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The Highball is now available in 29” and 27.5”. You pick. Santa Cruz tried to keep the handling characteristics the same between the two bikes, and let the wheel size’s traits shine through. One difference –the 27.5” version has a size small, while the carbon 29ers do not, but the aluminum bike is available in a small frame. On the 29er, they shortened the chainstays by almost a half-inch, and stretched out the front end of the bike by about the same. This allows you to run a more modern stem/bar combo and makes the bike a little quicker in the corners. A lot of folks want to talk about head tube angle when they talk about hardtails, but they rode a lot of different options, and decided the 70.5-degree angle we used on the first Highball was spot-on. It strikes the right balance of quick handling and stability, and won’t wander on you when you’re climbing.
Despite the commitment to carbon fiber engineering and manufacturing, we know the allure of a metal bike. Perfect welds, proper heft, and a certain tangible quality makes metal an attractive materail. It's also more amenable to the placement of bolts and other hardware than carbon is, which is why they offer a single-speed dropout kit in the alloy version of the Highball, but not the carbon. If you want to get your hammerhead on, Santa Cruz think this is the best way to do it. In addition, they reduced the seat post size to 27.2mm, which adds some compliance you’ll appreciate when you’re 80 miles in to a 100-mile race.
The Highball is unapologetically fast, surprisingly fun, and every bit a Santa Cruz mountain bike.
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