Santa Cruz Announces New Highball Hardtail

Mar 20, 2018
by Pinkbike Staff  
Santa Cruz Highball

Santa Cruz just announced the new Blur, which Mike Levy managed to get on for an extended review, but that's not the only XC weapon being launched today. The Highball has also been revised, with a slightly slacker head angle, and a .5-degree steeper seat tube angle, although it's still firmly planted in the cross-country realm.

Internal routing is now in place for a 27.2mm dropper post, eliminating any unsightly loops of housing from the outside of the frame, and addressing one of the gripes that came up with the prior frame design. There's also no longer a front derailleur mount, but with a claimed fighting weight of 19.1 pounds it's pretty unlikely that anyone is going to have trouble climbing on this machine.

Santa Cruz Highball

Intended use: XC
Travel: 100mm fork
Wheel size: 29"
Frame construction: carbon with "C" and "CC" options
Sizes: S-XL
Claimed weight: 19.1lbs. / 9.9kg (XX1 Reserve build)
Pricing: $2,799 - $7,9999 USD; CC frame only: $1899 USD
More info: santacruzbicycles.com

Santa Cruz Highball

SC

SANTA CRUZ California - March 2018 during the launch of the new Santa Cruz Bicycles Blur and Highball. Photo by Gary Perkin

Santa Cruz Highball

Highball Details

• Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheels option
• 69.5-degree head tube angle
• Internal dropper compatibility
• 3 bottle cage mounts
• Bolt-on downtube protector
• 1x drivetrain-specific design
• Internal cables, threaded bottom bracket
• Boost axle spacing
Santa Cruz Highball

Santa Cruz Highball
SANTA CRUZ California - March 2018 during the launch of the new Santa Cruz Bicycles Blur and Highball. Photo by Gary Perkin

SANTA CRUZ California - March 2018 during the launch of the new Santa Cruz Bicycles Blur and Highball. Photo by Gary Perkin



66 Comments

  • + 41
 If they are going to make the seat tube 27.2mm with space for a dropper post, why don't they just make it 30.9 as that's the size that most decent stealth posts come in?

Or just commit and lead the way with 35mm seat tubes. It's not like we need another standard or anything ????
  • + 11
 I was thinking about that. Probably because it's an XC hardtail - low weight is the priority, and though they're probably less stiff and theoretically less durable, the 27.2 mm droppers absolutely weigh less.
  • + 8
 That does make some sense but the blur is also an xc race machine and that comes with a 31.8mm seat tube. Also the number of options for 27.2 droppers is much smaller. However I can remember reading a review of the s-works epic and that the skinny post is meant to flex more to offer better comfort so that may also have been a factor...
  • + 6
 @Will-McCurrach: Ah, you've got it. I wasn't thinking about the regular-post configuration. Highball buyers are probably more likely to use a simple seatpost than Blur owners are.
  • + 3
 @Will-McCurrach: I think will is right. Also, I think that 27.2mm is not necessarily the lightest weight. You might be able to run a lower wall thickness with increased diameter. Worth investigating for any mechanical engineer with a few hours to kill.
  • + 18
 I think someone already said this, but a lot of XC bikes run 27.2 posts to get a little more flex when not running a dropper. Makes sense for this bike.
  • + 1
 Exactly. I have a 27.2 on my steel HT and have maybe 2 options for a dropper post. The other problem with smaller diameter droppers is the internals have to work a lot harder due to the smaller diameter.
  • + 2
 @brianpark: super simple shim solves this issue. Spesh shipped their enduro’s with a shim before they launched the wu.

Run it with a shim and a suntace HyFlex post if you are a weight weenie. Run a normal dropper if you’re not a goof.

Shame that the three big bikes (vertex, blur, grail) launched this week in this sort of area come with the wrong seatpost size and in carbon. So it means we won’t see the right one for at least 3 years.
  • + 1
 Because they are traditionalists with no courage to try something different...just look at the geo...it could have come off a XC 90s bike...
  • + 0
 @SintraFreeride: Agreed. I would love to see an XC bike with nu skool geo. The only thing that is remotely close are the new Konas - but they do embrace long, low and slack.
  • - 1
 @fartymarty: The upside is that XC now runs droppers which was unthinkable until recently. I'm sure in 10 years we will see most XC bikes being built with decent geometry. Roadbikes on the other hand...are a lost cause.
  • + 3
 @SintraFreeride: Road bikes will never change as they are constrained by the UCI laws. It would be interesting to see how road bikes would evolve if they weren't constrained.

