When the Santa Cruz Hightower first stormed onto the market there weren’t many bikes as capable as it. Offering the capability of 29” or 27.5” plus wheels riders could choose the configuration that was best suited to their local trail. With 135mm of VPP travel, the Hightower was ready for just about any trail you might encounter. But for a few riders, the versatility and capability of the Hightower wasn’t enough.
Rumors spread that the Santa Cruz Factory Enduro riders were racing atop a customized Hightower. People speculated that the Hightower they were riding was fitted with custom VPP links, allowing for more travel. It seems those rumors were true. Santa Cruz now offers a Hightower LT, which promises to be the fastest and most capable 29er in their lineup.
So what’s changed, and how does the bike ride? First off, the Hightower LT is fitted with 150mm of travel front and rear, ensuring it’s capable enough for any trail you may encounter. The head tube angle has been slackened causing the bike to be more stable at higher speeds. The rear shock tuning has been updated, and now enables the LT to rider higher in its travel. This means the LT’s suspension is suppler off the top end and offers impressive small bump compliance.
I was lucky enough to ride the Hightower LT before it launched. When pedaling, I noticed it was eager to climb and it carried speed well through the flatter sections of trail. Wanting to give the LT a full test, I rode it down a downhill trail in Park City. This bike navigated the steep, loose, and rough sections of trail with ease, and the Fox suspension soaked up all trail chatter. Large brake bumps, roots, rocks, and ruts couldn’t upset it. The bike was happy at high speeds, and it stayed composed over rough sections of trail. The bottom bracket height has increased 1mm reducing pedal strikes. I noticed I sat slightly higher up on the Hightower LT when compared to the Hightower, but cornering wasn’t negatively affected.
The XX1 Reserve build is the cream of the crop. Truly, this bike is fitted with the best money can buy. XX1 Eagle components are light weight, durable, and the shift quality is second to none. Rolling on Santa Cruz’s new Reserve Carbon Wheels the bike feels nimble and spritely. I found the wheels were the perfect combination of stiff, light weight, and compliant. These new wheels are promising, and if they hold up like Santa Cruz’s carbon frames then durability won’t be a concern.
After riding this bike I’ve concluded it’s the ideal weapon for a privateer endure racer; someone who is looking for a stable, quick, durable, and easy to maintain bike. With free bearing replacement for life and a lifetime warranty, this bike is perfect for someone who loves to ride fast and go big.
Pedals well for a long travel bike
Fox suspension is buttery smooth
XX1 Eagle Components and Reserve Carbon Wheels
Handles rough trails with ease
Fast and light weight
Lifetime warranty and free bearing replacement for life
It’s a lot of coin, but there are several more budget friendly options
Have questions about the LT? Contact me directly.
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