The original highboy took our Bike of the Year title last year, and it absolutely was already a machine that took path capability and massive wheel expectations to an entire new level. The long-travel LTc – up to 135mm from 100mm – completely rams that standing home, creating it deserve the What all-terrain bike Benchmark Buster award for 2012.
Here’s what the judges had to say…
“With Associate in Nursing all-new side together with chainguide tabs, armour strips and a screw-through rear shaft, the highboy LTc is each stiffer and a lot of hungry for chaos than the initial.
Yet at 2.4kg (5.3lb) it’s barely heavier, and it’s so much lighter than its competition; even with a pipette post and Fox’s chunky thirty four forks it’s no heavier than most 26in path bikes.
Despite the superlative statistics, the ride is remarkably traditional initially. As usual, the massive wheels quieten path noise and scale back the rattle that has abundant of the sense of speed. The balanced instead of radically slack pure mathematics means that a fairly keen flip in and tight carve on tight corners.
The sweet direct drive of the VPP2 suspension and low overall mass offsets the inevitably heavier wheels, whereas frame and fork stiffness keep it pursuit terribly accurately.
At the Arizona launch we tend to repeatedly panic-struck ourselves realising what we tend to had simply ridden hell for leather down and across whereas following much better riders. it absolutely was solely later, after we registered simply how briskly this bike may blast on our benchmark check trails that its really outstanding performance began to sink in.
We found ourselves cruising up technical climbs that usually leave North American country scrabbling for traction or dyspneal for breath; among one or two of runs we tend to we tend tore carrying a lot of speed than we usually do on 160mm bikes. It’s gorgeous.
Drifting loose turns while not drama and clearing rocky descents we tend to usually trickle down in a very single leap became the default declivitous mode. affirmative it’s costly, however it’s just about ironed the push on all our expectations of what’s accomplishable on a motorcycle.”
Read on for our full review of the Santa Cruz highboy LTC:
This bike definitely includes a ton to measure up to. Santa Cruz’s ﬁrst 29er, the 100mm highboy, was topped our benchmark-setting bike of 2011. thus however will this new Long Travel carbon (LTc) version stack up? seems Santa Cruz have set another new benchmark for motorcycle speed, management and conﬁdence whether or not you’re climb technical stuff, bombing descents or rending up the singletrack.
Ride & handling: Prepare to press the push on your riding
While the mix of weight, stiffness and travel set completely new benchmarks for big-wheelers, ﬁrst impressions ar of a remarkably traditional, not radical bike. generally for Santa Cruz the pure mathematics is conservative, instead of super-slack and low. That keeps it curious about uphill turns and it’s got a simple snap around slow, ﬂat turns, instead of the need to stray into the surface ditch like some 29ers.
Even the superlative Fox thirty four fork feels traditional, however that’s precisely what provides the trigger to realizing simply what this bike is really doing. whereas ﬁtting a buirdly thirty four into our semipermanent highboy created it feel virtually hardtail-like, the LTc completely balances the impact response front to rear. Even full travel off a 6ft drop doesn’t produce any drama and therefore the huge wheels steamroller smaller bumps with freedom.
The combination of the shallower tyre impact Associate in Nursinggle and an initially-rearward shaft path sucks up something mid-sized you don’t pump or jump seamlessly. the general result is disarming smoothness and management across seriously rough piece of ground, because it sustains speeds unusually on trails wherever most 140mm 26in bikes choke and stumble.
Like the highboy, the rider-reactive suspension makes wheelies and drop-offs so much easier than most glued-to-the-ground huge wheelers, thus it’s no bother to chuck around. whereas not everyone seems to be an acquaintance of the feedback through the feet, that’s a part of the VPP suspension signature.
The traction info and tenacious drive will very boost responsiveness and climb ability. Cruising up usually unclimbable inclines became a daily feature of our check rides. With the lighter, stiffer Enve wheels the result was even a lot of dramatic, delivery immediate acceleration and crux-cleaning surge but steep the climb.
