New Santa Cruz Hightower and Juliana Maverick Bikes Launch

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The Juliana Maverick

Today, Santa Cruz and its sister brand Juliana launched a new version of the Hightower. It’s the new Hightower and the women’s Maverick – its all-round 29er trail bike. First launched way back (in suspension terms) in 2016, the bike took the idea of the Tallboy LT and ran with it to give the brand a long travel, trail (and enduro-) worthy 29er.

…it’s for this kind of stuff
…or some of this. Whether with a number on or not…

Things have moved on since then, in terms of geometry and travel, and although Santa Cruz came out with a Long Travel version not long after the original launch, not much has changed since 2017.

The Maverick. All long, slack and low
Colour-matched decals aren’t just a coincidence

Meanwhile, the Juliana brand – the women-focussed arm of Santa Cruz, has had to make do with a sole 29er, the Joplin – a 110mm rear travel 29er that was more race and recreation-focussed than the Santa Cruz 29ers. It seems that if you wanted that long travel steamroller 29er experience, you needed a Santa Cruz. As Juliana bikes are based on Santa Cruz models with more women-appropriate grips, saddles and shock tunes (and always with better colours) then there wasn’t anything stopping women from buying a regular Santa Cruz Hightower. However, with the rest of the range getting a full makeover in recent years – first the Nomad, then the Bronson and 5010, it seemed that the Hightower was due a refresh.

As Santa Cruz puts it:

The Hightower and Maverick are quintessential ‘all points in between’ bikes, ideal for days when steep, chunky descents come courtesy of a big-ass climb. The 140mm of VPP® lower-link-driven rear travel is paired with a 150mm fork, and momentum-maintaining, rock-eating, 29-inch wheels. As usual, both bikes get a swathe of material choices, spec, Reserve upgrade options, and will fit a water bottle in the main triangle.

180mm rear brakes as standard
Juliana gets its own version of these great lock-on grips

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The Hightower and new Juliana model, the Maverick, have been given the ‘longer, lower, slacker and lower suspension’ treatment that the Nomad and Bronson have previously been given. The lower shock link helps keep weight low and linkages supple, while the VPP design offers some impressive climbing for a bike that now features 150mm travel up front and 140mm out back.

Like all Santa Cruz and Juliana Bicycles, the frames have a lifetime warranty, as well as free lifetime bearing replacement. And if you upgrade to Reserve wheels, you get one more lifetime warranty – even if you’re as careless as Danny was.

No rubbing off your precious paint here!
Front mechs have not been invited to the party for years…

It’s an obvious sign of the times that the frame reach on the medium Maverick (and Hightower) is 450mm – which was the reach on the large-size Hightower when it was originally launched.

Low-slung suspension still has room for piggyback shocks

With the low-link suspension, Santa Cruz has further signalled the bikes’ intentions as enduro-capable machines, with both bikes being raced at the recent, final, Trans Provence event. 150mm/140mm travel on a 29er is serious business, so the bike specs reflect that with chunky brakes as standard, wide Reserve rims available and chunky cockpit and wide bars.

12 speed of course! And how about that chainstay protector?
Rockshox’ (presumably new improved) Reverb takes care of dropping

Talking about the Maverick, the women’s bike has a few details that set it apart from being just a Santa Cruz in a nice colour. For a start the rear shock is tuned for lighter riders than the Hightower, with the lowest compression tune. There’s a Juliana women’s saddle and grips and the bike comes specced with 170mm cranks. There’s no difference to the geometry or sizing though.

The shock is hidden and well protected from mud
And chunky Lyriks show the bike’s intent…

Santa Cruz Hightower

And just to show that it’s not all about the Juliana, here are a few views of the new Hightower – in blue and sand colours. Riders on a budget will be delighted to hear that there’s an alloy version coming too – which looks near-on the same as the carbon version.

We’re sure that the new Juliana Maverick and the Santa Cruz Hightower 2 will start appearing in shops before the summer is out. In the meantime, stay tuned shortly for our first impressions on the new Maverick that we happen to have in the office right now.

Coming soon…

Today’s Deal Picks

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Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (4)

    Any idea on the fork offset of the Hightower?

    The new Hightower is definitely not a bike for me: just don’t have the trails for it. Makes me happy for not waiting for it putting an order down for an Ibis Ripley.

    simonchan – I know what you mean. It’s definitely tipped onto the ‘enduro’ side of the hill compared to the previous one…

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