Santa Cruz Hightower

BikeRide Score

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

Expert Reviews

88/100 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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Bike Magazine

Bible Review: Santa Cruz Hightower X01 CC Reserve

Now in its second generation, the Hightower has evolved from a mid-travel trail bike to something that edges up to the long-travel line in both design and character.

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Island Bike Life

2020 Santa Cruz Hightower Review

It’s better than the previous Hightower in every way that I’ve experienced and really is just a bike that I would consider to be a well-rounded, aggressive trail bike.

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Travel the Narrow Trail

2020 Santa Cruz Hightower Review Ride – in Salida, Colorado! 140mm of VPP Suspension

Overall, I think it’s a really good bike, really stable. The geometry’s spot on. This bike climbs exceptionally well.

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MTB yumyum

2020 Santa Cruz Hightower Test Ride & Review

This is an easy bike to ride for sure, just feels like you’re in the right position.

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2020 Santa Cruz Hightower Test Ride and Review: Ultimate Dad’s Bike!

Who is this bike for? Pretty much everyone. So if your only looking for one bike, this is the bike I would recommend. You know, a mid-travel 29er, that’s capable of tackling endure tracks and keeping up with your friends on XC courses.

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Mo and Hannah Awesome MTB

Better Than A Megatower? New 2020 Santa Cruz Hightower Review!

The Hightower is a bike that’s going to handle really burly descents. But at the same time, it’s not going to feel too sluggish on bigger, longer style rides.

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Dean Delaney

Santa Cruz Hightower Demo

This bike is good for gnarly trail rides and just eats up everything in its way.

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V2 Santa Cruz Hightower Long-Term Review Megatower Comparison

It’s just such an all-around package. It’s really hard to beat the version two Hightower. I genuinely feel like my riding has progressed by leaps and bounds, since riding the Hightower.

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MTB Holden

Santa Cruz Hightower: Ride and Review

Climbing wasn’t super great on this bike. I feel like it would have been better on a more flowy sort of climb trail, with some more wide-open corners.

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2020 Santa Cruz Hightower: My New Bike Day Story

My first few rides on the 2020 Santa Cruz Hightower were pretty fun and I’m lucky to live close to so many great trails. I can’t wait to get it out there and put it through some more amazing rides.

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Guy Kesteven

Santa Cruz Hightower Live Ride Mountain Bike Review

This is windows down, staring out at the max, greatest hit, all-around mountain biking celebration at its absolute best. They really have knocked you out of the park with this one bike.

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2020 Santa Cruz Hightower 2: A Highly Capable All-Rounder [Ride Impressions]

The Hightower has always been a great all-rounder of a bike, favored by riders of all skill levels since it’s inception when Santa Cruz proved that big wheels can be fun, and that’s still as true as ever.

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ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine

Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 Reserve on Test – A Dream Bike for Almost Every Terrain

The Santa Cruz Hightower is an excellent all-rounder and comes extremely close to being the perfect trail bike.

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Review: The 2020 Santa Cruz Hightower Gets a New Look & More Travel

Santa Cruz bills the new Hightower as a ‘Goldilocks’ bike, a 140mm 29er that sits squarely in the do-it-all category.

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Review: Three Days with the 2020 Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 RSV

It was short, but sweet! Prior to today’s launch, I had a few chances to ride the 2020 Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 RSV, and quickly found myself impressed with the bike’s stiff frame and supple suspension characteristics.

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2020 Santa Cruz Hightower

Especially for a ~140mm-travel bike, the Hightower has impressed me on the descents. Its geometry numbers, combined with its more progressive suspension vs. old VPP bikes, create a stable and fairly forgiving ride on the way down.

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The Loam Wolf

Santa Cruz Bicycles Hightower CC V2 Review

Santa Cruz Bicycles have done a great job once again, with their Hightower V2. Along with impressing us on the trail, it’s got great lines, a glossy high-quality finish, lifetime warranty and comes in a variety of price points.

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Tested : Ben’s Santa Cruz Hightower CC XO1 Reserve Review

If you ride a variety of trails, from mellow to gnarly and only want 1 bike then the Hightower should be top of the list if you can afford it.

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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

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