Field Trip: Santa Cruz's $2,899 Hightower Alloy - The Least Expensive 'Tower

Apr 6, 2020
by Mike Levy  


PINKBIKE FIELD TRIP

SANTA CRUZ HIGHTOWER D


Words by Mike Levy, Photography by Anthony Smith



You're looking at Santa Cruz's least expensive Hightower, the aluminum 'D' model that sells for $2,899 USD, or around $400 less than the carbon Hightower frame on its own. Despite the price difference, the aluminum version gets the same lower-link VPP suspension that delivers 140mm of travel. There's also a 150mm RockShox 35 Gold fork, a 12-speed SX drivetrain from SRAM, and it's also worth pointing out the four-piston Guide T brakes with 180mm rotors, especially as it's mostly two-piston stoppers in this price and travel bracket.

This is a size-large for my 5’10” height, with a 473mm reach, 65.5-head angle, 76.8-seat tube angle, and 433mm chainstays. The geo is adjustable, too, just like on the fancier Hightowers, letting you relax the head angle to 65.2-degrees and drop 4mm of bottom bracket height.

Hightower Alloy D Details

Travel: 140mm
Fork travel: 150mm
Wheel size: 29"
Frame construction: Aluminum
Head angle: 65.5-degrees
Chainstay length: 433mm
Reach: 473mm (lrg)
Sizes: sm, med, lrg (tested), xl, xxl
Weight: 35.2lb
Price: $2,899 USD
More info: www.santacruzbicycles.com
Those are subtle changes if you ask me, but it alters the suspension's ramp-up as well. At 35.2lb, the Fat-tower is the heaviest bike in our Field Trip group test by nearly a full pound.

There are some frame details worth mentioning as well, including well thought out cable routing, loads of room for a large bottle inside the front triangle, and a very effective chainstay protector. Another point for Santa Cruz - a lifetime warranty on all of the pivot bearings. That means that if they start to feel nasty, you’ll get new ones for free if you’re the original owner, even after countless years of your usual abuse and neglect.

I’m also going to mention the Hightower's tires as that's a spot where we see some brands saving pennies by speccing rubber with hard compounds or that might not be tubeless-friendly. Not the case here, though: There’s a set of Maxxis’ 2.4” wide DHR 2 tires in 3C compound and EXO casing. One more thing you won’t have to upgrade.




Santa Cruz Hightower Alloy D review photo by Anthony Smith
Santa Cruz Hightower Alloy D review photo by Anthony Smith


Climbing

The Hightower weighing a pound more than the rest of its Field Trip frenemies has little to zero effect on its climbing performance - the extra heft is in the frame, not its wheels and tires. That said, it did have the biggest on-trail presence of the bunch. On tight, low-speed climbs, it handled like the longest (it isn't) and slackest (it is) full-suspension bike in the group, making it feel more a little more like an enduro sled than a trail bike when it got really slow and tricky. It's not unmanageable, mind you, but the Jeffsy and Vitus both offer more of that classic trail bike handling in those situations. The Hightower might not be my pick if most of my descents were accessed via challenging singletrack ascents.

But if your climbing is done on doubletrack and gravel roads then I guess it doesn't really matter at all, just so long as the Hightower is reasonably efficient. On that front, Kazimer often preferred to flip the shock's pedal-assist to the firmer trail-mode, but I thought the chunky Santa Cruz pedaled quite well without any assistance.

While I didn't gel with the Hightower on technical climbs, the counterpoint to my complaints is that it all comes down to something called the work-to-fun ratio. Santa Cruz skews the Hightower more towards the latter, prioritizing descending over all-around-ing in both the geometry and spec departments. And rightfully so.


Santa Cruz Hightower Alloy D review photo by Anthony Smith

Santa Cruz Hightower Alloy D review photo by Anthony Smith
Santa Cruz Hightower Alloy D review photo by Anthony Smith


Descending

With the big Maxxis rubber that we all know so well, four-piston Guide T brakes, and the slackest, longest geo of the six full-suspension bikes on test, the Hightower was set up to be great when it matters most. And, for the most part, that's how it played out.

While the Vitus and Jeffsy feel closer to the edge at high-consequence speeds, the hippie-colored Santa Cruz delivers a calmer ride; in the heat of the moment, it literally seems like you have more time to think before you act. That comes from the longer, more relaxed geometry, as well as the sticky tires and powerful brakes, that see the Hightower less fazed about that sketchy line or the fact that you might just be hanging on for dear life.

Much like the Commencal Meta TR, the Hightower has that invincible personality to it that more traditional trail bikes usually lack. Of course, that means it can feel like a lazy hippie when the terrain isn't there, but when it is...

The Hightower likely could have stood shoulder to shoulder with the solid-feeling Meta, but the Santa Cruz's 150mm-travel RockShox Recon 35 fork had other plans. The damper seemed to have a mind of its own, with inconsistent rebound speeds that could see the front-end dipping off one jump and going sky-high off the next. Not good for the confidence. Unfortunately, time constraints meant we weren't able to dig in deeper to diagnose the issue, but it's worth a mention.
Timed Testing

Our timed lap for the trail bikes was around 11 minutes long and split into three distinct sectors. First, a smooth, twisty singletrack climb topped out along a technical traverse that tested the bike's slow-speed handling and traction. After that, we dropped into a fast descent that began with rough, suspension-testing corners before some fast berms, flat corners, and a few fun-sized jumps. Nothing too rowdy, but representative of the terrain these trails bikes were intended to see.

Don't forget that timing is just one of many ways to judge a bike, and fast doesn't always mean it's the best for everyone.


Kazimer: "I had my fastest times on the Hightower out of all the bikes on all of the segments - climbing, traversing, and descending."

Levy: "I had middle-of-the-pack times aboard the Hightower, although I suspect that a more challenging test loop would see it stand apart more.

At the other end of the bike, the back of the Hightower seemed less fussed about the rocky terrain than you might think 140mm should. It's not the super-plush, forgiving ride that an extra 20mm would deliver, but the Santa Cruz does offer a lot of forgiveness for a trail bike. It works well at 25 to 30-percent sag, although Kazimer did sometimes resort to trail-mode on smoother, rolling terrain for a little extra support and pop.

Hightower versus the rest: Who am I picking? The split is between more agile trail bikes like the YT, Vitus, Giant, and the Calibre, while the Commencal, Santa Cruz, and the Norco Torrent hardtail are bigger feeling rigs that offer more stability and calmness. Assuming the Hightower's fork was sorted, it should be a match for the Meta, and either of those bikes would be my choice if my trail rides included the kind of lines that make most riders think thrice. More into covering ground than sessioning questionable moves? Then choose the YT or Vitus.


Santa Cruz Hightower Alloy D review photo by Anthony Smith





Pros

+ Very capable for a trail bike
+ Deep feeling rear suspension
+ Four piston brakes, great tires

Cons

- Heaviest of the bunch, if you care
- 35 Gold fork had issues
- Not ideal on smooth, boring trails





The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible by support from: Smith, 7mesh, and Over The Edge Sedona.




