2020 Santa Cruz Hightower Carbon CC X01
(discontinued)

Vital Rating:
Where To Buy
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free U.S. shipping on orders over $45.
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Not Your Dad’s Hightower: We Ride the New 2020 Santa Cruz
Introducing the second generation of the Santa Cruz Hightower and its new Juliana counterpart, the Maverick.
Rating:
Vital Review

Inits debut, the Santa Cruz Hightower developed a bit of a reputation for being a “dad bike.” It was a pretty good all-rounder that just seemed to lack a certain amount of excitement surrounding its geometry and capability. Fast forward to now… dad grows a beard, gets some neck tats and starts running drugs for the cartel. Santa Cruz made sure dad’s bike is getting all the high-speed rowdiness he needs for his fresh persona with the newly updated Hightower.

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Gets up on command and hangs tough in the rough
  • Impressive climbing efficiency
  • Planted and composed
  • Added reach makes the bike comfortable and stable
  • Adjustable bottom bracket height, head angle, and progression
  • Finely executed cable routing
  • Precision attention to detail
  • Also available in women's Juliana Maverick model
  • The extra length takes some getting used to
  • Not coil or FOX Float X2 compatible
  • "Hi" mode suspension performance isn't up to par with "Lo" mode
  • Jack of all trades, master of none

Hightower Highlights

  • 29-inch wheels
  • 150mm (5.9-inches) front and 140mm (5.5-inches) rear wheel travel
  • Aluminum, CC and C carbon frame options
  • Lower-link mounted Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension system
  • 27.5+ compatible with flip chip in “Hi” setting
  • 29x2.4" or 27.5x2.8” max tire clearance
  • Hi/Lo flip chip in lower shock mount
  • Metric 210x52.5mm shock size with rear bearing mount
  • Internal cable routing with hose guides
  • Threaded 73mm bottom bracket with ISCG05 mounts
  • Boost 12x148mm rear axle spacing
  • Fits 36-tooth boost chainring (52mm chainline) or smaller
  • Integrated 41/52mm headset
  • 180mm post brake mount
  • Water bottle mount inside front triangle
  • Shock fender, shuttle guard, downtube protector, and ribbed chainstay protector
  • Lifetime warranty on frame and Reserve wheels
  • Lifetime bearing replacement
  • Weight: 29.8-pounds (13.5kg, as tested)

Updates & Geometry

Along with the new cool-guy dad-itude, the Hightower gets some major geometry updates. Following suit with the recently debuted Megatower, the Hightower goes almost a size up with around a 20mm increase in reach across the board.It also features a 65.2-degree head angle – a significant 1.8-degrees slacker than the previous version and just half a degree steeper than the Megatower.

Along with the updated lower-link VPP suspension design, the Hightower now features a Hi/Lo flip chip in the lower shock mount which allows riders to raise the bottom bracket up 4mm from the Lo to the Hi setting based on preference or to accommodate a 27.5+ tire. Flipping the chip from the Lo to the Hi setting also steepens the head angle by about 0.3-degrees. Similar to the Megatower, keeping the bike in the Lo setting also provides a slightly more progressive leverage curve which gives riders another way to fine-tune their suspension.

Another major update to the Hightower's geometry is a 3-degree steeper effective seat tube angle which allows riders to get a little more over the front end for a more comfortable climbing position.

One interesting feature introduced with the Megatower, but notably left out on the Hightower, was the ability to adjust the chainstay length by 10mm with a flip chip located in the rear axle. Although the Hightower does not have this feature, it’s important to note that the XXL does have a 6mm longer chainstay length which is accomplished by moving the pivot locations relative to the bottom bracket on the front triangle.

Compared to the Previous Version, the New Hightower Features

  • A slight increase in rear wheel travel from 135mm to 140mm and the front end bumps up to 150mm from 140mm.
  • Much longer reach measurements (10-20mm) and wheelbases across the board. For example, what was a large Hightower before is now comparable to a medium with a 450mm reach.
  • 1.5 to 1.8-degree slacker headtube angle, depending on the geometry setting
  • 3-degree steeper effective seat tube angle
  • Shorter seat tubes for added dropper post compatibility
  • Improved standover
  • Slightly higher bottom bracket height
  • Comparable chainstay length at 434mm, except the XXL with 440mm.
No longer a dad bike, the longer, slacker geometry and lower-link updates bring a little extra party to the do-it-all Hightower.

Build Kits & Pricing

Santa Cruz offers an impressive list of 10 complete Hightower models from $2,899 to $10,499 USD. This range covers high-end CC carbon bikes, more budget-friendly C carbon bikes, aluminum bikes, plus those with and without Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheels. View complete Hightower build kit and pricing details.

Aluminum frames are also available for $1,999 and CC Carbon frames for $3,299.

