The Highball is our flagship carbon hardtail race thoroughbred, and a dark horse in XC versatility. More capable than a pure endurance bike, more comfortable than an XC race-rig, we put a lot of work into this bike to make the frame lighter and ride smoother. It isn’t just another stripped back, anemic, cross-country hardtail that’s uncomfortable and uneasy at speed. The Highball has evolved to become easier to ride harder for longer.
The Highball’s stats on paper tell only half the story. We leveraged our in-house R&D lab to engineer more vertical compliance in the Highball’s rear end than any previous Santa Cruz hardtail. We didn’t just tune the carbon layup process, but refined the architecture of the frame by experimenting with tube profiles, shapes, and structures. We found that lowering the angle of the seatstays, offsetting them to the top tube, and forgoing a bridge allowed more vertical flex. It seems straightforward but we had to balance it with enough torsional stiffness to perform when under power. And the result is a bike that likes to gallop and sprint but is still a joy to ride.
The Highball isn’t just for flat out assaults on race courses and personal records. Sure, it’s got the mindset to be used as a race-ready setup (the frame’s a half-pound lighter than the previous Highball), but we gave it the capacity for up to three bottle cages, kept the ever-reliable threaded BB as standard, hid the cables internally and, of course, offer the legendary lifetime warranty that comes as standard with all Santa Cruz bikes. It’s the kind of bike that’ll go far in life. Wide open, dawn to dusk, wherever you ride it.
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