Photos: Anthony Smith
Additional footage: Lear Miller


Regions in Article
Sedona


280 Comments

  • 103 35
 Glad to see SC offering cheaper options but the spec is lacking.. At least give me NX and a decent fork. I'll stick with my vitus.
  • 119 14
 Good thing for you, you can have exactly that, just pay more...
  • 38 1
 “less expensive“ would have been better than “cheaper“
  • 9 7
 Yep it lacks appeal to me for that reason. If it was available XXL aluminum frame-only then I would’ve bought one already.
  • 63 17
 For $1USD more (and $550 LESS in Canada) than this, you get a Trance 29 with 12 speed SLX, Fox on the front and rear, and Shimano's cheapie 4-pot brakes (but with resin-only rotors :crySmile . The Giant is a good two pounds less than this too, and only beat on the spec by the brake rotors and tires.

It's a shame PB reviewed the Stance when the Trance 2 and 3 exist, the 3 is $2100 US ($2849 CAD) and comes with SX and a Marzo Z2.
  • 10 2
 @mnorris122: they have previously reviewed the Trance 29 in the Field test (last year I believe) which is why it isnt present here. That bike would have done quite well in this test.
  • 44 10
 @mnorris122: the trances geometry is behind about 6 years though. Giant needs to get with it.
  • 8 2
 @tgent: Which would then put this bike in the almost $4k price range while there are brands that have the desired spec for the same price as this. I think you are missing the point here fella...
  • 12 2
 It’s totally pointless. In 6 months to a year all the components are going to be ready for the bin.
  • 25 18
 @5afety3rd: boo hoo, so the seat tube angle is a half degree slacker than all the cool bikes have now, and the reach is less than 500mm. Doesn't mean it doesn't ride well.

You're not wrong if you're looking at the 27.5 geo though.
  • 16 4
 @mnorris122: trance 29 with 115 travel...lol
  • 31 9
 @stumphumper92: Name any non direct to consumer bike that has what you're after, NX Eagle and a "decent" fork for under $3k.

The Vitus has a decent fork, the Marzocchi, but also has SX eagle, much worse brakes, more dated geo, and a less refined frame. It's also direct to consumer so hard to really compare price.

The Giant Trance 2 listed above is probably one of the best examples iwth a decent fork and shock, still much worse brakes, and I think you could argue whether 11 spd SLX or 12 spd SX is better, and geo is closer to the year 2012 than 2020.

In all of these budget bikes you make compromises, picking out components you don't like can be done on every single one of these, so what's the point. If you buy a budget bike with NX and a decent fork, other components will be lacking.
  • 39 9
 @mnorris122: The only downside is that you have to show up at the trail head on a Giant. Wink
  • 25 0
 @tgent: Ripmo AF perhaps? Maybe not the same category but NX, decent suspension and 2999.
  • 7 0
 @tgent: I don't have the Mythique. i have the Escarpe. Came with NX eagle, RS Lyrik, Same brakes, etc. Geo is definitely not closer to 2012 so idk what you're talking about. 66 deg head angle, 467mm reach in large, 75 deg SA. It is a good in between for progressive and conservative geometry. So there ya go. I named a bike that has what I am after.
  • 12 0
 @tgent: the ripmo Af would like to have a word with you
  • 11 3
 @5afety3rd: Funny, because Giant is making better frames for other companies right along side their 2013 designs.
  • 19 1
 @mnorris122: The Trance 29 is in no way comparable to the Hightower...
  • 8 0
 @NateMob: I totally agree the Ripmo AF is an amazing bike at a fantastic value. Can't argue with that and if I was buying/recommending a bike in this price range I would buy the AF 11/10 times.
  • 7 2
 @stumphumper92: Again, comparing a direct to consumer to a traditional brand such as Vitus to Santa Cruz isn't really a good comparison. You lose a lot of support from your LBS and warranty support from the manufacturer. Is that worth $500-$1000 to you? If so, then yes direct to consumer will win out every time.

My geo comment was to the Giant Trance, not Vitus.
  • 2 0
 Same for any bike these days to a point.. E.g Which soon-to-be-obselete hub size will you pick?
  • 5 1
 @mnorris122: Don't get your feelings hurt. We all know you love your Trance.
  • 6 0
 Yes, ripmo af is a great deal. I had a DVO topaz shock on my prior bike and was very happy with it.
  • 6 0
 @5afety3rd: look at the Trance 29 compared to the Tallboy... It's not that far off... Just picked up a Trance Advanced Pro 1 29... Rides great! Stack number was a little too XC for me, but a little taller bar fixed that...
  • 3 0
 @5afety3rd: had tons of fun riding my bike 6 years ago, even on trails built 15 years ago, on a 4 years old bike. Geometry changes the riding experience... but don't let specs rule it all. Currently ripping a 2018 Anthem 1, funniest (under) bike I have ever owned.
  • 10 2
 @mnorris122: I have a 2017 Trance Advanced 1 and it is 68deg HA and 73.5-74 deg seat angle. It is more than capable. The new steeper and super slack isn't necessarily better, especially if you are trail riding. Wheel size is also fairly irrelevant too. Giant packs a ton of value into their bikes.
  • 3 1
 @mnorris122: ya but then im on a Giant tho!
  • 1 0
 @goflowz: exactly
  • 4 0
 @tgent: Genius 950. Fox front and back and NX. You gotta deal with some Syncros and the cheapo 4pot Shimanos, but $2999.
  • 2 0
 @rossluzz: I know! I wish it came in XXL.
  • 5 1
 @mtmc99: um... They also had the Hightower on for testing on 2 previous occasions. Pinkbike might not be pay to play, but their biggest advertisers sure do get a lot of review space.
  • 5 1
 @5afety3rd: Hm, odd how every review of the trance 29 praised it for being progressive for the travel bracket when it came out last year, and there were only a few reviews that said that it didn't ride like it had more travel to it. PB's last review of the 27.5 trance alloy wasn't bad at all either, and that's been unchanged in their lineup for a little while now.

And to the other guys complaining about the geo numbers...yes, the "real" geo numbers of any bike can be off by a couple degrees, 10mm low on of travel in some brands, etc. MBR UK that did a decent article, if a bit anecdotal, on real vs. claimed geo. Manufacturers love to round up on travel and claim numbers that seem only vaguely based in reality, which is why subjective ride qualities are important to sus out whether a bike is right for your riding style!

