Hightower Carbon S Reserve Complete Mountain Bike by Santa Cruz Bicycles
The Hightower Carbon S Reserve Complete Mountain Bike from Santa Cruz is the perfect representation of spending money where it counts and saving it elsewhere. It may not feature SRAM's top-end Eagle drivetrain, but GX does a mighty fine job and you still get the excellent frame with long, low geometry and a flip chip shock mount system as its more expensive, X01- and XX1-equipped brothers. Also present is the stiffness enhancing Boost spacing improving the spokes' bracing angle for a stiffer chassis and wheels which virtually eliminate the often repeated complaint of 29-inch wheels. With the rest of the industry firmly on board with wagon wheels on trail bikes, we mustn't forget that Santa Cruz first dabbled with bigger wheels on the Tallboy way back in 2009. The Hightower's mid-travel suspension at 5. 3-inches and its excellent roll-over with its 29-inch wheels simply work on such a wide variety of terrain that it's one of our go-to bikes in new terrain while being an absolute hoot on familiar trails. The ideal rider is one looking for a little more aggression than you would get from a Tallboy without having to haul around the extra heft and suspension of the Hightower LT. Like a utility man in baseball, the bike can play every position and do it well. The frame's 67-degree head tube sits on the slightly slacker side of neutral which we're fine with. We can put up with a little extra Body-English on the climbs if it means we can descend with reckless abandon. And descend it does, the latest generation of Virtual Pivot Point travel offers a plush stroke that's not afraid of trail furniture or steep grades. The big wheels cover ground a whole lot faster than anything we've ridden from the 27. 5-inch crop. Other geometry highlights include stubby chainstays for dicing through techy, tight sections making us feel like we aren't giving up anything relative to smaller wheel bikes. The Hightower's suspension is essentially the same platform we've seen on the newer u...
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