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 29er does not, and that the 29er has an XXL, while the 27.5” does not. 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 the 69-degree angle strikes the right balance of quick handling and stability, and won’t wander on you when you’re climbing.
The carbon layup changed a bit, too, particularly in the seat stays and seat tube, and 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. All the cables route internally, now, but that doesn’t mean multiple obscenity-laden nights in the garage to get it set up. Everything has either a tunnel or an easy-to-route cable guide to make it as hassle-free as possible. This C-level carbon frame offers the same stiffness, strength, and durability of their top-end, CC-level carbon frames, but does so with a little bit more, less-expensive material, which results in a frame weight increase of approximately 280 grams. Outside of the weight, there's no performance difference between the two frames.
The Highball is unapologetically fast, surprisingly fun, and every bit a Santa Cruz mountain bike.