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2017 Santa Cruz Bicycles Hightower Carbon CC 29 XX1 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike

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2017 Santa Cruz Bicycles Hightower Carbon CC 29 XX1 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike

 

With long, low geometry and a unique flip chip shock mount, the 2017 Santa Cruz Bicycles Hightower Carbon CC 29 XX1 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike pushes its capability beyond the usual trail delineations. Though it’s built here as a race-able 29er, it also has the versatility to swap out for 27.5+ wheels when winter rolls around. The stiff boost axle widths are complemented by SRAM’s groundbreaking one-by 12-speed XX1 Eagle drivetrain and Race Face hoops for a light, snappy ride that climbs like a trail bike and blasts through terrain more like an all-mountain shredder.

As with the ability to swap wheel sizes, the Hightower’s mid-range, 5.3in travel belies its true nature. Though its travel and wheel clearance may initially inspire comparisons with the more moderate 5010 or the Tallboy LT, Santa Cruz instead encourages us to “think of it as the Bronson’s taller brother.” Yep, that Bronson. The 29er Hightower’s 67-degree head tube angle, generous tire clearance, and reworked Virtual Pivot Point suspension all mean that it’s capable of cleaning lines that would make the steep-angled Tallboy stop in its tracks.

Santa Cruz is so intent on proving the Hightower’s outsized merit over rock gardens that it bypassed the Bronson and went straight to the 6.5in Nomad for suspension inspiration. Besides the obvious big-hit benefits, one result of this is that the link stays out of the way, which may be why the Hightower can accommodate both a bottle cage and a piggyback shock—yet another indication that it thrives on XC hardpack and enduro shuttle loops.

The Hightower’s two triangles are joined by the latest generation of VPP suspension. Santa Cruz refers to it in-house as third generation VPP, but it’s essentially the same VPP we know and love with the Nomad-inspired updates mentioned above. A repositioned lower link now shelters above the bottom bracket, increasing ground clearance to decrease the chance of rock strikes while indulging the Hightower’s desire to masticate scree fields and dice through the rooty, rocky, techy stuff. The upper link has also wandered up and forward, which makes for a more accommodating standover height for smaller riders wanting a huge ride, and it also stiffens the back end.

The latest VPP’s changes aren’t limited to wandering links, though; the system’s tuning has also been tweaked. Where the old suspension curve described a deep “U,” the new VPP’s curve resembles a flattened check mark, with less dramatic ramping on either end of the arc. The results are that, during the initial and mid stroke, it boasts increased bump compliance to keep the tires glued to the trail for more traction across lumpy trails and root latticed climbs. It also maintains its predecessor’s firm feel during accelerations while jockeying for position in a mass start or a finishing sprint. The RockShox Monarch’s ramp-up arc doesn’t dramatically alter as the shock compresses, so the pedaling platform stays consistent across travel, with less wallowing, bob, and bottom-outs — even while the Boost axle’s path turns rearward to absorb big hits deep in its travel.

Despite its relative newness, the Hightower features the same Santa Cruz Carbon CC frame construction that’s ruined our taste by giving us unrealistic expectations for how carbon should feel. For the top-tier CC frame, Santa Cruz engineers use a higher modulus carbon than the Carbon C model, so less material is required to hit the same strength and stiffness numbers. Less material equates to less weight, and climbing and pure speed both benefit when there’s less mass for your engine to propel.

The frame’s two carbon triangles are built as whole pieces rather than glued together from disparate bits, a method that saves weight and increases structural integrity by allowing Santa Cruz to wrap carbon continuously through and around key junctures. This process reinforces the frame with less material while eliminating the artificial stress points that result from bonded construction methods. The carbon is also compacted from the inside and the outside for a more even finish that avoids any structural defects, excess material build-up, and resin pooling for even more weight savings.

Finally, a note on tire clearance, which has become one of the key characteristics underwriting an off-road bike’s ideal use narrative. In the present 29er mode, the Hightower easily clears tires in the 2.4 and 2.5in range, but going any larger risks compatibility issues, depending on the tire manufacturer. If you’re building a snow or bikepacking rig with 27.5+ wheels and tires, the Hightower can accommodate most 2.8in tires, but may have trouble with some manufacturers’ 3in specimens.

