The Santa Cruz Highball Carbon CC 27.5 XT Complete Mountain Bike is a purebred XC race bike with sharp handling, unrelenting stiffness, and zippy acceleration. Optimized for cross-country and marathon racers, the Highball has no qualms about focusing on all-out speed and nimble handling when every pedal stroke is crucial to closing the gap on the competition. This particular Highball benefits from 27.5-inch wheels, which offer quicker cornering and directional changes than their 29-inch counterparts. 27.5-inch wheels also provide greater stand-over and easier maneuverability for shorter riders choosing the small-sized frame.
The Carbon CC frame on this build shaves approximately 280 grams (that's 9.8 ounces!) from Santa Cruz's Carbon C frame without compromising one bit of strength or stiffness. In fact, you'll immediately feel its resoundingly stiff carbon lay-up, which translates every ounce of rider energy into forward-screaming momentum. Its 69-degree head tube angle balances razor-sharp XC handling traits without feeling unnerving or squirrely on technical courses and rock-strewn descents.
For a bit of added comfort, Santa Cruz engineered it with thinner stays and a 27.2-millimeter seat tube, both of which impart compliance for the bumps, rocks, and roots you're bound to ride over on the race course or trail. Another notable design characteristic, the low-slung 12.4-inch bottom bracket imparts race car-like handling when you're cleaning tight switchbacks, powering up technical climbs, and negotiating tight, tree-lined trails.
Delving into this Carbon CC XT build kit, you'll find the provided RockShox SID RLC 100-millimeter fork gives you the XC-specific performance desired by competitive riders seeking every available edge. Not only does this fork boast wider Boost spacing for better tracking on technical, rock-strewn courses, but it's also one of the lightest and stiffest forks in RockShox's line of XC-specific forks. It comes with RockShox's renowned Charger damper, which is slightly reconfigured for XC use with ability to use a OneLoc remote (not included) for a bar-mounted lockout. The open setting boasts a wide range of low-speed compression tuning, giving you the ability to fine-tune its feel to your exact preferences.
The Shimano XT 2x11 drivetrain offers an optimal gear range with a crisp-shifting feel, ensuring you're never out-gunned on rolling XC courses with steep climbs and fast descents alike. The brakes follow suit in typical Shimano XT fashion, offering reliability and powerful stopping without fading, especially considering the Ice-Tech 160-millimeter rotors. Looking at the wheel choice of this build, you'll find Race Face ARC 24 rims, which are 24-millimeters wide for an optimal pairing with lightweight, skinnier XC tires. You'll find they provide optimal support for the provided Maxxis Ikon 2.2-inch tires. If you seek a bit more bump compliance and traction, you can run 2.3-inch tires without posing any clearance issues.
- Screaming-fast XC bike with nimble 27.5in wheels
- Carbon CC frame is resoundingly stiff and lightweight
- 69-degree head tube balances agility with composure at speed
- 12.4in bottom bracket for low-slung handling and cornering
- 27.2mm seatpost and thinner stays add compliance on rocky trails
- RockShox SID RLC 100mm fork is lightweight and precise-tracking
- Shimano XT 2x11 drivetrain for crisp shifts across a wide range
- Maxis Ikon 2.2in tires ensure fast-rolling speed and grip