Santa Cruz Hightower - First Ride

Feb 2, 2016
by Mike Kazimer  



A massive cloud of dust rises from the dirt road, churned up by the tires of the rider in front of me, and in seconds the brown smokescreen obscures the hot summer sun. I blink and squint in the futile hope that somehow I'll be able to see through the gritty haze, but nothing seems to help. I'm riding blind, careening down a dirt road in the Aysén region of Patagonia aboard the Hightower, Santa Cruz's latest carbon creation.

The Hightower fills the void left by the departure of the Tallboy LT from Santa Cruz's lineup, stepping up to the plate with 135mm of rear travel and the ability to run either 29” or 27.5+ wheels. It wouldn't be a stretch to call it a big wheeled Bronson, and it shares many of the same frame design features as its sibling, including a low slung top tube, a 150mm dropper post, 12 x 148mm rear spacing, and a VPP suspension layout.


COYHAIQUE PATAGONIA CHILE - 19 January during the inaugural Aysen Rally Patagonia for Santa Cruz Bicycles launch of the Hightower. Photo by Gary Perkin

Meet the Hightower

Where does the name 'Hightower' come from? Well, Santa Cruz wanted to make sure that the new bike had its own identity – the Tallboy LT name no longer seemed appropriate given how drastically the bike had changed, so they used Eric Highlander (aka Hightower), Santa Cruz's demo tour coordinator, and one very tall human, for inspiration. The Hightower is only available in three sizes (M, L, XL) due to the fact that Santa Cruz's designers felt that smaller riders would be better suited to a bike with 27.5" wheels, like the 5010 or Juliana Furtado.

With a 450mm reach for a size large, a 67° head angle, and 435mm chainstays, the Hightower's geometry numbers are thoroughly modern, and make it clear that the Hightower is meant to be capable of taking on just about anything a rider can toss its way.


Hightower Details
• Travel: 135mm
• 29" or 27.5+ wheels
• Carbon frame
• 67° head angle
• 433mm chainstays
• 12 x 148mm rear spacing
• Threaded bottom bracket
• Sizes M, L, XL
• Weight as shown: 26.9 pounds. Frame only: 5.88 pounds.
• Colors: Sriracha red, matte carbon & mint
• Price: $4599 - $7799 USD (ENVE wheel upgrade available)
www.santacruzbicycles.com


COYHAIQUE PATAGONIA CHILE - 19 January during the inaugural Aysen Rally Patagonia for Santa Cruz Bicycles launch of the Hightower. Photo by Gary Perkin
The Hightower's VPP suspension configuration is nearly identical to the Bronson's, with the lower link tucked neatly up into the frame.

Santa Cruz's VPP suspension design handles of the bike's 135mm of rear travel, and uses the same layout found on the Bronson, with the lower link tucked up and out of harm's way between the swingarm and the bottom bracket. As we've come to expect from Santa Cruz, expanding collet hardware and angular contact bearings are used at the pivot locations to keep everything locked securely in place.

In order to get the Hightower's chainstays as short as possible, Santa Cruz chose to do away with the ability to run a front derailleur, an inreasingly common design decision that's been made possible by the advent of 1x11 drivetrains. The rear dropout spacing is 12 x 148mm, and 15 x 110 spacing is found up front, numbers that allow the bike to accommodate both 29” and 27.5+ wheels without running into any frame clearance issues.

To further facilitate switching wheel sizes, a chip is located on the link that drives the rear shock. Switching the orientation of this chip helps keep the geometry numbers consistent between the 29” and 27.5+ configurations. Switching from 29” to 27.5+ wheels without using the chip or increasing the amount of fork travel would result in a bike with a less-than-ideal bottom bracket height and head angle, which is why Santa Cruz worked to ensure that the handling between the two options was as close as possible, and the reason that a 150mm fork is spec'd on the 27.5+ version of the Hightower, while the 29er gets one with 140mm of travel.


COYHAIQUE PATAGONIA CHILE - 19 January during the inaugural Aysen Rally Patagonia for Santa Cruz Bicycles launch of the Hightower. Photo by Gary Perkin
The rear brake line is routed externally, and all other housing runs internally through carbon tubes that are molded into the frame.
COYHAIQUE PATAGONIA CHILE - 19 January during the inaugural Aysen Rally Patagonia for Santa Cruz Bicycles launch of the Hightower. Photo by Gary Perkin
A flip chip allows the Hightower's geometry to be altered in for either 29" or 27.5+ wheels.

Specifications

Complete bikes will be offered with 29” or 27.5+ wheels, and pricing starts at $4,599 for the Hightower C S model, which comes with a RockShox Pike RC fork, Monarch RT shock, and a SRAM GX 1x11 drivetrain. The top of the line model is the Hightower CC XX1, spec'd with an XX1 drivetrain, RockShox Pike RCT3 fork, and a Race Face Next SL crankset for $7,799 USD. The Hightower frame alone will be available for $2,899.


COYHAIQUE PATAGONIA CHILE - 20 January during the inaugural Aysen Rally Patagonia for Santa Cruz Bicycles launch of the Hightower. Photo by Gary Perkin
The Hightower in 27.5+ mode, complete with a 150mm fork.

Geometry
Santa Cruz Hightower geometry




Ride Impressions

On the trail, the Hightower feels battle-ready, with a solidity that leaves no doubt about its ability to mow through anything in its path. I'd love to get it into even more technical terrain than what was on hand in Coyhaique to really test its capabilities, but on the instances where the dirt roads were replaced with twisty downhill singletrack the Hightower didn't disappoint. The faster you go the more it comes alive, urging you to let off the brakes and see just how hard you can push the rear wheel into a turn. 135mm may not seem like much travel, but don't be fooled – this is a lot of bike, and that travel combined with the big wheels goes a long way towards taking the edge off big hits and forgiving line choice mistakes.

With the Monarch RT3 shock set at 30% sag the Hightower's rear suspension feel was on the sportier side of things – it's not quite as supple as Trek's Remedy 29, but the benefit is that the bike responds very quickly when you stomp down on the pedals. There's minimal undue suspension movement during out of the saddle pedaling, one of the hallmarks of Santa Cruz's VPP suspension design. The bike's longish reach (450mm on the size large) did occasionally make the front end feel a little light on steeper climbs, but there's enough room that it's easy to perform a slight weight shift to balance everything out, and that length is welcome on the descents where it provides loads of stability.


COYHAIQUE PATAGONIA CHILE - 20 January during the inaugural Aysen Rally Patagonia for Santa Cruz Bicycles launch of the Hightower. Photo by Gary Perkin

What about 27.5+?

I was able to spend a full day with the Hightower set up in the 27.5+ configuration, which, in addition to trading out wheels, entailed swapping the 140mm RockShox Pike for one with 150mm of travel, and changing the position of the flip chip.

Climbing through grassy cow pastures on a bike with 2.8” tires seems like it would be a painfully slow experience, but luckily the Maxxis Recon and Icon tires didn't feel sluggish in the slightest, despite what their oversized appearance would make you think. If anything, the larger footprint and the low pressures that can be run allow them to better match the contours of the ground, creating a smoother ride than the 29” wheels. It doesn't take much time to adapt to the handling characteristics of the wider tires, and the slight steering differences that are required quickly became second nature. There was plenty of cornering traction, even with the fairly minimal tread pattern, and even when I pushed them hard enough to set them adrift, with a little bit of countersteering I could comfortably slide around dusty corners to my heart's content while still feeling completely in control. Getting airborne wasn't a struggle either, and it didn't feel any harder to bunnyhop over the numerous downed logs that littered the trails.

