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Deep Loam #5 - The Hightower

Remember that class mate that your Mum loved, was good looking, popular, got amazing grades, partied the hardest whilst still finishing 1st place in everything? Yeah that’s the Hightower.

The latest Hightower, now version 2, is a cocktail blend of the greatest flavours sliced from both the Tallboy and the Megatower, with its own special powder chucked into the mix the Hightower has resulted in an all-round 29er ripper that’s to die for up, along and down trail.

The Hightower is adaption.

From the local ‘out the door, from the door’ rides to the ‘out the bike bag for the annual alpine riding holiday’ the Hightower always remains calm, efficient and confident whilst always being a hoot to ride.

With 140mm travel delivered from the lower link driven VPP linkage design the balance between poppy and lively and big hit plushness nails the do-it-all sweet spot.

Is your Mountain Bike genre varied and hard to pinpoint? Are you sold on 29’’ wheels? The Hightower could be for you.


The new Hightower has followed suit along with most of the Santa Cruz line up. The suspension is now driven the lower link arrangement which has filtered through the range from the world cup winning V10 downhill bike.

To summarise this means the leverage rate says consistent and reliable throughout the 140mm stroke, this keeps performance exceptional and consistent and the set up a cinch.

The bike is shipped with a 150mm travel fork to create the perfect stance for nearly every terrain. While we do not recommend dropping the travel, jumping upto 160mm is rated if your riding is more focused on shredding the downs.

In summary - it's flat out, responsive and ultimately controlled!


The Hightower allows for slight geometry adjustments to be made. Switch between ‘High’ or ‘Low’ modes and even has the ability to run either 27.5+ or 29’’ wheels to alter the ride characteristics for different rider demands and trail locations.

'High or Low?'

There's a flip-chip situated in the lower link which alters the BB height and head angle - the low setting drops the BB closer to the ground and slackens out the head angle for maximum ‘ripability’! The low setting also makes the rear suspension more progressive offering more bottom-out resistance from big hits. Rotating the link mounted flip-chip 180° positions the bike in the high position. We think this better suited for big all-day missions and encountering steep climbs due to it steepening the seat angle. The high position raises the BB height making navigating technical trails that bit easier whilst also tailoring the geo to cater for plump 27.5+ rubber, if that’s your jam.

27.5+ and 29"

Here at Stif we are pretty sold on riding the Hightower exclusively with 29’’ wheels, especially with the top tier performance on offer from the Maxxis DHR Widetrail tyres supplied as standard on the bike. However, if you are a die hard 27.5+ fan the Hightower has smaller wheels and chunky rubber compatibility in its veins. Situating the bike in the ‘High’ position provides the added ground clearance needed and there is plenty of room both in the frame and the fork for aggressive 27.5x2.8 tyres, even if you’re riding in claggy conditions.

The RockShox Super Deluxe

The RockShox Super Deluxe shock is the brands flag ship rear end damper aimed at the latest hard charging trail and enduro bikes. A category the Hightower has its foundations firmly planted in. Santa Cruz spent a ton of time experimenting with different shock brands, models and tunes before deciding the Super Deluxe offered the best on trail performance, especially when paired with the RockShox Lyrik fork. Both dampers combined provide a lightweight, sensitive off the top feel which is easily tuneable with volume spacers and a total breeze to set up.

The air shock provides a lively and poppy ride, especially paired with the 140mm travel platform. The bike is supple until sag point before ramping up in the mid stroke. This suspension support gives something to push against when you are hard charging. When riding the Hightower, you get what out what you put in – push the bike through a berm with enthusiasm and you will be rewarded with additional speed out the other side.

You pick it, we build it.

The Hightower is available in all 3 Santa Cruz frame material formats – Alloy, Carbon C and Carbon CC, with several different build kits on all 3 variants there are build options available throughout the pricing scale. The Alloy and Carbon CC frames also available as a frame only options – this leaves the custom build route wide open.

Build kit?

Santa Cruz offer a host of build options across the alloy and carbon frame options. Entering with the budget but loyal alloy D-Kit, which wears Sram SX Eagle and a simple yet trusty RockShox 35 fork through to the unrivalled Sram XX1 AXS wireless shifting system, Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheels and RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork. Whatever your demands and wants, there is a Hightower to suit you.


Santa Cruz Hightower C S Kit

The S kit bikes are the Stif Staffer go to. The C S kit bike offers a great balance of component performance, longevity and affordability. Standing proud at the front is the RockShox Lyrik Select+ fork sporting 150mm travel with a short 42mm offset. The Sram GX Eagle drivetrain and Code breaks use trickle down technology from their top spec companions at a more affordable price. We may lose some features compared to the top spec component options but that doesn’t mean performance or quality has to be compromised – these components work really well!

