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Hightower Carbon CC X01 Eagle Reserve Mountain Bike
Pre-ride playlists are a difficult thing to master. You need just the right balance of amp-you-up-energy, smooth rhythms to help you roll through the rough sections, and banger hits that we're convinced will help us power up climbs when we're feeling gassed and need to find a little more fuel in our reserve tank. When we're cruising down the road on our way to the trailhead, its unusual for us to play the same song on repeat through the whole drive, even if it's a total banger. Instead, we delicately craft playlists to offer banger after banger, amping us up for the ride ahead with a balance of power metal, 90's hip hop, and indie jams (or, you know, whatever suits your taste). Much like our favorite play lists, Santa Cruz's Hightower Carbon CC X01 Eagle Reserve Mountain Bike is crafted to offer one hit after another, coming to us in a new generation that tosses old geometry by the wayside, blowing beyond previous generations of the Hightower and Hightower LT, and finding a nice spot to hang out just between the Tallboy and the Megatower. It packs in all-new geometry from the old Hightower, and stretches further than even the LT before it, plus new lower linkage that lends queues to the Nomad for total downhill stability, and a flip-chip for flexibility. The result is a powerful trail bike that's capable of holding its own in the rough and rowdy, and racing back up to the top to get another lap of hits.
Throughout Santa Cruz's lineup, the Hightower has long been known as a do-it-all trail bike, capable of backcountry endurance adventures in the Santa Cruz mountains, and fast laps at your local trail network when you need to hammer out as many post-workday miles as possible. It remains as that, but as a more capable bike than before, stretching its reach out a 20mm (on sizes small through large), offering more room in the cockpit to play with, while a more relaxed head tube elevates confidence on the descent. The new head tube angle sits a full 1.5-degrees slacker than the previous Hightower in High mode, and 1.8-degrees slacker in low, stretching things out to power over bigger rocks and chunder than ever before. And while this stretched out cockpit can come at the cost of pedal efficiency, Santa Cruz designers mitigate sluggish climbing by moving the seat tube to a steeper angle, adding an additional 2.3-degrees in low setting, or 2.8-degrees in high. The results are a bike that's steeper and more capable than the LT, and with more pep in its step for tackling steep climbs than the previous Hightower.
The new Hightower amps up travel just a bit with 140mm of VPP suspension in the rear, and 150mm up front. This is combined with a new suspension design that takes cues from the Megatower and Nomad. Instead of relying on the upper-link driven design, the new Hightower enjoys the increased bump compliance, and glued-to-the-trail traction you'll experience from a lower-link mounted shock. This lower-link VPP platform is something that's previously been reserved just for gravity-fueled sleds, but we saw it grace the Bronson last year, stretching it into the enduro category for a feel that can tackle gnarlier steeps, and turn around to soar back up climbs. This means the new Hightower is more downhill capable than before, but without sacrificing it all when you set your quads on fire to earn your descent.
Santa Cruz combines the new lower-link suspension with flip-chip technology for adaptable geometry, so you can slacken things up for park laps with your crew, and steepen things, lifting the bottom bracket, and bringing in the head tube to a steeper angle for taking on all-out endurance backcountry expeditions, where every pedal stroke takes you further from the last cell tower, and you don't turn around until the sun is down, or you're out of water. The switch is easy to make with the turn of an Allen wrench, and changes the geometry quite significantly. The bike comes to you in Low mode, with a head tube angle that sits low and long at 65.2-degrees, perking up to 65.5 in High mode, while the seat tube angle shifts from 76.7 in Low, up to 77.1-degrees in High for a pedal-friendly position that's ready for attacking climbs.
While changes have happened left and right on the Hightower, one thing remains a constant, and that's Santa Cruz's carbon frame construction, with its legendary strength and unwavering stiffness. This particular Hightower benefits from the top-shelf Carbon CC layup, which drops weight, thanks to its use of a higher-end carbon, resin, and manufacturing process that sheds grams without sacrificing an ounce of strength or stiffness. You can count on this lighter Carbon CC version to drop anywhere from 250-to-280-grams below the lower-spec Carbon C model, making it well worth the upgrade if you covet a lighter build.
This build of Hightower combines a finely tuned ensemble of cherry picked components, starting with the upgraded Santa Cruz Reserve 30 wheels, which provide all of the strength and stiffness benefits of carbon hoops, and with a 30mm internal width for hosting lofty trail tires, so you can comfortably float on 2.4 - to - 2.5 - inch wide trail tires for gripping loose corners, and enjoying a bit of pneumatic suspension allotted from the loftier sizes. To bolster additional strength at the spoke face, these Reserve Carbon wheels are reinforced along the spoke nipple interface to prevent them from pulling through at high spoke tensions, and during aggressive riding. These crem-de-la-crem hoops are combined with SRAM's X01 Eagle 12-speed drivetrain for providing plenty of range on the days that tickle 5-digit ascent numbers, while a Rock Shox Ultimate suspension package cushions the biggest blows on the descents that follow.
- The Hightower gets revamped to provide banger after banger
- New geometry stretches beyond its predecessor and Hightower LT
- Lower-link driven VPP improves small bump compliance
- Flip-chip slackens headtube angle from 65.5 degrees to 65.2 degrees
- 5-inches of VPP travel eat up rocks, roots, and log rolls
- Carbon CC frame reduces weight without sacrificing strength, stiffness
- Reserve Carbon Wheels provide telepathic handling and strength
- Cherry-picked components for ascending 5-digit numbers, and gobbling up the descents that follow
- Item #SNZK147
California Proposition 65
What do you think about this product?
December 3, 2019
One Tool to do it All
Earlier this year I had both my mountain bikes stolen. In need of a replacement for both I was focused on bikes that can do it all. Ultimately, I settled on the Santa Cruz Hightower after considering the Yeti SB130, Evil The Offering, and Ibis Ripmo. Though all these bikes are excellent and you can't go wrong with any of them, I am not disappointed with my decision. When comparing these bikes I found each had it's merits and own personality. The SB130 goes about it's business with a no frills attitude and excels in just about every trail condition imaginable. It is the quickest bike on offer and has loads of traction when climbing and descending. The The Offering is akin to your wild-child friend that wears Pit Vipers and is always looking for the rowdiest pool party. It likes to party and offers no apologies for doing so. The Ripmo on the other hand is like your your playful Labrador that loves to run. It climbs exceptionally well and descends nearly as well. In comparison the Hightower offers a bit of all these characteristics. When climbing the traction is on par with the SB130, and it offers similar amounts of traction when descending, too. Compared with the The Offering, the Hightower offers a good amount of party but leaves behind the I don't give a Shiz attitude of the Evil. I found running around 25% sag offered a more spirited ride and the bike was eager to hop off every little bump when compared to 30% sag. And, finally, compared to the Ripmo the Hightower was more composed when riding rough, steep, and loose terrain. Long story short, the Hightower is a great do it all bike. It climbs extremely well, is quick in the rolling terrain, loves to jumps, and isn't afraid of speed. You also get Santa Cruz's Lifetime guarantee on the carbon frame and wheels. As if that's not enough to bring peace of mind when buying one of their bikes, Santa Cruz also offers free bearing replacement for life and the best customer service in the industry. So I'll end my rant by saying Buy One, you won't be disappointed!