At least mtbs are heading in the right direction - designing a bike that is efficient and fast for riding off road.
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: Are a few boys in the peleton not using droppers for descending?
  • + 1
 @doe222: I was thinking more about the all the geometry constraints rather than specific components.

If you were to design a road bike from scratch without any constraints (except it must have 2 wheels and be human powered) what would it look like. I know mine wouldn't look much like what they currently use and it would be a whole lot faster.
  • + 4
 They use 27.2 because the majority of XC racers choosing a superlight hardtail over a full suspension will be using a carbon seatpost. 27.2 offers some flex and better comfort than larger diameter posts.
  • + 1
 How many 27.2 droppers out there have stealth routing?
  • + 2
 @b1k35c13nt15t: I can think of two decent ones. They exist.
  • + 1
 @ko-d: Thomson don't do internal (that I am aware of) but are one of the few 27.2 diameter posts.

They are great when new but the keyway bushing wear really quickly. I have one that I got new as a warranty about 2 months ago and it already has rotational play. The other downside is you cannot (or are not advised to) rebuild them yourself so you have to send it away for a rebuild.

What are the others?
  • + 2
 @fartymarty:

PNW Rainier 27.2 IR is a stealth routed option
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: Roadbikes could change if brands made non uci legal roadbikes for joe public, or the uci relaxed it's rules or brands used triathlon bikes to evolve roadbikes (non restrictions there).
  • + 1
 @ko-d: You can achieve the same results with 30.9mm diameters...
  • + 1
 @iggzdaloc: looks nice and cheaper than a Thomson.
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride: True, but you would need an adaptor. Adaptors make unicorns cry .
  • + 1
 @bonfire: making this dropper compatible would make sense if it had trail hardtail geo and intentions. It’s purely a high post gravel grinder/aggressive CX slayer.
  • + 1
 @brianpark: Nailed it...
  • + 1
 Why no 28.99 seat tube option? Nice middle ground between static and dropper posts, giving both flex AND durability.

Has the snow melted yet?
  • + 11
 Three, three water bottle mounts. Water bottle mount fans get you credit cards out cause you know this is what you’ve been waiting for. The people requested and Santa Cruz DELIVERED.
  • + 8
 I guess that makes up for the lack of bottle mounts on the V10.
  • + 0
 Probably adds 10 grams though. Racers lose races by that much.
  • + 9
 This is the bike that most gravel grinders should be getting instead of a gravel bike. It's funny to watch road bikes incrementally go through changes to become a mountain bike (slacker geo, disc brakes, more tire clearance, suspension forks or suspension-like handlebars, dropper posts). Eventually someone's going to realize that flat bars are way better on dirt and we're gonna see them become more common on "gravel bikes". Funny when something like the Highball already exists and is way better for most "gravel" riding.
  • + 3
 So true. BikeRadar did a great article about how road/gravel bikes are evolving in a parallel universe where mountain bikes (and their inherent innovations) never existed.
  • + 2
 You nailed it! Hardtail mountainbikes went from narrow handlebars (think about the 90s!) to superwide bars... but now it turs out that a skinny drop handlebar is more confortable to ride offroad...The same hapens with the wheel size, mtbs going from 26 to 29 inches but now 27.5" gravel bikes appeared...because they are more fun (waiting for the 26"...). But I asume that what seems to make no sense for us, makes complete sense for the brands...now we want you to buy a fat bike, now we want you to buy a gravel bike, now we want you to buy an ebike...and so on.
  • + 3
 I disagree, i have both and there is a huge difference between a cyclocross/gravel bike and a hard tail mountain bike - geometry (your pedal and body position) is still very different, drop bars do make a huge difference vs a flat bar, and suspension forks aren’t needed. You could get by with riding this bike with skinnier tires, but there still is a big difference.
  • + 8
 All I can think about is the fact that my bike is basically the same weight as two of these.
  • + 6
 Bring on a new carbon Chameleon
  • + 3
 x2, but with a slacker HTA. I love my chameleon, but I wish the HTA were closer to 66*
  • + 2
 @sixstringsteve: head angle is mint where it is. But needs a steeper seat angle. Just rode mine through the Trans nz and it was mint, but was begging for a steeper seat angle.
  • + 1
 @bonfire: exactly i would wish the sta on my bronson v2 would be 2 degrees steeper. would make an awesome bike even better.
  • + 1
 @bonfire: Chameleon is on my short list of bikes I'm looking at for bikepacking the Colorado Trail this summer. I just wish they had an XT build with a pike and I'd buy it in a second. Do you ride yours with the rhythm 34? Any other upgrades?
  • + 2
 @bonfire: I like the sta fine. With a hardtail, the rear suspension doesn't squat, and doesn't slacken out the bike, resulting in a perfectly acceptable sta for me. But we each have our preferences. The highball may be a better choice for some people.
  • + 1
 @Jvhowube: i ride mine with the rhythm and I really dig that fork. I filmed a review of it on YouTube under "Dusty betty" if you want to hear my thoughts on it as a trail bike.

