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For those that like to shred without stats like nutritional intake and trail KOMs, there are sensory-pleasing rides like the Santa Cruz Highball Complete Mountain Bike. Packaged here as the D XC Complete Mountain Bike, with a Shimano Deore drivetrain, RockShox Recon fork, and WTB tubeless wheelset, it ensures value that won't leave you wishing for more.

Santa Cruz's renowned expertise with hydroformed aluminum has created a frame that mimics the ride quality of the carbon version, only at a friendlier price point. Additionally, the geometry of the Highball Aluminum is identical to that of its carbon brother. Speaking of geometry, there's a good reason to love the Highball.

Its short, 17.3in chainstays put your center of gravity more over the rear wheel. This position provides a surprising amount of flickability that separates the Highball from the typical, lumbering feel of some 29ers. It pops out of corners and navigates tight, technical lines with glee. For this reason, if you've been considering moving up to a big wheeler, but you've been wary of some the common objections like reduced maneuverability and slower accelerations, this bike will make you question the validity of claims about what a 29er can't do.

To be clear, this is a race-oriented machine. You'll be responsible for absorbing most of the bumps when you're in the saddle as you roll over technical terrain. For a cushier ride, you may want to look at a bike with longer chainstays. Adding to the aggressive, race-oriented feel of the Highball is a short head tube -- only 3.9 inches in the Medium and Large frame sizes. This gives you a compact front end that allows you to get into a powerful cross-country position.

In addition to dialing in the geometry, Santa Cruz incorporated several worthwhile finishing touches. A strut reinforces the brake-side rear dropout to provide confident, vibration-free braking. This is a feature that you'll appreciate, considering that with a larger wheel diameter and rolling mass, 29ers require more stopping power. Look down near the bottom bracket of the Highball, and you'll discover an asymmetric, forged chainstay yoke that provides maximum strength and stiffness, while ensuring adequate tire and chainring clearance.

The Highball Aluminum D XC Complete Bike comes standard with fixed dropouts for geared use, but they are removable for swinger-style dropouts if you want a single-speed conversion. Up front, you get a RockShox Recon TK fork, which offers 100mm of plush, tuneable travel through its Dual Air and Motion Control systems. The wheelset consists of durable WTB i19 TCS rims laced to SRAM MTH716/748 hubs. They've been wrapped in Maxxis Crossmark 2.1in tires.

The cockpit contains a Race Face Ride stem, bars, and seatpost. Shimano Deore shifters toggle Deore derailleurs for smooth, dependable shifting. A Deore triple crankset ensures you'll have the right ratio for any terrain. Rounding out the package are Avid Elixir1 brakes.

The Santa Cruz Highball D XC Complete Mountain Bike is available in four sizes from Small to X-Large and in the colors Gloss White, Black, and Red.

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