Santa Cruz bikes just released the news about the Hightower, a new long travel (for a 29er, anyway) full suspension bike that accepts both 29″ and 27.5 Plus wheels/tires. A replacement for the Tall Boy LT, which if I recall right, was a 140mm travel FS bike, and one that I enjoyed riding, the Hightower is 135mm rear and either 140mm front, which is the standard 29er guise, or 150mm which is the way it would be run with a 27.5 Plus tire choice. I would bet that most riders will run at 150mm with 29er wheels on the Hightower. Just sayin’. Since it is a Pike fork on there and changing the fork travel is just a matter of a new air shaft and matching Bottomless Tokens, any consumer can tweak it to where they want it. There is an adjustment ‘chip’ that gives a ‘high/low’ geometry setting, helping to compensate for a swap between 29 and 27.5 Plus and keeping the head tube angle at a 67° static setting.
It is a 148mm rear end (AKA Boost), and combined with a very short CS length of 17.13″/435mm, means no front derailleur for this guy. The Hightower joins the all too common 1X only movement, for good or for bad.
VPP, two levels of carbon layup…C and CC..CC being lighter (1/2 pound or so) and more costly, it is a good looking and costly fellow, selling for $2899.00 in a CC level frame only, and in C and CC in multiple builds at varying pricing. See below for the product overview.
Of note in the frame specs…a standard threaded BB shell. YAY! Although PF type systems are getting better, a good old threaded BB is still the king of easy to live with.
This joins the ranks of bikes like the Scott Genius Plus, accepting Plus sized tires (at least 2.8s with confidence) and offering options to any buyer for matching the tires to the trail conditions or personal preference. It is an interesting concept and I am not sure how many buyers will actually go to the trouble of buying a second set of wheels/tires/gears/rotors for the swap option, especially seeing how expensive these bikes are to begin with, but time will tell. I like the idea, but would I actually ever do it enough to make it worthwhile?
Now Santa Cruz sure was not going to fly me, a tiny little blog-zine site, to Chile to ride this thing, so I have no first hand info on it, just press release stuff. But I generally have liked VPP on the Tall Boy and the Tall Boy LT was a hoot, although not the stiffest frame in the one I rode. I would not be surprised to see this bike well accepted by those looking for a fairly long legged 29er FS with options.