SANTA CRUZ HIGHTOWER

Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Bike Lane -

The MTB world has been buzzing with the ques­tion of when Santa Cruz was go­ing to up­date its su­per-pop­u­lar 135mm (rear travel) Tallboy LT (Long Travel) 29er trail bike. The com­pany had up­dated all its other rigs – Bron­son, 5010, No­mad – with the lat­est MTB stan­dards (Boost front and rear ends, etc), but the Tallboy LT had dis­ap­peared from the Santa Cruz web­site a few months be­fore Christ­mas. There had been no hints from the US brand as to whether it was even be­ing re­placed.

En­ter the new Hightower, brim­ming with new tech, in­clud­ing the cool fea­ture of be­ing able to swap out wheelsets/ sizes – from 29 to 27.5-plus (pictured above) – along with Boost front and rear ends, car­bon-only frames and 1x-only driv­e­train. The big trick is the wheel swap, achieved by switch­ing a small link on the rear shock (to ad­just ge­om­e­try to suit the wheel size you in­tend run­ning). The caveat is that, if you opt for a 29er and the stan­dard 140mm front fork, and in­tend swap­ping be­tween that and 27.5plus, you also need to go up 10mm with your fork; the 27.5-plus geo is de­signed for a 150mm-travel fork. The cheap­est way around this, if you're keen to swap be­tween wheel sizes is to fit a 150mm fork on your 29er, then you only have to buy a set of 27.5-plus wheelset/tyres.

The Hightower ain't cheap, start­ing at $7999 for the Hightower C. Pric­ing is com­par­a­tive to other top-end MTB brands and the bike is well specced.

Now the AG Out­door of­fice just has to be very, very pa­tient as it waits for a test bike to re­view…

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