November 1, 2017

Brandon Anderson's avatar

By Brandon Anderson


At WRC it isn’t uncommon to hear sales floor conversations about Santa Cruz’s reputation for seeking out new methods to make bikes for the average rider while not making you feel like the average rider.

Well, being a staunch roadie, I may even be considered a below average rider when it comes to mountain biking. But Santa Cruz held true to its convictions and created a bike in the new Hightower C S 27.5+ that had me bombing down rocks, roots, and boulder sections of trail like I was an old hand.


150mm travel front/rear
67 degree head angle
73mm threaded bottom bracket
High/low adjustable upper link
Boost 110/148 hub spacing
Wheel size: 27.5”+ or 29er
Sizes: S, M, L, XL


The mountain bike industry is awash in a sea of varying options these days. If you are familiar with the sport and stay current on industry trends then this can be exciting and inspiring. But if you are stepping up to the plate for the first time this can also prove to be rather daunting or intimidating; do you ride alloy or carbon, 29er or 27.5, plus size or regular size tires? Thankfully,

Santa Cruz has taken out the guess work and addressed this issue by creating a new line of bikes that allow for multiple wheel sizes and frame adjustments, making those tough decisions a little less daunting and providing a bike that will change with the times and provide a platform for some flexibility and future customization.


Santa Cruz recently introduced its line of Reserve wheels, which have slowly made their way onto various models in the SC line up and created a buzz in the industry largely in part to a video segment featuring Danny MacAskill trying his best to destroy a set of by riding them sans tires down a concrete stair case numerous times, proving just how durable the Reserves actually are – watch here.

We can’t lie, they definitely feel like they are the stuff of legends when rolling beneath you, effortlessly crushing large obstacles and rough trail with no problem whatsoever. Santa Cruz has long touted the nearly indestructible nature of its carbon products and the Reserve wheels definitely fall into line with, if not redefine, what we have come to expect from Santa Cruz’s carbon offerings. For our money, look no further.


For our test of the 2018 Hightower we headed up to Three Sisters/Alderfer Park in Evergreen, CO, which is a popular spot in the local MTB community.  Three Sisters provides a good amount of singletrack terrain with varying conditions including water bars, rock gardens and some fast, chunky descents, which would provide the perfect testing ground for a rider of “questionable ability”.

On the initial climb out of the parking lot I was instantly surprised at how well the bike climbs and corners up tight switchbacks. Coming from a road background I am used to slightly wider areas under the bike but the Hightower made climbing up the tight turns a breeze and when things went downhill I finally learned the true meaning of “confidence inspiring”. The Hightower descends like a rocket, smoothing out any inconsistencies in the trail and making a mockery of obstacles that attempt to get in its way.


For being a novice MTBer I truly felt like an old hand on the Hightower and if I was in the market for a new bike this would be the obvious choice for me. Climbers may prefer the 29 inch wheel version of the Hightower but for me (and my limited skill set) the 27.5+ wheel size seems perfect for all around riding, providing an ample footprint to keep things firmly planted whether on slick rock or loose gravel and the carbon frame and high/low adjustable link allow you to dial in the geometry and tailor things to your specific style of riding.  Santa Cruz does not hide the fact that their carbon frames are some of the most well-built and durable in the business, and after a few fast runs down some seriously chunky boulder sections they have me sold and enjoying every sip of the Kool-Aid.


Shop our complete line up of Santa Cruz bikes in store or online here.