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Hightower or Tallboy?


This topic contains 5 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  FastTimes 3 years, 4 months ago.

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    I am ready to upgrade my ride and excited to demo a few bikes. The majority of my riding is done in the Don but I also ride a few times each season in Collinwood, Kelso, and Durham. I hope to make more trips to places like Burke Mountain as well.

    What are people’s opinion on the Hightower vs Tallboy? I am not sure if I want to sacrifice climbing ability for the extra travel?

    Anyone have experience on a Pivot 429 Trail that would like to comment on how they handle vs the two Santa Cruz choices?

    I am going to try all three but I thought I would be insightful to hear from riders that have spent more time with each respective bike.


    Renegade Hardware

    The Don calls for a 29er hardtail for the most part these days, so either will be more than enough for those trails. Get the bike you will enjoy elsewhere as well.

    Marc has time on both, maybe he’ll post up here.

    Personally, and having made a similar decision (130mm bike vs 150mm bike, same design), I wish I would have gone for the longer travel option and be able to rag it harder at the bigger hills and chairlift destinations. The pedaling/climbing difference between the two is marginal (both aren’t hardtails!), but the shorter travel bike gets out of hand in shorter order when it’s pushed to the edge, whereas the ‘bigger’ bike can still climb everything but is more fun and in control at it’s limits.

    Also have to factor suspension design (on top of geometry). Both of your choices are VPP and should pedal decently well, where the hightower will feel a bit more floppy due to HA. Had the opportunity to ride a Evil Wreckoning and even at 160mm, set up for a lighter rider, it pedaled and climbed significantly better than my 134mm kona process, illustrating that the Evil has a much better suspension design (and the process design is flawed). So travel amount isn’t the only factor. Consider that the RM Slayer has more antisquat than the Altitude and many report it pedals better, but feels less ‘plush’ (hence why most of the RM EWS team races on Altitudes).



    Agreed with above, except I made the opposite decision – downsized to a shorter-travel Yeti SB5 bike (5″/127mm shock) because it was the best size for 90% of my daily riding in Southern Ontario. It does have a 6″/150mm fork which helps make it feel a bit bigger on harder hits and it’s fairly slack for a 5″ bike (although that bar is getting pushed every year), so it’s more than big enough to blast any Don-sized or slightly chunkier downhills, but also super light and efficient to crush any type of climb. Yetis feel sort of like Rocky Mountain bikes in that their suspension naturally feels firm and stiff – you lose some of that low-speed comfort (“plush” is a great description – they are not, pretty high antisquat) and small-bump tracking in exchange for a more efficient pedaling platform, but when you’re actually charging really hard the suspension opens up and suddenly feels bottomless. I personally love this approach but there are definitely more comfortable bikes out there, and obviously it’s a dedicated singletrack/trail bike – it’s too small and light for actual DH terrain. It is a trade-off – I came from a larger 6″ trail bike that was definitely way more plush, but on the new bike I’m considerably faster on all terrain and the ride is more poppy and fun. It’s Made the Don Great Again!

    Since I’m only riding bigger terrain 7 or 8 times a year, I figured I’d either rent a bigger bike – I like trying out new bikes even if they’re rentals – or eventually buy something like a used Nomad or Spartan so I can avoid the inherent compromise of having a single quiver-killer bike. I’ve really got my eye on that new Spartan….damn…..


    secret agent

    I’ve been riding a carbon tallboy for a few years now. I had the chance to throw a leg over the hightower at a bike shop.
    The bike does not feel like it has that much travel. I did not expect to be riding such technical terrain when I bought my bike. I wish I had more travel. the Geo is different on the new Santa Cruz for sure. I haven’t actually checked, but I can tell immediately that you are more in the bike than on it. I ride a large now and was on an XL at the shop and it felt almost right. I would personally get a bit more travel to give me a bit more in the way of options. It does depend on what you intend to ride and how long you want to keep the bike.


    Neville Park

    I went from SC 5010 (125/130mm) to RM Altitude (150/160mm)
    I ride 90% don/XC with 10+ trips to Blue, Dagmar, Jefferson and a trip to Whis each year.

    What sells me on RM and the longer travel is the ride 9 geo chip.

    These days the travel length inst so important vs the geo its mated with due to the quality of bikes being made.
    The ability to change the geo (ie: HTA, BB height, WB length) all with a single 4mm and 3 mins is 10000% worth it imo.

    I ride Don in neutral or steep setting
    I ride DH / broduro in slack setting

    never have a problem with climbs, never have a problem with being under gunned… unless chasing friends on DH rigs through the park.

    a bunch of fast dudes on strava seem to ride the 150mm platforms as well, if thats of any help?

    Now, between Hightower and Tallboy – no brainer the hightower … no geo chip, BUT wheel changes are key … 27.5+ for smashing and 29r set for XC.



    Hey @fjm222

    If I had to choose, I would go HT all day long. It doesn’t give up much on the climbs when compared to the TB3 but it’s way more capable going down. Santa Cruz doesn’t make a bad bike so it’s really just about what you prefer. I always choose to push more bike around and lean towards challenging trails.

    I reviewed the TB3 here: https://www.ridingfeelsgood.com/tested-santa-cruz-tallboy-3-cc/

    I also touch on Tallboy vs Hightower as my bike of choice to race this years Singletrack 6 here: https://www.ridingfeelsgood.com/singletrack-6-experience-trip-lifetime-west-kootenays/

    I’ve since purchased the new HTLT as my bike for big adventure rides but the original HT is still very close to its capabilities. You really need to get rowdy for the LT to show you what it’s got in reserve.

    I’m the kind of person who likes to ride as many different trails as possible so therefore not the best to ask about Don only but there are many others who ride the Don primarily and have chosen the HT as their main whip.

    Depending on wheels, fork and fork travel this bike can be built up to ride well as an aggressive trail bike or XC. Same goes for TB3, Toss a 140mm Pike on the front and some burly wheels and its quite capable. But with only 110mm out back, it has a hard limit.

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