Personally, if I was going to purchase a Hightower I'd set it up as a 29er with a 150mm fork. I still prefer the feeling of side knobs digging into the trail during hard cornering, as opposed to the more vague feeling of the 27.5+ wheels. I do see the appeal, though, and riders that are looking for even more stability and extra traction, particularly in sandy, loose terrain will find it in spades with the 27.5+ wheels.


Riding in Coyhaique, Chile

The location for the unveiling of the Hightower wasn't chosen randomly out of a hat; it's the site of next year's Rally of Aysén, a brand new, multi-day race with several times stages each day. Rather than timing only the downhill portions, as in an enduro, some of the uphill portions of the course will also be timed.

As stunning as the photos of riding in Patagonia look, I wouldn't rush out to purchase plane tickets just yet, at least not with the expectation that you'll be welcomed with miles and miles of epic singletrack. Mountain biking in Coyhaique is still in its infancy – several of the trails we rode were less than two weeks old, and currently most of the riding takes place on dirt roads and doubletrack, with countless barbed wire fences to climb over, and plenty of speed-sapping, grassy pastures to cross.

It's currently more about the spectacular views and the feeling of adventure that comes with riding on unfamiliar terrain, rather than slashing berms and hitting manmade features. There's certainly loads of potential, and given the enthusiasm and work ethic shown by the locals, I wouldn't be surprised to see the mountain bike scene grow exponentially in the next few years.
COYHAIQUE PATAGONIA CHILE - 19 January during the inaugural Aysen Rally Patagonia for Santa Cruz Bicycles launch. Photo by Gary Perkin

COYHAIQUE PATAGONIA CHILE - 19 January during the inaugural Aysen Rally Patagonia for Santa Cruz Bicycles launch . Photo by Gary Perkin
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307 Comments

  • + 114
 this is good, a true multipurpose rig. regular wheels for the summer and the plus size for the winter. coz you know what Kirk Lazarus says, " you never go full retard" (fatbikes)
  • + 1
 You haven't ridden a plus sized bike in the summer and a fat bike in winter, aren't you my boy? Why did you allow fat Lisa to sit on your face and then leave without returning any favor... Schweinhuuuuund!
  • + 46
 Still yet another extremely good looking bike that i won't be able to afford lol
  • + 7
 If you mean "winter = mud = 27.5+" don't forget the mud guard, that lower link junction in the ST seems to be quite the mud trap
  • + 23
 All the best riding 27+ in muddy conditions. all you need are narrow tires to cat through the mud to bet to bottom, to find any grip, instead of sliding on top of that unstable surface
  • + 17
 Based on the flag beside the name, I believe the OP is expecting snow in winter and not mud.
  • + 108
 Jesus... An open letter to All Da Lads living on British Isles. We, international MTB community acknowledge your bravery, strength and skill which you use everyday while grinding through your infamous mud. Your mud is sticky yet slippery, treacherous in all ways and disgusting in some - we Fkng get that! You all have very big penises.

Sincerely yours: all those people from all over the world who don't have as much clay on trail surface.
  • + 11
 Why do I get the feeling Kazimer is trying a bit too blatantly to keep people away from Coyhaique? "Erm, no nothing to see here, except amazing scenery/adventure/food/wine/locals... nothing you might enjoy."
  • + 13
 As a bronson owner, I second @Uuno concern about the lower link. It collects mud. That has killed my lower link bearings really quickly. But even worse is when a tiny rock gets stuck in the linkage. When one gets in there when sagged into the suspension and then the suspension rebounds, that rock is compressed between the carbon of the frame and the the carbon of the lower link.

Personally, I think santa cruz should cover that linkage by either extending a thin part of the frame or by providing some way of mounting a tiny bit of plastic as a fender. In southern california this probably isn't a concern but it is in many other parts of the world.
  • + 5
 In my experience on old and new santa cruz designs, the new sc linkage on nomad 3, new bronson/5010 and now hightower is much more recessed. Only about half of the link containing the bearings and greaseport is exposed now, so much more mud just sits on the frame instead of in the "santa cruz butthole." pebbles have a harder time finding their way in there now too. Also, if you keep that lower link absolutely jammed full of grease on a regular basis, you can hose that area with no concerns. That is the really nice benefit of the grease port, you can keep those bearings protected all season really easily. If you are really worried about mud from rear tire, a strip of inner tube zip tied to frame makes a nice mud guard for that area.
  • + 1
 @dfiler I had a rock get stuck in the same area on my intense, the easiest way to get it out is just put all the pressure on the seat which makes room in the linkage, allowing you to take the rock out quite easily.
  • + 2
 @dfiler - we used to call it the 'coffee grinder' at the shop. Both the SC and Pivot bikes had maybe 1/8-1/4" gap between the rocker and any rocks that would get flung in there from our loose, dry soil would sit and get pulverized. Ultimately the frames would be scraped to all hell and in some cases the paint would come off and show totally scarred and weakened carbon.
  • + 10
 @dfiler Good thing SC gives out free bearings and axle hardware literally at the drop of a hat no questions asked for life. Willy is the s#it.
  • + 1
 Bought my bronson used so no free replacement bearings for me.

It is still an excellent bike but there is a design shortcoming that hopefully santa cruz will address in the future.

Here's an example of what kills those bearings... good times!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=019XimRHzgM
  • + 2
 For a bunch of guys that work on bikes, you'd think it wouldn't so hard to come up with one of these in about 10 minutes of trying.
forums.mtbr.com/santa-cruz/santa-cruz-bronson-picture-thread-846759-53.html#post12376726
  • + 2
 @dfiler - The new design is much different than your Bronson. That's not really an issue anymore. And Darrin, you should have told me that you needed bearings. Haha. I've got a brand new set laying around for you. Free of course.
  • + 2
 Now how am I going to 'Pick a Wheel Size' and be a Dick about it!
  • - 17
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 2, 2016 at 13:52) (Below Threshold)
 New Rule: "Pick a Wheel Size and be a dick about it" is fkng lame. It has never, ever stopped anyone from writing anything, just as it has never made anyone reflect on anything. Bloody dorky stuff - even session jokes are better. Now go masturbate! MASTURBATE!!!!
  • + 4
 I think that is a great point and it leads me to the idea of someone at Santa Cruz to develop a small rock crushing apparatus that fits under the link. It would basically pulverize and crush the stray rocks into powder and discard it out the back.
  • + 2
 29 is a 'regular' wheel size now?! Here's me thinking that everyone's all 27.5 is 'regular' now, unlike myself being 'unregular' with my 'unregular' 26 wheels. YEEEEEAH!!!
  • + 45
 Is Santa Cruz starting a Police Academy?
  • + 22
 They are in the Blue Oyster Bar at the moment deciding if it's viable.
  • + 21
 yeah the Tackleberry is next, its an absolute weapon but has to live in the house with your folks
  • + 3
 noooo! I was going to make a police academy reference but had to have a scroll down to see if someone had got there first chapeau my friend
  • + 3
 Next up the Mahoney jump bike and the bike packing Tackleberry! ????
  • + 7
 Nah next up is the JONES am bike , it makes engine noises while you are on the trails , vroooooooom
  • + 3
 Braaaaaaaap!
  • + 4
 Lets see what Bobcat Goldthwait thinks.
  • + 1
 Looool! It could be a goer! 29 front 27.5 rear gravity hell machine!
  • + 35
 I think I've been living under a rock cause I've never heard of this bike... new addition?
  • + 3
 Your not alone. I was on their website yesterday and their was no sign of this bike.
  • + 4
 Looks awesome but the seat tube is very slack no?
  • + 3
 Still love my LT, but the Hightower looks awesome
  • + 1
 @jaame It looks like that but it specs out to be about the same as the nomad

