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Hightower Carbon CC Perf Elite Mountain Bike Frame
When you get the Hightower Carbon CC Perf Elite Mountain Bike Frame 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.
This particular Hightower represents the lightest frame available, thanks to Santa Cruz's top-tier Carbon CC layup for weight savings over the more modestly priced Carbon C frame. Typical Santa Cruz Carbon CC frames weight approximately 250 to 280 grams lighter than those with the Carbon C layup, giving you a lighter, more spirited feel when it's time to accelerate from a corner, lay down power on punchy climbs, and smash over rocks and roots standing in your way. Best of all, this carbon layup doesn't sacrifice one bit of strength or stiffness, so you'll remain impressed with its precise handling and serious level of abuse this Carbon CC frame can withstand.
The Hightower's adjustable flip-chip is definitely one of its best features, seeing you can swap out the intended 29-inch wheels for the voluminous traction and bump-smoothing support of 27.5+ wheels rolling on tires up to a massive 3.0 inches wide. That being said, Santa Cruz no longer offers a 27.5+ build from the factory, so you'll have to buy a 150-millimeter fork if you want to run the 27.5+ setup. Speaking from experience, running the 150mm travel fork with 29-inch wheels makes for an aggressive trail shredder with perfectly balanced geometry.
Regardless of what wheel size you run, the Hightower solidifies its status as an aggressive trail machine with its long, relatively slack geometry inspiring confidence at high speeds. The head tube angle is practically the same between both wheel sizes at 67 degrees, so long as you choose a 140-millimeter fork on the 29er and a 150-millimeter fork in 27.5+ form (though as mentioned above the 150mm fork with 29in wheels is marvelous). Both sizes retain a roomy cockpit and noticeably long wheelbase for a comfortable and confident riding position, also lending stability when you open it up at higher speeds. To help offset the longer geometry, Santa Cruz designed the Hightower with relatively short chainstays of 17.1 inches for quick turning capabilities. It's also pretty damn low, with its 13.2-inch bottom bracket keeping you glued to the trail when you're rallying across rock gardens and bombing downhill at high velocities.
As you'd expect from a trail bike of this pedigree, it's packing 135 millimeters of travel from Santa Cruz's VPP suspension, which sports an upper-link driven shock in this configuration for an optimal mixture of pedaling efficiency and excellent bottom-out resistance on rowdy descents. 135 millimeters of travel (that's approximately 5.3 inches) optimizes the standard Hightower for aggressive trail riders seeking a well-balanced feel that'll quickly scoot uphill and conquer technical descents, but without it being too much bike for many riders like some long-travel 29ers. Since it's rolling on bigger 29-inch wheels, the 135 millimeters of VPP travel really strikes the sweet spot for most trail riders, seeing the bigger wheels steamroll any rocks and roots standing in your way without requiring excessive travel to get the job done.
This iteration of VPP uses an upper box-style link attaching to the top tube for greater stiffness and increased stand-over clearance. The lower link sits neatly above the bottom bracket, protecting it from damaging rock strikes when you're riding the Hightower like a monster truck over loose rocks and trail debris. The VPP suspension is more sensitive off-the-top than older versions (especially with FOX's EVOL air canister), making it better at absorbing small bumps on the trail and laying down traction on rocky climbs. The mid-stroke is more linear for a more active feel until the end-stroke, at which point it ramps up considerably to prevent bottoming out on bigger hits.
- Santa Cruz's versatile 29er for aggressive trail riding
- 5.3in of VPP travel pedals efficiently & resists bottoming out
- Balanced geometry for lung-busting climbs and blazing descents
- Carbon CC frame saves grams without sacrificing stiffness or strength
- Flip-chip swaps 29in for 27.5+ wheels for even more versatility
- Rear triangle clears 27.5 x 3.0 in or 29 x 2.4in tires
- Boost axle spacing stiffens the rear wheel for precise tracking
- Santa Cruz Bicycles are known for rugged reliability, backed by lifetime warranty on frame and linkage bearings
- Item #SNZ00KU