Jeffsy was 10mm less than claimed travel in the rear, 8 degrees slacker ST angle than advertised. Commencal was 6mm low on travel, 10 degrees slack on ST. Trek, specialized, giant, a few others in the mix there as well.
  • 3 1
 @parkourfan: they compared effective seat tube angle to actual seat tube angle. It would have been better if they found a person with an average inseam for their size and maybe a tall (top 10%) inseam and gave real world numbers.
  • 1 1
 Toyota with a Ferrari engine or Ferarri with a Toyota engine. I'll stick to my Hyundai with Ohlin Suspension and Akra exhaust.
  • 2 0
 @charnek:

And add the Ripmo AF and full carbon Jeffsy to the 'must consider' list of $3k options, both of which i'd take over this HT tho it's nice to see a Santa Cruz at sub 3. Genius a viable option too.
  • 8 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Meanwhile I'm still rockin a 2011 bike with original suspension, wheels, crankset, shifters and derailleurs (soon to be 1x9). I'm a heavy bloke, but light rider.
  • 1 1
 @fruitsd79: owning that factory does mean they design or test any of those products. Your argument is 10 years behind their frame designs.
  • 2 1
 Yeah, Vitus Escarpe is much cheaper and faaaaar better specced. Don't think the costumer support advantages can outweight the price and spec difference to the Vitus.
  • 1 1
 The 35 is basically The same as the rev so asking for a decent fork is kinda stupid.
  • 52 0
 How can we take Levy's opinions seriously when he is 8s slower than Kazimer? These videos should be Kazimer doing all the talking and Levy taking notes next to him!

(I kid, I kid)
  • 16 0
 It must be all the off-camera time he's been spending on the Grim Donut throwing off his body position.
  • 14 0
 It's because Kazimer used the cheater switch Smile
  • 8 0
 Kaz must’ve shaved a vortex or two while wearing crystals. A vortex is good for 1.5-2 seconds but crystals give you a power boost.
  • 2 0
 @BSheldon: I guess it would be quite difficult to adjust back to such archaic geometry when you've been riding a bike from the future.
  • 1 0
 @SacAssassin: You made my day ! We should take a picture of the auras of both lads to make sure they didn't cheated with their chakras. Sedona !
  • 57 11
 2900 USD for SRAM SX and RockShox Recon fork? wow
  • 29 1
 35 Fork*
(sorry I had to)
  • 17 13
 Not even a Recon. The new "35" fork is below the Recon.
  • 87 2
 $100 more and you get an Ibis with top of the line DVO suspension....and a better drivetrain. $100 more?!! How do these guys even compete anymore
  • 24 1
 @nickmay26: Love my Ripmo AF!! #Ripmoworkless
  • 29 10
 @nickmay26: Because people will still buy them just for the name brand. I know several people that would take this bike over something like a Vitus Mythique, even tho the Mythique has a better spec and is significantly cheaper. They want that SC logo. Biking is full of brand whores.
  • 31 0
 @nickmay26: The Ripmo AF is probably the deal of a generation, absolutely killer bike for the price.
  • 28 22
 @stumphumper92: You get a better frame with better support with the SC. Of course there are reasons to choose either but to assume the only reason one would go with the SC is because of brand name is a bit ridiculous.
  • 40 28
 @nickmay26: That Ibis is heinously ugly.
  • 49 2
 @apneaaddict: Well, that's just like, your opinion man
  • 4 1
 Because they offer a really really really good suspension design and no one pays full price! @nickmay26:
  • 1 1
 but you forget the Guide!
  • 5 0
 @apneaaddict: I agree. It’s the only thing that has kept me from pulling the trigger.
  • 6 0
 @apneaaddict: I agree. I don't like Ibis designs. The Mojo was pretty cool however.
  • 16 0
 @ratedgg13: 35 is above the Recon. Recon is Motion control with 32mm stanchions, 35 is Motion control with 35mm stanchions, plus gets the ability to use bottomless tokens.
  • 5 1
 @stumphumper92: dude... resale price for sc vs vitus is a no brainer!
  • 6 0
 Based on my experience Santa Cruz bikes are among the best build quality, best customer service and they do a lot for supporting trail builders.
  • 3 0
 It's even madder over in the UK - this bike is the equivalent of almost $3,900. The Meta that it's being compared to, which you can even buy in a shop here, is £700 (about $900) less than the Santa Cruz despite having a fork two rungs up the ladder and a better drivetrain. Which is why you'll never see this bike on the trails over here.

Santa Cruz are theoretically hampered in the UK by the deal they give the UK distributor - the same as they give stores in the US, so by the time they end up in a store here they're insanely expensive. While in the US they're equivalent to a Trek or Specialized, Jungle in the UK have been forced to do an amazing job at marketing them as being a proper boutique brand like Yeti. And, somehow, it seems to have worked - they're everywhere and people seem to lust after them.
  • 4 2
 @nickmay26: the topaz is quite nice, when it’s not waiting to be rebuilt.

The diamond d2 ISN’T a top end fork. In fact, it’s pretty disingenuous for jenson to be touting DVO bestest suspension evar when the fork is mid tier at best, and hoping riders haven’t had a new bike in a while and actually think the parts are good. Brakes, drivetrain, and fork aren’t good. Frame, and rear suspension are, but that’s a long upgrade path to go.

DVO’s customer service is polite and responsive as ever, but that doesn’t help missized forks and blown shocks being off your bike for weeks at at a time.
  • 3 1
 @parkourfan: Ripmo AF ships with a Diamond D1 not D2, it blows Fox and Rockshox out of the water and is on par with MRP ribbon, one of the best. I've had full DVO on two bikes now and have been very impressed with the longevity of it.

I would much rather start with a top tier suspension platform like DW link and top tier suspension like DVO, the rest is cheap to upgrade.

My Ripmo AF with SLX and Ibis/I9 carbon wheels has me completely impressed. SLX is so good I don't think I would ever upgrade other than for an XT shifter.
  • 2 0
 @hardcore-hardtail: I like XT shifters more then Xtr. They feel better to my fingers
  • 3 0
 @stumphumper92: Some people just prefer the SC handling (like me)...although I'll need to demo the ripmo before laying money down. But the mega and HT (and I presume the TB) really felt great on my trails. Plus SC has had, at least for me, incredible customer service when I've needed it, which has not been often at all. Great workmanship on their frames, they employ a ton of people in Santa Cruz, and for me being close (and that would make me close to Ibis too, and their CS is also renowned), it's not hard to choose them for their frames and build it up the way I like. If that makes me a brand whore, fine, whatever....
  • 2 0
 I’m very very surprised your having issues with your topaz. Btw the d2 still feels better than any rock or fox @parkourfan:
  • 2 1
 Also the ripmo has a d1 not two! @parkourfan:
  • 33 3
 Is it "Hyetower" or "Heetower"?
  • 16 1
 Seeing as they are made in Asia I believe it is pronounced Hai-tower.
  • 1 2
 YeetTower
  • 27 2
 Anything with a Rekon from this point forward is going to be penalized.
  • 42 7
 Yeah, for real. 35 lbs with a literal garbage fork and drivetrain for almost 3k?!? Christ on crutches buy a last years bike discounted or a sick used one.
  • 2 2
 I think their fork had a warranty issue. The damper in the 35 isn't that bad usually.
  • 4 2
 @j-t-g: I dunno, everything I've heard about the "35" is that its significantly worse than a Recon.
  • 6 0
 @specialH: My 19 mega 275 with NX and a Yari was 2100 shipped. Tubeless ready. I'm a big heavy guy and strain a lot of stuff when I ride.
  • 11 14
 Around 2010 I used to say that Canyon is Kashima and XTR stuck into poop. You throw the frame into garbage and you are left with a bunch of good components ar fat discount price, you only need a good frame. It seems SC looked at it the other way around and it may have made some sense... if their frames were still any better than most stuff on the market. But they are not. There’s zero added value in SC anymore these days and they don’t seem to be adapting. These days any Trek, Spec or Scott looks better than Santa Cruzes. Most cheap brand bikes look better aside of being specced much better. It’s as exciting as GT or Mongoose. I’d take Canyon or Vitus over it any day. Santa Cruz has been losing it for some time now and now they lost it completely. “From pre 2012 “ Oooh a Santa Cruz! no matter if Chameleon or Nomad - Wooooow” to the current “10k Hightower - perfectly forgettable”.