It's also possible to add the Reserve Carbon wheel upgrade to the C S Kit bike - the leap in ride quality and trusty lifetime warranty makes for a solid investment.

Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C tyres are featured on every Hightower build. This is one our favourite tyres here at Stif so we’re stoked to see it featured front and rear on every build kit.


Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 Kit

Amazing performance, seamless operation, unrivalled longevity.

The XO1 Hightower CC is a higher-end example of a build that's truly ready for anything in its path. The gracious operation it offers is real world proven and the longevity seems to be lifetime - it's beautiful to use and tough as nails.

The X01 kit includes stopping power by the mighty Sram Code RSC brakes, Sram X0 Carbon cranks deliver the power and 12 speed X01 Mech and Cassette communicate the 500% Eagle gear range which is mounted on some of our favourite hubs – the DTswiss 350’s

Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon wheels are also an optional extra her. The wheelsets use the highest quality carbon rims on the market. With their damped, buzz muting ride, incredible strength and no quibbles lifetime warranty makes for uncompromised performance on the trail.

Custom Build?

Off the shelf bikes are as good as they’ve ever been, but if the components you want arn’t available on a stock build or you’re just looking for that special eroma a custom built bike has the options are limitless.

As we previously mentioned the Hightower is available frame only in both alloy and carbon CC guises, this leaves the doors truly wide open. Due to the versitility and light weight design there are a number of paths we could go down when building a Hightower from the ground up. We can work together to build a bike that perfectly fits your demands. Looking for a more trail orientated build? Then the lighter RockShox Pike 150mm travel fork, 27mm Reserves, Sram G2 brakes and faster rolling tyres may be the way to go.

Wanting an effiect trail bike that’ll double up as a weekend enduro racer too? Selecting the 160mm travel Fox 36 Grip2, DTswiss EX511 rims and Cushcore tyre inserts could be the way to go.

Ultimatly, we’re geared up for any custom build and our experianced sales team contains the knowledge to steer you in the right direction. Whatever your demands or wants for your new dream build give us a shout, we’re here to help and the sky the limit.


How does it compare?

Like we mentioned previously the Hightower slots between the 120mm travel Tallboy and the 160mm travel Megatower in the 29-inch wheeled Santa Cruz line up.

All three of these bikes share similar geometry numbers but it’s the ride feel that separates them on the trail.

The Tallboy

The Tallboy is the razor-sharp smaller travel sibling, 120mm rear travel paired with a more light weight xc/trail focused build kit makes for an extremely nimble ride – if you’re looking to mingle shredding with XC hot laps then the Tallboy could be for you.

The Megatower

Jumping up from the Hightower we meet the Megatower. If enduro racing is your forte or your fun comes from riding up to smash down the big hitting Megatower could be the configuration you’re looking for. Want to know more about the Megatower? Read our feature page here.

The Bronson

Like the sound of the Hightower but prefer the quicker turning and playful 27.5-inch wheeled bikes? The Bronson mirrors the Hightower’s do-it-all goldilocks traits in a fun yet equally capable 27.5’’ package. Read what we think about the Bronson here.

Bikes in-stock, ready to build.

We have a massive range of bikes in-stock and ready to ship at both of our stores. Get in touch with any questions - you could be on your new bike sooner than you think!

Lifetime Warranty.

Any option you choose is covered by Santa Cruz' Lifetime Warranty on both the frame and bearings. This also covers the Carbon Reserve wheels if specced on your new Hightower.

For more information or to take a look through all the build options for the Santa Cruz Hightower, you can also contact us by phone, email, live chat or pop in store for a coffee and take a look at the bikes we have built in both of our showrooms.

The Maverick

The Juliana Maverick packs the same riding experience as its Santa Cruz Sibling but with a host of woman's specific features. 

Besides the rad Juliana colour schemes, the Maverick frame is the same as the Hightower. However, the Juliana utilizes a lighter shock tune along with a ladies specific Juliana saddle and thinner grips to improve performance and comfort on the trail. Our very own team rider and DH superstar, Nina Hoffmann, chose the Maverick as her trail bike when she's not sendin' on the downhill circuit.

Rear shocks in Juliana bicycles are custom tuned to maximize traction and control for lighter riders - Subtle changes like this make a big difference out on the trail.


Want to know more?

Give us a shout - even better still ask to speak with our in-house Juliana specialist, Tanya! Tanya has ridden the whole Juliana range and is the perfect person to advise which bike will work best for you.

For more info or to take a look through all the build options, you can also contact us by phone, email or live chat on our website.

We live and breathe bikes and are lucky enough to ride & test everything we sell in our stores. 

We pride ourselves on the knowledge we have and being able to advise people on the best possible stuff is why we create the Deep Loam Articles, to pass on the collective information that we have here at Stif on our favourite bikes & products.

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