deep loam hero image

Deep Loam 9 - The Hightower V3

The Hightower, now in its third iteration, is Santa Cruz’s greatest hits of engineering. A mid travel trail bike, the Hightower is the do it all bike we would grab most of the time, for most of our rides and is the perfect bike for a huge range of terrain.

Rolling on full 29” wheels, 145mm of rear VVP travel paired with a 150mm fork really is the sweet spot for everything from local weekend loops, big alpine adventures and even the odd enduro race - just ask our team racer Matt who will be racing local enduros and EWSs on his Hightower for the 2023 season! Matt says “It’s the ideal bike for the courses I will be racing on this year, it's more efficient on the climbs than a bigger bike and has more than enough travel when things get rough. It's more fun too!”.

What’s new?

The Hightower 2 was one of Santa Cruz’s highest praised bikes and pretty much everyone's favourite bike here at Stif, and as the old adage goes - if it ain't broke, don’t fix it! With this in mind, Santa Cruz has refined rather than reinvented the Hightower 3. The bike has some subtle geometry tweaks over the previous model - the head angle has been slackened slightly and now sits at 64.5° improving downhill stability, while the bottom bracket height has been lowered to suit the more supportive suspension.

The Hightower has now gained size specific chainstays, so every rider gets the same balanced geometry, no matter their height, while the seat tube angle gets steeper as the frame size increases. Each frame size also has a specific carbon layup by adding more carbon where necessary on the larger sizes - ensuring everyone gets the same handling and ride feel, regardless of size or stature.

The suspension kinematics have had some subtle refinements too - anti squat has been lowered in the first 40% of the travel which increases sensitivity of the suspension when both climbing and descending. The suspension leverage has been increased with more progression at the end of the stroke, meaning improved bottom out resistance when things get rowdy!

As with all updated Santa Cruz models, the Hightower has now gained Glovebox in-frame storage. The innovative design has a super high quality fit and finish and includes a Tube Purse and Tool Wallet designed to hold everything that you might need to be self-sufficient when out riding. The Tube Purse fits a tube perfectly and the Tool Wallet will hold a mini pump, multi tool, CO2, the all important trail snacks and whatever else you might need! Speaking of holes in the frame, a new sag window has been included in the Hightower to make setting up your suspension a doddle.

Build Kit

There are a host of build options available to suit all budgets, including both C and CC grade carbon frames. Both are as strong and stiff as each other and have lifetime warranties, however, CC frames are made with the best materials and production methods while C frames add a little bit of weight and are slightly more affordable.

All models include a flip chip that allows the rider to tune the suspension feel to their liking. In the high setting, the bike rides slightly higher in its travel and provides more mid-stroke support. Want slightly more progression and bottom out resistance? Swap into the low position and get ready to go big!

The builds start at the wallet friendly but dependable C R-kit, featuring Sram’s 12 speed NX Eagle drivetrain, a supple Rockshox Lyrik fork, Fox Float Performance DPS shock and powerful SRAM G2 brakes through to the unrivalled Sram X01 Reserve kit with AXS wireless shifting system, Reserve carbon wheels, Fox Factory Grip2 36 fork and a Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock.

Santa Cruz Hightower C S Kit

The S kit bikes are the Stif Staffer go-to. The C S kit bike offers the perfect balance of component performance, longevity and affordability. Standing proud at the front is the Fox 36 150mm travel Performance fork with the workhorse GRIP damper with a short 44mm offset. The Sram GX Eagle drivetrain and Code R brakes use trickle down technology from their top spec companions at a more affordable price. You 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!

Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C tyres are featured on every Hightower build. This is one of our favourite tyres here at Stif so we’re stoked to see it featured front and rear on every build kit. Your tyres are (hopefully) your only contact point with the ground and we’re big fans of seeing Santa Cruz spec the top quality rubber across the range, meaning your traction/confidence in your bike isn’t dependent on your wallet.

Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 Reserve Kit

The X01 Hightower CC is a higher-end example of a build that's truly ready for anything in its path. The on-trail performance it offers is real world proven and the carefully selected components leave nothing to be desired. A range topping suspension package in the form of a Fox 36 Factory fork paired with a Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate offers almost limitless adjustability. The X01 kit includes stopping power by the mighty Sram Code RSC brakes, a Sram X01 Carbon crankset delivers the power and a 12 speed X01 mech and cassette communicate the 500% Eagle gear range. Rounding out the package is a set of Reserve 30|HD wheels, the highest quality carbon rims on the market. Their damped, buzz muting ride, incredible strength and no bulls**t lifetime warranty make 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 aren't available on a stock build or you’re just looking for that one of a kind custom bike build, the options are limitless.

Due to the versatility of the bike, there are a number of paths you could go down when building a Hightower from the ground up. We can work together to build a bike that perfectly fits your riding needs! Looking for a more trail orientated build? Then the lighter RockShox Pike 150mm travel fork, the new Alloy Reserve 30|SL, Sram G2 brakes and faster rolling tyres may be the way to go.

Wanting an efficient trail bike that’ll double up as a weekend enduro racer too? Speccing the slick 160mm travel Ohlins RXF36 fork, Reserve carbon 30|HD rims and Cushcore tyre inserts could be the route to go down.

Ultimately, we’re geared up for any custom build and our experienced sales team have 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's the limit.

How Does It Compare?

Hightower slots in between the 120mm travel Tallboy and the 165mm 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 lightweight XC/trail focused build kit makes for an extremely nimble ride – if you’re looking to mix shredding with XC hot laps then the Tallboy could be for you. Check out the Tallboy here.

The Megatower

Jumping up from the Hightower we meet the Megatower. If enduro racing is your forte or your fun comes from endless bike park laps the big hitting 165mm Megatower could be the configuration you’re looking for. Want to know more about the Megatower? Read all about it here.

The Bronson

Like the sound of the Hightower but prefer a quicker turning and more playful 27.5-inch rear wheel bike? The Bronson mirrors the Hightower’s do-it-all goldilocks traits in a fun yet equally capable MX wheel package. Find out more 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.