2020 Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 29 Reserve

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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2020 Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 29 Reserve - Blue
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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

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

Specifications

Product Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 29 Reserve
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) View Geometry
Size S (Low, High) M (Low, High) L (Low, High) XL (Low, High) XXL (Low, High)
Top Tube Length 567 596 619 646 680
Head Tube Angle 65.2°, 65.5° 65.2°, 65.5° 65.2°, 65.5° 65.2°, 65.5° 65.2°, 65.5°
Head Tube Length 90 100 110 130 155
Seat Tube Angle 76.7°, 77.1° 76.6°, 77° 76.5°, 76.8° 76.3°, 76.6° 76°, 76.3°
Seat Tube Length 380 405 430 460 500
Bottom Bracket Height 340, 344 340, 344 340, 344 340, 344 340, 344
Chainstay Length 434 434 434 434 434
Wheelbase 1179 1208 1232 1261 1296
Standover 699, 704 713, 718 713, 717 713, 718 704, 709
Reach 425, 428 450, 453 470, 473 490, 493 515, 518
Stack 603, 601 612, 610 621, 619 639, 637 662, 660
* Additional Info Low/High geometry positions via a flip chip in the lower shock mount.
Measurements are in millimeters unless otherwise noted.
Bottom bracket drop: 33mm low, 29mm 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 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 29 lb 13 oz (13,523 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 $8,299
More Info

www.santacruzbicycles.com

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