Did Santa Cruz ever expect the Hightower, with its 135 mm of rear travel to become the darling of hard-charging EWS riders? Did it expect consumers to start experimenting with longer-stroke shocks to bump up travel? Did anyone really expect 2017 to be the summer of 29 inch wheels in gravity events?
I can’t really answer those questions. I can say that Santa Cruz didn’t just sit by the wayside and let other brands steal all the big-bike fun with 29″ wheels. The new Hightower LT is a 150 mm travel 29er ready to take on the EWS circuit or your local gnar-fest.
Taking a similar tactic as the development of the 29 inch V10, the Hightower LT matches a new swingarm and linkages tto the existing Hightower front triangle. The parts kits are beefed up as well, with a 150mm fork on all models, the new Fox DPX piggy-back shock on more expensive models, and slightly wider rims.
The longer fork creates slightly slacker head and seat tube angles, and reduces reach slightly. The chainstays grow a few mms, from 435 to 438 mm.
There is no flip chip for geometry adjustment, and no 27plus wheel compatibility for this set up. Santa Cruz has a great (and short) read on the development of this new bike on its website.
Can you upgrade your current Hightower to LT spec? Conceivably, yes, but Santa Cruz will not be offering that option as the cost is close enough to buying a new frame that it isn’t worth it.
Head down to your local dealer now, the Hightower LT will be ready for sale as you read this.