 

2017 Santa Cruz Bicycles Hightower Carbon CC 29 XX1 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike

A 29er trail bike with all-mountain pedigree

5.3in of responsive VPP suspension

Geometry inspired by both the Bronson and Tallboy

Peerless Carbon CC frame construction process

Flip Chip boosts versatility with optional 27.5+ compatibility

SRAM’s Eagle drivetrain features the ultimate bailout gear

Santa Cruz Bicycles continues to define the direction of the industry

 

2017 Santa Cruz Bicycles Hightower Carbon CC 29 XX1 Eagle Complete Mountain Bike

 

Frame Material:

Carbon CC

Suspension:

VPP

Rear Shock:

Rock Shox Monarch RCT3

Rear Travel:

135mm

Fork:

Rock Shox Pike RCT3

Front Travel:

140mm

Headset:

Cane Creek 110, integrated

Shifters:

SRAM XX1 Eagle

Front Derailleur:

n/a

Rear Derailleur:

SRAM XX1 Eagle

ISCG Tabs:

ISCG 05

Crankset:

SRAM XX1 Eagle

Bottom Bracket:

threaded

Cassette:

10-50t SRAM XG1295

Chain:

SRAM XX1 Eagle Powerlock

Brakeset:

SRAM Guide Ultimate

Brake Type:

hydraulic disc

Rotors:

180mm Avid Centerline

Handlebar:

Santa Cruz Carbon Flat Bar, 31.8mm clamp

Handlebar Width:

780mm

Grips:

Santa Cruz Palmdale lock-on

Stem:

Easton Haven Aluminum

Saddle:

WTB Silverado SLT

Seatpost:

[medium, large] Rock Shox Reverb Stealth 150mm travel, [x-large] Rock Shox Reverb Stealth 170mm travel

Seatpost Diameter:

31.6mm

Seat Collar:

36.4mm

Wheelset:

Race Face ARC 27

Hubs:

[frontt] Industry Nine Torch Torque Cap, [rear] Industry Nine Torch

Front Axle:

15 x 110mm Boost thru-axle

Rear Axle:

12 x 148mm Boost thru-axle

Tires:

[front] Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 3C, [rear] Maxxis Minion DHR2 TR

Tire Size:

[front] 29 x 2.3in, [rear] 29 x 2.3in

Actual Weight:

Sriracha Red, M: 12750g

Recommended Use:

trail, all-mountain

Manufacturer Warranty:

lifetime on frame

 

GEOMETRY CHART

Hightower 1C
29er
  Seat Tube

(c-t)

Effective Top Tube

(eTT)

Stack

(S)

Reach

(R)

Stand Over Head Tube

(HT)

Head Tube Angle

(HTo)

Seat Tube Angle

(STo)

Bottom Bracket Drop

(BBD)

Chainstay

(CS)

Wheelbase
M 16.5in 23.7in 23.8in 16.9in 27.9in 3.5in 67o 74.3o 1.3in 17.1in 45.9in
L 17.7in 24.5in 24.1in 17.2in 28.1in 3.9in 67o 74.3o 1.3in 17.1in 46.7in
XL 19.3in 25.6in 24.5in 18.7in 28.3in 4.3in 67o 74.3o 1.3in 17.1in 47.8in
27.5+
  Seat Tube

(c-t)

Effective Top Tube

(eTT)

Stack

(S)

Reach

(R)

Stand Over Head Tube

(HT)

Head Tube Angle

(HTo)

Seat Tube Angle

(STo)

Bottom Bracket Drop

(BBD)

Chainstay

(CS)

Wheelbase
M 16.5in 23.7in 24in 16.8in 27.8in 3.5in 66.8o 74.1o 1.1in 17.1in 46in
L 17.7in 24.5in 24.2in 17.6in 27.9in 3.9in 66.8o 74.1o 1.1in 17.1in 46.8in
XL 19.3in 25.6in 24.6in 18.6in 28.2in 4.3in 66.8o 74.1o 1.1in 17.1in 48in

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