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Santa Cruz’s 2022 Hightower is “just a bike” for every type of riding

Jack-of-all-trades defies categorisation with incremental updates

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower

Santa Cruz claims its latest Hightower is a pan-discipline mountain bike, designed for “all-terrain riding”.

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Its 145mm of rear-wheel and 150mm of front-wheel travel, 29in wheels and made-over longer, slacker and lower geometry make it Santa Cruz’s most versatile full-suspension mountain bike, the brand claims.

Suspension updates include reduced anti-squat in the first 40 per cent of its travel, while its leverage rate is more progressive and more linear than its predecessor.

Like the 2022 Megatower, the new Hightower gets a Glovebox, as Santa Cruz dubs it. This internal storage is located behind a door on the top side of the down tube.

The Glovebox storage compartment sits beneath the water bottle mounts.
Santa Cruz

Prices range from £5,399 for the Hightower C R and rise to £9,599 for the Hightower CC X01 AXS RSV.

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower frame and suspension

Each size of the carbon model has been tuned to have specific ride qualities.
Santa Cruz

The Hightower’s frame features the low-slung shock used across the latest iteration of Santa Cruz’s bikes, from the downcountry Tallboy through to the freeride Nomad.

And like the rest of the brand’s range, the new Hightower is made from Santa Cruz’s top-spec CC carbon fibre, C carbon and aluminium.

Cable routing is claimed to have been improved.
Santa Cruz

Taking ride-feel seriously, Santa Cruz claims it has tuned both the C and CC carbon fibre Hightower frames to have size-specific stiffness, where each size of front triangle has a “tailored… flex characteristic”, in a bid to make them feel similar for riders of different sizes and weights.

Santa Cruz’s lifetime frame and bearing warranty also applies to the latest Hightower.

The Glovebox means you can stash items inside the bike’s down tube.
Santa Cruz

Down tube storage – called the Glovebox by Santa Cruz – is accessed via a door underneath the bottle cage. Each bike is supplied with a Tool Wallet and Tube Purse to help keep your essentials organised.

Cable routing has been improved, according to the brand, and there’s now a sag window on the non-driveside of the shock tunnel to make setting up the suspension easier.

There’s room for up to a 2.5in-wide tyre, the rear axle uses Boost 148mm spacing and it’s fitted with 180mm post mounts. The bottom bracket is threaded and has ISCG05 chain guide mounts, while it uses SRAM’s UDH.

Suspension

The low-slung shock is iconically Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz

Although travel – at 145mm – and the VPP twin-link design remain the same, it has been tuned up for the latest bike.

Its anti-squat (how much the suspension resists pedal bob; a higher percentage means the suspension bobs less, a lower figure means it bobs more) has been reduced compared to the outgoing model in the first 40 per cent of its travel to between 140 per cent and 130 per cent.

It then remains higher through the rest of the travel, where at bottom-out anti-squat is 60 per cent.

Santa Cruz claims this “noticeably improves suspension sensitivity” when a rider is climbing or descending because pedalling forces aren’t stiffening up the suspension as much.

There is a shock sag window to aid setup.
Santa Cruz

Its leverage curve is marginally more linear compared to the old model to create more consistent support and damping throughout the travel. The increase in progression at the end of the bike’s travel means it should have increased bottom-out resistance, too.

According to our calculations, the Hightower is now 24 per cent progressive throughout its travel, compared to the old model’s 20 per cent progressivity.

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower geometry

Santa Cruz claims the new Hightower is designed for all types of riding.
Santa Cruz

The Hightower’s geometry has also been tweaked and modernised without, Santa Cruz says, “overstepping its intentions”.

This can be understood to mean it hasn’t gone super-long, slack and low on purpose, keeping the Hightower’s focus on trail riding rather than turning it into a mini enduro bike.

Along with a slacker head angle, lower bottom bracket, increased reach and a higher stack are size-specific chainstay lengths and seat tube angles. Santa Cruz claims this is to give different rider heights on different-sized bikes the “same balanced geometry”.

The new Hightower is available in aluminium, C carbon fibre and CC carbon.
Santa Cruz

Offered in five sizes, from small to extra-extra-large, the Hightower has a geometry flip chip with a high and a low setting. The flip chip changes the head angle by 0.3 degrees and bottom bracket height by 3mm.

Headline figures in the low geometry setting include a 64.5-degree head angle, a 475mm reach (size large), 76-degree seat tube angle and chainstays that span from 431mm to 443mm in 3mm increments between sizes.

