When it comes to understanding the technology behind a given bike model, we've encountered two extreme genera in the XC family: marketing copy enthusiasts and riders who have no idea what's underneath them, only what's ahead on the trail. Situated neatly in the greyest of areas between these two poles lies the rider who recognizes the Santa Cruz Highball Carbon 27. 5 R Complete Mountain Bike for the versatile, dangerous trail racer that it really is. The marketing hyperbole guys will be turned off when they see that it's not Santa Cruz's pricey Carbon CC construction, and the I just ride, bro crowd won't even be looking at this bike because they're in the middle of a five day pannier touring epic on the fully rigid road to mountain conversion their uncle made while attending a liberal arts school in Marin county during the late '80s. In both cases, ignorance is a shame, as the former group would benefit from the Highball Carbon C's efficient stiffness, which is the same as the Carbon CC model, while barely noticing the nominal claimed weight gain of around 280g. The latter group would benefit because the frame's durability is also equal to the more expensive Carbon CC version, so it'd be equal to whatever abuse they threw its way. The 69 degree head tube angle and 12x142mm rear axle would also interest both crowds. The catalogue mongers would immediately recognize them on the spec sheet for the long, low geometry and efficiently stiff back end they confer on the Highball. The guys riding with an IPA in their water bottles will intuitively feel the improvement while startling dog walkers as they mash up grades with abandon and stick gnarly lines on descents that would cause other hardtails to balk. As with the 2015 Highball Carbon C, the 2016 model still enjoys Santa Cruz's meticulous construction practices, featuring a single layup instead of a jigsaw puzzle of individually cured carbon tubes. This allows Santa Cruz to wrap the fibers continuously around st...
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