The manner you hit technical sections quicker off the highest of climbs additionally makes the Reverb post valuable. we tend to used the seatpost remote button much more than the front shifter, that stayed within the huge ring a surprising quantity of the time.
The grip from the longer tyre contact patch Associate in Nursingd an aggressive shock tune that sits the bike into a ﬁrm cornering platform additionally showcases the superb axle-to-axle stiffness of the chassis.
Even with a mid-width bar and 90mm stem you’ll rip it around sleek berms or rocky/loose corners alike, wishing on a sure and simply sustained slide as you reach the traction limits. Stick on a shorter stem and a wider bar and you’ll tear the arse out of turns or random rock sections in a very shower of geological formation.
This is Associate in Nursing impact-shrinking, speed-multiplying huge wheel/long(er) travel dance band. It offers large grip and outstanding cornering accuracy, and responsive traction feedback Associate in Nursingd 3D lightness in an ultra-light however feature-loaded chassis. place like that the phenomenally controlled, unrelentingly speedy and atrociously fun performance of the highboy LTc shouldn’t come back as a surprise, nonetheless its ability to stand out all over continues to be a shock, on every occasion you hit the paths.
Frame & equipment: Ultra-light, ultra-capable, all-around technical motorcycle
While it’s almost like the 100mm highboy, lots has modified on the LTc. The VPP2 (Virtual Pivot Point) suspension design runs on constant serviceable, grease-ported collet bearings however currently delivers 135mm of rear wheel travel. The lower linkage is offset to permit a series device mounting within the ISCG05 (International commonplace Chain Guide) format.
The proprietary Santa Cruz carbon basketball shot is strengthened with a strip of additional armour underneath the down tube to safeguard from ﬂying rocks. With marginal alloy inserts Associate in Nursingd an virtually completely net-moulded construction – solely the 2 swingarm halves ar secure – chassis weight is remarkably low. At 2.4kg (5.3lb) for the naked carbon possibility it’s solely zero.09kg (0.2lb) heavier than the highboy, and 0.13kg (0.3lb) lighter than the 26in-wheeled Blur LTc.
The yellow painted version seen here weighs an additional zero.14kg (0.3lb) however the Tonka tones suit its powerful temperament rather well. There’s nothing pass on weight for this abundant travel from anyone else, though the heavier alloy version will have some direct competition.
As usual for Santa Cruz you’ll get simply a frame or prefer the higher worth of a pre-selected build kit. we tend to tested the range-topping XTR XC29 build, complete with Kashima-coated Fox thirty four RLC fork and RP23 rear shock. The wheelset includes Associate in Nursing oversized Hive front hub (designed by Joe Graney, the LTc’s head project engineer) and a fast-reacting ‘star ratchet’ DT Swiss rear.
The Kashima-coated Fox Float RP23 shock is a component of the high-end XTR XC29 package
Our sample bike had non-standard broad, tubeless-ready WTB Frequency rims, however traditional description is Mavic’s TN719. Maxxis Ardent LUST tyres replaced the standard CrossMark a pair of.1in rubber. They intercalary serious volume and totally tubeless toughness, however with a hefty weight penalty – all is near a kilogram.
The RockShox Reverb hydraulic pipette post adds further mass too, however it’s a superb match to the bike’s character and completely worthwhile. Cable/hose guides for pipette posts ar commonplace.
Halfway through testing we tend to upgraded to a group of carbon Enve All-Mountain wheels (an ofﬁcial possibility from July), that took the responsiveness and carving accuracy up an entire further level.
It’s over simply a wired up highboy. The tapered head tube is conﬁgured around a 130-150mm fork, and therefore the Fox shock mounts on the down tube, not the highest tube. very cheap bracket may be a standard screw-in kind for max compatibility, and a clamp-on instead of direct-mount front mech provides a lot of description choices – and a cleaner look with one chainring.
Further back, the chainstay to seatstay strut has been thickened and enraptured forward to make a right away affiliation between higher and lower pivots, and a 142x12mm DT Swiss through-axle completes the stiff skeleton with a very neat, expendable rib insert. There’s the choice of Shimano’s new sharper-shifting direct-mount mech ﬁtting, too.