Hightower Vs Tallboy « Pros And Cons

The never-ending battle between the two most popular Santa Cruz bikes should end today because there’s no denying both these bikes possess great features which make them a popular choice amongst bike riders. 

While Hightower is a bike meant for aggressive riders who tend to seek thrilling adventures on mountain trails, Tallboy is an all-rounder meant for any kind of terrain giving you the best of both worlds. 

However, choosing between Santa Cruz Hightower and Tallboy can be quite tricky if you want to get maximum enjoyment out on the trails. There are several areas where you can find a significant difference between the two.

If you’re someone who’s confused between these two bikes then worry not, as this article will provide you with a rundown into the pros and cons of Santa Cruz Hightower and Tallboy, so you can decide which bike will be better suited for your needs.

What Is Hightower? 

The Hightower is an ideal mountain bike. It comes with a suspension system capable of handling everything from flowy terrain to uneven and bumpy roads.

The Hightower is a bigger bike intended for the roughest mountain trails. This bike can smoothly ride over any big obstacle without losing its speed. 

It’s meant for people who seek thrilling adventures in the mountains without having to worry about damaging their bikes from the rough obstacles. 

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What Is Tallboy? 

The Santa Cruz Tallboy is a bike that is typically designed for comfort with its wide seats and handlebars. This bike has a low center of gravity which makes it ideal for riding on uneven trails as well as in city traffic. 

This bike has adjustable upper links that can allow the riders to choose between 27.5-plus and 29-inch wheels. 

Tallboy is an all-rounder bike that is fit to ride over a variety of terrains. This bike is perfect for riding on cross-country roads as well as on maintained trails.

What’s the Difference Between Hightower and Tallboy?

The most notable difference between a Santa Cruz Hightower and Tallboy is that Hightower is designed for all-mountain riding while Tallboy is much better suited for cross-country riding. Both these high-end bikes have differences, which are listed below.

HightowerTallboy
Bigger in sizeSmaller in size
HeavyLightweight
Excellent for rough mountain trailsGreat for a variety of terrains
Can absorb shock and impacts from bumps efficientlyEasy to maneuver
Can maintain speed even on rough trailsBest suited for cross country riding
Good for climbing and descendingGood for descending
Increased stability and gripIncreased stopping power

Hightower Vs. Tallboy

Both hightower and tallboy bikes carry great performance features which makes it hard to choose one of the two. Choosing between a Tallboy and a Hightower is easy if you consider what your riding needs are and what riding style you prefer. 

If you wish to go on thrilling adventures in the mountains without having to worry about the rocky trails damaging your bike then Hightower is perfect for you. 

Whereas if you want a bike for cross-country riding or one that is perfect for every type of trail and easy to maneuver then you can opt for the Santa Cruz Tallboy. 

What Are the Pros of Hightower?

Efficient Wheels

The Santa Cruz Hightower is built with 29-inch wheels. 29-inch wheels are known for handling obstacles and rough terrains effortlessly. This gives the Hightower a big advantage of rolling over rocky hindrances on the mountain tracks. 

These 29-inch wheels also provide increased stability and grip since they cover more surface of the ground. 

Lastly, the Santa Cruz Hightower is also equipped with tubeless-ready rims. This means that one can even use the Hightower without inner tubes in its wheels if they desired. Overall, Hightower’s wheels play a major role in its efficient performance in mountain riding. 

Good for Rough Terrains

The Santa Cruz Hightower is known for its ability to handle rough terrains. This is because Santa Cruz designed the Hightower bike specifically for mountain riding or off-road riding. 

This is also why a lot of people who love a bike for aggressive riding prefer the Santa Cruz Hightower. It’s greater and bigger than the Tallboy, which makes it more steady on difficult terrain. 

The Hightower is also an excellent choice for riders seeking a bike capable of handling more technical trails. 

Speed

The Santa Cruz Hightower uses a longer wheelbase as well as a slacker head tube which keeps it stable even at high speeds. 

Plus, the Hightower’s wheels don’t lose speed when they are rolling over the bumps and obstacles on the trails, this is why they also have less rolling resistance, hence maintaining their speed.

The increased speed of Hightower also brings about a thrilling experience for the riders. 

Climbing

Since Hightower is built as a mountain bike, it’s efficient in climbing uphill. Santa Cruz manufactured it with a steepened seat tube as well as a reduced anti-squat.

However, they still managed to keep it a bit high for improved pedaling efficiency and support while climbing. 

Overall, this bike is built with a higher bottom bracket which makes it agile and excellent for climbing uphill.

Plus, its steep headtube angle also makes it better for climbing. Many reviewers say it’s nearly effortless to climb uphill on a Hightower. 

Stability

The Hightower has increased stability even on the rockiest terrains. This is because the Hightower has longer chainstays that provide more stability.

Plus, Hightower’s wheels are slightly wider, which also helps it stay more stable and provides a firmer grip.

Moreover, the Hightower is a heavy bike that also provides stability since the extra weight helps the bike remain more grounded.

