Santa Cruz unveils revised Highball carbon hardtail

Lightweight cross-country racer now available in 27.5 and 29er versions

27.5 29er News
Santa Cruz Highball

Features include a direct mount front derailleur, 27.2mm seatpost, 15mm thru-axle fork, full carbon dropouts and disc mounts, two bottle cage mounts, 142mm rear axle spacing, and a threaded bottom bracket shell.

Santa Cruz has launched a revised version of its 29er Highball carbon hardtail, and added a 27.5-inch Highball to its line-up. Geometry has been adjusted from the previous iteration, with a longer front end and shorter chainstays, the goal being a snappier, more nimble ride. They claim to have tuned the seat stays and seat tube layup to provide more vertical compliance and a more comfortable ride than the previous generation. Cable routing has also been updated, and is now fully internal with easy-to-route guides and cable tunnels.

“We felt the time was right to apply some of the cabling conveniences we debuted on the Nomad to our lightweight XC hardtail,” said Santa Cruz product manager Josh Kissner. “We also wanted to give riders the option of a 27.5-inch version and tweak the geometry a bit.”

The bikes share similar geometries with slight alterations to accommodate wheel size variations. The 29-inch version has a 70.5-degree head tube angle and 71-degree seat angle, while the 27.5 has a 69-degree head angle and 72.5-degree seat angle.

Santa Cruz also released a new carbon cyclocross bike today. Read that story here.

Santa Cruz Highball

The Highball features full internal cable routing like we’ve started to see on more of Santa Cruz bikes. Internally, there are cable stops that reduce weight versus full housing run.

Sizing on the 29er runs M-XXL, while the 27.5 version comes in S-XL, the idea being that shorter riders will need smaller wheels, while tall riders will want bigger hoops.

“On the small end it really comes down to toe overlap. The smaller wheels offer more clearance,” explained Kisser. “We wanted to give people a choice; smaller wheels and a little more playful ride, or bigger wheels for more stability.”

The bikes are available in both Santa Cruz’s premium, lighter weight CC carbon or the less expensive C carbon. Complete C carbon bikes start at $2,799. The Highball is available as a CC carbon frameset for $1,899. There’s also a alloy version of the 29er frame.

Santa Cruz Highball

The rear brake hose is internally routed on the Highball’s stays.

Other features include a direct mount front derailleur, 27.2mm seatpost, 15mm thru-axle fork, full carbon dropouts and disc mounts, two bottle cage mounts, 142mm rear axle spacing, and a threaded bottom bracket shell. Available colors are gloss aqua and matte black.

Claimed weights for the Highball 29 are as follows:

CC carbon size M matte black w/XX1 Enve: 19.5 pounds
CC carbon size M matte black frame only: 2.63 pounds
C carbon frame weighs 3.02 pounds

Claimed weights for the Highball 27.5 are as follows:

CC carbon size M matte black w/XX1 Enve: 19.27 pounds
CC carbon size M matte black frame only: 2.58 pounds

Bikes and frames are slated to hit dealer floors next week. For more info visit, and scroll through the expansive photo gallery below, which includes full build spec options, geometry measures, and sizing info.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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  • DeeZee says:

    No SS dropouts…..booooo!

  • guy smiley says:

    The threaded bottom bracket is great but no proprietary (and well engineered) SS dropouts is just really lame.

  • Carlos says:

    I hate it when only details of the high end bike are shown, come on! we want to know also a few facts about the alloy version. This is repetitive across all bike mags and websites. What a disgrace.

    • Jim Jab says:

      I hate it when people say alloy. Every engineering material is a alloy including “steel” or “aluminum” because they are made of of more than one material.

  • Arek says:

    Wholeheartedly agree on the no SS dropouts comments above.. Beautiful looking frame, but why no SS??
    Somebody.. PLEASE.. make an XC-race worthy carbon 29er with a solid sliding dropouts option.. that won’t cost an arm and leg (ahem.. Pivot LES, I’m talking about you), isn’t made of unobtanium or unavailable in Canada altogether – and now not even made for 2015 (Carbon Stumpjumper SS, you’re up..), or has SS sliders made as a ridiculous afterthought (Intense Hard Eddie to the podium, please)…
    I’d be the first in line to get one in XL, please

  • Julie K says:

    So you don’t actually get a choice between playful and fast rolling if you are a shorter rider. I have a 29’er that fits me great and I can’t fit on the Medium Highball. Ah well. Santa Cruz bikes and me were just not meant for each other.

  • jhon says:

    overpriced by say 2000 i got same xtr bike for 3,000 off on another bike

  • Apebike says:

    I seriously do not get this desire to route hydraulic brake lines, inside the frame. I’m willing to bet at least 50% of the folks who buy this frame, would buy as a frame only, and move their current parts kit. I’ve been riding 20+ years, and have not purchased a complete bike since sometime around 2000-2001. So now you have this perfectly dialed and bled brake, but you have to disconnect the hydraulic line, and thread it through the frame, and redial the brake. What a senseless waste of time and effort. All this while trying not to get brake fluid inside the frame. Anybody know how DOT fluid reacts with carbon resin, over time? I honestly don’t, but I know it will eat through paint, in no time.

  • I'mRight says:

    After a stream crossing your frame is full of water, and your hidden exposed cables can rust out of sight.

  • Vince says:

    Tough crowd. I like it and will consider it for a hardball build.

  • Steve says:

    Grouchy bunch I’d say. I like it and look forward to building a 29er up. Great work Santa Cruz!

  • Gangaleon says:

    Oh boy… I recommend cable discs for this bike: internal routing is silly.

    Or how about this: set aside 10% of the total cost for repair and maintenance. Your bike mechanic thanks you.

  • Jim Jab says:

    I started to notice the direct mount front derailleur mount on bikes, but it looks like a growth if you are running 1X.

  • Phil says:

    Buy the aluminum frame 29er and it looks like from the pictures on the Santa Cruz website, you get to keep external cable and brake lines

  • Colin Catel says:

    As a bike racer, bike mechanic, and avid cyclist I read these posts and think: man, what a bunch of whiners!!! People forget that bikes are meant to be ridden, and this one has all of the right angles. If you can’t figure out how to route internal cables you shouldn’t be working on your own bike. Try routing an electronic group in a frame set sometime…. Santa Cruz has manufactured internal guides for the cables so I’m not buying “cables rusting inside” or “mechanical disc brakes are needed for this frame”. LOL!!!

    Having done two Leadville Trail 100 races and many XC races on my 26″ hard-tail I’m excited about this bike. Nice job Santa Cruz! Sign me up for one.

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