Think I want a mk1 hightower

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  • Think I want a mk1 hightower
  • davros

    Talk me into or out of it!

    Coming from a large camber carbon which now feels a bit short since building up an xl signal. And I’ve had it 3 years so fancy a change.

    Having looked at the numbers I think an xl Hightower would be spot on. I’m 6’1. Never tried one on for size though. I think I could get a 150mm dropper in. I’d be buying 2nd hand frame only and building up with new parts.

    Anything to look out for? Do the frame bearings last well?

    Anyone looking to sell an xl frame?



    I can’t comment on the rightness of the frame for you (depending on which version you are looking at, some would regard the geometry as a bit old fashioned these days, not having a wheelbase that requires a trailer to move it around), but I can give some feedback from general ownership.

    Anything to look out for?

    As with any carbon frame, you need to be obsessive looking for cracks. I’ve had a Tallboy 2 CC from new which has had a reasonable amount of use, and I’ve had no major problems with it (certainly no cracked frames, or anything like that). SC’s carbon is definitely top notch, but this doesn’t preclude someone crashing it into a rock, so you need to be really diligent with your checks. Be especially keen around the headtube, downtube and bottom bracket area, which are most likely to be impacted in a crash. On balance, my bike has been pretty low maintenance, apart from…

    Do the frame bearings last well?

    I’ll answer this with a picture of my latest warranty set of bearings that arrived in the post this morning:

    The lower bearings last well if kept greased (they have grease ports on them, and the same will apply to the Hightower), but the uppers (for me anyway) never last more than a year and I always end up changing them at the same time as the bike gets a strip-down service in the Spring. Fortunately, SC do a lifetime bearing warranty for the original owner, so this doesn’t cost me more than an hour in the garage.

    If you can, undo one end of the shock (good to do to make sure the bolts aren’t seized anyway!) and then you can check the suspension movement to ensure it’s running free and smooth and that there’s no lateral or vertical play at the back end. If there is, the bearings aren’t expensive but if you’re paying a shop to do it, expect to be poorer by £100+ for the job. Other parts like lower axles etc. are easily sourced (and not insanely expensive) so if they are worn (often by extended use with seized bearings), this isn’t a big problem – you just need to adjust the price accordingly and budget for the repair.

    I’m just under 6’1” and opted for the large Hightower LT. Originally I wanted the mk1 but the geometry just feels right for me on the LT. Bearings will not Last though, regardless of grease. I know new owners get free replacements, but I’m sure bearing warranties are now non transferable. I got my lowers done for labour cost at lbs. At 6’1” I’d recommend going for an xl, I feel like I’m right in the middle of L/XL.


    Bearings will not Last though, regardless of grease. I know new owners get free replacements, but I’m sure bearing warranties are now non transferable.

    I’m not sure they ever were transferable, TBH, but they certainly weren’t since 2016 when the Hightower was launched. Being honest though, the bearings themselves aren’t actually that expensive and, unless you’re fitting them yourself, generally the labour to install them will be more than the bearings themselves (the warranty only covers the parts).

    I ran a Pace RC405 for years and never touched the bearings on it. I then had various bikes, including a Pivot Mach 5.7 which needed constant attention, and now the Tallboy, which is somewhere between the two. If I was looking for a new bike now, based on suitability for the conditions, I’d definitely be looking at the new Pace RC295 on the basis that it’s been designed and tested in the conditions that I generally ride.

    Premier Icon antares

    Definitely go for an xl. I’m 6’2 and rode xl. Think I swapped bearings twice on mine in 3 years. Shame you weren’t thinking this 3 month ago you could’ve bought mine. I’m now on a V2


    Thanks all. Sounds like bearings could be an issue, but I don’t mind doing them myself. I don’t weigh much and it won’t be my only bike, so hopefully that means they would last a couple of years between changes.

    That pace looks interesting and a decent price for frame only, though it’s even longer in the wheelbase than my signal.

    Premier Icon sheck

    I have a Tallboy 3, which gets ridden at least once a week all year round.

    It’s now nearly 3 years old and I’m still on the original bearings, which I’m reluctant to change as they’ve been so good!

    Funnily enough, since moving somewhere rockier I am beginning to think a Hightower 2 might be better for me (in the very unlikely circumstances that anyone wanted a swap!)

    Premier Icon johnw1984

    One of my favourite bikes my Hightower. I regretted selling it when I moved to a Pace RC529 and should have kept it longer.

    I’m 6’2″ tall, but with quite short legs for my size (roughly 33 inch inseam). I had a 150mm Reverb on mine a couple of mm from the collar.

    Best thing I did to that bike was replace the horrible Monarch shock for a Cane Creek DbIL. It’s a great mile muncher and feels like more of a bigger bike than the numbers suggest.


    I think a tallboy 4 would actually suit me better, but they’re obviously rather expensive at the moment, where as there are plenty of bargain hightowers going.

    Thanks for the input. I’m still thinking about other options so I’m sure I’ll change my mind a few more times before deciding on something!

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