They have mistaken “understated/stealth” with “cheap/banal”
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: worse than a recon? It must be shocking, that recon is the most useless piece of fish on the front of ur bike
  • 52 32
 This bike is everything I hate about the industry. The margins SC makes off of this thing must be insane. Almost $3k for a heavy ass frame with literally garbage components that will last a few months? Seriously? Do they WANT to push every budget rider to a DTC brand for life?
  • 19 5
 No, they just want you to think that you need to go with them because they are a big name.
  • 32 12
 "literally garbage components"...really?
  • 8 3
 I've never had an issue with DTC, but if you are against that even a Giant Stance purchased through your LBS is a significantly better value.
  • 15 3
 @carlitouk:
35 can not be upgraded with a better damper, you have to change the fork. Expensive! (the traits mentioned are MoCo typical)
SX drivetrain is only ok for some weekends, GX upgrade is 100€ at least.
Guide T is most basic. And never park the bike in the sunshine!

Nevertheless I would choose a SC Hightower aluminum frame over the other bikes any time.
  • 12 3
 @cxfahrer: I'm not saying they are not basic choices, I'm just not convinced they are "garbage".
  • 14 0
 @carlitouk:
Garbage depends on the point of view. Looking down from a Lyrik or Pike the 35 IS garbage. But coming from a Recon silver TK you might find it quite ok.
But for the intended use of this particular bike, a 35 is not ok. If it was a Revelation or Yari, you could upgrade later to a Charger2.1.
  • 2 0
 @C0yotekid:
Had a Guide R for 2yrs. Was quite ok with the proper (Trickstuff) pads in - I didnt always and the rear brake overcooked and got stuck. Then I parked the bike in the sunshine and the levers stuck. Bought a new Guide then at RCZ for 30€...
  • 5 6
 @carlitouk: yeah is total garbage that isn’t suitable for its intended purpose. Everything on this bike needs upgrading because it isn’t good enough and it won’t last.
  • 13 6
 Ha, I was thinking the exact opposite, that their margins must be close to 0 for this bike. How cheap do you think companies are getting these components? Break everything down and add it up and I don't see how $3k is unreasonable for everything that comes on the bike...
  • 5 2
 @tgent: I'd love to have some bike industry folks chime in here to correct me, but from what I understand speccing SX is basically free (slight sarcasm here but you get the point).
  • 4 1
 @carlitouk: SX will literally wear out after 5 rides. I'm sure someone will tell me they have been riding theirs for a whole season and its fine, but I know at least three folks that have burned through almost every component in that groupset in a matter of weeks. It's a total joke. The fork is cabbage too. The brakes are actually a perfectly fine spec IMHO.

Again, I just think this bike should be about $800 cheaper, but it isn't because you pay for the brand name. Dont get me wrong, SCs makes killer bikes. I just think this spec is a total ripoff
  • 4 1
 @bigbrett: Well I don't pretend to know how much manufacturers are paying, but SX Eagle for a consumer is ~$250 without cranks, so add another $100 for cranks. I don't believe that SRAM and all the middle men are making more than 100% profit on it which leaves you at 1/2 of $350 or $175. That is for the drivetrain alone! You still have frame, wheels, tires, brakes, cockpit, dropper...
  • 5 0
 SC product managers spec and price things so that you buy a more expensive bike. The next spec up is "only" $600 more and so on and so on.

SC has serious brand power and can charge a premium. A lot of people just get the brand their buddy rides or what the shop they go to recommends. They don't do a lot of research or know a lot about DTC so this bike probably seems like a good deal when their buddy rides a $8k Santa Cruz.
  • 3 0
 @tgent: I have seen SC basic spec bikes aluminum online for about 1600€ on sale that had a price around 3000 before. And those shops still have their margin.
Parts must be extremely cheap when RCZ can sell a Guide for 30€ or a Recon Silver for 35€. And they also still make money of it.
I remember in 2008 a guy who worked at Trek who told me, a Lyrik MiCo cost them about 120€ w/o tax.
  • 11 3
 @carlitouk: Sub GX SRAM is utter garbage. Even GX cassettes snap teeth cogs fairly often.
  • 2 1
 @jclnv: yep, anything below xt / gx isn’t really worth bothering with unless it’s temporary and you just need something that does the job while you save up for better parts.
  • 15 2
 The frame is the most important component. The other components are solid. This silly obsession the online community has with 'getting the best components for the money' is misguided. Levy and Kaz liked the bike and got fast times on it. If I had to choose I'd rather have a bike built on a great frame that performs well rather than worry what group tier my derailleur is.
  • 5 2
 @cxfahrer: I'm not buying it. A fork for 30 euro? The raw aluminum and steel alone costs more than that. I have no idea how much a 08 Lyrik costs, but 120 euro for a top end fork? A Lyrik today costs about $1000 (sorry switching to 'Murican currency), there's absolutely no way SRAM is producing them for ~$150, that would be $850 profit with every fork sold, distributed across multiple middlemen, but realistically it's only around 3 companies. SRAM sells fork (and other things) to Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz sells complete bike to bike shop, bike shop sells complete bike to you.

I feel like this gets brought up a lot, the internet people say everyone is making huge profits, and shops and manufacturers say margins are thin. When a shop, particularly and online outfit which is dealing larger volume lower margin, sells a bike for 1600, they're likely breaking even or taking a loss.
  • 3 1
 @Paddock22: Most SC bikes I see were bought on sale. These things consistently get discounted to 2/3 of their initial price. Paying more would be pretty silly.
  • 2 0
 @C0yotekid: So true. Got these on my bike last year and hit a steep section went down it much faster than I was hoping. Only thing on my new ride I didn't like. I'll be replacing them shortly with some XTs.
  • 1 0
 Prime suspension design with patents, with desirable looks.
  • 1 0
 The good news for you is that there's somewhat of a grey area between SC and DTC brands that offer better value for money. Just check pretty much every other brand.
  • 1 1
 I have 4 bikes that are DTC - amazing service and value and they still support LBS if something needs to be done under warranty - they flip the bill.
  • 21 0
 29'er with 150/140 travel = trail bike. My, my, my times have changed.
  • 11 0
 PB Fieldtest 2025 will feature 150mm Downcountry bikes.
  • 13 2
 @mrpfp: nope. Only ebikes will exist by then.
  • 3 0
 way more efficient climbers than they used to be.