I'm not a fan of the level t levers at all. They take up too much bar space and get in the way of the dropper. If I had known how much fun the chameleon is, I would have built it up as a frame and decked it out with amazing parts.

To be honest though, the spec performs great except for the rear hub. Nx shifting is just fine. For bikepacking, I'd rather have gx eagle though for the big climbs on a heavily loaded bike. At least they put a 30t up front.

This is one of my favorite bikes of all time.
  • + 1
 @Jvhowube: I bought a frame set. Running a fit4 34, XT build kit, Zee brakes, mk3 flows to XT hubs. Wouldn’t want a pike on it. I switch between 120 and 130mm travel from time to time. Anything more and it feels weird and awful. Haven’t risen my stumpy since I bought it.

Building a second set of wheels and a second bar stem combo for bikepacking. Something lighter, and like a jones bar. It’s comfy to ride, i haven’t really found the limit of its ability. Take it down some proper gnarly stuff and it’s been awesome.
  • + 1
 @bonfire @sixstringsteve cool thanks for your replies guys. I still have a couple months to decide (and trawl the BuySell board here). I honestly might end up just buying the R 29 build and run it stock. We'll see...
  • + 2
 Nice to see boost spacing! This will likely be a replacement for my NIner Air 9.
  • + 1
 why do they make the reach 10mm shorter than the XC Blur they just released. Rear sag shouldn't make that much of a difference.
  • + 2
 The highball needed an update, but 1x specific for a hardtail? What about long rides like the Great Divide?
  • + 5
 CAH CAH!
  • + 2
 I can't imagine ever needing more than my E13 cassette with a 30T front.
  • + 0
 Seems heavy for XC race Hardtail, Scott and Specialized are under 900g for their frames, even the Trek Procaliber can build to 19# flat in Medium and it's got that isospeed thingy and a 1200g+ frame.
  • + 2
 Exactly. 9.9kg for a hardtail is super heavy of this spec. It should be sub 9kg to be competitive with other brands
  • + 3
 Give me a Honzo anyday. At least the HTA isn't stuck in the 90s.
  • + 2
 The Big Unit is a closer match, but the wrong material. I would rather have a Scandium frame anyways, and the geo is better too(for XC bikes) with a 68 HA
  • + 1
 @HerrDoctorSloth: Why scandium?
  • + 1
 Nice!
Only question now is where to find a 27.2mm dropper post with internal routing (?!?!?)
  • + 1
 Seems there are only 29er versions of V10 and Nomad left to complete the Santa Cruz bike lineup.
  • + 2
 I've always thought "highball" sounds like a medical condition.
  • + 2
 Suddenly my carbon highball become so out dated. Damn!
  • + 1
 ganti capt ! Big Grin
  • + 1
 The Rocky hard tail looks better .... And cost wayyyy more. Both are made in China.
  • + 1
 3 bottle cage mounts lol
  • + 1
 Am i seeing the price right? USD7,9999?
  • + 1
 Marin Nail Trail
  • + 0
 Cool colours, but 27.2 ....so stupid. so stupid so stupid so stupid.....
  • - 3
 so why two different articles about XC “made in China boutique’s”??
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.050387
Mobile Version of Website