74.2 degrees.
  • + 2
 @jaame look at the position of the BB. It's not as slack as it seems.
  • + 5
 I wonder if they calculate the angle from the bb to the top of the seat tube, or the actual angle. Having such a slack actual angle will be pretty bad for people with a lot of seatpost out. I've got a bike like that and I have to run the seat as far forward on the rails as it can go. Not ideal for climbing. Having said that in one of those pictures, the front wheel is higher than the rear which would make it look slacker.
  • + 5
 Seat angle wise, it can't be as bad as The Following.
  • + 8
 It was released today....
  • + 5
 I'm with @jaame on this. Good luck climbing this bike if you're over 6'2". That seat angle (actual) looks slacker than the head angle. Too easy and becoming far too common to cheat on the geo to get your short chainstays. I'll pass on this bike.
  • + 2
 @jaame it's right there on the diagram - BB to a line perpendicular to the ground from the center of the head tube.
So basically it's effective not actual.
  • + 1
 @nutelladonut how is a bike just realesed today and they have been testing the bike for a while and there haven't been even rumors about it!!
  • + 3
 @pigit77 Embargo. Santa Cruz has historically been pretty good about this stuff. It helps that all their trail bikes look basically identical, apart from paint.
  • + 2
 Maybe no rumors on this site, but they've been around since the LT came off their site.
  • + 1
 @pigit77 SantaCruz pay mtb reporters/companies to not speak about it... Break the contract and sites like Pinkbike are in some deep water
  • + 4
 I don't think that SC pays pinkbike not to talk about it. It's a press embargo
  • + 1
 @pigit77 white is what you need to be looking for.
  • + 25
 One piece of hell sexy 29er Smile
  • + 7
 You are not wrong... it just looks right.
  • + 14
 And that colour is gorgeous.
  • + 5
 very sexy bike. love the color, love the look of the carbon overall. Santa cruz never seems to amaze in terms of how nice their bikes look. They kinda look the same tho but boy isn't it a well executed bike.
  • + 3
 Not going to say it isn't sexy, but it looks just like all every other santa cruz model aside from a couple.
  • + 3
 But thats a good thing. Im not a fan of bike companies that use more than one suspension design. Also SC have been refining their design of years which should only make it better.
  • + 20
 Looks like a mixture of a Bronson and a Nomad, so they should call it Bromad !
  • + 7
 And since we all have feelings for our bikes, one could then have a bromance with it...

(I'll see myself out now.)
  • + 20
 would have expected a better shock for $7799
  • + 1
 What would you have liked to see?
  • + 17
 I was properly shocked for 7799$, so no complains about it.
  • - 4
flag poah (Feb 2, 2016 at 11:09) (Below Threshold)
 not a cheap ass monarch RT3 on a $7799 bike
  • + 6
 I have faith that Santa Cruz used the Monarch because it worked the best with this design. Why spend years designing a bike only to put a cheap shock on it to save a few bucks?
  • + 1
 If it is like bikes in the past, they will give the option to put a different shock on there. I bought the bronson when it first came out and it came with the float CTD but I would have rather had the float x which they started offering right after I had gotten it.
  • + 12
 Is that the successor of Tallboy LT? If yes, then I am left quite under stimulated. Wreckoning indeed...
  • - 14
flag tkaszuba (Feb 2, 2016 at 0:48) (Below Threshold)
 Exactly. This is just a copy of Evil following with a bit more travel and a longer wheelbase. I chose a Following because I expected the new LT to use f'ing boost. Unfortunately I was right.
  • + 6
 Evil Following is millions of times better looking, there is just nothing to talk about. Now... why not Boost? Because you already had decent fork and wheelset?
  • + 4
 Only thing is, this has a steep seat angle, meaning it will fit quite different. Those with longer legs won't end up with their ass over the cassette like the following or wreckoning. Loved my following but i think this will fit my body better...
  • + 23
 Actually, it is a copy of the 2016 Stumpjumper 29... and the Yeti Sb 4.5... and the Transition Smuggler... WAIT... perhaps 29er bike designers are all involved in a conspiracy of slackness?
  • + 1
 a very watered down copy of the following at that, with longer stays, higher stack. steeper and the only thing that could be a benefit is the steeper seat angle, but it wont have the Dave Weagle magic that IMO blows VPP away. I'll be interested to ride it nonetheless Smile
  • + 0
 WAKIdesigns: Yes, I had a fork and carbon wheels that I didn't want to change. In the end I had to get rid of the 34 CTD fox fork for being plain sucky and holding back the following.
  • + 2
 Why no BOOST? Because BOOST ist just another way to sell you something you don't really need. Can't wait to see all the people who got on BOOST sell their bikes because we got SUPERBOOST.
  • + 3
 @Richt2000 the effective angle may be ok on this but the offset looks pretty brutal. As far as not being over the rear axle when seated goes - I wouldn't get my hopes up. I haven't ridden it of course and I am apparently becoming the armchair seat angle police, I may be wrong.
  • + 6
 Looks like a better version of the Evil The Following, that probably won't snap, unlike the Evil, and it it did, you will get decent support from a proper company, rather than Micky Mouse support from a bunch of ass clowns (Yes, Fingers burnt by Evil)

And it looks rideable for someone over 6ft tall who doesn't want the saddle back behind the rear axle.
  • + 5
 It might look like a copy of the following but at least you know it's not going to break.
  • - 5
flag theautomator (Feb 2, 2016 at 2:10) (Below Threshold)
 I love santa cruz and specifically the tallboy LT. This leaves me a little dissapointed too. I was hoping for more of a bronson for the big kids. This to me seems too close to the regular tall boy.
  • + 1
 Are Evils still breaking?
  • + 2
 @ sjaarnaeh Love my following and I'm hoping it won't break. From the sound of the forums that seems to have been fixed. As for the seat angle. I'm 193cm and I ride an L with an inseam of 94cm. I don't have any issues.
  • - 5
flag ekho (Feb 2, 2016 at 4:24) (Below Threshold)
 DW>VPP no doubt about it!
  • + 9
 The Following is not DW-Link. It is a link-driven single-pivot. It has the best accronym in mtb - Dave's Extra Legit Travel Apparatus - but is still a single-pivot.
  • + 7
 Jesus Christ more boost bitching- $20 kit and your 142 rear wheels fit.

None of you that are complaining because you already have wheels would be buying a complete bike anyway so it's a non issue, you can still use your old fork on it.

If you buy a complete, comes with the fork and wheels anyway, so it's still a non issue.