The Trek I just sold was a 27.5 but it was a 150/160 bike at 28.8lbs and a hell of a climbing bike.

Travel doesn't dictate everything any more. I've seen 170 bikes that are more efficient climbers than some 130/140 bikes.... stumpy evo comes to mind. Not the best climbers.
  • 2 1
 @onemanarmy:
Proud to report I’m well aware. I recently picked up a Ripmo V1 as my “enduro” bike and it shits on my 120mm Spec Camber in all areas, particularly climbing and sprinting.

I should have expounded upon this in my initial comment but, in the PB comment section, witty one-liners reign supreme.
  • 1 0
 @mrpfp: And they'll be 40 lbs...
  • 40 24
 Haters gonna hate - Shouting about spec and lauding a DTC business model over a history in the game of mtb because you saved 10% is about as short sighted as consumerism can get.
  • 34 3
 People completely forget about frames in favor in spec. All the kashima coating and unicorn hair drivetrains in the world can truly cover up a shitty frame.
  • 22 3
 This is a trash spec compared to Ibis Ripmo AF. Not even close
  • 3 5
 Both Vitus and SC have long history in cycling and are now part of big corporate conglomerates. Despite of having been in the front line of r&d in the past, they now just outsource most of their operations to unnamed oriental companies.
  • 3 5
 "a history in the game of MTB" is worth noting if it doesn't translate into a significant advantage on the trail. With this bike it doesn't.
  • 9 5
 They can penny pinch all they want. Buy a DTC bike if that's what you want. Or you can go to a bike shop and support them... keep their doors open. Spend a few hundred bucks more and get the Santa Cruz. Guess who's gonna have an easier time selling their bike in a couple years...
  • 10 1
 @onemanarmy: The right answer is to go to LBS and buy the Ripmo AF. Best of both worlds and you aren't stuck with some SC junky specs. Best of both worlds, everyone wins
  • 5 1
 @Svinyard: but that Ripmo frame...ugh
  • 5 2
 @onemanarmy: Isn't Santa Cruz pretty much a DTC brand since in the US their biggest retailers are online stores like competitive or colorado cyclist?
  • 8 0
 @Svinyard: I demoed both Ripmo AF and Ripmo along with a Hightower. I really wanted to like the Ripmos, but to me the Hightower won over them. I guess the right thing to do is not to just buy a bike by pricetag and spec, but one that rides well for your liking.
  • 1 0
 @Mooka: What spec level Hightower did you ride. Did you really like that Fork over the DVO? Fork is pretty noticeable spec. I hear you tho, Demo is king
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: It was specced with the Lyrik Ultimate, instantly felt at home there. I couldn't get to terms with the DVO. To me it did not feel good at all and probably was the biggest downfall of the Ripmo AF. Only had a day on the bike to fiddle with setup though.
  • 13 0
 Built my Alloy Hightower up in the Autumn. Spent less than the 'D' build,admittedly re-used a handful of bits but it's a much better spec (36 Performance, last gen XTR, Hope brakes etc). I reckomn about 32/33lbs.

Here in the UK the alloy frameset only is quite good value IMO - it's cheaper than the equivalent Orange (which i came from) or Cotic, similar to a Bird, Trek, or less boutiquey stuff.
Throw in the warranty and the very good quality of finish, paint etc and I reckon its up there, a better price/performance ratio than the CC for sure. Easy to spec one up with new/on sale/bargain bits.

I've had all sorts over the years, I'm really happy with this frame, it's properly fast downhill and climbs great.

Does an insta link work here?

www.instagram.com/p/B5ffnAKHF9yTrV81iNx4wGztoBSnde-g3BxW1A0/?igshid=24r0gvtr63mr
  • 9 0
 Account is Private.
  • 17 2
 The Fat-tower? C'mon Levy, in today's group hug society fat shaming is not acceptable. Off to sensitivity training for you.
  • 17 0
 Huskytower
  • 2 0
 Healthytower.
  • 2 0
 Maybe Levy just like to ride the Fat frames?
  • 4 0
 The You-do-you-live-your-best-life-Tower
  • 1 0
 Fat-tower lol or chunky-tower lol hahahaha
  • 3 0
 @fedfox: Thicctower
  • 1 0
 Group hugs are out, didn't you get the memo?
  • 1 0
 Have you seen the names of the fat tire bikes coming out??????????
  • 11 1
 To be Clear, Santa cruz will give you bearings for free. Your LBS's labor, however, is not free. Santa cruz, like almost every bike brand, does not give dealers any labor credit for the work they do. So don't go screaming at the LBS cause your "Lifetime warranty" on parts doesn't include labor.
  • 13 1
 For the last 10 years weight was something that mattered but I guess now it doesn't?
  • 14 0
 It only matters if your bike brand is named Commencal apparently
  • 1 0
 It still does to those who know.
  • 11 0
 "Levy never got that KOM"...
  • 4 0
 They do offer the Hightower Aluminum frame at $2K. Far from "cheap," but geometry is quite good depending on what kind of bike you're looking for...

Granted, you can get a Guerilla Gravity Smash (carbon front triangle) frame for $2.2K.
  • 4 0
 You can usually get the Alu models for 1400-1500€...which is a good price considering all the benefits you get from SC.

However you can get a far better spec for 2800€ if you take your time and built it up with discounted last year components.
  • 8 0
 Seems like a decent deal to me.
  • 6 0
 What about the Devinci Troy as a comparison? Made in Canada (yes the Aluminum too). Better specs all around, lifetime warranty, and external cabling ftw.
  • 2 0
 Gotta love Devinci. My six year old AL Dixon is still creak free. Great company.
  • 1 0
 Sadly they're not all made in Canada anymore. I think the Wilson and spartan are, but ALU troy is overseas. Still an awesome company though and buy so they stand behind their product.
  • 1 0
 @C0yotekid: show me where it says Assembled in Canada vs Made in Canada. All I ask.
  • 1 0
 I stand corrected. C'mon Devinci, spend less time on bike sharing initiatives and more on consumers who actually directly pay for your bike. Where's my rebate?
  • 4 0
 In the end the bearings for life for free ,and I think they offer lifetime warranty on the aluminum frames to ,and have that policy of if you crash hard and break the rear or the front they will replace it for almost half a cost ,that’s not bad at all ,cause aluminum frames in less then 5 years they will brake in some point ,so ............
  • 7 0
 This is a great thing. I have replaced all my bearing every year for 9yrs free. If you mention any other suspension parts are worn they send them free every time too. The review said 5yrs but if you ride 3 or 4 days a week it will be once a year. I also wait til the end of the season for sales in case I need some money later for a part upgrade. I know in So Cal we are SC fanboys but if they work good and treat you good its hard to argue. Also the LBS down the street is a dealer.
  • 6 2
 SC can get away with selling junky trash builds for this much because people want an SC and the same people keep buying these trash builds.

