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Built either 27.5"+ or 29", the Santa Cruz Hightower is a versatile beast of a bike, so we take it to the trail to review just how good it gets

santa cruz high tower c
Best for...
Big trail riding while hedging your bets on wheel format
Carbon frame and Swingarm, 135mm VPP Suspension
Fox Rhythm 140 - 29"
Race Face Aeffect /SRAM NX
SRAM Level T
WTB STP i25 rims / Novatec D711/712 hubs
Finishing kit
Race Face/WTB
Overall Score
A hugely capable and versatile full suspension bike, with a kick of speed courtesy of the VPP design
Not the cheap option, but worth every penny

Built to be versatile, there are few people who wouldn't get on with the full suspension, 135mm travel Santa Cruz High Tower. It can either be built up with either 29" or the chunky 27.5 plus wheel size, allowing one bike to cover a lot of bases depending on your requirements. This C version is the cheaper of the two carbon frames available - the CC is a few hundred grammes lighter but considerably more expensive - but Santa Cruz claim it loses nothing in performance. We have chosen the 29" basic build option, with SRAM NX 11 speed shifting married to SRAM Level T brakes for the stopping and starting, and Fox Rhythm 140mm taking care of the front end bounce. Race Face components fulfill the bar, stem and seatpost requirements to a high standard.

Built in a 27.5"+ format this is a formidable machine, able to tackle just about any technical terrain thrown at it. With 135mm travel soaking up the bumps and the 3" tyres gripping the ground for dear life, it really is a go-anywhere bike. Built with 29" wheels as we have, its character morphs into that of a speedier, mile gobbling beast, capable of ticking off trails in no time at all.

VPP suspension is designed to reduce the amount of pedal input to the shock, reducing the energy sapping bob you can often suffer from on longer travel bikes like this. It works, and works well with the Hightower fast out of corners and no slacker on the climbs either.

Talking of slack, the 66.5 degree head angle is a good indicator on how aggressive the Hightower can ride. Steep, rocky and rooty terrain is its bread and butter, even in the slightly nimbler 29" build option, so we can only imagine how confidence inspiring those chunky 3" tyres would make it.

If you are after a super-capable all rounder with the versatility to chop and change between the two hot wheel sizes of the moment, then the High Tower is one of the few choices available out there. Good job it is a sound one.





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