Highball Carbon 27.5 R2 Complete Mountain Bike - 2017 by Santa Cruz Bicycles
In the era of huge enduro sleds, the term "all-mountain" has come to paradoxically refer more and more to just the downhill part of riding. Santa Cruz Bicycles' Highball Carbon 27. 5 R2 Complete Mountain Bike refuses that narrative direction, though, replacing the gee-golly suspension and exaggerated angles of many six-inch bikes with a hardtail platform that climbs as well as any bike on the market but is still nimble enough to dice surprisingly techy sections of trail furniture. Where bikes like the free-for-all Nomad are the equivalent of taking an axe to rooty chutes, the Highball is a scalpel, giving a skilled user the precision to perform surgery when things get techy. Given its twin focus of climbing and speed, the Highball R2 is well-served by Shimano's SLX M7000 double drivetrain. One-by certainly has its place, but two chainrings and an 11-speed cassette give this Highball build the ability to always find the optimal gear, regardless of the grade and terrain. The Highball does address the lack of rear suspension with a diminished seatpost, down to 27. 2 millimeters. While this doesn't quite equate to the square-edge hit capabilities of the Nomad or Bronson, it does help to eat up trail vibrations that tend to accumulate over the course of a long ride. Up front, the 27. 5 model has a more moderate head tube angle than the Highball 29er. At just 69 degrees, it rides the divide between slack stability and razor-sharp handling, keeping you in control while helping to control the terrain. Unsurprisingly, it also has shorter chainstays than the 29er version, which maximizes the hardtail rear triangle's efficiency while mashing. As with the original 29-inch model, the Highball 27. 5 is a single-piece layup of carbon fiber instead of a jigsaw puzzle of individually-cured carbon tubes. This allows Santa Cruz to wrap the fibers continuously around structurally important junctures like the head tube and bottom bracket, strengthening the frame, dissipating the f...
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