Built for crushers.
Greyhound, Moscow Mule, and Screwdriver are some names for highball drinks that seem appropriate as metaphors for the Santa Cruz Highball. It's a full-carbon hardtail (the first for Santa Cruz) that answers the call for a lightweight hard-charging race bike with their logo on the downtube. The folks at Santa Cruz have been practicing their craft with carbon fiber for their latest round of full suspension designs, and here they put their knowledge and experience to good measure to create a superlight, race-ready 29er hardtail.
The advantages of the bigger wheels are hard to dismiss when your number one priority is speed. The larger diameter hoops have a reduced approach angle in comparison to smaller 26" wheels. This is the key to their fast, smooth rolling capability. This is also why the Santa Cruz hardtail had to be a backwards evolution of their light yet plush Tallboy 29er full suspension bike. The Tallboy was something of a revelation for Santa Cruz and for us here at Competitive Cyclist. The demand has nearly outstripped availability. As a 29er and being one of our best selling mountain bikes ever, it's certain that they've got big wheels dialed.
The technology is anything but backwards. Santa Cruz employs all the same molding techniques among their carbon fiber frames to make them superior to alloy. They achieve groundbreaking strength and stiffness through three unique carbon processes: (1) By using a one-piece lay-up for the front triangle, as opposed to assembling joints that require bonding or wrapping, Santa Cruz eliminates excess material and weight. (2) This one-piece process incorporates continuous fibers around the tube junctions, resulting in a structure that can distribute loads and absorb impact energy better. (3) Their net shape lay-up and fiber compaction ensures that Santa Cruz can control the outside shape as well as the inside shape and that the layup is compacted to promote an optimum cloth/resin ratio. The frame looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside. Even the cable and hose guides are incorporated into the original layup. There's nary a rivet to be found.
To enhance stiffness and tracking, the Highball utilizes the same mixed tapered headset as the Blur LT Carbon and Tallboy. This headset format offers benefits and a few options that are worth considering. The zero stack upper bearing assembly has a minimal stack height to allow you to get the handlebars low enough for a proper cross-country position. And while we might normally pair this frame with a traditional 1.5" lower cup that would accept a tapered steerer, there is always the option of running a zero stack lower bearing assembly with a straight 1-1/8" steerer to steepen the head angle a bit if that's the way you like it. As is, with a traditional cup on the bottom, the Highball has a 70.5° head angle.
The Highball tubes don't stray too far from simple rounded shapes. To us, it means that the design and engineering team at Santa Cruz were bent to make this thing all business. While its demure styling has its own quiet appeal, it's obvious that the Highball is all about function. And that purpose has to do with putting the power to the ground. The chainstays and seat tube are a great example, where they've been optimized for supreme uphill traction and a nimble feel in twisty singletrack. The shortish 17.3" stays are possible because Santa Cruz put a subtle bend in the seat tube a few inches above the bottom bracket for more rear tire clearance. If you'd noticed the 71° seat angle in the geometry chart, this is the reason. Fear not, your normal seat position and range of adjustment will not be affected compared to how you'd ride with a standard 73° angle. The slacker seat angle was chosen to account for the curvature in the seat tube.
The Santa Cruz Highball is available in Medium through XX-Large sizes and two colors -- Gloss Carbon Red and Matte Carbon Grey. It has a tapered head tube (44mm to 49mm ID) and requires a mixed tapered 1-1/8" to 1.5" headset. It also takes a 30.9mm seatpost and a high clamp, top-pull front derailleur. The QR compatible rear dropouts have ISO disc brake tabs.
For those of you intent on using SRAM XX, know that the Highball has ample clearance to run the narrower Q156 crank.
Please Note: The frame has a two year warranty against manufacturing defects. US Santa Cruz dealers are prohibited from shipping Santa Cruz bicycles outside of the United States.
- Proprietary one-piece layup ensures the maximum amount of stiffness coupled with the lightest weight possible
- Short chainstays make for a nimble, quick-handling race frame
- Two water bottle mounts keep hydration close at hand—none of that backpack business for you
- Designed around a 100-millimeter fork but will accept up to a 120-millimeter
Terms And Conditions
This Usage Agreement (the "Agreement") governs your conduct while using various services on the web site Backcountry.com and its affiliate web sites (collectively, the "Site"). All references to "we," "us," and "our" shall mean Backcountry.com and all references to "you" and "your" shall mean the user of the Site and Site Services. This Agreement applies to various services and activities on the Site as well as to gear review and product ratings (collectively, "Site Services"). Please read this Agreement carefully.
