The Santa Cruz Hightower Carbon R 29 is a mid-travel trail bike that can operate comfortably on a wide range of terrain. This mango monster can effectively tackle steep and technical trails that are above its 135mm, mid-travel, pay-grade while also styling down flow trails. While this bike can't match the playful precision of the Ibis Ripley LS, it excels on rowdier terrain thanks to its hard nose attitude. Climbing is calm and efficient and the rear end remains impressively firm under loads. Our Hightower Carbon R build features some mediocre components that don't heavily detract from performance. While $3,999 for a bike with an NX drivetrain and RockShox Revelation seems steep, the aggressive frame performance (aided by aggressive tires) meets expectations.
The Hightower is a fantastic option for the rider who wants a highly capable trail bike that balances efficiency with the ability to tackle a hefty helping of gnar. Buyers who want a lighter duty trail bike, but are used to aggressive enduro rigs, will feel right at home on this bicycle. Folks interested in the pure, zippy, and quick trail bike might find the Hightower to be overkill. This bike certainly feels more cumbersome than the zippy and quick Ibis Ripley LS, but it has a more aggressive approach when things get rough. The Like getting rad? the Santa Cruz Hightower LT still climbs well but has a higher threshold for rowdy terrain.