You'd have a legitimate gripe if they changed the headset standard so that you HAD to run a boost fork, but they didn't.
  • + 3
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: And a redish of the rear wheel to make it center. Not everyone thinks this is a good idea.
  • - 1
 @tkaszuba depends on the kit, there is one that doesn't require a re-dish.
  • + 3
 10 months on my following and not so much creak.. well maybe one or two from the rider
  • - 4
flag El-Train (Feb 2, 2016 at 7:22) (Below Threshold)
 I agree w @WAKIdesigns and @Vanguard , nothing innovative here. I was hoping for something innovative and interesting. SC has ceased to be a progressive company, now it's just sanitized me-too designs copying everyone else: same geo charts as all the other new bikes. They should up the normal Tallboy to 120mm and should have made this longer travel to compete with Enduro 29. They played it safe trying to please everyone and end up pleasing no one. And, plus tires are dumb. I am also a clyde and love my 2x drivetrain, and no front derailleur sucks. Why should I buy this bike over a Ripley, Stumpy, Following, Sb4.5, etc? They are all virtually the same. At this point it is about who has the best warrantee and support and price. SC used to command respect because their bikes were just BETTER. I don't think that's the case anymore. In this category I am going for Evil or wait for rumored new Enduro.
  • + 2
 Doesn't evil although lush use finicky small hex for major pivot points?
  • + 1
 No the same company after they were sold. . . ?
  • + 1
 @TheOriginalTwoTone Not if you want to be able to swap wheels between an existing bike and this one, so you only need one nice set of carbon wheels. I'd prefer notBoost to 27.5+ compatibility. Tried a plus bike, PonyRustler, just felt so dead and unresponsive.
  • + 2
 Again, there is a $20 kit that is a set of 3 machined spacers. No redishing, but yes, you'd need to R&R the rotor to install the spacer for it.
www.ebay.com/itm/MTB-Tools-Adapter-Set-For-a-12mm-x-142mm-Rear-Hub-to-148mm-Boost-Application-/252230870077?var=&hash=item3aba21a43d:m:mY_qBNhOlfgclkSCAp1BoNw
  • + 1
 Interested to see how this bike climbs compared to the following. both reward out of saddle efforts. btw, the evil forum doesn't have one broken following that im aware of...and I agree that my followings s.angle is too slack. large/150 dropper.
  • + 1
 On MTBR there was a guy that needed a replacement rear triangle.
  • + 1
 Meh, unless you're into aesthetics or want to ride a bike not many others will have, you'll get equal or better performance from a Trek Remedy 29, but get much more bang for your buck.
  • + 1
 @sjaarnaeh: Time to stop with the Evil snapping talk. There have been zero problems with the Following that I can suss out. Everyone knows about the problems they had with their *first*supplier. Also, support has been great for me and most owners. Either you got burned, which I would be sorry to hear, or your just parroting the anti-Evil trolls.
  • + 1
 @tewbnewb: it's not zero problems, it's no problems
  • - 1
 Does Evil pay royalties to Diamond Back for the use of the Knickle Box design on their bikes?
  • + 9
 You look at that shity Jamis and than looks at this state of art Santa Cruz Abd you think, what is the diference from the Jamis and Santa Cruz designers??? 100%!!! How beautiful and perfect bike, perfect colors and geometry. Congratulations Santa Cruz for this amazing product
  • + 9
 I was shuttling with the SC guys on local high speed dh trails as they tested this bike. Pretty gnarly at speed, and they were making this bike DO WORK. My next bike for sure. - from a guy who has cracked a few 29er jokes
  • + 9
 Throw some DVO on that biTch. And a green handle bar. It'll look just like a rooster sauce bottle. Spicy!
  • + 1
 It will like Christmas haha
  • + 5
 A 337mm/13.2' BB height? What do you run 150mm cranks on this bike? Almost get pedal strikes on flat ground, more or less trying to climb any type of rock terrain. Modern bikes these day consist of fire road climbs and coasting back downhill, they are becoming impossible to pedal.
  • + 4
 You have to time your pedaling strokes better is the only solution. don't pedal when you're landing in a rock garden, or turning a tight corner, is the key. Trust me the stability gained from being low is worth the hassle from pedal bashing, And yes Canfield bros do have 155mm cranks available for purchase.
  • + 5
 Curious how this would stack up against an Evil Following... I almost bought a Tallboy LT last spring but was waited for a new model to come out and when one never did, I went with the Evil.
  • + 4
 I would love to see a category comparison test - not a shootout declaring x bike to be the winner, more of a strengths/weaknesses for different riders/uses. This, the Process 111, the Smuggler, Evil Following, Spec. Stumpy and Camber, etc. And I'd love it with recommendations around tune, as all the new suspension stuff is so damn tunable with volume spacers and such.

I rode a Process 111 and loved the geometry. But the bike seemed too harsh - I'm a heavy guy, though, so to get the recommended sag numbers, well, let's just say the air springs were pretty loaded up. I rode the old LT and liked it - so well balanced. But not nearly as playful as the Kona. Both leagues better than my Trance x 29er, though.

I thought it's curious that Mike says he'd got with a 150mm fork even on the 29er setup. In stock config, the 29er has a 67 degree heat tube angle - that's pretty damn slack. And supposedly it was already a bit vague on the climbs. So why the extra slackening? Or is it just to have the ability to swap back and forth between wheel sizes?
  • + 7
 Props to Santa Cruzs' marketing department. Whos gonna write a bad review after riding in Patagonia. Nice pics.
  • + 4
 no xxl?? arrgg! the geo numbers are still pretty good on the xl except a 19 inch seattube?? come on Santa Cruz- you have an xxl v10, Tallboy, and Highball . . . . there should be an xxl in this one for us 6'6" guys. I know the old xxl LTc sold because I can't find one!
  • + 0
 I nabbed the last XXL LTc in the UK last year. Jungle (Distro) sold me their demo bike. Nothing here makes me want to change it. Perhaps a solid 'decal' over the writing the bring it visually up to date.
  • + 1
 It took them ages to bring out the XXL V10..... I asked them about a Hightower XXL and they said no plans....or maybe that should be no plans till next year!
  • + 1
 @Travel66: 2XL is out and ready for order...March 29 ETA for shipping...Tall men unite!
  • + 1
 @teenwolf: r the geo numbers available? I couldnt find anything . . . This is great news tho!
  • + 1
 @LuvAZ: I have ordered one, but not 100 sure on the geo...Guys at SC said it will be very similar to the Tallboy 2XL in terms of fit, noting of course the differences in seat angle, etc...I have ridden both an XL Tallboy 3 and HT and at 6'4" would def need a 70mm stem at a min to be right...Guys at SC told me hands down to wait for the 2XL if that was the case, so here we are..pumped for the big boy sizes! Also a small added to the line-up, btw....
  • + 1
 @teenwolf: should be just about perfect! I wish i knew what the new colors are going to be . . . Not a huge fan of the current ones
  • + 1
 @LuvAZ: Same colours for now...Yeah, I thought of waiting, but need a bike now..mixed it up with the red. Seems to look better in person and some of the builds out there look pretty nice...we'll see!
  • + 3
 Same idea as the Salsa Horsethief / Pony Rustler. However, Salsa doesn't include a flip chip to accommodate the ~10mm drop in BB from 29" to 27.5+. I'm curious what happens with the Hightower if simply swapping wheels without changing the flip chip or fork.

@MikeKazimer - thanks for stating your preference between 29" and 27.5+. Can you elaborate more on the difference in steering feel. Would your opinion change if the 2 bikes were using similar tires - Minions vs Ikons are not apples to apples.

