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Control for every trail.
When you get the Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 Reserve complete mountain bike out on the trail, it becomes immediately apparent why this big-wheeled trail machine has earned such a rabid following. Impeccable trail manners, brilliant balance, and a range of setup options make this outstanding machine an easy choice when you need versatility and capability in one highly refined package.
The Hightower shines when big rides are guaranteed, and nothing else is certain. Such conditions, whether it’s a weekend road trip or a season spent exploring new trails in your own back yard, warrant a machine that’s poised, capable, and extremely versatile. To that end, the Hightower has been built to accommodate both 27.5 Plus wheels, as well as 29 inch wheels. The major difference between these setups can be found at the upper link, where you’ll notice a reversible “flip chip." Setting the flip chip to the “low” mode relaxes the head angle by roughly half a degree and lower the bottom bracket, which makes for an ideal setup when paired with the slightly larger diameter of 29 inch wheels. The slightly smaller 27.5 Plus wheels pair with the “high” setting, allowing for similar clearance between the bottom bracket and the ground. So, whether you’re likely to pick one wheel size and stick with it, or swap between the two when it strikes your fancy, the Hightower will easily accommodate your needs.
The Hightower develops 5.3in of travel through the latest version of Santa Cruz’s VPP technology. As with all VPP bikes, the Hightower’s counter-rotating links are carefully arranged to resist activation by pedaling forces, all but eliminating unwanted bobbing under power. This being the latest iteration of VPP, it’s tuned to provide more midstroke support than previous generations of the VPP platform, giving the rider a better feel for the terrain, and a livelier ride feel.
Despite the modest 135mm of travel, the Hightower has become notorious for hitting above its weight. It’s largely the product of an impeccably tuned formula, from rider position to chassis stiffness, but the suspension itself should not be overlooked. The controlled midstroke keeps the bike planted when rallying into rocky sections at speed, and rides high enough in the travel to be compelling on smoother trails. Of course, the outstanding pedaling efficiency that’s so closely associated with VPP suspension designs remains unchanged, helping the Hightower to make easy work of steep climbs and precarious switchbacks.
More than any other factor, the Hightower’s versatility can be attributed largely to its geometry. While many bikes in its category push certain measurements farther, the Hightower is somewhat more restrained, and in this case, that’s a very good thing. At 67 degrees, the head angle strikes a nice balance between high speed composure and the light steering feel necessary to negotiate quick direction changes. The 17.1 inch chainstays are tucked in just enough to further enhance the Hightower’s willingness to turn, while still being long enough to provide control and traction on steep ascents. The low bottom bracket helps the Hightower carve turns, and it pulls the rider into the bike, lending a nearly invincible feel that’s helpful when the terrain gets downright scary.
The Hightower is built using Santa Cruz’s top tier CC carbon fiber construction. By using some of the finest, and strongest, raw materials available, Santa Cruz is able to make its CC level frames extremely lightweight, while maintaining outstanding impact resistance, exceptional stiffness, and just the right amount of finely tuned flex to cancel out trail chatter. Of course, balancing these factors requires true mastery of carbon fiber, and the design team at Santa Cruz has proven time and time again that their command of carbon fiber construction is unsurpassed in the bike industry. The result is a frame that will hold up to years of hard riding, will provide a comfortable ride, and will do so at a very competitive weight.
This build of the Hightower includes some of the finest components available. It begins with an outstanding suspension package from FOX. The fork is a 36 FLOAT FIT4 Performance Elite unit, paired with the FLOAT DPX2 Performance Elite air shock. This setup offers a supple stroke, on-the-fly adjustments at the flip of a lever, and easy tuning. SRAM’s phenomenal X01 Eagle 12 speed groupset provides the gear range necessary to venture into uncharted territory, while the Guide RSC brakes provide stopping power when an unexpected switchback catches you off guard. The Rockshox Reverb dropper post enables the necessary on-the-fly saddle height adjustment, while the Santa Cruz carbon fiber handlebar offers a perfectly tuned balance of stiffness and flex that simply surpasses many of the best aftermarket carbon fiber handlebars available.
Finally, this version of the Hightower rolls on Santa Cruz’s Reserve carbon rims laced to a DT Swiss 350 hubset. The Reserve rims showcase Santa Cruz’s carbon fiber expertise, with a highly refined profile and reinforced nipple beads that nearly eliminate any chance of failure. And should you defy those odds, the Reserve rims are backed by a no-nonsense lifetime warranty, just like Santa Cruz’s carbon fiber frames.
- Versatile trail bike for long rides and challenging terrain
- 5in of wagon-wheel tuned VPP suspension
- 74-degree seat tube angle optimizes pedaling efficiency
- Longer reach shifts weight forward for better traction
- Carbon CC frame saves weight without sacrificing strength
- Adjustable flip-chip enables compatibility with 29 inch and 27.5 Plus wheels
- Item #SNZ00E7
- Q & A
What is the weight of this bike as built?
I'm not sure what the weight of this exact build is, but I own the X01 27.5+ build which is weighing in at just under 29 lbs. This is a rough estimate, but I would assume this bike would come in about a lb. less. So I think a fair estimate would be between 27.5 and 28.5 lbs.
Please feel free to give me a shout about this bike; it's one of my favorite I've ridden and I'd be psyched to talk about it.