Not saying that there should be a paywall behind certain bikes or brands, but SC is setting a very bad precedent for the bike industry. 'Look every other brand, we can get away with selling garbage builds for $3000.' Soon enough, everyone else will be following suit. This is the biggest problem I have with this build kit in particular. Oh, and don't even get me started with SC shoehorning you in to buying their carbon wheels if you want the highest end componentry. SC can go to hell.
  • 1 0
 I seriously doubt SC or their dealers sell many of these builds. Most experienced riders buying SC (or Yeti, Ibis, Pivot, etc) are buying carbon frames or carbon builds. I don't think at this price point SC (or Pon) is making much margin. And I didn't know SC was shoehorning anyone into buying their wheels (which are generally considered pretty awesome from the reviews I've read) - I know dealers mark down SC carbon wheel sets by 20-50% sometimes if you buy a carbon build, I think Ibis dealers have offered the same for their wheels too.
  • 4 0
 @phclaw: The issue I have with this logic is that if dealers weren't selling junky low end builds, then SC wouldn't have a reason to keep making junky low end builds. SC is in the business of making money. Maximizing profits makes the most money. I'm willing to bet that there are larger profit margins selling a low end(yet expensively priced) bike than a higher end(and way, way more expensive) bike. A dealer can sell 3-4 of these crap spec bikes for the price of SCs top end builds. Easily. I personally know a few riders that have bought aluminum GX build SCs. They wanted an SC even if it's the 'cheap' trim. It's an aspirational brand/bike. SC bikes have great reputations and I absolutely can't dispute that.

Not sure if you've looked at SC's builds lately but if I want say, Factory suspension and top of the line drivetrain and brakes, I'm forced to spend close to $9-10K specifically BECAUSE SC specs those bikes with their carbon wheels. I love carbon wheels. But what if someone else wants aluminum? Or what if someone else wants a different brand of carbon wheels? This is the shoehorning I'm talking about. SC has officially taken the 'Most ridiculously priced bike' from Yeti. And by no small margin either. If anything Yeti's T1 builds are a bargain(relatively speaking) compared to the ridiculous pricing model SC is peddling.
  • 1 0
 @Almazing: I could go all Jeff Bridges and say "well, yeah, that's just like your opinion, man"...I'm not disagreeing with you, but I don't see this as Santa Cruz's/Pons issue (or any other bike manufacturer). Bike companies are obviously trying to maximize profit, and I don't really think there are any loss leaders here, but your point of "what if consumers want x, y, or z" doesn't equate to Santa Cruz or their competitors shoehorning anybody. And maybe the point is lost on me because I have never considered dropping $7k on an XO build of any bike, because I know I can assemble the same bike by building it up with components, wheels and suspension I want for a lot less. I just don't consider what SC or other brands pricing models as shoehorning anybody. You want aluminum, SC comes with aluminum rims - their carbon rims are an upgrade.

And your Yeti comparison doesn't compute. Top build of a Hightower (which again, I would never consider buying unless I won the lotto), is an AXS drivetrain, carbon wheel model for $10,500. Yeti's top line (they have two different DT-Swiss carbon wheel options) is $10,900. Even the primo XO-level build Yeti is more expensive by $200, and that's with both models having aluminum wheels with 350 hubs (7,300 vs 7,100). The t1 level for Yeti is a tweener - lower level carbon with XT components. SC doesn't have that - it has a lower level carbon frame with GX components (both Yeti and SC have lower to middling suspension and wheels/hubs for each) for $5,200 compared to $6,800 for Yeti. So I guess the only thing we'll agree on is that yeti still takes the highest priced products (but I haven't seen how Pivot prices their current line-up).
  • 11 4
 Over 36 lbs with pedals....wth...
  • 19 6
 If it climbs well and lasts, why would that matter?
  • 7 0
 My Demo weighs nearly the same with a stock DH build, springs, big tyres, big forks...
  • 23 1
 @bigburd: I fail to understand why people expect aggressive trail/enduro bikes (specially trail bikes bordering the enduro realm, like the Hightower) to be much lighter, if any, than DH rigs. They need to survive nearly the same stuff, share most of the components including wheels and have more gears and droppers.
Add to this a low cost option and you end up with 36 lbs.

Like I said, it sounds like a handful, but as long as it climbs/pedals great and lasts, who cares?
  • 11 2
 @Arierep: If you're climbing fire roads and descending chunkier terrain, it probably doesn't. If you're climbing fun trails because you want to spend the majority of your bike ride on something non-monotonous, it's heavy, you notice it, and you get way more tired. But if you're prioritizing the downhills I can see how this bike makes a lot of sense in this test. Still stupidly expensive though.
  • 3 1
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: read what I wrote.
I didn't say "it doesn't need to climb that well to be fun" or "it can be heavy as long as it's great downhill".

