The Hightower LT is Santa Cruz's enduro-ready 29er that produces a splendid balance of climbing efficiency and downhill capability. Two testers put this wagon-wheeled shred sled through its paces to see how it fared on a wide range of terrain. Pounding out 4,000 feet of climbing is a surprisingly pleasant endeavor on such a rowdy bike. Hammering through flat sections of trails on the firm Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) pedal platform is snappy and lively. Most importantly, when it is party time, downhill performance is wonderfully predictable and stable. The Hightower LT remains composed at speed and is comfortable over the chunder. This bike offers terrific downhill performance without going overboard with suspension or geometry numbers. A $5,699 price tag for the XE build is a bit lofty, even with a Fox 36 Performance Elite fork, Fox Float DPX2 shock and a Shimano XT 1x11. That said, the high-end performance and frame design go a long way to justify the price. The Hightower LT could easily serve as your daily driver and is one of our favorite bikes of all time.
The Hightower LT is a perfect choice for the aggressive rider who wants a one bike quiver. This 150mm travel 29er is comfortable on all-day epic rides with 5,000 feet of climbing or some days sessioning the bike park. Yes, this bike is more cumbersome than some of the short-mid travel options available, but it can attack an enormous range of terrain. Another great option in this aggressive, quiver-killing, category is the straight-lining Yeti SB5.5. The Yeti mows down rock gardens with its burly and mean front end but can't match the climbing abilities or big-hit support of the Hightower LT. Riders who don't require such an aggressive bike might like the regular, 135mm Santa Cruz Hightower