BY ACCESSING, BROWSING, AND USING THE SITE, ANY SITE SERVICES AND OTHER SERVICES THEREIN, YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THIS AGREEMENT AND ITS TERMS. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THIS AGREEMENT OR ANY SUBSEQUENT MODIFICATION THEREOF, DO NOT ACCESS, BROWSE OR OTHERWISE USE THE SITE OR SITE SERVICES, INCLUDING THE SUBMISSION OF ANY REVIEWS OR COMMENTS.
Any comments, reviews (including gear reviews and product ratings), posts, feedback, questions, answers, notes, messages, images, video, audio, materials, documents, data, graphics, ideas, suggestions or other communications (collectively, "User Content") you submit on the Site are not private or proprietary. By submitting User Content on or through the Site, you grant, assign and transfer to Backcountry.com all of your rights, title and interest, including without limitation, all intellectual property rights and moral rights, in and to such User Content. To the extent the preceding assignment and transfer is ineffective, you hereby grant Backcountry.com an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, adapt, display, publish, archive, store, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon such User Content, in any form, media, software or technology of any kind now existing or developed in the future.
By submitting such User Content on or through the Site, you are confirming that (a) you are the sole author of the User Content and the User Content originated with you and not copied in whole or in part from any other work; (b) you have obtained all necessary permissions associated with the User Content, including without limitation permissions relating to copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity and/or rights of privacy; (c) the User Content does not contain hate speech or profanity and is not unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, vulgar, libelous, obscene, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable, an invasion of another's privacy, or otherwise in violation of this Agreement; (d) that you are not a minor and have the legal right and capacity to enter into and comply with this Agreement; (e) such User Content does not and will not, in any way, violate or breach any of the terms of this Agreement; and (f) Backcountry.com shall not in any circumstances be required to pay or incur any sums to any person or entity as a result of its use or exploitation of the User Content.
With respect to your conduct on the Site or while using the Site Services, you agree not to: (a) attempt to disguise the origin of any User Content transmitted to the Site Services whether through the Site or any third party site; (b) act in any manner that negatively affects other users' ability to use the Site and Site Services; (c) impersonate any person or entity, including without limitation, a manufacturer or owner of any product, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity; (d) interfere with the Site or Site Services, or servers or networks connected to the Site or Site Services, or disobey any requirements, procedures, policies, or regulations of networks connected to the Site or Site Services; (e) upload, post, or otherwise transmit any User Content that with respect to the Site Services: (i) is not relevant to the product, service, person or entity being reviewed; (ii) you do not have a right to transmit under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (by way of example but not limitation, inside information, proprietary and confidential information learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements); (iii) contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment; or (iv) is unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation.
User Content does not reflect the views of Backcountry.com, and Backcountry.com does not represent or guarantee the truthfulness, accuracy, completeness, timeliness, integrity, quality or reliability of any User Content, nor does Backcountry.com endorse or support any opinions expressed in any User Content. In no event shall Backcountry.com have or be construed to have any responsibility or liability for or in connection with any User Content, Any gear reviews and/or product ratings submitted on the Site, if displayed, are displayed for entertainment and informational purposes only. Under no circumstances will Backcountry.com be liable in any way for any User Content, including but not limited to, any errors or omissions in any User Content, or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any User Content posted, emailed or otherwise transmitted via the Site or Site Services.
If Backcountry.com determines, in our sole and absolute discretion, that you or any User Content you submit violates this Agreement, we reserve the right, at any time, without notice and without limiting any and all other rights Backcountry.com may have under this Agreement, to: (a) refuse to allow you to submit further User Content; (b) remove and delete your User Content; (c) revoke your registration and right to use the User Content Submission Features; and (d) use any technological, legal, operational or other means available to enforce the terms of this Agreement, including, without limitation, blocking specific IP addresses or deactivating your registration, access to the Site and Site Services using your e-mail address, and your user name and password. Without limiting the foregoing, once User Content is submitted to the Site, Backcountry.com may take any or no action with respect to such User Content, including without limitation, deleting, editing, modifying, rejecting, or refusing to post such User Content, but is under no obligation to offer you the opportunity to edit, delete or otherwise modify User Content once it has been submitted. Backcountry.com shall have no duty to attribute authorship of User Content to you and shall not be obligated to enforce any form of attribution by third parties.
If, despite the foregoing assignment and transfer of rights in the User Content, it is determined that you retain moral rights (including the rights of attribution or integrity) in the User Content, you hereby declare that: (a) you do not require that any personally identifying information be used in connection with the User Content or any derivative works of or upgrades or updates thereto; (b) you have no objection to the publication, use, modification, deletion and exploitation of the User Content by Backcountry.com or its licensees, successors or assigns; (c) you forever waive and agree not to claim or assert any entitlement to any and all moral rights of an author in any of the User Content; and (d) you forever release Backcountry.com, and its licensees, successors and assigns from any claims that you could otherwise assert against Backcountry.com by virtue of any such moral rights.