29" --> 27.5+ is a great idea and makes tons of sense from a customer and manufacturer standpoint. 2.35" tires on 30mm rims are great, but I think even wider and lower pressures would be better . . . bikes like this with tons of clearance make experimenting with tires more possible.
  • + 3
 29 front rolls over obstacles, dampens square edge hits, dig in dirt or mud and carve turns, while the chubby rear tire provides uphill traction, enhanced braking ability, and it's bounciness at high speeds shouldn't bother too much in the rear wheel - let it drift. big volume should improve rear wheel pinch-flat resistance as well.
  • + 3
 They don't intend to run 29" front, 27.5" rear. The way you wrote this, it looks as that is the way you took their article.

The bike can be set up either way. Not with one of each... That might be odd.
  • + 2
 Agree, I don't think they intended that way. It might climb awesome, tractor over anything, but I'd prefer the rear to break free before the front in most situations, and that would probably be unlikely. I bet we'll see some people try it though.
  • + 3
 Very nice well-finished bike. Just 1 problem with recent SC rigs: DESIGN A HEADTUBE BADGE THAT'S ON PAR WITH THESE WORKS OF ART! For the price they should have a proper badge.

P.S. There's this guy in your hood named Jeff Phillips...........
  • + 4
 Sweeeettt! There should now be a surge of used 5010's and Bronson's hitting the market in the next month or so...might finally be able to afford to get back into a Santa Cruz bike!
  • + 3
 Smart strategy to accommodate both 29 and 27.5+ for potential buyers that are bewildered by the various wheel/tire options out today. Necessary or not, we're gonna see more of these dual-duty rigs coming out
  • + 1
 Yep, one bike with two wheelsets and a flip chip makes a lot of sense for the expensive stuff.
  • + 2
 The new short travel bikes are rad (Hightower, Camber, 5051), but I feel like the Fox and Rockshox aren't getting enough credit - these bikes wouldn't feel so burly with out the new generation of rear shocks! I ride the Monarch, which is insane, supple but doesn't bottom out!
  • + 2
 Haha, yeah, incredibly versatile bike: Just swap out the 29er wheelset with a 27.5+ wheelset (800$ + 100-300$ depending on wheter you are using an XX1 cassette or not), swap out the fork with a 27.5+ specific one (1000$), flip the chips into the different position and tadahh, you're set to go! Total cost 2000$ and 2 hours of work until it's all setup again hahaha
  • + 1
 You're more or less right. Right in that a new 27.5 wheelset, tires and cassette is easily $1k. Not a cheap upgrade. But one doesn't need two forks. Just go with the 150mm for both setups. I wonder if some shops will be able to sell it with the 2-position 140-160 Pike
  • + 2
 You can change the travel of the fork with a $30 part
  • + 3
 I hope Trek UK are looking at all the aggressive 29ers that are coming to the market and realising what a huge opportunity they've missed by not stocking the EWS proven Remedy 29ers this year
  • + 3
 Sweet. A mixture of a Spider C29, Evil's following and a 6Fattie. Apart from the price m, what's not to like. They even made it in a nice colour, unlike the magenta nomad and strawberry-milkshake-puke bronson.
  • + 4
 No Size Small? Lame. I'm guessing this means Juliana will have a "new" bike soon also.
  • + 0
 "Santa Cruz's designers felt that smaller riders would be better suited to a bike with 27.5" wheels"
  • + 2
 Yeah I get that. But this bike has a 27.5 option and there's no Small on that either. Also, as a size small person who has ridden both 27.5 and 29 inch wheels, my personal preference is the 29, so it's nice to at least have options. It's a sweet looking ride for sure, but these kinds of sizing choices won't get me on a SC bike.
  • + 1
 My 2012 LT (Al), one of the first off the boat, was about $3,000. I liked it so much, I gave it to my son and bought a (barely used) 2014 LTc last Fall, also $3,000. With all my best parts and aggressive tires, it weighs 28 lbs. Like Dawsonpink, and many LT owners, I would like a comparison. Did I make a mistake? I'd love to ride the HT, but at least I saved some $$$ on a great bike(s).
  • - 1
 I am not a huge fan of the new generation of SC bikes. I have a v1 Bronson and I found the v2 to be less versatile than mine, mainly due to how challenging it is to keep the front wheel planted on tricky/steep climbs and how much it wanders. The bike obviously handles really well going downhill, but I found it to be a struggle on anything but steady climbing.

I'd have the same concern based on this review, the reference to the lightened front end to me reads that the Hightower suffers from the same issue. Yes, you can push your weight forward and your technique can compensate, but if it's anything like what I had to do on the v2 Bronson, I was up over the bars on some climbs trying to keep the front wheel from popping up and it was a lot of work to keep the wheel planted.

In other words, I think your v1 TBLTc is probably more versatile than the Hightower is, at least if the changes they made to the Bronson are any indicator.
  • + 2
 The only limiting piece of equipment on my SC Tallboy LTc is the rider...I think I will be riding it till it can go no more and then see what's available. Love the Saracha Red...I have the socks to match...
  • + 1
 "Santa Cruz's designers felt that smaller riders would be better suited to a bike with 27.5" wheels". Finally the truth comes out. (Short) People are always commenting on how bad 29" wheels are, but when you're 6'6" they are a welcome gift. We don't mind the slightly taller cockpit and extra wheelbase required to fit the big wheels.
  • + 1
 If you ran 2.5 or even 2.3 tyres on the plus version of this bike, how awful would it be? Stupidly low bottom bracket i guess but how stupid? A 2.8 tyre isnt miles away from a 2.5. People change between 2.3 and 2.0 for XC all the time which is a higher percentage change if anything. I know people will say get a bronson if you want standard tyres but is there a potential here for a bike that can run all 3 'modern' wheel standards? (sorry 26)
  • + 1
 That's pretty cool that they partly named it after the demo guy. This bike seems like Boost makes send on it so that it can run 27.5+ wheels. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing that all their bikes basically look identical now.
  • + 1
 So if I did my math right the head angle with a 150 mm fork and 29er wheels comes out to roughly 65.5 degrees (depending on the difference between axle line and bb center). Other than wheel size and maybe the rear shock leverage ratio everything about this bike is pretty damn close to a Nomad. Can't wait to ride it!
  • + 1
 It depends on the fork's axle-to-crown measurement. For most trail bikes it's 1 degree of change for every 22-24mm of fork length. 10mm taller would put it close to 66.6 degrees.

I have an XL Hightower that I'm running with a 160mm Fox 36 which is roughly 16mm taller than the stock 140mm travel Pike. This gives a calculated 0.7 degree slacker head angle. The flip-chip changes things maybe 0.2-0.25 degrees. I run it in the high position for BB height and the head-angle was roughly measured at 66.3 degrees.. You can check out my Hightower setup with pictures here: www.fullenduro.com/#!Bike-Check-Santa-Cruz-Hightower/cmbz/56b0ea0e0cf26832893542e6
  • + 1
 Sweet bike! Thanks for the insight. So does your shocks piggy back hit the frame at full compression in the low setting?
  • + 1
 No Float X2 clearance issues.

The low setting combined with a longer (57mm) stroke shock does not work though. The rear tire bottoms out on the seat-tube before full-travel. Currently at full bottom-out in the high position there is about 3-5mm of clearance between my 2.30" Highroller II and the seat-tube which isn't much.

