Santa Cruz Hightower

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Release Year
Wheel Size
Number of Gears
35.26, 34.85, 33.15, 32.54, 30.29 lbs
Brake Type
Frame Material

Summary of Reviews

We have read all expert and user reviews on the Santa Cruz Hightower. In summary, this is what cyclists think.

21 reasons to buy

  • The Hightower is available in aluminum and carbon builds, allowing riders to find a bike that fits their budget.
  • The supportive VPP suspension provides riders with an efficient pedaling platform for climbs.
  • Seated climbs are comfortable with the geometry of the Hightower placing riders over the cranks.
  • The short chainstay and slack headtube make the bike stable on descents but still nimble through corners.
  • Testers found the bike planted on climbs, with minimal pedal bob.
  • 140mm of travel in the rear gives the Hightower a bottomless feel.
  • Santa Cruz provides riders with a lifetime warranty on the frame and bearings on the bike.
  • Flip-chip adjustments on the shock, bottom bracket and chainstay allow riders to fine-tune the Hightower’s geometry to their riding style and terrain.
  • The Hightower handles chunky, steep terrain confidently.
  • Wide 800mm handlebars, a short stem and a 175mm dropper post give riders stability and control steering the bike.
  • The bike comes with a 29’’ wheel and tire set but can also fit a 27.5” setup.
  • The active rear of the bike with the VPP suspension allows the bike to track well and stay in line.
  • The cables are internally routed on the bike, giving the bike a clean, neat appearance.
  • The Santa Cruz Hightower has room for a water bottle.
  • Hydraulic disc brakes on the bike are responsive in both builds, with SRAM and Shimano components.
  • A shuttle guard on the downtube protects the bike from trail debris and damage from obstacles on the trail.
  • Testers were pleased to find that the Santa Cruz Hightower has room for a water bottle.
  • A small mudguard protects the shock on the bike.
  • The bike is available in five sizes, fitting a wide range of riders.
  • The Hightower's chainstay protector uses noise dampening.
  • The threaded bottom bracket on the Hightower is easy to maintain.

5 reasons not to buy

  • Experts found it hard to tune the sag, as the shock dips low into the frame.
  • The Hightower's 170mm cranks reduced leverage and power on climbs.
  • One tester found the bike heavy upfront, making it difficult to go fast on steep descents.
  • The Hightower is not coil shock compatible.
  • The bike is not 2x compatible.

Bottom line

The Santa Cruz Hightower is a versatile trail bike. Testers describe the bike as 'bottomless' on descents, with 140mm of travel in the rear. The bike is capable of tackling chunky and steep terrain. The pedaling platform is efficient for climbing. Riders rarely had to use the firm setting on the shock. The bike is not coil shock or 2x compatible. Experts found this to be ideal for long rides over a variety of terrain.

Expert Reviews

89/100 based on 4 rated expert reviews
Mountain Bike Rider

Santa Cruz Hightower CC review

The new Hightower is alert, rewarding, inspiring and refined – all the things that you’d hope for at this price – and it’s almost impossible to find a chink in its armour, whatever kind of terrain you put in front of it.

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Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 Reserve Review

Santa Cruz is offering the Hightower in everything from its top-tier ‘CC’ carbon to more affordable aluminum, with five sizes to choose from. There’s also a frame-only option in CC or alloy.

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Santa Cruz Hightower CC XO1 Review

It isn’t especially nimble and can feel a little sluggish at lower speeds, but if you’re looking for an aggressive upper-mid travel 29er trail bike with very respectable climbing abilities, the new Hightower is one of the best we’ve tested.

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Not Your Dad’s Hightower: We Ride the New 2020 Santa Cruz

No longer a dad bike, the longer, slacker geometry and lower-link updates bring a little extra party to the do-it-all Hightower

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Field Trip: Santa Cruz’s $2,899 Hightower Alloy – The Least Expensive ‘Tower

Despite the price difference, the aluminum version gets the same lower-link VPP suspension that delivers 140mm of travel. There’s also a 150mm RockShox 35 Gold fork, a 12-speed SX drivetrain from SRAM, and it’s also worth pointing out the four-piston Guide T brakes with 180mm rotors, especially as it’s mostly two-piston stoppers in this price and travel bracket.

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User Ratings

100/100 based on 1 ratings
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Bike Comparison

Santa Cruz Hightower in comparison to averages