I said clearly "as long as it climbs/pedals great"
  • 5 2
 @Arierep: this bike has EXO tires, so it’s really a 37-38 pound bike by the time you put real tires and pedals on it. My old 2017 Kona Operator in XL with coil shock, fork, dh tires and tubes and dmr vault pedals was a bit over 39. It was the same price range, I paid $2999 brand new.
  • 8 1
 I am not necessarily a weight wheenie, but huffing around a 35 pound bike around local trails (with rocky technical climbs) just sounds brutal. And if it's meant to be more of a downhill crusher, then why call it a trail bike? Strange category, I guess.
  • 7 3
 @roma258: I pedal my Megatower around like an xc bike at almost 36 lbs. Good kinematics and geometry means it pedals amazingly and the weight is virtually not a factor. It's the difference of you taking a big poop before a ride and not carrying a water bottle. People obsess so much about the weight of the bike... Just go on a diet and loose 5 lbs, you make up for the added weight. Your welcome Big Grin
  • 4 0
 @Arierep: It matters because you notice it. I am no weight weenie, my enduro ride is 34 pounds and I have an old banshee that weighs in at 42 pounds. It's not that you cant do everything with them, its why would bikes gain so much weight over the years. I don't believe the extra weight is providing you with stiffness etc that you'd notice. When I ride a friends 28.XX pound yeti build with very similar geometry I certainly notice the difference in weight. pedaling a 36 pound bike wont be that noticable on 10-20 km quick rides but an all day 70-80km epic it would matter a lot. I guess the question is..... does it need to be that heavy or is it just to differential it?
  • 3 0
 @Arierep: I think it is because they used to be, and bikes seem to be getting heavier again for the same genre. Some things make sense, 29er wheels etc.... but I'm not sure that's all there is to it.
  • 3 1
 @gnarnaimo: I think good kinematics/geometry can make up for a lot of ills, but come on, let's stop pretending that your Megatower is an XC whip. And yes, bike weight matters. I am far from a fattie, but when you ride your bike, especially in technical terrain, you're lifting and muscling around your bike hundreds of times a ride. A 5 pound difference absolutely adds up. It's been discussed and explained to death.
  • 2 0
 @roma258: I don't pretend my cushcore, DD casing equipped Megatower is an xc bike. However it does me pretty well on 50-70 km rides with lots of undulating terrain. Weight matters sure (especially un-sprung and rotating mass. Which is not where this bike is carrying its girth), but its not nearly as big of a deal as people make it. I have a 26 lb bike, a 29 lb bike, 32 lb bike and 36 lb bike and honestly find the two heavier bikes to tackle technical climbs better as they have so much more traction thanks to excellent kinematics (and heavier more aggressive tires).
  • 1 1
 @gnarnaimo: at 50-70kms for rides, you're definitely not riding the North Shore.
  • 1 0
 @DHhack: those are "real" tires. what better tires would you put on?
  • 1 0
 @elshadow: something that doesn’t puncture constantly in my local terrain? EXO was preferred where I used to live, but not where I’m at now. DD front and DH rear is common here.
  • 1 0
 @elshadow: Nanaimo has plenty of tech and steep climbs. Come on over and I'll show you some good climbs that are on par with North Shore climbs, and then some...
  • 8 4
 For the exact same price you can get a polygons siskiu N9 which has GX, 36 rythme, fox float DPX2 and better pretty much everything else. Different uses of course but it's just to compare from a value standpoint
  • 10 1
 "bUt wHaT abOUt A wAteR BottLE"
  • 2 1
 A what now?
  • 7 1
 But then you'd have to ride a Polygon
  • 4 1
 @dhache: It's a great bike for the price but if that doesn't do it for you, you could get a meta, RSD wildcat, Norco Torrent FS1 etc... All of those available in a much better spec for the same price.
  • 2 0
 ... or you could get a full-carbon YT Jeffsy Comp for the same price aswell.
  • 1 0
 @dhache: What about it?
  • 8 3
 yikes, 35 lbs and 3k for a d tier components? even specialized's stumpjumper full carbon is less for the upgrade money.

most dh bikes weigh less than that.
  • 5 0
 You can get the Carbon Comp stumpjumper for 2900€ on discount now lol.

With better spec and a full carbon frame...dont want to know the mark up on the Sc build
  • 4 0
 I feel sad for the person who runs with camera at the beginning uphill;
Otherwise awesome review, thank you! SC looks like nice option considering you can ride/race/play with that bike without any issues
  • 6 3
 The problem with this is the same as with outright all Santa Cruz bikes, they just aren't good value for money at all. You pay an enourmously big price premium for the Santa Cruz name.

This thing is only 100$ cheaper than the YT Jeffsy Comp (cheapest carbon frame Jeffsy), which has much better components all around and is also gonna be a lot lighter.
  • 5 0
 Same idea I wanted a Yeti SB130 but didn't want to pay $3400, so I waited found one for $2100. Sram whores out there products to bike manufactures all day long in hopes you will continue to buy them. All bike parts are made in Asia for the most part and are low quality. They are priced high to pay for all the hands that touch them before they reach the consumer.
  • 1 1
 @thoe: This all day. Just watch the for sale ads and pick a frame up for 2-2.5k. Build it up from there.
  • 2 0
 Really wish they'd offer an all slx/fox build. The jump in price to get a decent dropper and a decent set of brakes is astounding. Crazy considering you can buy a brand new set of slx brakes for less than $250... how much of a OEM discount must sram be offering to get spec'd on EVERYTHING, especially considering the incredibly bad reputation the reverb has.
  • 6 0
 Check out the Commencal Meta AM 29. Exact spec you’re talking about.
  • 1 0
 I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if at least some parts on this bike are effectively free to SC whether it be brakes, drivetrain, or suspension. SRAM certainly does this with components in order to incentivize manufacturers to use full SRAM OEM.
  • 3 1
 This new alum option is well and great.. and truth be told.. this bike is a monster / most stable ever for big enduro... BUT.. the C carbon version was a bloody tank - hurt my shoulder hoisting it onto a rack which took months to recover. Can only imagine what this beast is like pedaling uphill.. that all being said --> the CC version is tits..
  • 7 0
 If a matter of 2 pounds causes you that sort of injury..you might want to consider some cross training or physio. Maybe a change of diet?
  • 4 0
 @gnarnaimo:

nice one gnarnaimo! i demoed the GX C version of the HT and while i thought the suspension and geo was awesome and on point, it did feel like a bit of a let down on the climbs. the competition is insane for these do-it-all trail bikes. anyway based on that experience i'd agree w/ CDT that i would not want to pedal this tank up a hill. idk... run it in the high position and throw a semi-slick on the rear maybe. 35 is a tough pill to swallow. took a 34.5 lb (verified - w/tubes i think) GX alu sentinel out a while ago and while geo including climbing position was also on point, that weight was not insignificant.
  • 2 0
 @gnarnaimo: you know what.. it’s my bad... I thought this was an article on an alum. Megatower.. that was the beast that torqued my shoulder and honestly it could have been any bike that day, I probably lifted it wrong.. but my analysis of the C Mega stands - ‘beastly freight train’ that tired me out on the climbs but was amazing pointed down. My buds CC is where it’s at tho..
  • 4 0
 Shouldn't they have reviewed the SC 5010 D / Alu model instead, at $2699 with a RS Recon fork that seems more in line with the bikes they where reviewing.
  • 3 1
 I bought a Hightower aluminum R build. Put the 2.1 damper in the yari and some G2 rcs I had recently bought for another bike. Tad over 35lbs with pedals. It’s a great bike and I really enjoy it.

Feels much more stable over literally everything vs my 27.5 jeffsy carbon. Only carbon bike I have ever had, not a huge fan.
  • 2 0
 Shocking spec for the money. You can pick up bikes in the UK for less than £1,000 with SRAM SX. Who in there right mind would pay nearly £2,500 for that spec. Santa Cruz really do live in a dream world. You can pick up a Calibre Sentry for less than £1,500 at the moment and it would piss all over this Santa Cruz
  • 5 4
 I have never bought a complete mountain bike off the shelf, biggest waste of money. You can always find a year old frame used and put a bike together buying parts used and new from various sources on the internet for way cheaper. I personally avoid paying retail mark up of parts that are made in Asia. Sorry bike shops don't need you. There is a trade off to every different type and model of bike on the market. There is no one bike that will do it all and be the perfect one.
  • 8 7
 A few bike manufactures spec their bikes with higher components to hide the fact that their bike and suspension design sucks! Here we have a Santa Cruz Bike with lower end spec that truly highlighting what their bike design is capable of with lower end spec components! Santa Cruz bikes is the benchmark of the industry!
  • 1 0
 here's my burning question for @RockShox

Can you put a charger damper in a 35 gold chassis?

