Santa Cruz’s Newest Bike: Highball Carbon 29er!

While everyone has known for awhile that the boys at Santa Cruz have been working on a new 29′er, specifically a carbon 29′er, everything has been prototypes and speculation. Until now.

Meet the Santa Cruz Highball. 2.45 pounds of carbon hard tail 29′er goodness. While Santa Cruz might be a little late to the carbon hard tail party, they tend not to release a new bike before it is full and ready, and I’m willing to bet the final product will sell pretty well even if it isn’t high tech by today’s standards.

Better than me making speculations about it, Tyler is actually en route to Gooseberry Mesa as we speak to get some real life saddle time aboard the new whip. Look for his posts with close up photos, and first ride impressions soon.

In the mean time, jump past the brake for a lot of close up detail photos (click on any image to enlarge), detailed spec, and full geometry!

Regarding the question of “why a hardtail, and why now?” Santa Cruz had this to say:

“ There are still those times and places where the best way to light the fuse and blow everyone else into the weeds is by riding a hardtail. Bigger wheels have revived the venerable double diamond design, and by mixing the smooth rolling hoops with a feathery 2.4-pound carbon fiber frame, we’ve come up with a potent race weapon. Anyone who complains about a bad day climbing while riding this bike needs to find another sport. The Highball is insanely light, razor sharp, nimble but surefooted, stiff as a plank, and designed to do two things: 1. Race. 2. Win.”

The Highball will intially be available in two colors, Matte Carbon/Grey or Gloss Carbon/Red.

Santa Cruz considers the Highball to be fully race ready with a 2.45 lb frame, that built up as shown will allow for a 21 pound build. As you can see, this is accomplished with a standard bottom bracket shell, and seat post.

Santa Cruz claims the Highball features extremely short chainstays, and in comparison they are shorter than say a Gary Fisher Paragon, they are shorter by .2 inches (17.3 vs 17.5). However, there are shorter chainstays available from some other companies.

Up front we find a tapered head tube to keep everything nice and stiff, with traditional 1.5 external lower bearing, and a 1 1/8th internal upper to keep stack height, and handle bar height nice and low.

As mentioned, not BB30, PF30, BB90, BB66, ABCDEFG here. Just a tried and true, threaded bottom bracket.

While the seat tube is curved for wheel slamming capability, it is straight for long enough to allow for plenty of seat post insertion.

In order to guarantee the lightest, strongest, and stiffest design, the Dropouts and disc tabs are molded into frame during a proprietary one piece layup process.

Hard to see here, but there is a metal chain strike plate behind the crankset, to keep the rare chainsuck from completely ruining your day. No sawed through carbon (or aluminum for that matter) here!

Other than that longer than necessary rear derailleur cable, the Highball’s lines are long, sleek, and fast. Highballs will retail for $1899 US MSRP for the frame only , with complete bikes starting from $3099.

Comments

Darin - 03/27/11 - 9:23pm

MMmmmmm… Gooseberry. My favourite trail system.

Chris C. - 03/27/11 - 10:46pm

That’s so AMAZING! A CARBON 29er HARD TAIL! Can you believe it? I had to pinch myself… meh

fanboy - 03/27/11 - 11:35pm

Chris C. summed it up.
wow, a carbon 29er frame? really? how innovative. how bland.
Taiwan show last week had them by the dozens.

jonah - 03/28/11 - 12:23am

Wow this is game changing! A carbon 29er hard tail, and it only takes threaded BB!
Whats the matter guys couldn’t solve clearance issues like some of the other brands? To be blunt you took the easy road out of that one.

“They tend not to release a new bike before it is full and ready, and I’m willing to bet the final product will be one of the best Carbon HT’s on the market”
Thats cool and all but they are really late to the game here, REALLY LATE, I think everyone i know already has a carbon hard tail, that is if they wanted one.

Santa Cruz:
“Anyone who complains about a bad day climbing while riding this bike needs to find another sport.”
I don’t think anyone has ever had any issues, to my knowledge, climbing up anything with a race spec’d alloy HT 29er. Have you ?
If anything, the issue is that they don’t descend well on anything technical, which would negate how ever fast you can climb up a hill.

“Santa Cruz claims the Highball features extremely short chainstays, and in comparison they are shorter than say a Gary Fisher Paragon, they are shorter by .2 inches (17.3 vs 17.5). However, there are shorter chainstays available from some other companies.”
Why would you even include a comment like this? So its middle of the road, cool its already rides less aggressively than a 26er. Why not have longer stays so that it can flex a little and take out some bumps our asses?

Bikerumor, i could go on but what’s the point ? There is nothing new you told me about this bike today, it is a carbon hard tail 29er, no special anything. The write up on this is terrible, you should have waited for the review from the guy who is riding it instead of publishing this.

Spencer - 03/28/11 - 12:31am

Waiting for the Kona. Press-fit bb with 156mm compatibility, 12X142 rear axle, tapered bla bla, and ICG tabs. Santa Cruz just needed something on the market for the boobs that will buy it because it is a SC.

Cor - 03/28/11 - 12:36am

I still can’t believe all the haters that post comments on websites. If you don’t like it, go ride your own POS and let everyone else drool over the bike porn.

