The Santa Cruz Hightower C GX AXS 2023 in detail
The Hightower has been Santa Cruz's most versatile trail bike since its introduction. It is more agile than its big suspension brother Megatower, but more confident in technical terrain than its nimble cousin Tallboy. The Hightower scores where the trails are long and demanding and steep climbs are rewarded with real descents. The VPP damper, controlled via the lower bellcrank, creates an almost linear spring characteristic, absorbing shocks of all sizes while still maintaining progressivity.
As the name suggests, this model is equipped with the electronic SRAM GX AXS Eagle rear derailleur and thus enables lightning-fast and crisp gear changes. Another difference to the Hightower C S is that the bike comes with a carbon handlebar from the factory. In 2023, the Hightower again has 145mm of travel at the rear and 150mm at the front. In combination with a 65° steering angle, the bike still has a very wide comfort zone, but offers a little more reserve when your temper gets the better of you. The perfect balance between stiffness and weight savings is a trademark of all Santa Cruz carbon frames and is guaranteed in this model by the C full carbon frame. The Hightower raises the bar a little higher. The advanced carbon chassis dances elegantly over all trail conditions, holds the line where it is required and reacts sensitively to the rider's directional changes while converting every kick into propulsion in isolation.
For the 2023 model year, the Santa Cruz frame has been revised and for the first time offers a "glove box" on the top of the down tube. There is also a viewing window in the lower part of the seat tube through which the SAG of the shock can be easily adjusted. Small changes to the geometry through the proven Flip Chip remain possible, of course.
There is still enough space in the main frame for your drinks bottle, which can be attached directly to the cap of the glove box. The sophisticated cable routing guarantees better shifting performance as well as the usual easy cable routing and avoids cable abrasion. There is also a shuttle guard and an impact guard on the down tube, as well as a small mudguard over the rear shock and a chainstay guard that keeps things nice and quiet.
Lifetime Frame Warranty
Santa Cruz Bicycles will repair or replace at its option any frame made by Santa Cruz Bicycles it determines to be defective in materials or workmanship. The warranty will be in effect for the lifetime of the frame and is available only to the original owner. Notwithstanding the foregoing, frames purchased prior to May 1, 2015 are covered under the previously-existing warranty for five years from the original date of purchase. In the event of a non-warranty situation, Santa Cruz Bicycles will make replacement parts available to the original owner at a reduced charge for the applicable warranty period described above.*
The Hightower also has that certain something that intensifies your biking experience. Santa Cruz calls it the Flip Chip. In the low setting, the rear triangle becomes a little more progressive, especially at the end of the stroke for more support in front of the bottom-out. In the high setting, the bike stands a little higher and offers the rider more support in the mid-travel range. All tinkerers and sensitive shredders can adjust the suspension to their riding style and preferences.
Santa Cruz carbon frame
The CC carbon frames use the best materials and the latest manufacturing processes. They have the same stiffness and stability as the C frames, and are even lighter. CC frames are used for the top models.
Santa Cruz don’t just use carbon to build bikes because it looks cool and everyone is doing it. We pioneer advanced materials and production methods to build the most durable and high-performance bicycles because it’s the way to ensure that riders can just enjoy riding their bike. Our experience with carbon production allows us to build bikes that are extremely reliable.
They design, test and prototype their carbon technology in Santa Cruz, CA. Their carbon lab gives them the capacity to research carbon layup optimization that they can apply to their production frames, and research and test new manufacturing processes and techniques.
The frames are manufactured in their exclusive factory (Skybox). They founded this manufacturing facility themselves because they wanted to be able to control how our designs were produced, to ensure quality control, and to make sure the advancements they design remain proprietary to them.
Window to SAG
A small window in the main frame makes it easy to adjust the suspension. Other nice details are the mudguard that protects the shock from dirt, a neat cable routing in the frame, and the rubberised down tube guard.
Pack everything you need under the solid flap in your down tube. Including your fine gloves. The bike comes standard with "Tool Wallet" and "Tube Purse", two high-quality pouches that keep your things safe and practical.
We’ve been using VPP® suspension since 2001. Rather than contracting a series of kooky inventors to try to build ever more complex and wack-a-doo suspension designs or proprietary shocks so the Marketing department has something to talk about, we’ve stuck with what is an extremely versatile and high-performance mechanism. VPP® is designed to work with the best available technology from suspension manufacturers that will be supported long-term. It doesn’t require novelty shocks and hardware that offers dubious long-term support.
VPP® can be optimized to strike the right balance between pedaling efficiency and all-out bump chomping prowess. The suspension on our cross-country bikes is tuned so that every ounce of energy a rider can generate is transferred to the forward trajectory. And our bigger-hitting, longer travel bikes are exceptionally capable of isolating impacts from the rider so they can ride harder with more confidence in the very worst terrain. Short counter-rotating links connect the front and rear triangles to create an extremely robust chassis. Simple linkages contain the pivot points to prevent slop from developing over time; grease ports make it serviceable; pivots run on large diameter axles and bearings, which we offer free lifetime replacement for.
Eagle-eyed riders may have noticed that we have two styles of the VPP® design now. The lower-link mounted shock configuration gives a very progressive rate with excellent small bump, mid-stroke support and great bottom out resistance. Ideal for bikes that are designed for challenging terrain. The upper-link mounted shock style that we use on other trail bikes gives more pedal platform, ideal for bikes that require maximum support and good bottom-out resistance to make them snappy handling, pedal-efficient flyers. Having control over a versatile design like this allows us to tune the suspension to the characteristics we most want for each application.
Recommended frame size
- S: 155 - 166 cm
- M: 164 - 176 cm
- L: 174 - 186 cm
- XL: 184 - 194 cm
- XXL: 192 - 201 cm
Please note that pedals are not included!
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting persistent disturbances in global supply chains, the illustrations and equipment information may differ from the actual bicycles.
The manufacturer reserves the right to replace components with components of equal quality.
*Warranty Limitations, Exclusions, and Disclaimers
The sole remedy available under the foregoing express warranty and all implied warranties is the repair or replacement of defective parts with those of equal or greater value, as determined by Santa Cruz Bicycles in its sole discretion. The warranty does not cover labor costs, custom finishes, normal wear and tear, or damage from commercial use. The warranty is void if the part is modified from its original condition in any manner or used outside normal intended use, as determined by Santa Cruz Bicycles in its sole discretion. The warranty for damage arising from accidents, crashes and other impacts is limited to offered replacement at a reduced charge as set forth above. Any implied warranties (including without limitation the warranties of merchantability and fitness for particular purpose) which may not be disclaimed under applicable law are limited in duration to the period set forth above or the applicable statute of limitations, whichever is shorter.
The foregoing warranty is the sole and exclusive warranty offered by Santa Cruz Bicycles. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, all other express and implied warranties (including without limitation the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose) are hereby disclaimed. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall Santa Cruz bicycles or any of its owners, officers, employees, representatives, agents, or affiliates (or any of their respective successors or assigns) be responsible or otherwise liable for any direct, incidental or consequential damages arising from the purchase, use, or ownership of its products, including without limitation damages for personal injury, property damage, or economic losses, whether based on contract, warranty, negligence, product liability, or any other theory.
Some states and countries do not allow some or all of the foregoing exclusions or limitations, so they may not apply to you. If any portion of the foregoing warranty (or the exclusions or limitations thereto) is deemed invalid or unenforceable pursuant to applicable law, it shall be deemed modified so as to be valid and enforceable to the maximum extent consistent with such law. This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights which vary from state to state and country to country.