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 Frame. It’s a full-on race hardtail, the first of its kind in their 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 carbon materials on their full suspension rides, and here they put together that knowledge of the wonderlust black metal along with all the experience put to good measure to complete a feather light, race ready 29er hardtail.
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 the engineers had to go at it backwards with evolution of their light weight plush Tallboy 29er full suspension mountain bike before designing the Highball. The Tallboy seems to have been quite a revelation for them, which made it one of the best selling mountain bikes ever.
SC employed all the same molding carbon techniques to make them ride and perform far superior to the similar alloy Highball frame models.
Here is how they achieve groundbreaking strength to stiffness through a unique process.
1 They use a one piece carbon 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 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 Highball Carbon 29er uses the same tapered headset as their Blur LTC and others. 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 XC racing position if needed. Running it with the traditional 1.5″ headset cup in the bottom, it ends up with a 70.5° head angle.
The design team at Santa Cruz Bicycles were bent to make this carbon frame 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 chainstays 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 also possible to build shorter 17.3″ stays because they put a subtle curve in the frame’s seat tube a couple inches above the BB 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 on the Highball to account for the curve designed in the seat tube.
The Santa Cruz Highball Carbon Frame is available in Medium through XX-Large sizes with two colors. Clear/ Red graphics and Matte/ Grey graphic. It uses a mixed tapered 1-1/8″ to 1.5″ headset, and a 30.9mm seatpost.
2012 Highball model discounted to $839.00
- Funner, 29er-Cafe