You are prohibited from violating the security of any system or network compromising the Site or the Site Services, including but not limited to the following: (a) unauthorized access to or use of data, systems, or networks, including any attempt to probe, scan or test the vulnerability of the Site or Site Services or to breach security or authentication measures; (b) unauthorized monitoring of data or traffic on the Site or of the Site Services; (c) interference with the Site or Site Services including without limitation, any type of flooding technique or deliberate attempt to overload the system such as denial or service attacks; (d) forging of a message header or any part of a message header; or (e) using manual or electronic means to avoid any use or access limitation placed on this Site or the Site Services. Such violations may result in criminal or civil liability.
Backcountry.com reserves the right to report any activity or persons that Backcountry.com suspects has violated any law or regulation to appropriate law enforcement officials, regulators, or other appropriate third parties (including the disclosure of appropriate subscriber information). Backcountry.com may also cooperate with appropriate law enforcement agencies to assist in the investigation and prosecution of any illegal conduct. Indirect or attempted violations of this Agreement and actual or attempted violations thereof by a third party on behalf of any user shall be considered violations of this Agreement by such user.
BACKCOUNTRY.COM DOES NOT ENDORSE THE USER CONTENT, IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE USER CONTENT AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY TO ANY PERSON OR ENTITY (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, PERSONS WHO MAY USE OR RELY ON SUCH USER CONTENT) FOR ANY LOSS, DAMAGE (WHETHER ACTUAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR OTHERWISE), INJURY, CLAIM, LIABILITY OR OTHER CAUSE OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER BASED UPON OR RESULTING FROM ANY USER CONTENT PROVIDED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.
Share your thoughts
When are medium sizes going to show up at this price?
Once Again, the Highball rules the single track. 6000 VF on this ride and the Highball left me pleasantly satiated, Once Again.
I didn't get a chance to compare this to other carbon hardtails, but I own a Nomad-c and Tallboy-c and had high expectations of this as well. I was not disappointed.
I had planned to transfer parts from my Fisher Paragon, but instead opted to go a little heavier. Reba RLT Ti 20mm fork, X.9 1x9 drivetrain, Sun Ringle Charger Expert wheelset with heavy tires. It tips the scale at 23 pounds, yet doesn't "feel" heavier than my 20 pound One9. The bottom bracket area is super stiff which makes this thing launch when you mash the pedals.
I've ridden a fair mix of flowy single track, fire roads and semi-chunky downhill(ish) terrain. This bike excels on the trail and rides as fast as it feels. The only issues I've come across is the low bottom bracket leading to challenges on some of the ledge trails where the uphill pedal tends to hit the side of the trail and in narrow gully trails. I run my One9 super low as well (the EBB allows you to run it higher or lower in the rotation), so it wasn't unexpected. What it gives you in cornering and stability is worth it to me.
It's nice to see SC venturing out of their comfort zone and nailing it as well as they did.
23 pounds with a stout build - Reba RLT Ti 20mm, X.9 1x9, Sun Ringle Charger wheelset and heavy tires.
2 pounds, 9 ounces - large
This is a new build and one of the best 29er hardtails I have ever spent my days riding trail on.
Blows away the Superfly and is "point and shoot" like the Stumpjumper.
Built up with 2x10 XO and XX (crankset), Fox RLC 29 Float fork, and FSA stem/bars the bike weighs in at 20.5 lbs.
Size: I am 5'11" but have a 33" inseam and long arms, I am on the (L) frameset with a 110 stem. Perfect.
Descending:The bike is very well balanced and very stable on the knarliest hairball chowdered trail you can find. Steep fast loose = No Worries
Climbing: like a goat. Again, well balanced and seems to gravitate up the trail. Running No Tubes wheelset with low pressure (24-26 psi) it flies uphill. Light is Right.
I have spent a year on a Superfly, and 1/2 a season on a Stumpjumper S-Works. This bike runs circles around both of these bikes. Very pleased with its performance. :thumbsup:
The Highball is not as slack and sluggish as the Superfly so it tracks better, climbs better, is more reactive making it a real point and shoot bike. The Superfly was slow and a very soft ride. That being said the Highball is not quarki like the Felt it is really stable and smooth, the bike really flows down the trail. I like the fact that I don't have to horse it around much, just think and it reacts. The tail is stiffer than the Superfly, more like the Stumpjumper S-Works so it accelerates quickly which I enjoy. I have several 5 hour rides on it so far and it does not abuse me.