Running it this way definitely voids the warranty and is NOT recommended. This is a temporary experiment to satisfy my own long-travel curiosity.
  • + 2
 @EvanTurpen: looks like your blog is down for the moment. Will your hightower pics be up when it's back up and running?
  • + 6
 Aluminum and I'm in!
  • + 1
 "The Hightower comes Sriracha Red and Matte Carbon/Mint in M, L and XL frame sizes and it will not be released under the Juliana brand, nor will it be available in an aluminum frame."
Read more at www.bikemag.com/gear/first-look-santa-cruz-hightower/#QmuYQ3JRqK7mtzjk.99
  • + 1
 I'm actually surprised this bike isn't lighter than 26.9lbs. When I saw it I thought 24lbs without pedals so maybe 25lbs with pedals depending on what type.Short travel carbon fiber frame and cranks with carbon M60 rims I'm surprised. No I'm not complaining nor am I a weight weenie just saying I was a little surprised.
  • + 2
 I'm actually surprised it is that light even though it has a set of Minions underneath it. I do believe it though win all those carbon parts, just my guess would have been a little bit more
  • + 1
 I'm sure the Enve option puts it where you think it should be.
  • + 1
 Yeah, that weight is with the ARC 27 rims. Minions aren't light either.
  • + 1
 @Mattin Ahh, yeah it makes sense with Minion tires. Slap on some slighter tires and this would be in the weight range I was expecting.

I overlooked the tires~
  • + 1
 "I still prefer the feeling of side knobs digging into the trail during hard cornering, as opposed to the more vague feeling of the 27.5+ wheels."
27.5 plus has promise but after only trying the Spec Purgatory on a narrow rim the above statement nails my feelings. I really like the plus ride character until you get close to the limit and then it's no longer reassuring. I'll try a wider front rim and the bigger knobed Nobby Nick next and see how much that helps. I think bikes that encourage people 2 different wheel sizes are going to be terrific for a lot of people.
  • + 1
 So there was a void to be covered!!!
I am going to ride with a trailer after me, loaded with a 5010, a Htower, a Bronson and a Nomad and I am going to change bikes all the time; just to have the exact right bike for every single meter I travel.
Hey, wait a minute I think I need...even more choices!!!!
  • + 3
 It's not exactly a "hightower", if people taller than say 195cm can't ride it, is it?
  • + 2
 Weird. They say it's for their guy who's super tall but the stack is 623 on a 110mm head tube.
My E29 is 655 on 135.
The Evil Wreckoning is 659 on 139.

I guess in Santa Cruz, 'very tall' means 6'1". Which is kind of what tall means for Ibis too (also based in Santa Cruz). Go figure.
  • + 5
 WTF, no 26" option?!
  • - 1
 Tallboy LT never had a 26" version.
  • + 0
 Oh yeah, that's right...I was gonna say it looks like a Session but thought better of it.
  • + 1
 You could probably run a 26er fatty in there :-)

Cant say the first ride venue was well chosen - looks like a bmx bike would have coped with those trails...
  • + 1
 Also having looked at a number of new style 29ers recently I'm a bit disappointed to see that the quest for super short chainstays seems to be at the expense of mud clearance.
  • + 4
 It was called the Blur... Long live the Blur LT...
  • + 1
 Well i'll either leave with a Bronson 2 or a high tower today. I've ridden the new bronson quite a bit and I really like it, but the Hightower has me very interested. I wonder how it will stand up to park use??
  • + 3
 When is the updated Heckler coming?
Bronson 2 geo, and room for a bottle, please.
  • + 1
 Aluminum versions of v2 Bronson and 5010 due in July. Maybe updated Heckler then too?
  • + 1
 Damn...I thought I had heard April. Oh well...
  • + 0
 They do things on April First sometimes...
  • + 2
 Much anticipated and patiently awaited bike for me. I loved my Tallboy LTc but wanted a longer, lower, slacker rig. This nails it!
  • + 0
 Awesome bike. I bleed Santa Cruz... but integrated headset?? Seriously?? WTF!!?? I really hope this is not a sign of things to come. I get it.. the stack height needs to be as low as possible. Okay, fire a ZS44 top and ZS56 bottom in there. IS headsets are the worst Frown
  • + 2
 Yes they are the worst, so someone is smoking crack. Like you said, just do for Hightower and TB3, what niner bikes does on the Rip9 rdo (ZS44 /ZS56) (Now they do use an integrated on the Jet9)
To put it in the chief engineer from Santa Cruz's own words back in the day.(see below)
Not to mention I can no longer customize my ride with a Works Components angleset. (big deal for me as I am picky about my ride being just so....)

www.ninerbikes.com/taperedheadtube

In the words of......
"And I mean things that are fairly basic, albeit time consuming, like calculating the system weight by switching a frame to integrated headset from a plain old boring press in style. Call us crazy, but that seems like something that should be considered in the decision making process."
www.santacruzbicycles.com/en/us/news/343
  • + 1
 Good news for me the Intense Carbine and Spider 29C have the new angles, same suspension, same easy to service dependable bearing system and ZS44 top and ZS49. No bushings (niner I beleive uses bushings in one part of even the Rip9 RDO). Finally, with this bike (I'm upgrading my old Tallboy C to Spider 29c 130mm), I can still adjust my head angle.
  • + 1
 Review of the Carbine from Intense.
A Hightower but standard headset.
www.pinkbike.com/news/Intense-Carbine-29-Review-2013.html
  • + 1
 Why couldn't SC make the Tallboy LT even better, 66 HA, 150mm rear travel, etc.... I was really hoping for an updated LT. I guess I'll have to sell my SC for a Evil or Enduro....
  • + 3
 It doesn't look like a Bronson??... It looks exactly like my Nomad! Big Grin

Nice color mind... Wink
  • + 1
 I hope SC has improved the red colour on carbon? Every SC carbon bike I've seen is flaking and chipping really bad like a cheep Lada from the 60s of the lot.
  • + 2
 Meh. I was hoping for more from SC when replacing the LT. I'll stick with my E29 thanks...
  • + 2
 Is there any point in a 29er not being made with clearance for 27+? I think not.
  • + 1
 Evil Following can't fit a 27.5 rear tire.
  • + 3
 Starts at $4600....good luck with that.
  • + 0
 ** frame only haha
  • + 3
 Am I the only one thinking about 29 front and 27.5+ rear?
  • + 2
 So currently you're already running something like 2.1" front and 2.5" rear? Please explain the benefit of that
  • + 2
 That makes a lot of sense to me. The biggest advantage of PLUS tyre is immense climbing and off-camber grip while it's Ahillees heel is hard cornering and braking, requiring the tyre to dig in into the soil, preferably with long, fat, square edged knobb. While the first act is mainly a job of the rear tyre, the second is done by the front to a great extent. I'd say 26+ On the rear with 29er front would be ace.
  • + 1
 Current 27.5+ tires are really flimsy. Early testers have reported a lot of flats, so maybe mount something beefier on the back, even if it is not as wide.
  • + 1
 I read the opposite on PB, Vital and Bike Mag
  • + 3
 29 front rolls over obstacles, dampens square edge hits, dig in dirt or mud and carve turns, while the chubby rear tire provides uphill traction, enhanced braking ability, and it's bounciness at high speeds shouldn't bother too much in the rear wheel - let it drift. big volume should improve rear wheel pinch-flat resistance as well.
  • + 1
 You might find that the variance in tire pressure from a plus sized rear (+/- 15) and a 29" front (+/- 25) would cause some inconsistencies in the handling, especially when driven hard into the corners, that would potentially throw off your ride.
  • + 3
 Love it, except for the integrated headset part... oh well
  • + 2
 Question to the current nomad owners, does the bottom bracket and rear triangle ever run into each other?
  • + 1
 Simply answer... No Wink
  • + 2
 Are cables rattling in the internal routing ever an issue? Or are the tubes they go thru snug to the cables?
  • + 7
 snug as a bug in a rug.
  • + 4
 cannot hear any cabling noises.
  • + 3
 Ditto. Zero rattling on my 5010
  • + 1
 full length tubes are snug to the housing, and you just shove em right through!
  • + 1
 If bike shops were smart they would partner an automotive finance company and offer the dame rates as cars. The prices of bikes these days are coming to the point of that
  • + 2
 Going to be pretty expensive for Canadians... price range translated CAD is like $6,400-$12,300!
  • + 2
 Can someone please explain to me why Santa Cruz doesn't use a post mount for the rear brake?

