Santa Cruz Hightower LT–The Wait is Over!

published by bktr on 12/07/2017 19:21:00

Santa Cruz 

‘Hype’ doesn’t even come close to describing the level of speculation, excitement and general fervour surrounding Santa Cruz’s new 29er Enduro machine. It started during the 2016 Enduro World Series, when a few keen-eyed fans noticed something not-quite-right with Mark Scott’s Hightower. Before long the internet was ablaze with rumours of new linkages and longer travel. It seemed that Santa Cruz were yet again going to provide exactly what their customers had been asking for – a Hightower LT.

Santa Cruz Hightower

After the initially buzz of excitement over Mark Scott’s new prototype, everything fell frustratingly quiet. More odd looking Hightowers started appearing, this time under the helm of Iago Garray, but still no official word from the guys at Santa Cruz. The EWS bikes were clearly being thoroughly tested, with new linkages and rear triangle designs popping up at every race. Santa Cruz’s silence on the matter fuelled online speculation even further. The Keyboard Warriors of Pinkbike and Vital MTB were analysing every leaked picture in great detail. Was this going to replace the Nomad? Will we finally be seeing fully fledged 29er enduro bike from Santa Cruz? Will it ever get announced?!

Santa Cruz Hightower

  As is almost always the case with Keyboard Warriors – most of the speculation surrounding the Hightower LT was wrong. The new Nomad came and went, with no mention of a 29er model. Then, when the Hightower LT was finally announced last week, there were quite a few pleasant surprises. The new bike features 150mm of rear end travel – making it 15mm squishier than its older brother, but still falls short of the likes of the Niner RIP 9 or the Specialized Enduro. This makes for a bike that is blisteringly fast on steep, rocky trails, without the sluggishness under pedalling associated with the bigger travel offerings. All this adds up to give a clear purpose for the Hightower LT – a bike that can act as your Enduro race weapon, as well as your all-day trail riding companion.

Santa Cruz Hightower LT

  In the past year we’ve seen a few customers playing around with different fork travel options on their Hightowers. This has been one of the driving factors behind the development of the Hightower LT, as Santa Cruz riders from around the world noted that the slacker head angle and burlier fork completely changed the dynamic of the bike. As such, The Hightower LT has been optimized around a 150mm fork, giving it a 66.4 degree head angle – although I wouldn’t be surprised if some of our customers opt for a 160mm or even 170mm fork to eke that head angle out even further. To complement the slightly slacker head angle, the rear end of the bike has also been stretch ever so slightly, lending to its overall balance and stability.

Santa Cruz Hightower LT

Wheel options have been another surprise. The cross-compatibility with 650b+ wheels, which has been a staple on Santa Cruz 29ers since the release of the first Hightower, is no longer an option with the Hightower LT. Tyre clearance on the LT is limited to 2.5”, so while you can fit a pretty hefty 29er tyre in it, you’ll have to find another use for your 3” 650b wheelset. This is unlikely to put too many people off, however, as the current Hightower has been vastly more popular in it’s 29er guise than as a mid-fattie.

Santa Cruz Hightower

   Brake mount enthusiasts amongst you will be delighted to hear that the new rear swingarm design features Post-to-Post calliper mounts. People with interests ranging beyond brake calipers will be equally pleased to hear that the front triangle can happily accommodate ‘normal’ sized water bottles, even with a piggy-back shock.

Santa Cruz Hightower LT

  Along with the announcement of the Hightower LT, Santa Cruz have also swapped around their build kits for 2018.  The basic C R build kit, priced at £3999 on most models, has been graced with the presence of a RaceFace Aeffect Dropper and the fantastic, newly overhauled, Rockshox Revelations fork, or Fox Rhythm forks depending on model – the NX1 drivetrain, Fox Float Performance fork and WTB i29/Novatec wheelset remains the same. The Ever popular CS build, available between £4800 - £4900 depending on model, now features SRAMs new GX Eagle 12 speed drivetrain. Joining the CR and CS builds is the C XE build, starting at £5499 and featuring a Shimano XT Drivetrain and brakes, and Fox Performance Elite fork and shock. The CC builds are now only available on a SRAM platform, with XO1 and XX1 options available. Both CC builds are now available with Santa Cruz’s new Reserve/Industry 9 carbon wheels. Alloy versions of the Bronson, 5010 and Tallboy are available with R and S build kits. 

Santa Cruz

There are two colour options on the Hightower LT, each with equally unhelpful names. The ‘Wicklow Green’ colour scheme featured in the close ups should appeal to the loud-and-proud enduro crew, while the ‘Gloss Slate’ featured in the picture above will suit those who prefer to let their riding to the talking. The Hightower LT is currently only available with a carbon frame, with the basic CR build coming in at £3949. The top of the range CC XX1 build with Santa Cruz Carbon Rims on Industry 9 hubs, as shown in the close up pictures, will set you back a cool £7900. Shimano groupsets on CC frames will now only be available on custom builds, so please get in contact if you would like us to put together an estimate for you!

Santa Cruz Hightower

  As ever with new Santa Cruz bikes, the Hightower LT is in high demand. We’ve had huge amounts of interest in the bike already, so if you’re after one then please get an order in quickly to avoid disappointment. If you would like any more details on the Hightower LT, or any other Santa Cruz bike, then please visit http://www.santacruzbikes.co.uk/. There’s also loads of useful information about the new build kits and colour options on there too. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, or just fancy speaking to a human being, then feel free to give us a call or pop into the shop – we’re always happy to talk you through the details! We should have some of the new Hightower LTs in the shop before too long, so keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook pages as we’ll be sure to snap some pictures when it arrives!

 

Happy trails,

 

Joe

 

Thanks to Pinkbike for the pics