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower geometry
SizeSmallMediumLargeExtra-largeExtra-extra-large
Reach (mm) high/low430/427455/452475/472495/492520/517
Stack (mm) high/low611/613625/627634/636652/654665/668
Head angle (degrees) high/low64.8/64.564.8/64.564.8/64.564.8/64.564.8/64.5
Seat tube angle (degrees) high/low77/76.777/76.776.7/76.476.9/76.676.9/76.7
Chainstay (mm)431/432434/435437/438440/441443/444
Wheelbase (mm)11831217/12181244/124512761310/1311
Bottom bracket height (mm)342/339342/338342/338342/338342/338
Standover (mm)706/701708/703711/706714/709719/714

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower specifications and prices

It’s available in a host of different specifications.
Santa Cruz

At the time of writing, Santa Cruz is selling four C-grade carbon fibre models, starting with the £5,399 Hightower C R. This is fitted with RockShox’s Lyrik fork and a Fox Float Performance DPS shock with a SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain.

The range-topping C-level carbon bike – the Hightower C GX AXS RSV – retails for £8,999 and is fitted with a Fox 36 Performance Elite fork but a RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ shock, and as the name suggests, has SRAM’s GX Eagle AXS drivetrain and Santa Cruz Reserve 30 HD rims built with Industry Nine 1/1 hubs.

There are two CC models. The Hightower CC X01 retails for £8,299 and runs a Fox 36 Factory fork and RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock with a mechanical X01 Eagle drivetrain. The £9,599 Hightower CC X01 AXS RSV has the same fork and shock as the CC X01 bike, but has Industry Nine hubs and Reserve 30 HD rims, along with an X01 Eagle AXS drivetrain.

Santa Cruz’s press kit doesn’t provide any prices for the aluminium-framed Hightowers, but does list their specs. There will be two models: an AL D and an AL R. The AL D is fitted with a RockShox 35 fork and Fox Float DPS Performance, while the AL R is upgraded to a RockShox Lyrik Base. The AL D will have SRAM’s SX Eagle, while the AL R will be fitted with NX.

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 AXS RSV

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01 AXS RSV.
Santa Cruz
  • Frame: Hightower CC 145mm VPP travel
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate
  • Fork: Fox 36 Factory, 150mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle AXS
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb
  • Wheelset / tyres: Reserve 30 HD on Industry Nine 1/1 hubs / Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxGrip EXO TR 29×2.4in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO TR 29×2.4in (r)
  • Price: £9,599

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower CC X01.
Santa Cruz
  • Frame: Hightower CC 145mm VPP travel
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate
  • Fork: Fox 36 Factory, 150mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb
  • Wheelset / tyres: Race Face ARC 30 on Industry Nine 1/1 hubs / Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxGrip EXO TR 29×2.4in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO TR 29×2.4in (r)
  • Price: £8,299

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower C GX AXS RSV

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower C GX AXS RSV.
Santa Cruz
  • Frame: Hightower CC 145mm VPP travel
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate
  • Fork: Fox 36 Performance Elite, 150mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle AXS
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb
  • Wheelset / tyres: Reserve 30 HD on Industry Nine 1/1 hubs / Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxGrip EXO TR 29×2.4in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO TR 29×2.4in (r)
  • Price: £8,899

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower C GX AXS

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower C GX AXS.
Santa Cruz
  • Frame: Hightower CC 145mm VPP travel
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate
  • Fork: Fox 36 Performance Elite, 150mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle AXS
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb
  • Wheelset / tyres: Race Face ARC 30 on Industry Nine 1/1 hubs / Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxGrip EXO TR 29×2.4in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO TR 29×2.4in (r)
  • Price: £7,799

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower C S

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower C S.
Santa Cruz
  • Frame: Hightower CC 145mm VPP travel
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+
  • Fork: Fox 36 Factory, 150mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb
  • Wheelset / tyres: Race Face ARC 30 on DT Swiss 370 hubs / Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxGrip EXO TR 29×2.4in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO TR 29×2.4in (r)
  • Price: £6,499

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower C R

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower C R.
Santa Cruz
  • Frame: Hightower CC 145mm VPP travel
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Performance
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik Base, 150mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX Eagle
  • Seatpost: SDG Tellis
  • Wheelset / tyres: Race Face ARC 30 on SRAM MTH / Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxGrip EXO TR 29×2.4in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO TR 29×2.4in (r)
  • Price: £5,399

2022 Santa Cruz Hightower AL R

  • Frame: Hightower CC 145mm VPP travel
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Performance
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik Base, 150mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX Eagle
  • Seatpost: SDG Tellis
  • Wheelset / tyres: Race Face ARC 30 on SRAM MTH / Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxGrip EXO TR 29×2.4in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO TR 29×2.4in (r)
  • Price: TBC
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2022 Santa Cruz Hightower AL D

  • Frame: Hightower CC 145mm VPP travel
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Performance
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik Base, 150mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM SX Eagle
  • Seatpost: SDG Tellis
  • Wheelset / tyres: WTB ST i30 on SRAM MTH / Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxGrip EXO TR 29×2.4in (f), Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO TR 29×2.4in (r)
  • Price: TBC