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Hightower LT Carbon CC XX1 Eagle Reserve
As a bike specifically bred for the high speeds and rough stages of the Enduro World Series, you can count on the Santa Cruz Hightower LT Carbon CC XX1 Eagle Reserve Complete Mountain Bike to level up your trail game on technical, rugged trails and add an injection of speed and confidence. Based off of the industry-lauded Hightower, the LT is supercharged with more travel and slacker angles to improve its composure on blown out enduro race courses while not holding you back on climb-heavy days with plenty of uphill and is playful in the park and at home on lift accessed and shuttle terrain. This particular set up is one of its premium builds, utilizing its CC Carbon frame with FOX Factory suspension on both ends and SRAM's range-topping XX1 group and Code RSC stoppers. Of course, the Reserve 30 hoops are worth a mention as it works in conjunction with the Boost spacing to offer the proper stiffness for pinpoint accuracy under hard cornering and pushing the bike in demanding terrain.
The original Hightower is a shining example of an all-arounder whereas the Hightower LT is a little more burley and born of the needs of Santa Cruz’s Enduro World Series racers, who are just about as fast as they come and need just a little something extra than the Hightower to compete at the highest level. First off, its travel got bumped up to 150mm requiring a new rear triangle and linkage, and in the process forgoes the Hightower’s 27.5 Plus compatibility. Considering that Plus tires lack the durability and thus hasn't found acceptance with racers at the sport’s top levels, we’re inclined to agree that the Hightower LT’s move to a dedicated 29-inch chassis is the correct choice for a bike of this nature. This dedication to 29-inch wheels also means that the LT does away with the Hightower’s adjustable geometry, courtesy of a flip chip, in favor of a fixed position upper link that’s been updated to provide the aggressive feel demanded by some of the fastest enduro racers on earth.
The LT’s 150mm of travel has been painstakingly refined, drawing lessons from every aspect of Santa Cruz’s racing efforts. As with all VPP bikes, the LT’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 slightly more get-up-and-go ride feel. Based on feedback from team riders, the leverage ratio has been altered slightly, lending more progression at the end of the stroke, for greater resistance to bottoming out. It’s a subtle change that’s easily appreciated at maximum speed when avoiding hard impacts and flat landings are occasionally out of the question.
The LT is born and bred for the grueling format of elite-level enduro racing, and while it’s certainly at home between ribbons of course tape, that's not the only place where it excels. Glancing at the geometry chart, it reveals frame numbers that aren't that dissimilar to the original Hightower, a bike that’s not too extreme, lending to that all-arounder status. Many 29-inch enduro bikes have head angles that are 1-2 degrees slacker and wheelbase measurements much rangier than the Hightower LT. By comparison, the LT retains a lighter steering feel that's still nimble and agile, and one that feels sportier not just when pushed to its limits.
That isn't to say that the LT can't hang with those bikes when the terrain turns steep and rough. At 66.4 degrees, the head angle hits a sweet spot of being relaxed enough to maintain stability at scare yourself speeds. The chainstays have been lengthened ever-so-slightly to 438mm, which again adds stability while traversing rutted out trails at terminal velocity. Even with its ability to comfortably go fast, it doesn’t feel like a pig everywhere else on the ride.
This Hightower LT 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 and allow the bike to track better. 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.
Of course, this build of the Hightower LT includes some of the finest components available. It begins with a worthy suspension package, courtesy of FOX. The fork is a 36 FLOAT FIT4 Factory unit complete with Kashima coating, paired with the FLOAT DPX Performance Elite air shock. This setup offers an incredibly supple stroke, easy on-the-fly adjustments, and a superior range of tuning options that allow both savvy suspension tuners and those less fussy about their setups to achieve an exceptional feel with minimum effort. SRAM’s top-tier XX1 Eagle 12-speed groupset provides the gear range necessary to tackle huge rides, while the DH-worthy SRAM Code RSC brakes deliver the power and modulation necessary for quickly scrubbing speed on technical sections of trail. The Rockshox Reverb dropper post enables the necessary on-the-fly saddle adjustments getting the WTB Silverado saddle quickly out of the way when the trail points down and right back up again when it's time to get back on the gas, 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.
And perhaps the most exciting component is the Santa Cruz Reserve carbon rims with a massive 30mm internal width, laced to ultra-quick engaging Industry Nine hubs. The Reserve rims showcase Santa Cruz’s carbon fiber expertise, with a specially designed profile and reinforced spoke holes that virtually eliminate pull-through due to high spoke tension and aggressive riding. And should you defy those odds, the Reserve rims are backed by a no-nonsense lifetime warranty, just like the frame.
- Santa Cruz's enduro weapon for speed on demanding trails
- 6in of VPP travel tuned with extra bottom-out resistance
- 73.7-degree seat tube angle optimizes pedaling and climbing
- A lower CG provides cornering confidence
- Carbon CC frame saves weight without sacrificing strength
- XX1 Eagle drivetrain has the range for all day rides
- Santa Cruz Reserve 30 Carbon Wheels drop weight, add stiffness, and boost durability
- Item #SNZ00I6