If you’re thinking it wasn’t long ago since Santa Cruz rolled out the replacement for the Tallboy LT, then you’re not wrong. In fact, it was just February of last year when Santa Cruz announced the brand new Hightower. Singletrack travelled to Patagonia to test the (then) new bike, and Barney then continued to test the Hightower upon his return back to the UK. For a refresher on that bike, check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of Barney’s longterm review of the versatile Hightower.
Outside of our experience with the bike, it’s been a roaring commercial success for Santa Cruz too. Such is its popularity that Santa Cruz has just announced a new additional model in the Hightower platform; the Hightower LT.
“Built for big days in big terrain. Hightower LT is designed for maximum speed in the biggest mountains. It’s truly race-bred, its design the result of the demands of racing at the EWS, Crankworx, and Andes Pacifico.” – From Santa Cruz Bicycles.
Santa Cruz Hightower LT Features
- Long travel full suspension enduro bike
- Carbon fibre mainframe, alloy swingarm
- C and CC carbon frame options
- 150mm rear travel travel
- VPP suspension design
- 29in wheels
- Max tyre clearance: 2.5in
- Designed for 150mm travel forks
- 66.4° head angle
- 73.7° effective seat tube angle
- 438mm chainstay length
- Boost 148x12mm thru-axle
- 73mm threaded bottom bracket shell
- ISCG-05 chainguide tabs
- 1x only
- 180mm post mount rear brake
- Internal cable routing with molded-in internal guide tubes
- Fits bottle cage inside front triangle
- Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large & XX-Large
- Bike RRP: £3949 – £6699
So the new Hightower LT is heavily based on the current Hightower. And just to be clear, the bikes will sit alongside each other in the Santa`Cruz lineup – this isn’t a replacement for the current Hightower.
Upping travel from 135mm on the standard Hightower, the LT model moves to 150mm travel front and rear via an updated carbon swingarm and a new upper VPP link. The front triangle is actually identical between the two.
Because of this, both bikes look very similar. In fact, you may not have noticed that the Hightower LT has actually been out in the wild for some time already. We first spotted the Hightower LT earlier this year under the likes of Loose Dog Lewis and Josh Bryceland. Small visual differences such as a 180mm post-mount rear brake (the existing Hightower runs a 160mm IS brake mount) and the fitting of larger coil and piggyback shocks gave away the fact that Santa Cruz was working on something bigger and more enduro race-focussed than the standard Hightower. And now, here it is.
The new upper VPP link is now a single-position item. That means the Hightower LT is 29in only, with no provision for swapping in plus tyres. That’s because this is a more pure race-focussed bike, with its intentions set on slaying EWS race courses as fast as humanly possible.
Out back, the one-piece carbon swingarm features a 148x12mm DT Swiss RWS thru-axle along with post mount brake tabs that allow a rear calliper to bolt on directly when paired with 180mm rotors. It’s a clean setup, and one that was already shown on the MK4 Nomad Carbon frame. Expect to see the post mount brake design filter through the rest of the Santa Cruz lineup in the future.
In terms of geometry, the Hightower LT kicks back the head angle to 66.4°, compared to 67° on the regular Hightower. Thanks to slightly longer chainstays (438mm vs 435mm) and the slacker head angle, the wheelbase stretches out a touch for a given size. So a Large Hightower LT frame gets an 1195mm long wheelbase vs 1187mm on the standard Hightower, which should add some high-speed stability. Otherwise many of the features remain the same, including the 1x specific frame design, the clever molded-in internal cable guides, and integrated frame protection.
For more information, specs and price details on the new Hightower LT, head to the Santa Cruz UK website.