Befuddling.
  • + 1
 My guess would be that integrating the post mount into the chainstay is both more complex and potentially weaker structurally. The two tabs are simpler, and result in a more continuous layup into the axle. Just an idea though, I'm no engineer.
  • + 1
 Also you won't need a new rear triangle if you cross thread your post mounts. It's in there FAQ for the Nomad.
  • + 1
 @mikericci: Minor detail imo. There's actually nothing on the Nomad FAQ section about it other than you need to use an adapter. Thanks though.

It's a small detail, but SC bikes check most boxes for me 'cept this one.

Oh, and there's the great value box that isn't checked either. Eh.
  • + 2
 why the fuck does the 29er version come specced with minions and my nomad come with high roller iis
  • + 1
 I'm with you on that one!!
  • + 3
 Says Santa Cruz, looks like a Santa Cruz, Yup, it's a Santa Cruz. Yawn...
  • + 1
 Is that a water bottle cage mount INSIDE the front triangle? Wonder if that was a design goal or not. Either way, I'm glad to see it. I love my current Tallboy LTc.
  • + 2
 Would love to see a side by side geo comparison between the Hightower and the previous Tallboy LTc. Not that it would matter at all. Just curious.
  • + 1
 72.6 degree ST angle (2014) vs. 74.3 on the new. Interesting. Taller in the back. Slacker up front. Seems to be a trend...
  • + 1
 It looks like it would be too low to accommodate a cage. I haven't seen a cage that will have the lower mounting bolt even with the bottom of the bottle.
  • + 1
 I wish my enduro bike had a bottle cage holder.. Have to carry way too much on my back for long rides.
  • + 2
 "The rear dropout spacing is 12 x 148mm" .....whatever BS the industry comes up with.....
  • + 1
 Not sure why they decided not to go with internal cable routing. It looks so much cleaner
  • + 3
 Looks like both the rear derailleur and dropper have internal routing. Only the rear brake is externally routed.
  • - 2
 From Rob Roskopp, talking about fat and plus sized wheels
"You have to be conscientious of it, but like I said we’re not going to go make fatbikes. I think if we started going down that path, we’d definitely lose our niche and the soul."

RIP SANTA CRUZ
  • + 6
 You left some of that quote out, he said they were exploring the plus size. There is a difference between a 2.8 tire and a 5. So unless you see a 4-5 inch tire Santa Cruz, they aren't making fat bikes. Huge difference between a fat bike and a 29er that can accommodate a 2.8 tire. Otherwise you're telling my my Canfield Riot is a fat bike
  • + 0
 We used to run 2.8's regularly on DH bikes just 10 years ago. I believe SC's logic is that the 27+ wheels are for those who live in wet winter areas, so you don't have to buy a second bike for the rain and snow season.
  • + 2
 I think Mojo was trying to imply that Rob said that SC would never make a fat bike, and that by making a 29er that can fit a 2.8 plus tire on it is making a fat bike. Which in the end is stupid because that would be the same as calling my Riot a fat bike since it can do the same.
  • - 2
 Hold on... A downhill tire is a different beast than a plus tire. Similar number for size do not matter.
"Plus" tires have thin sidewallls, and they are made to run very low pressure. Otherwise you ride a basketball. Can't turn very fast, otherwise they fell off the rim.
RR in the interview bundles the fat and plus tires. Plus tires are just fat tires. Same concept and functionality, just a little smaller. You don't need a FS to ride in the snow.
Just saying... New ownership, new priorities.
  • - 8
flag MojoMaujer (Feb 2, 2016 at 8:34) (Below Threshold)
 Fat tires: very low pressure, thin sidewallls, very high volume small knobs.
It can be 2.8 or 5.0, does not matter. It is a soft tire made to go straight.
Plus tires= fat tires.

DH tires: thick sidewallls, smaller volume, large knobs, higher pressure.
Regardless of the size, they are made to go fast and turn fast.

SC says plus tires... Not just room for 2.8.
A long travel with Fat tire is just an oxymoron.

Size does not matter...
  • + 1
 Just because you aren't up with what is meant by plus size doesn't make the HT a fat bike. Currently the widest 650B plus tire is a 3.0. So just because in your world the plus tire is a fat tire doesn't mean that Rob was incorrect in saying SC had no plans to make a fat bike.
  • - 4
flag MojoMaujer (Feb 2, 2016 at 10:00) (Below Threshold)
 I give up... Being a fan blinds some people.
  • + 0
 You're wrong Mojo. Plus tires can have thick sidewalls, run about 10ps higher than Fat (but 7 or 8 less than non-plus), and the rims have considerbly less inner width. They are an inbetween size, for dire, but your argument that one is the other would be like saying 27.5 is the same as 29 just because it is larger than 26.
  • - 3
 no no no. I know what I am talking about since I have/had all this stuff.
The tires on the SC built are not "Plus". Are just large.
Plus tires have tin sidewalls. Look at the weights.
Read interviews online, I think there is one w Rocky Mountain about the Sherpa (?) where they say the exact same thing.
There is a difference between 2.8 normal and 2.8 Plus.
Ok, good to have the option of running many wheels, but then don't have the attitude of "We make bikes to go fast".
SC: Adventure by Bike.
  • + 3
 LOL So I have a Carver TI420 and a Canfield Riot, but I'm a blinded SC fan. LOL

You can't be this dense- it's a 29er that can fit at 650B plus. How they hell does that mean they went from making bikes that go fast to adventure bike?
  • - 5
flag MojoMaujer (Feb 2, 2016 at 11:24) (Below Threshold)
 Because the Plus tires are slow!
Once I see a pro race with 27+ Fat then call me a fool.

However how did you like the Lenz?
  • + 1
 TOTT How do you like the 420?
  • + 1
 A group of guys at my local trails were running nomads with 650b+ nobby nice so I don't know why you wouldn't just do that?
  • + 2
 Almost got that awkward space by the cranks knollys are known for!
  • + 2
 No front derailleur whine in 3.. 2.. 1..
  • - 1
 No need if rumors of 12sp X01 Eagle are confirmed...
  • + 3
 I don't care about 1x12. 1x11 is plenty enough for me. I just want compatibility, so screw BOOST and all that shit.
  • + 5
 I agree. I would prefer 1x8 or so with really large jumps between cogs because I still double and tripple shift too much with 1x11.
  • + 1
 Can you stop the rain from falling?
  • + 1
 Except for the 10-50T gear range on the 12 speed..
  • + 3
 10-50T?

