Demo one. You'll understand.
We love Santa Cruz Bicycles as, like us, they are committed to enhancing and maintaining this special place for mountain bikes through trail building, trail maintenance and support of our Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship.
V10 handling at Syndicate speeds.
The Nomad's reputation is built on consistently pushing the envelope of how DH a bike can get while still remaining usable on most trails.
With each iteration we nudge the travel and geometry further towards the outer limits, and each time we surprise ourselves at just how completely rideable the end result remains.
The fourth generation design sees a dramatic shift to the lower-link mounted shock configuration. This is the first time that learnings from years of V10 development have translated across to one of our trail bikes.
The shock rate is now almost completely linear—which means feather-light small bump sensitivity right off the bat, a supportive midstroke and overall progression that you'd normally only experience on a DH bike. To keep the gravity vibe going we've ensured the Nomad can run both standard metric coil shocks and lighter air units to suit any preference.
Full shock compatibility creates challenges when trying to cram everything into the precious bottom bracket area. But the continued evolution of our carbon tech means we're able to create a svelte, strong, swingarm/front triangle combo that's as much art as it is engineering.
We even managed to squeeze in a flip-chip feature on the lower link too. Think of the high setting as "regular", the way the bike's mostly meant to be ridden, and the low setting as being closer to full on DH status.
To handle all this new-found capability the geometry has adapted too. It's longer and lower-slung than ever to ensure maximum stability and confidence on absolutely everything.
This one goes to 150.
Hightower LT is designed for maximum speed in the biggest mountains. It’s truly race-bred, its design the result of the demands of racing at the EWS, Crankworx, and Andes Pacifico.
Midway through 2016, Mark Scott came to us with a request to eke more travel out of the bike. The stock 135mm wasn’t quite enough to maintain his speed on some of the rougher tracks. Our engineering team designed a new set of links that pushed travel to 146mm at the expense of some compatibility, but because Mark’s setup was a known variable, we could be very precise. We machined two sets on site, gave one to Mark, and the other to Iago Garay, a racer much more likely to take the fun line than tuck for speed.
The links went through a few iterations to find a balance of spring rate, travel, and shock compatibility. Toward the end of 2016, it became apparent that the best way to get the performance and travel required was to design a new swingarm to pair with the links, like we did with the V10. At this point the bike got a name—Hightower LT—and we pushed the travel to a full 150mm.
Starting from the Enduro World Series in Wicklow, the Santa Cruz | SRAM team have been racing on Wicklow Green production bikes—savvy internet commenters noticed the post-mount rear brake straightaway, and it's also been seen under the elusive Ratboy at Peaty's Steel City DH, Crankworx, and Megavalanche.
Hightower has the versatility to deal with whatever appears on the horizon. Running either proven 29" wheels or the new monster-truck 27.5”+ standard, Hightower seamlessly adapts to the trails and style you ride, no matter where you are in the world.
So the big question, 27.5+ or 29?
If straight line speed, rallying through rock gardens and sprinting out of turns is your bag, then 29” wheels are the big ticket. Upgrade to carbon rims and you have a precision instrument on your hands.
When conditions get loose and the traction just ain’t there, you’ll want to reach for bigger tires. 27.5+ elevates Hightower to a whole different level, enabling you to rise above the pow, rail the soft spots and carry momentum where standard tires bog down.
No matter what size you run, geometry remains optimized thanks to a neat little “High/Low” setting on the upper link that flips to adjust bottom bracket height*. Hightower’s 67° head angle, longer reach and trim chain stays combine to create an altogether different class of dreadnought in any configuration. Meanwhile, 150mm of seat dropper, a water bottle mount, and internal routing reflect an armada of killer details.
The Bronson is the reference for all-mountain riding and racing, and one of our most versatile and popular models ever.
With a 67° head angle, 150mm of VPP™ travel and 27.5" wheels, the Bronson screamed onto the Enduro World Series scene like a Group B rally car.
The winning formula is Bronson's ability to deliver massive uphill capability too, thanks to a balanced geometry and efficient pedaling platform that speeds you between liason stages.
Now availble at an unprecendented carbon entry price point for R and S builds, the Bronson sets the all-mountain standard once again.
Not only does Santa Cruz produce great bikes, they step up and support the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship in its quest to maintain and enhance the Downieville and Lakes Basin Trail Systems. Now more than ever, how and where you spend your money is your voice.