The MoCoRL works well for my kids for now, but I think they'll appreciate the upgrade as their riding progresses. Sorry I missed the AMA.
  • 1 0
 So no mention of the dropper's lever which is essentially the same as the one on the Vitus just with a RF logo on it? It seemed to bother you on the Vitus.
For the record: I do think ergonomics are highly subjective since I use said lever on two of my bikes and am perfectly fine with it. Sits about in the same position as the gear shifter.

Also: nice job on the field trip series overall.
  • 6 2
 Thanks to Mark Levy for his fun attitude and his sense of humor Smile
  • 2 1
 Downvote = Kazimero fan club, na?
  • 1 0
 @softsteel: nah it's the correct name fan club
  • 4 1
 RIP Levy. Kazimer takes the win in this episode. Levy needs redemption next round of the Mike vs Mike competition.
  • 3 0
 The title should read:

Field Trip: Santa Cruz's $2,899 Hightower Alloy - The "Least Expensive" Tower
  • 2 0
 High($)tower
  • 2 0
 The url reads "field-trip-santa-cruz-hightower-alloy-d-the-big-d". So the title should read:

Field Trip: Santa Cruz's $2,899 Hightower Alloy - The big D
  • 3 0
 I don't care I just want them to say Route and Aluminium in the queen's English! If one would be so kind.
  • 7 5
 Can we get a place where all the polls I've missed are consolidated so I can take them all at once?
  • 1 2
 there is. scroll all the way down to the bottom of the current poll and it will have something like 10/85. Click on that and you can take them all
  • 9 0
 I think all the poles have broken chainstays
  • 2 0
 How about a comparo of the 35 and the Z2? I believe they retail for similar price.
  • 14 0
 Z2
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: The field trip series is great, thank you for doing this. We need this right now. Also, it's all e-bikes fault.
  • 2 2
 They left out the fair/direct comparison to Ripmo AF saying "I def wouldn't recommend buying this bike if a Ripmo AF was available". How does IBIS do it but massive company SC can't? This seems like SC went backwards.
  • 4 2
 Ripmo AF is a better buy, no argument.

But SC is a "massive" company? They're not even big within the bike industry, small compared to Specialized & Trek, never mind Giant.
  • 4 2
 @krka73: $100 to $500 million in revenue for a now global company. They aren't a boutique anymore. Massive for the bike industry imo. Ibis is around 28m I think.
  • 2 1
 @krka73: Pons Holding who own Santa Cruz has 13,000 employees and and an annual turnover of $700 in 2017.
Tiny they are.
  • 2 1
 $700million...........tho right now $700 is quite a big turnover in the the bike industry!
  • 2 0
 Nice! I did the same buying an alloy hightower frame and building it up with parts I already had. Absolutely love it!
  • 1 0
 How does the extra heft being in the frame vs the wheels make it so there is no effect from the weight? Do you ride this bike uphills without the frame?
  • 2 0
 Four piston brakes? This bike is well worth the hyphen.
  • 2 0
 I’ll just get a bird for a way better spec and better ride imo
  • 2 0
 The opening scene!! Hilarious. Reminded me of a Monty Python skit.
  • 2 0
 The SRAM product line frustrates me.
  • 3 1
 Enjoyed the review. Thanks for the new content
  • 1 0
 You forgot the part in the “Review” on how it compares to another Santacruz. YAAAAAAWWWWNNNN!
  • 1 0
 For the basically the same price, there are a few other bikes I'd consider. I'm waiting for SC to got direct to consumer.
  • 2 1
 Nukeproof Reactor Expert Build $2789.00 USD on sale...NX, Guide, Pike Select & Super Deluxe Select. Bye SC....
  • 2 0
 Not idea on smooth boring trails seems like a PRO to me...
  • 2 0
 Frame weight on this is 4.4kg... WTF??! Ridiculous.
  • 2 1
 What's the real seat tube angle? In the last picture it looks very slack.
  • 4 2
 Apparently now the first rule of seat tube angles is that you do not talk about ACTUAL seat tube angles. Instead you get the fictional measurement created by drawing a line between the BB and seat clamp, regardless of what direction the seat post comes out of the seat tube. It's kind of ridiculous.
  • 2 0
 @mark73: No. It makes total sense because that's the measure that impacts the way you feel on the bike. Actual seat tube angle isn't related to how a bike feels soo it's irrelevant.
  • 3 1
 @c-radicallis: The advertised STA would be relevant if it was measured at the post at a reasonable or standardized height i.e. Stack and Reach have a common point they are measured from. The deviation between actual and virtual STA grows as you get farther away from the seat collar (where no one actually runs their seat to pedal). All these "steep" seat angles mean very little to taller riders who run 200mm+ of exposed seat post. My current bike has an advertised STA of almost 77 degrees. The actual angle is 72.5. The saddle is several inches away from where it would be according to the virtual STA. How does that not affect how the bike feels?
  • 2 0
 @mark73: Yes, you're right. The best possible way to measure the seat tube angle would be from the BB to the saddle at bar heigth. But since manufacturers aren't doing that i'd say the effective seat tube angle is most indicative measurement of the riding position for most riders.
  • 4 3
 Hilarious price compared to the ripmo af
  • 3 2
 So... it is a tank with bad brakes and dropper.
  • 3 2
 Crazy mark-up for the SC badge
  • 2 0
 RIP Levy's KOM
  • 3 3
 Haha, Turbo Levo SL almost as heavy as Hightower while sporting motor and battery.
  • 3 0
 Haha that thing cost $20K Canadian. Apples to oranges.
  • 5 0
 @CircusMaximus: Why can't fruit be compared?
  • 1 0
 @wmoody54: touché lol
  • 2 1
 Just spent a little more and get a Ripmo AF over this.
  • 1 1
 Thats a mighty long steer tube, could save weight there, trimming it might make it climb like a goat. Or not
  • 1 0
 Now can we get a Alloy Megatower? Pleasee
  • 2 1
 Might as well throw a $100 more in and get a Rimpo AF...
  • 1 2
 Santa Cruz: hey we came out w an affordable hitower..... it’s 35+ lbs.....


Japanese women- yes we love a sumo sized “affordable” ride
  • 1 0
 Where can I buy this in Australia??
  • 1 0
 Someone please let me know a better bike for the same money? Gracias
  • 3 3
 They don't even sell this boat anchor in SA
  • 1 1
 Minaar would ride it....
  • 2 0
 @curendero: nope, he'd be on the CC with XTR...
  • 4 6
 Ehh, those SC stickers cost more now than they ever have. I'll take the Torrent and enjoy the hell out of the Lyrik Ultimate over this any day.
  • 2 1
 3800 usd in Europe
  • 6 7
 Very poorly specced for the money. There are far superior specced bikes out there to put your hard earned money into!
  • 1 1
 Cheap because its a shit color?
  • 3 3
 A near 40 lbs e-bike with no motor or battery. Well done Santa Cruz!
  • 1 0
 No donuts?
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