New bike day is always the best day! No matter if you are buying a used bike or complete bike from one of our favorite brands, the first ride out on a new bike is a special thing. We love bike and are glad our customers do too! Here we are going to dive in to one of our sponsored athlete's new rig. Check out Max Morgan and his fully custom built 2020 Santa Cruz Hightower CC. Be on the lookout for a full review of this bike coming soon.
Every new bike you build has to be a little bit better than the last right? Well, I'm not sure how I am going to top this one! For starters, when Sram launched their new electronic wireless Eagle AXS drivetrain, I was a bit hesitant. The first time I got my hands on AXS, I was much more intrigued and wanted to give it a try. If you haven't already got your filthy paws on Sram's AXS drivetrain, you are missing out! The shifting is super crisp and without a doubt there is an undeniable cool factor. Check out our Sram Eagle AXS install video to learn out to get your new drivetrain setup on your bike!
For suspension, up front I've got a Fox 36 Factory Series fork featuring 150mm of travel, Fox's GRIP2 damper, and a 44mm offset. I don't have too much time on the bike yet, but currently I'm running the 36 with four volume reducers with 90 psi. In the rear, I'm using the Fox Float DPX2 Factory Series shock with Fox's EVOL air can and a .6 volume reducer. Fox offers a volume reducer kit specifically for the DPX2 shock to help you tune the shock's air spring curve to suit your bike and riding preferences. I'll start out on the .6 reducer for now.
Next let's dive in to wheels and tires. The Hightower is truly designed to be a jack of all trades and is what Santa Cruz calls their greatest hits compiled in to one bike. This makes the Hightower a perfect match for Industry Nine's Enduro 305 wheelset. The Enduro 305 uses a 30.5mm internal width aluminum rim with Industry Nine's System chassis aluminum spokes and is their most versatile wheel in the lineup. If you have your own set of Industry Nine Hydra wheels, check out our mountain bike How To: Servicing Industry Nine Hydra Hubs.
For tires, I love the Maxxis Minion DHR II tread pattern. It's aggressive, gives you excellent braking traction, can manage a variety of trail conditions, and is available in just about every construction a size that Maxxis offers. I will be using the 29" x 2.4" DHR II in the new EXO+ Tubeless Ready casing and 3C MaxxTerra rubber compound. For more on Maxxis' latest trail casing option, check out our full Maxxis EXO+ casing review.
Everyone seems to have their own personal preference on brakes, and for me the old Sram Code 4-piston brakes are at the top of the food chain. They can be hard to find now a days but I had a brand new pair laying around and knew I wanted to use them on this Hightower. I'll be using a set of 203mm Galfer Disc Wave rotors that are a bit different than your traditional rotors. These new Galfer rotors are actually 2.0mm thick instead of the 1.8mm you'll find on traditional rotors. The purpose of the thicker design is to do a better job of heat dissipation on long descents. Pretty trick. I will also be using Galfer Ultimate metallic brake pads to handle any kind of weather conditions I'll be riding in.
The Hightower is finished off with a full Deity components kit. From the new 35mm clamp diameter Deity Skywire carbon handlebars and Deity Copperhead stem up front, the contact points on this bike are a set of Deity Knuckleduster grips and Deity Speedtrap Titanium railed saddle. These are all my favorite finishing touches! Check out the full build breakdown below.
|Frame||Santa Cruz Hightower - Size Large - Highland Blue and Desert|
|Wheelset||Industry Nine Enduro 305 29" - 32 Hole|
|Fork||Fox 36 Factory Series Grip2 - 160mm Travel, 44mm Offset|
|Rear Shock||Fox DPX2 Factory Series 3 Pos Adjust - 210mm x 52.5mm|
|Brakes||2011 SRAM Code|
|Brake Rotors and Pads||Galfer 203mm Front and Rear - 2.0mm Thickness / Galfer Advanced Metallic Pads|
|Headset||Cane Creek 110 Series|
|Stem||Deity Copperhead 35 - 50mm Length|
|Handlebars||Deity Skywire Carbon - 25mm Rise|
|Bottom Bracket||Sram DUB English Threaded 68-73mm|
|Rear Shifter||Sram Eagle XX1 AXS|
|Rear Derailleur||Sram Eagle XX1 AXS|
|Cassette||Sram Eagle XX1 AXS|
|Chain||Sram Eagle XX1 AXS|
|Crankset||Sram Eagle XX1 AXS|
|Seatpost/Dropper||Fox Transfer Factory Series 31.6mm - 150mm Travel|
|Dropper Lever||Wolf Tooth Light Action Remote|
|Saddle||Deity Speedtrap Ti|
|Front Tire||Maxxis Minion DHR II, 29 x 2.4 WT, EXO+, 3C MaxxTerra|
|Rear Tire||Maxxis Minion DHR II, 29 x 2.4 WT, EXO+, 3C MaxxTerra|
|Chainguide||E*Thirteen LG1r Carbon|
Max stands 5'11" tall (180 cm) and slots in to a size Large frame. At a glance, the size Large Hightower uses a 470mm reach in the low setting and a 434mm chainstay length. The Hightower also uses an aggressive 65.2° head tube angle and an aggressive 76.5° seat tube angle. This bike on paper is a great example of the continuous evolution on Modern Bike Geometry Trends. The brand new Hightower might look similar to the Santa Cruz Bronson and Megatower that use the same lower link shock driven suspension layout, but the Hightower certainly stands alone at its own work horse.
Max Morgan is 27 years old, and lives in Brevard, North Carolina. Max grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and started racing downhill at the age of 15. He has now been racing professionally for the last 10 years, competing in the UCI World Cup series and U.S. Pro GRT series. To learn more about Max, check out Max's rider spotlight here!