.
  • 1 0
 Pro: "It's a good all-arounder" Con: "It's a good all-arounder". Brilliant!
  • 2 1
 I’d get the Norco and give my wife the remaining 6 grand, but she still probably wouldn’t make me a sandwich.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy
You've got some awesome shred shots here
  • 2 0
 Pinky-up pricing for a ham fisted bike.
  • 1 0
 I dont care about sub $10k bikes anymore. The comments all agree, bikes from 4000 to 9999 are basically indistinguishable.
  • 1 0
 Someone could put a bike's price and spec into Open AI and easily auto generate all of these comments
  • 1 0
 Why in heck are you riding up Pinocchio’s Furniture? That’s an awesome turn to come in a little too fast too.
  • 1 0
 Wrong trail
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: did you just give away that the Norco was the fastest bike?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: ah yeah there’s the trek to come too
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: ugh. You’re right. Didn’t see that fence in the background.
  • 3 0
 Everyone was robbed
  • 2 0
 Love the facial expressions in the riding segments.
  • 1 0
 Am I the only one that expects something a little special for that much money?
  • 1 0
 Your bikes are officially unaffordable, even for most people in the industry!
  • 1 0
 And the parts kit isn't even that good.
  • 2 0
 Dads bike just got extra Daddy
  • 2 0
 Bank account bells bank account bells overdraft all the way...
  • 1 0
 Santa Cruz: Trying -- but failing again -- to dethrone Yeti for the most stupidly-overpriced crown!
  • 1 0
 Cons say there was an issue with the brake levers... Article doesn't mention the brake levers once?
  • 1 0
 Does anybody actually walk into a bike shop and lay down $10k + for a bike? Think my limit is $5K OTD.
  • 3 3
 nitpicking but for $10k I'd expect a much cooler finish rather than cola-maroon with a grey logo.
  • 3 0
 They talk about the paint in the vid, sounds like it was hard to photograph/video. But they were really impressed w/ it in person, its subtle but apparently up close its amazing. Changes as the light hits it and your perspective changes, lots of metallic flake and suspended pigments.

*not defending crazy prices, I'm just a bit of a nerd for bike paint jobs haha. Could get yourself an amazing bike, custom paint job from a top painter, and a vacation to go show it off w/ money left over for the price of this thing.
  • 2 0
 SC bikes always look better in person. Even the nanny panty or primer grey colours from previous years were pretty nice IRL.
  • 1 0
 Obligatory comment about how much 10k bikes price suck
  • 1 0
 Nice bike. Too expensive
  • 2 1
 I will wait for the 27.5 version...
  • 5 3
 GX AXS is garbage.
  • 6 0
 I'd rather XO1 mechanical for sure.
  • 1 0
 Why do you say that? I've never tried x01 AXS but my gx setup has worked flawlessly and taken a beating.
  • 1 0
 @Struggleteam: I'm not saying GX AXS is garbage, I just prefer the machining of the XO1 group. I find the clutch is better, and the ability to fix problems trailside is always a plus.
  • 1 0
 Such a joke you even add pros and cons
  • 1 0
 Oh man I was missing both Mikes is one frame!
  • 1 0
 Informative and entertaining review. Seemed to be a honest assessment .
  • 1 0
 Gold tooth award winner in book
  • 2 0
 lol 10k get outta here
  • 1 0
 the build on this is fucking criminal
  • 1 0
 At least you get carbon wheels for your $10K not like YETI
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy just keep this one, they won't mind. Right?
  • 1 0
 New bike, new hole...in the wallet Smile
  • 2 2
 Uninspiring. Churlish and insubordinate
  • 1 0
 wat
  • 3 0
 Chicanerous and deplorable
  • 3 0
 Insipid and exorbitant
  • 1 0
 @kokofosho: Chicanery is not often heard in modern vernacular.
  • 1 0
 Boring!!
  • 3 4
 In 2010 I bought a brand new Santa Cruz Heckler for $1800, even had an XT rear derailleur.
  • 2 1
 @generictrailrider: thanks for the downvote
  • 1 0
 yup and a dime bag only cost a dime.
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