The Greyhound or Moscow Mule are some names you would find at the local cocktail lounge for highball drinks that seem very appropriate as metaphors toward what Santa Cruz has dubbed their Highball Carbon mountain bike. It’s a full carbon hardtail, the first of its kind in the Santa Cruz model line, that answers the call for a lightweight hard charging racy mtb with their logo on the down tube. The folks at S.C. have been practicing their skills with composite materials since back in 2010 on their full suspension mountain bikes, and here they put together that knowledge of the wonderous black metal along with all the experience put to good measure to complete a feather light, race ready 29er hard tail frame.
The true advantages of the bigger wheel is hard to dismiss when your number one priority is speed and more speed. The larger diameter wheels create a reduced approach angle in comparison to smaller 26″ wheels. This is the key to why they roll faster and smoother on the trail. This also is why S.C. engineers had to go at it backwards with evolution of their light weight plush Tallboy 29er full suspension mountain bike before designing this model. The Tallboy seems to have been quite a revelation for S.C. as we feel the same way here at 29erCafe. Thus making the Tallboy one of the best selling mountain bikes ever.
Santa Cruz is employing all the same molding techniques they have developed for all their composite frames to make them ride and perform far superior to the similar alloy models.
Here is how they achieve groundbreaking strength to stiffness through a unique process for composites.
1 They use a one piece composite lay-up for the main front triangle, as opposed to connecting joints that require bonding, while doing this they have eliminated excess material and lowering the weight.
2 This one piece process also results in having a structure that can distribute loads and absorb impact energy better.
To make the mountain bike front end stiff and track where you point it, the 29″ Carbon Highball uses the same tapered headset tech as their Blur LT Carbon and 29″ Tallboy. This format of headset arrangement offers benefits and a few options that are worth taking notice of. Its zero stack upper bearing assembly has a lower stem height to make it possible to get the handlebars down a bit for a proper twenty niner cross country racing position if you need to. Running it with the traditional 1.5″ headset cup in the bottom, the Highball runs with a 70.5° head angle.
The design team at Santa Cruz Bicycles were bent to make this mountain bike all business with tubes that don’t stray very far from the standard rounded shapes. To us it means that its easy going styling has its own quiet appeal, but it’s obvious that the Highball is all about function. And that purpose of function has to do with putting the traction to the ground. The seat tube and chain stays are a perfect example, where they have optimized them for the best uphill traction possible and a nimble feel on any tight trail networks. It was possible for S.C. to build shorter 17.3″ stays because they put a subtle curve in the seat tube a couple inches above the bottom bracket area to allow more space for the rear tire. If you saw in the geometry specs the little different 71° seat angle, this is why. No worries, your normal seat position and range of adjustment will be the same as how you would normally have with a standard 73° angle. They chose the slacker seat angle to account for the curve designed in the seat tube.
The Highball Carbon mtb Frame is available in Medium through XX-Large sizes with two colors available. Glossy Clear with Red graphics and Matte w/ Grey graphic. It has a tapered head tube that uses a mixed tapered 1-1/8″ to 1.5″ headset. It also uses a 30.9mm seat post. A high clamp, top-pull front derailleur is spec.
2012 model discounted now to $999.00
- Funner, 29erCafe