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Santa Cruz's team riders have been racing enduros on modified Hightowers, a fact that didn't go unnoticed. They tweaked their personal Hightowers to eke out a little more travel, which left the rest of us waiting patiently for Santa Cruz to release the burlier version of this big-wheeled machine. Santa Cruz was able to quickly bring the frame to market by reconfiguring the original Hightower into this long-travel beast. The Hightower LT Carbon 29 R Complete Mountain Bike is the most value-focused build in Santa Cruz's Hightower LT line, but will charge just as hard as any of the pricier models.
Under testing and racing scenarios, Santa Cruz realized that a total redesign wasn't necessary, so the LT uses the Hightower's front triangle. Thankfully, it retains many of the riding characteristics inherent to the original 29in bike. The bike simply blitzes through rough terrain and the low bottom bracket ensures that it rails berms with authority and keeps things cool and confident when you are at your limit. The original 29er Hightower had 135mm of rear travel and came stock with a 140mm fork up front. By contrast, the Hightower LT has 150mm of travel, front and rear. This kicks the head tube angle to a slack 66.4 degrees and it offers a slightly longer wheelbase. Get the new LT on some demanding trails and you'll instantly notice the bigger bike brings an unflappable level of confidence on steep, black diamond descents with hub-deep rock gaps and slippery off-camber roots.
One big difference is that the LT is intended for 29er applications only—gone is the flip chip that switched it to 27.5+. This change makes the Hightower LT a more refined, 29in enduro slayer. To reconfigure the Hightower to LT status, the links and swingarm were redesigned to accommodate the extra travel and longer shock stroke. This preserves Santa Cruz's lauded VPP suspension, offering a firm pedaling platform without wallowing like many long-travel sleds on the market. On the descents, the 150mm of VPP suspension turns the Hightower into a monster that smashes through chunky rock gardens and sails off big jumps like a pro. We hope that you enjoy crushing PR's and stealing KOM's, because with this bike, we damn near guarantee that you will.
Its build kit is competent, value packed, and matches the Hightower LT's aggressive design. Santa Cruz's R build features a 780mm Race Face Aeffect R riser bar and WTB rims with a 29mm internal profile for greater support and larger tires. Maxxis Minion DHRs are a solid spec with awesome braking and driving traction that doesn't impede cornering confidence. The RockShox Revalation fork might not sport all the bells and whistles of the Pike or 36, but it's close, and it's a hell of a jumping off point. The drivetrain gets SRAM NX 1x11 which works great and offers a ton of usable gears so you can sprint to stop the clock and still have plenty of range to head over to the next stage and do it over again.
- Santa Cruz's long-travel 29er is more aggressive than ever
- Designed for the extremes of professional enduro racing
- 6in of VPP travel smooths out chunky runs
- Slacker 66.4-degree head tube for high-speed composure
- New VPP linkage and swingarm focuses on 29in wheels only
- Carbon frame offers high levels of stiffness and strength
- 6in RockShox Revalation fork leads with plush travel
- SRAM NX 11-speed drivetrain provides great range
- Item #SNZ00EE
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I built one up from the frame and this is super easy to build! I love that the brakes are NOT internally routed, and that the ports that are internally routed are an entire tube - super easy to install parts!
I've taken this bike out about 5 times so far, all shorter rides as it's December in Utah, but every ride has just gotten better and better on this bike. I came from a Yeti SB4.5c, a bike with less travel but also 3 pounds lighter. I don't even notice the extra weight, I actually have climbed some steep and loose sections on the HTLT that I wasn't able to on the SB4.5c! The real place where it shines is downhill. This thing is a monster truck. I've never EVER ridden a bike where I see a big rock on the trail and just point the bike straight at it and just glide right over. There's a local trail I've ridden about 100 times (Jacob's Ladder, Draper, UT), and yet on this bike the trail is now a new trail - I'm taking lines I've never imagined taking before and with speed. I'm excited for when I am really used to this bike and really start shredding things - I'm so excited for summer!
I'm only 5'4" and female. Many bike companies seem to believe that small humans aren't capable of riding a 29er comfortably, but I'd like to say that they are wrong. I LOVE 29" wheels and I love the way this thing rides! Great job, Santa Cruz!
I did swap the Rock Shox Reverb for a Fox dropper and the SRAM Guide Ultimates for XTR's, I just don't care for either SRAM brakes or SRAM droppers, but that's personal preference. I also do 95% of my own bike maintenance and I prefer the Shimano brakes and cable droppers for ease of bleeding.
Hightower LT is finally here!
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
In early 2016 Santa Cruz released the revolutionary Hightower which quickly became one of their best sellers. The Hightower was versatile and could accept both 29” and 27.5+ wheel configurations. Many people found the 29er version to be a fast, highly capable trail-slayer. Soon there was demand for a more aggressive version of the bike as evidenced by many riders attempt at long-shocking their Hightower’s to get more rear travel (a modification not recommended by Santa Cruz). Enter the new Hightower LT- a bike that heeds the rider’s call for a more aggressive machine. The Hightower LT utilizes a new rear triangle and linkage with the same front triangle, yielding 150mm of travel with a longer wheelbase and slacker geometry. One thing worth noting: the Hightower LT does not accept 27.5+ wheels and tires- it’s 29er only.
I’ve been riding the original Hightower for the past 8 months. That bike has helped make me a faster rider both up and down the mountain not to mention it’s an absolute blast to ride. I enjoy the rolling speed of the 29” wheels and Santa Cruz nailed the geometry with an ideal balance between high-speed stability and nimble handling. When the shiny new Hightower LT showed up at our office I was eager to take it out on my favorite gravity-focused Park City trails. I noticed right away that the new LT was noticeably more composed on high speed sections, rough trails and descents. It provided some extra stability in places where the shorter travel Hightower felt slightly under-gunned, without sacrificing much of the nimble handling. It felt like it climbed almost as well as my Hightower, though you do notice the longer wheelbase.
Nevertheless, this bike is no slouch on the uphills and I have no doubt that it can handle all day cross-country rides involving significant climbing.
It’s worth mentioning the perks of purchasing a Santa Cruz bike. You get a lifetime warranty with free lifetime bearing replacement for the original owner. You also get a threaded bottom bracket which means easier serviceability and reduced creaking compared to PressFit BB’s. The frames have molded tubes for internal cable routing which makes the cable routing process a lot easier, no need to fish for cables inside the frame. Santa Cruz frames are built to last and have held up better for me than other brands. It’s a bike you can ride hard, put away dirty, and not feel bad about it.
Who is the ideal rider for the Hightower LT? Riders that want a capable 29er all-mountain bike that won’t hold them back when the going gets rough. Riders looking for a bike that is comfortable enough to pedal around all day but won’t shy away from the gnarliest trails. If you are focused on speed and live for the descents this bike could be your best friend. If you do any Enduro racing this bike would be a great choice. Why would you choose something like this over the Bronson or Nomad? Well that would depend on your preference between 29” and 27.5” wheels.
If you have any questions or want to see if this is the right bike for you, call me at 801 736 6396 ext. 4801 or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to answer questions or have a discussion on this bike.