Hightower AL S
Hightower C S
Hightower CC X01 Reserve (Tested)
Hightower CC XX1 AXS Reserve

Also New: 2020 Juliana Maverick

The women's version, dubbed the Juliana Maverik, is available in four C and CC models ranging from $4,299 to $8,299 in sizes small through large. View complete Maverick build kit and pricing details.

In Action

What's the Bottom Line?

No longer a dad bike, the longer, slacker geometry and lower-link updates bring a little extra party to the do-it-all Hightower. Although the added length took a few rides and adjustments to get used to, the extra stability and slacker head angle really helps the Hightower come through when navigating steep rock rolls and plowing full speed into the holes at the bottom. The lower-link VPP design brings an extra element of smoothness to the rear end where previous versions would sometimes hang up. Even with all these changes, the latest VPP design stays true to its renowned pedaling efficiency. The Hightower's nearly 3-degree steeper seat tube angle keeps the weight over the front of the bike when climbing, complimenting efficiency with a comfortable body position.

Visit www.santacruzbicycles.com for more details.

Vital MTB First Ride Rating

  • Climbing: 4.5 stars - Outstanding
  • Descending: 4 stars - Excellent
  • Fun Factor: 4 stars - Excellent
  • Value: 4 stars - Excellent
  • Overall Impression: 4 stars - Excellent

About the Tester

Dylan Stucki - Age: 30 // Years Riding: 19 // Height: 6'5" (1.96m) // Weight: 180-pounds (81.6kg)

When he's not busy ripping the Colorado high country singletrack with friends, you're likely to find Dylan battling it out on the enduro race circuit. Since he's a big guy and charges hard, he breaks a lot of stuff. With a broad riding and racing history, he's naturally a perceptive and particular rider who picks up on subtleties.

Video by Rhoddy Jensen // Photos by Dylan Stucki, Gary Perkin and Santa Cruz

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Specifications

Product
Santa Cruz Hightower Carbon CC X01
Model Year
2020
Riding Type
Enduro / All-Mountain
Trail
Rider
Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
S (Low, High)
M (Low, High)
L (Low, High)
XL (Low, High)
XXL (Low, High)
Wheel Size
29"
Frame Material
Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details
Full CC carbon fiber with hose guided internal cable routing and integrated shock fender, shuttle guard, downtube protector, and ribbed chainstay protector
Rear Travel
140mm
Rear Shock
RockShox Super Deluxe Select Ultimate
Fork
RockShox Lyrik Ultimate
Fork Travel
150mm
Head Tube Diameter
Tapered
Headset
Cane Creek 40 IS, integrated 41/52mm
Handlebar
Santa Cruz AM Carbon
Stem
Race Face Aeffect R
Grips
Santa Cruz Palmdale
Brakes
SRAM Code RSC with Avid Centerline 180mm rotors
Brake Levers
SRAM Code RSC
Drivetrain
1x
Shifters
SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
Front Derailleur
N/A
Rear Derailleur
SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
ISCG Tabs
ISCG 05
Chainguide
N/A
Cranks
SRAM X1 Eagle 148 DUB
Length: 170mm (XS-S), 175mm (M-XXL)
Chainrings
30 tooth
Bottom Bracket
SRAM DUB 68/73mm threaded
Pedals
N/A
Chain
SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette
SRAM XG-1295 Eagle, 12-speed, 10-50 tooth
Rims
Standard: Race Face ARC Offset 30 29"
Upgrade: Santa Cruz Reserve 30 29" Carbon
Hubs
Front: DT Swiss 350, 15x110, Torque Cap, 28 hole
Rear: DT Swiss 350, 12x148, XD driver, 28 hole
Spokes
DT Swiss Competition Race
Tires
Maxxis Minion DHR 29"x2.4", 3C EXO TR, front and rear with Stan's sealant
Saddle
WTB Silverado Team
Seatpost
RockShox Reverb Stealth, 1x lever, MatchMaker
Seatpost Diameter
31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp
Standard single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions
Boost 12x148mm
Max. Tire Size
29x2.4" or 27.5x2.8”
Bottle Cage Mounts
Yes: one inside front triangle
Colors
Blue, Desert
Warranty
Lifetime warranty on frame and Reserve wheels
Lifetime bearing replacement
Weight
With Race Face ARC wheels: 29 lb 15.4 oz (13,590 g)
With Santa Cruz Reserve 30 Carbon wheels: 29 lb 13.3 oz (13,530 g)
Miscellaneous
Lower-link mounted Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension system
Changeable between Low/High geometry positions via a flip chip in the lower shock mount
27.5+ compatible with flip chip in “Hi” setting
Metric 210x52.5mm shock size with rear bearing mount
Fits 36-tooth boost chainring (52mm chainline) or smaller
Price
With Race Face ARC wheels: $7,099.00
With Santa Cruz Reserve 30 Carbon wheels: $8,299.00
What do you think?
Where To Buy
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free U.S. shipping on orders over $45.
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
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