Oh, I wonder how people rode up and down mountains just a few years ago. Probably all the pictures are fake like the moon landing.
  • + 0
 I think it was inspired by people for whom 10-42T was just not enough. Apparently some aim at optimizing their athletic performance of 3 Mph at 90 RPM
  • + 2
 Because not too long ago 22:32 was the smallest gear, which is a ratio of 0.69
Now compare it to 32:50, that is a gear ratio of 0.64

Now included the fact that 27.5" is the new standard instead of 26", the gear ratio is about the same as what you are talking about in the past.

I'm sorry but your comment just didn't make sense. The whole point of even wider range cassettes is to get the exact same gear range with a 1x set up, as people used to have with a 3x set up.
  • + 3
 At the moment my lightest gear is 34-34, which is good as long as the weather is good. But in very muddy conditions it is not effective up steep climbs. Thereby I will soon switch to a 11-42 SunRace cassette
  • - 2
 Why isn't it effective in mud on steep Mattin? You may find yourself needing to shift down anyways to find grip as low gear on slippery surface is generally not a good idea.
  • + 1
 As for the gear jumps, it depends on your trails. If you have roller coaster-like trails without too much height difference and fast and steep climbs and descents, big gear jumps are better. But if your trail is rather climbing over 400m heigh hills and descending all the way down, and then climb all the way up an equally high hill again, small gear jumps are best.
  • + 1
 Cant always seem to keep my cadense high enough because the mud slows me down. And stepping off and trying to walk up in the mud isnt really working in my Vans. Need to stay on my bike to get uphill because of the knobby tyres. This is only on one climb though on one trail I ride once or twice a month. But enough reason for me to buy a new cog for with a wider range.
  • + 1
 Going in a heavier gear for grip is true for cars which have constant power. But with the dead spot in pedaling I feel like it is better to keep my cadence up to try to make my power output more constant.
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 2, 2016 at 4:20) (Below Threshold)
 Mattin - it works both for cars and for bikes. I rode on many group rides in gloop (not Brit mud though) and 90% of people with front mechs were not able to do slippery climbs (off course they could downshift but they didn't) and they were looking at people like me like XC Gods, where in fact we were no way stronger than them, seasoned XC enthusiasts with multiple marathons per year. The only people going up rooty climbs on high cadence were spinning like maniacs to maintain momentum and I would not call it efficient by any means. Actually 29ers kind of force you to do that since you either keep them rolling or step off the bike. Each to their own, after all it is the genetic and partially trained neuromuscular structure that steers that, but I'd always lean towards the harder gear on slippery stuff.
  • + 1
 @Mattin - are there mountains in the Netherlands?
  • + 3
 Only hills up to +- 300m / 1000ft in the South. The trails close to me only go up to +-50m height difference (Such as in the dunes, and on hills that used to be garage piles, but they put a lot of dirt and plants on it so it looks like natural hills). Not the most interesting / challenging trails indeed, but it sure beats riding a road bike on our flat roads.
  • + 1
 @Mattin When I go to Netherlands and think about it, completely flat, no fun...I´m from Madrid,Spain 30 km loop around the city and you get near to 1000 m elevation change without touching any real mountain...When I was in Amsterdam hire a bike to meet the city. The most challenging climb was the bridges over the channel...
  • + 2
 Yeah our country is super flat indeed so I'm happy with every hill I can ride. I love living in Amsterdam, but ever since I lived on the foot of Table Mountain in cape town for a while I really miss the mountains. For more serious trails I have to drive about 3-5 hours, which is okay if I stay there for the weekend. You're lucky for living in Madrid. Great city, weather AND mountains! The full package.
  • + 1
 @Mattin I love Amsterdam,love the city and the bike culture. Yes,we are very lucky to have some serious stuff everywhere. But at the end of the day, I think if you love the bike any kind of bike/terrain makes you happy!
  • + 1
 @Mattin if the dead spot is your problem, have you tried an oval chainring?
  • + 1
 I considered oval rings, but according to Absolute Black they only are beneficial once your legs get used to the new pace, which takes about 3 weeks of riding according to them. The problem is that since our area is so flat, i do most of my cycling hours on the roads on my track bike, where oval doesn't make sense because I'm constantly spinning at 90-100RPM. And switching around between bikes where one has oval and the other one a round chain ring doesn't make sense either because you never get used to the new movement. If I would live in the mountains I wouldn't have a track bike and I would try oval rings
  • + 1
 I think they recommend 3 weeks to get used to it just because some can freak out at the beginning. In MTB the pedalling forces are very inconsistent anyway, so for example a 34t oval which has a diameter between 32 and 36t depending on position is not so much. And that difference goes the right way to make the effort more consistent. So I don't worry about switching from normal to oval.
  • + 2
 So what you're saying is....it's the new Tallboy.
  • + 2
 Sriracha red is such a great name for a colour.
  • + 1
 Awesome, yet another sweet looking bike that's not made small enough for me.
  • + 1
 If I ever wondered one of those Sierra Buttes draws, this is the bike I'd get.
  • + 2
 Moto this beech out and run 27.5+ rear and 29 front
  • + 1
 It's just me, that front derailleur is must for 29er?
I use 2x10 on my Tallboy LT all the time on NWS trails
  • + 5
 just you.
  • + 1
 i wish the new bronson would have the colourways of the hightower
  • + 1
 Is it April 1st already?? Damn 2016 is flying by.
  • + 1
 Looks like a nice bike. Good review!
  • + 1
 What is the shock size? 200 x 57mm?
  • + 1
 200 x 51mm
  • + 1
 $7800 are you f*cking kidding me?
  • + 1
 IS EVERYONE ACCEPTING BOOST HUBS NOW THAT SANTA CRUZ IS ON BOARD?
  • - 1
 It looks really good, my biggest complaint would be the headtube looks kind of weak, but I'm sure the fork would break first anyway.
  • + 1
 Wonder how the band feels about the name?
  • + 1
 this is one Very Pretty Panocha
  • + 1
 The pictures look as if the test was a lakeside ride.
  • + 1
 two forks? for one bike...
  • + 2
 Same fork different guts if I read it correctly. Most are running the 150mm for both wheel sizes.
  • + 1
 Hmm..I see where you read that, but I guess where I am left confused is: does it require two forks to be at it's optimal or is the 150mm optimal for both wheel sizes.
  • + 0
 Another sick bike with no flaws from SC. And to be able to go fat in the winter? "That idea should have been mine"
  • + 1
 Is it bad I only want this because of the sriracha red?
  • + 0
 So... A 29 Bronson marketed as a fat bike?
This has got to be something else...
  • + 1
 Why did Santa Cruz name a bike after a character from Police Academy?
  • + 1
 Love the combination of bike review and trail destination report!
  • + 1
 I think I've finally found my calling...
  • + 2
 There we go!
  • + 1
 Need!
  • + 0
 There really isn't a need for 27.5+ wheels.
  • - 1
 livin a rad life....but with consequences.RIP Kelly McGarry
  • - 3
 Sorry to highjack the comments Pinkbike. but Kelly McGarry should remain on the top of the news feed for the rest of the week.
  • - 3
 Looks like a session
  • - 3
 Look what The Following started
  • + 4
 Or perhaps the Process?
  • + 3
 The Niner WFO offered 150mm rear travel and slack head angle before there was a fork to match it. I bet most companies were waiting for a long travel 29" fork before building bike with an equal amount of rear travel.
  • + 2
 Yeah, this comment above. Niner figured this out 2 years ago
  • + 2
 Aaaand Banshee Prime...
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