We often describe geometry and suspension designs as evolving, as though there's a biological aspect of their development not influenced by human engineering and that the frames themselves are somehow able to change even between product cycles. In terms of that standard industry narrative, Santa Cruz's latest model, the Hightower Carbon CC Mountain Bike Frame, definitely exhibits elements of the latest evolution trends, including Boost 148mm rear axle spacing, clearance for plus size tires, short chainstays, a long reach, and a decidedly slack head tube. But. The Hightower deviates from the usual mode of static evolution in that its linkage can be altered in order to maintain its long, low, enduro geometry while mutating from a 29er to a 27. 5 rig. The Hightower is capable of evolving in real time so it's not limited to any single discipline or terrain profile. Of all the elements of Santa Cruz genius that underwrite the Hightower's versatility, the most notable inclusion is the little flip chip niblet that sits in the upper link and rotates to allow the shock mount to migrate. Being able to reposition the shock attachment point effectively accounts for the 9mm difference in radii between 27. 5 and 29in tires, keeping the geometry as static as possible across wheel sizes. Like with the ability to swap wheel sizes, the Hightower's mid range, 5. 3in travel belies its true nature. Though its travel and wheel clearance may inspire initial comparisons with Mr. Moderate the 5010 or SC's equivalent of a center in basketball the Tallboy LT, Santa Cruz instead encourages us to think of it as the Bronson's taller brother. Yep, that Bronson. Given the implied big hit aggression of this comparison, we're compelled to dip into the lore of North American ball sports again for another analogy: the Hightower isn't a gangly hoopster so much as a two wheeled version of a predatory linebacker. The Hightower's 29er mode and a pair of chainstays that are 15mm stubbier ...
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