First look: New Santa Cruz Hightower – Made for anywhere, anytime, no matter the rider

If ever a bike resembled your most cherished mixtape compilation, the Hightower is it. Featuring the lower-link mounted shock design, and updated, adjustable geometry, this “Engineering Best Of…” assembles some of our biggest design pleasers into one belter of a road-trip companion.

New Santa Cruz Hightower 2020.

The Hightower has been a does-it-all-well trail bike since its inception. More maneuverable than it’s longer travel sibling, the Megatower, and more at home in the steep-and-chunky than it’s snappy cousin Tallboy. Hightower excels when the route covers “all points in between”, and descents come courtesy of some big-ass climbs. The VPP suspension’s lower-link-mounted shock position creates a nearly linear leverage curve, meaning it mops up bumps of all sizes and maintains the kind of progressivity normally reserved for our V10 DH bike!

140mm of rear travel complemented by a 150mm front end gives Hightower just a bit more front and rear travel over the first generation model. Combined with a slacker 65-degree head tube angle, the Hightower still sits squarely in the Goldilocks zone, but with a touch more “Oh sh*t get me out of here” capability when the porridge gets too hot!

Balancing stiffness and weight savings in all the right places is a hallmark of all Santa Cruz carbon frames and the Hightower flies the flag yet higher. The advanced composite chassis tracks well across all trail surfaces, holds a line, and is reactive to rider directions while isolating pedal influenced inputs.

The Hightower also has a bonus disc to heighten the experience – the flip chip. In the High setting, the BB height is a little higher for those tricky tech trails and/or when Plus sized tyres are required. In the Low position, the shock rate is more progressive, to provide additional bottom-out resistance. Whatever mood you’re in, the tone of the Hightower can be adapted to meet your individual taste.

And speaking of taste, there’s room for a water bottle inside the main frame and a threaded BB for convenience. There’s refined cable routing for better shifting performance, simpler installation, and no cable rub. On top of that, there’s a tailgate shuffle guard, downtube protector, shock fender and noise cancelling chainstay protector keeping things quiet.

The lifetime frame warranty, lifetime pivot bearing replacement policy, and a lifetime guarantee on the optional Reserve carbon wheels assures you that the Hightower will keep delivering the hits for years to come.

New Santa Cruz Hightower 2020.


  • 140mm VPP rear travel, 150mm fork
  • 29-inch wheels (27.5+ compatibility)
  • Head tube angle adjustable to 65.2 or 65.5 degrees via flip chip
  • Available in aluminum, CC and C carbon
  • Santa Cruz 30 carbon wheel option
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL and Greg’s


New Santa Cruz Hightower 2020.

Some images supplied and some by #GOAT @garyperkin

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