Traditionally, we've mostly associated Santa Cruz bikes with all mountain domination however, a few hours spent riding the Highball Carbon CC Mountain Bike Frame, newly remodeled to include this 27. 5 option, has gone some way toward changing that perception. The brand name may still be most synonymous with bikes like the Nomad and 5010, but if you're missing out on the Highball's blazingly fast rear triangle and smart tracking front end, then you're, well, missing out. As with the original 29 inch model, the 27. 5 Highball is a single piece layup of carbon fiber instead of a jigsaw puzzle of individually cured carbon tubes. This allows Santa Cruz to wrap the fibers continuously around structurally important junctures like the head tube and bottom bracket, strengthening the frame, dissipating the force from impacts and pedaling load, and allowing for comparable strength with less material and a lower weight. Translated into trail talk, this means the Highball will hit the bricks when you stomp on the pedals, dampen high speed chatter, and hold lines like a cat on carpet all with a low weight that makes any full suspension bike look like a bloated downhill only machine. The Highball does address the lack of rear suspension with a diminished seatpost, down to 27. 2 millimeters. While this doesn't quite equate to the square edge hit capabilities of the Nomad or Bronson, it does help to eat up trail vibrations that tend to accumulate over the course of a long ride. Up front, the 27. 5 model has a more moderate head tube angle than the Highball 29er. At just 69 degrees, it rides the divide between slack stability and razor sharp handling, keeping you in control while helping to control the terrain. Unsurprisingly, it also has shorter chainstays than the 29er version, which maximizes the hardtail rear triangle's efficiency while mashing. Finally, Santa Cruz's approach to the carbon layup process deserves a quick mention before we sign off. The carbon is compacted...
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