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We've been in love with the Hightower since its release back in 2016, but with the constant progression that comes along with the bike industry, it doesn't take long for us to start nit picking details and dreaming up ways we think an outstanding bike can become outstanding-er. We know we can't be alone with the feelings of always pining for more, because Santa Cruz answered our dreams in just a year from the original Hightower's release with the new Santa Cruz Hightower LT Carbon CC 29 X01 Eagle complete mountain bike. With the increased suspension, the Hightower LT blew us out of the water with its true all-mountain and enduro capability, and paired with SRAM's generous gearing and smooth shifting of the X01 Eagle groupset, we're having a hard time thinking of a way to beat it.
Ultimately, the Hightower LT remains similar to the original Hightower in overall geometry. In fact, the two frames share the same front triangle altogether. The key changes are those 15 additional millimeters of travel and the head and seat tubes, both of which are half a degree slacker. While increasing the travel on the bike is a quick and easy way to spot the change in the way a bike rides, the most significant difference between the Hightower and the Hightower LT's geometry is seen in the rear triangle. It maintains the same dual-upright design as before, but saw a redesign in the linkage and a new swingarm, which proved to be necessary in order to keep the well-loved VPP characteristics present with the new rear shock.
The FOX Float Performance Elite DPX2 rear shock features a recirculating oil damper to enhance control, as well as a Dual Piston System with three on-the-fly settings to adapt to a wide variety of terrain. The DPS valve design offers full lockout without compromising bump compliance, ride control, or efficiency. FOX's EVOL linear spring curve gives forks and shocks plushness off the top, extra mid-stroke support, and more tunable bottom-out progression, allowing you to tap into the ideal pairing of front and rear-end feel. Plus, FOX's Kashima coating on the Float lends itself to unmatched smoothness as you (ahem) float through your travel without jolts and harsh snags.
The chainstays are stretched by a miniscule 2mm beyond the compact 435mm stays on the Hightower, so you won't have to worry about increased difficulty and strain on technical climbs full of big power moves. At 1mm higher when unloaded, the bottom bracket did see a small lift, but once sagged-out, the bottom bracket should sit even with or slightly lower than the bottom bracket of the Hightower. The flip chip present on the Hightower and Tallboy is lost on the LT, since the bike is intended to stay in race-ready geometry at all times and it's no longer built for 27.5+ wheels. While the shift away from plus compatibility may be alarming to some riders, plus wheels and tires currently lack the resilience that 29ers have when sending it through chunder, and Santa Cruz saw this flaw. Since the bike is intended for much more aggressive riding, it's critical to know that your tire won't burp under you if you need to hit a drop to flat. With that said, the bike is still able to roll with up to a 2.5in tire, enabling a substantial amount of rubber to keep contact to the ground, so you don't need to worry about getting squirrely on shale and blown out corners.
Santa Cruz chose to pair this particular build with SRAM's Eagle X01 groupset for precise shifting, light weight, and unsurpassed gear ratios. With a 10-50t cassette, you'll find you're well taken care of with most of the standard gearing you'd find on an 11-speed cassette, but with the extra generous 50t bailout cog. While it might remain largely unused for the majority of your riding, the bailout cog can be an ultimate lifesaver on long climbs where a 42t just doesn't offer you enough give to make it to the top. This particular build uses SRAM's GX eagle cassette, which was recently released as an alternative to X01 and XX1, it's slightly heavier but saves quite a bit on price.
Carbon construction has always been something that Santa Cruz has taken seriously, and it set the bar high with its CC level carbon. CC carbon frames are a full 250-280g lighter than their C level counterparts, so you can shed some extra weight while maintaining the same stiffness and durability you've learned to expect from Santa Cruz. Years of R&D experience have produced a meticulous method for one-piece carbon layups using unidirectional carbon to reduce excess material in overlapping joints.
This clean construction, done with an internal bladder that presses outwards against the mold while the carbon cures, also incorporates perfect ports for internal cable routing and running dropper posts, so routing is easy. Internal cable routing also makes for a bike that's easy to clean and maintain, with the perk of being aesthetically pleasing. In a testament to quality, Santa Cruz stands by its carbon construction with a lifetime warranty on the frame, which extends to the bearings in the linkage, so you can ride with confidence into new and rougher terrain.
- Go faster on rougher trails with 6in of travel
- 6in VPP linkage and swingarm for suspension that feels bottomless
- Feel bombproof on descents with slacker head tube angle
- Unmatched stiffness and super light weight from CC level carbon
- Eagle X01 groupset offers smooth shifting and unmatched gearing
- For extreme riders who need more travel from their 29er enduro sled
- Item #SNZ00EH
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Coming off a Pivot Switchblade last year, the LT has been a nice change! Slacker, longer and overall much more comfortable than the Switchblade. I find myself feeling more confident, faster and excited when riding my local trails. I bumped the fork to a 160mm a couple of weeks ago and haven't noticed a huge difference but do like the slightly slacker feel. Highly recommend for anyone looking for a do it all 29er!
So Much Fun!
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I had been thinking about getting a new bike for a while and I am so happy I got this one! The 29 inch wheel has been so fun over the 27.5. Going from a 1x11 (32T) to a 1x12 (30T) has been a little bit interesting to get used to. Going uphill on the 29 inch wheel it seems like it has two speeds- PR crushing or turtle slow. I have noticed when I get over variable terrain with the 175mm crank arms and lower bottom bracket on this bike I am pedal striking in places that I haven't on previous bike (My last bike was a 2014 Bronson 650B). Overall I love this bike and would highly recommend it but I would think about getting a 170mm crankset for this bike to help cut down on the strikes.
Can I Just Say...WOW
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.
When you love climbing and descending.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
At the time I wasn't even considering this bike as an option. I was stuck on a Yeti SB5.5 or a Trek Slash and saw some key differences between each of those bikes. I started to research more in that category and with the help and direction of Brock Price in sales with Competitive I discovered the Hightower LT. This bike truly bridged the gap between those bikes and gave the capability I wanted both up and down the mountain, I am so unbelievably happy with this bike and can't recommend it enough. If you have any questions on finding the perfect bike, go see Brock!!!
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. New for 2018 Santa Cruz is offering their house brand of carbon wheels called Santa Cruz Reserve. They are available on certain builds.
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.
Do you find yourself really getting after it on the descents, and feel limited by the amount of travel standard Hightower has? Then check this beast out, the Hightower LT!! This bike is rad. Absolutely shredder on descents. It offers more travel in the rear and front than the standard Hightower. That slacks out the head tube a bit, making it a bit more stable on descents, allowing you to plow through those rock gardens. It will climb a bit different than the standard Hightower, but the Hightower Lt is still pretty efficient on the climbs with the VPP suspension design. I highly recommend this bike if you like to go downhill more than uphill and rip those technical trails.
Hello, how much assembly is required when I receive the bike from you guys? Something I can do in my garage? Wheels, handlebars, seat post? Or do I need to have it assembled at a shop? Cheers!
Maybe I missed it, but what is the weight on this build? I’m looking at a size large, but whatever info you have will be useful. Thanks!
Hey Tracy! So, it looks like we don't have it listed on the page here, but the weight of this build is going to be about 29.02lbs according to Santa Cruz. If you have any other questions, let me know, contact details above!