The Dude - 03/28/11 - 12:41am

The point isn’t that Santa Cruz made a carbon 29′er, the point is that the salvo of SC Fans will buy it because it has the S-man logo on it. Yet again SCB will sell a ton of them so that customers can have a hardtail 29 in the stable next to their Tallboy and Nomad.

It may not be innovative, or the best design on the market, but it will allow them to use their build kits across the board and not have to spec out weird bottom bracket parts. It will make it easier for them to utilize the kits they stock and to make money. Don’t forget bikes are a business, if you don’t like what they are selling, then you don’t have to buy it, but if you have a ton of SCB in the garage already, then chances are you’ll be picking this up as well.

The market really needs to get on the shorter stays wagon, two guys in Utah can make a 29′er with 16.25″ stays, common market/R&D world, get on it! http://www.canfieldbrothers.com/frames/nimble-9

Kovas - 03/28/11 - 12:45am

Ditto everyone above…

Over a decade ago, I remember working a crappy job just to save up all my pennies to get a new SC BLUR (1st Gen!). That was a bike that was a real game-changer & head turner! It was worth every minimum wage hour I worked. This though… well, shucks Santa Cruz…

This is a join-the-bandwagon bike for Santa Cruz. Unless there’s something special I missed, this bike is a long yawn… No doubt though, it’s a sleek bike and Cruz fanboys will inevitably drool-over and buy them. Already obsolete upon release, these high price Highballs will find their resting place it in the shed next to Stigmata ‘cross bikes…

fanboy - 03/28/11 - 1:36am

@ Cor:
it’s not a matter of being a hater. It’s just that with all the hype, everyone is very unimpressed with the specs of this frame.

Others have summed it up perfectly. This is nothing more than a “jumping on the bandwagon” release.

alloycowboy - 03/28/11 - 4:42am

I waiting for the Santa Cruz 36er. If you are going to go big you might as well go all the way!

[...] Santa Cruz’s Newest Bike: Highball Carbon 29er! [...]

[...] Santa Cruz’s Newest Bike: Highball Carbon 29er! [...]

Louis - 03/28/11 - 11:28am

This literally looks JUST like some of the China Carbon frames you can get on eBay for about 1/4 of the price.

Ben C - 03/28/11 - 12:05pm

Is there a single speed version?

oilcanracer - 03/28/11 - 12:52pm

seems like santa cruz didn’t even try on this one.

bb30 BB, “IS” post brake mounts, internal cable routing, wide rear tire clearance, are all missing on this frame that “just” came out. why bring out a new frame with old tech?

true that we all can order this almost exact frame from china for $500.00 shipped. i can buy a santa cruz sticker for a couple of bucks and slap it on myself.

Ryan - 03/28/11 - 7:47pm

Its a bike, not a space satellite people… how much NEW technology can you expect? Manufacturing anything out of carbon fiber is not an easy process in itself.
Innovation and technology are in the components.
post brake mounts and internal cable routing? That would make it innovative? no. that’s a preference, one that Santa Cruz obviously doesn’t share for this bike.
“jumping on the bandwagon”? Maybe they wanted to make sure the bandwagon was stable and didn’t fall apart before jumping on… it IS a business and knowing
WHEN to release a product is SMART business. Mine has been ordered.
If you think your going to gain any performance benefits from “press-fit bb’s, post brake mounts, or internal cable routing”… then maybe you need to focus your efforts
riding your tanks and get some strength in your legs.

Ryan - 03/28/11 - 10:42pm

apparently any positive comments about this bike are deleted!
So I’ll sum up my previous deleted post.
Anyway… sick bike!
To those looking for internal cable routing and wider rear tire clearance for performance gains should probably just focus on riding your current bike and getting some distance in your legs first. Although, there are other bikes out there with those performance enhancing innovative features, so check them out.

Bikerumor - 03/29/11 - 12:26am

[...] Santa Cruz’s Newest Bike: Highball Carbon 29er! [...]

ZachOverholt - 03/29/11 - 11:05am

@Ryan, sorry we get a LOT of spam, so first time commenters have to be approved manually. Sometimes one slips through and gets buried in the endless sea of spam, so it takes a little while. Thanks for your patience and thanks for reading!

Carlito - 03/29/11 - 4:50pm

Well, I think it’s pretty slick, but it’s not a game changer. Just Santa Cruz rounding out their product line for the SC fans. No lust here. Now the Blur TRc? THAT I like, but, if I’m not mistaken, it lacks ISCG tabs… why bring back the 4X in a carbon frame that you wanna market for more aggressive trail riding and leave out that critical element? I know, you can just run a bb mount, but that’s lame, IMO. I’ll stick w/ my Stumpy FSR.

MashOr - 03/31/11 - 1:45am

I’m personally NOT a fan of internally routed cables. I’m personally NOT a fan of all the different bb standards and the bearings that aren’t worth a crap. I’m personally NOT a fan of post style disc mounts. Looks very nice to me. Where all these companies are messing up is charging old inflated frame prices.

Ron - 04/12/11 - 12:49pm

This looks like a really nice bike. I’m not impressed with BB30 etc and don’t want internal cables, so good for them for sticking with proven stuff that works. Surprised that the angles are so slack, maybe it will work well with a ‘fisher’ style fork?

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