Lastly, the Hightower’s frame also plays a key role in its stability over rough terrains. 

Cornering

Hightower is known for its amazing cornering abilities even on rough trails. Hightower is lower than the tallboy and it also has less ground clearance in comparison to Tallboy.

This feature allows the Hightower riders more precise handling.

» Read my blog post: Best Water Bottles for Mountain Bikes

What Are the Cons of Hightower?

Less Stopping Power

Hightower has mechanical disc brakes while the tallboy has hydraulic brakes. Mechanical brakes tend to require more effort and force to stop and they’re less sensitive. 

Moreover, mechanical brakes are more likely to fade. This is why mechanical brakes have less stopping power. 

Discomfort

The Hightower has a rectangular and flat saddle which is not comfortable for long rides.

Another reason for the discomfort faced on the Hightower is that its saddle has less padding which can cause pain and numbness if you ride for long. 

The Hightower is built for shorter rides or for those who prefer a more aggressive riding position. So if you’re someone who’s looking for a travel bike, Hightower isn’t the right choice for you. 

Expensive

Hightower is built with heavy materials which makes it a bit more expensive than the Tallboy. If you are on a budget then Hightower is not ideal for you. 

Heavy

Hightowers are heavy mountain bikes since they are designed to have increased stability as well as durability over rough trails and aggressive obstacles. 

The increased weight can make them a bit slow to respond and may take a bit of energy to pedal sometimes.

However, mountain riders don’t mind the weight as most mountain bikes tend to be heavy-duty. 

Sluggish on Flat Terrains

Since Santa Cruz designed Hightower for mountain riding, the size of Hightower is built for long or technical descents and big climbs. 

This is why if you take the Hightower for a ride on flattened trails such as a park or crossroads, it would feel sluggish and cause you to go off-balance. 

What Are the Pros of Tallboy?

Can Handle Any Terrain

The most significant advantage of Tallboy is that it’s designed to tackle any type of terrain. Tallboy has slightly larger tires as compared to Hightower. This is why tallboys have increased traction and stability on rough terrains. 

This makes Tallboy a much more versatile option for those who want a bike that can handle a variety of terrains.

Tallboy can remain stable riding through slow, muddy, or technical terrain and even down rocky descents.

Stopping Power

The Tallboy brakes are much different from Hightower brakes. For one, the Tallboy has hydraulic brakes whereas the Hightower has mechanical disc brakes. 

This gives Tallboy an advantage over Hightower since hydraulic brakes require less effort to stop and have great stopping power.

This feature also makes Tallboy ideal to ride on hilly terrain or any other trails where efficient stopping power is required.

Moreover, hydraulic brakes are less likely to fade which means they will hold efficient stopping power over a long period of time. 

Comfortable Saddle

Unlike the Hightower’s flat and rectangular saddle, the Tallboy’s saddle is designed in a rounded shape. This rounded shape provides a more comfortable riding experience to the Tallboy riders even on longer rides. 

Moreover, the Tallboy’s saddle has more padding as compared to Hightower’s saddle, which also makes it more comfortable for longer rides.

If you are looking for a bike that is comfortable and doesn’t cause numbness on long rides, Tallboy is ideal for you. 

Easy to Maneuver

Tallboy is very much known for its ease of maneuvering and its flexibility in the riding position. 

The Santa Cruz Tallboy is considered an all-around bike that can easily handle a variety of different terrains. Therefore, its build is a bit more nimble as compared to the Hightower, which makes it easy to maneuver on tight trails. 

Plus Tallboy is more responsive which allows the rider to steer quickly while riding. This makes it ideal for navigating through technical and challenging terrains. 

Lightweight Material

The Santa Cruz Tallboy bikes are at an advantage when it comes to the weight of the bike. Tallboy is made from lighter materials which keep it lightweight and also easy to maneuver. However, it is still quite heavy if you compare it to other normal bikes. 

The Tallboy bike is made from aluminum or carbon frames. Aluminum and carbon are durable, extremely light as well as strong. 

Affordable

The Santa Cruz Tallboy is much more affordable than the Hightower because of its lightweight materials. However, some Tallboy models can be expensive since Tallboy is a high-quality bike. 

Therefore, if you want a high-quality bike but still remain within the budget you can go for the low-end models of the Santa Cruz Tallboy. 

Maintenance

The Tallboy bike is much easier to maintain as compared to the Hightower bike. You just need to clean the bike frame after a muddy ride and occasionally wipe the dirt off its frame. 

Whereas a Hightower might need constant maintenance with its rough and aggressive rides. Moreover, the brakes of Tallboy are much less likely to fade as compared to the mechanical brakes of Hightower. 

However, any bike you own is going to need quarterly or annual maintenance and check-up of the drivetrain, wheels, and fork.

Durable

Tallboy is made out of durable materials and can handle any type of terrain without damaging its frame or other components. 

Plus, Santa Cruz has been manufacturing high-end mountain bikes for a long time, and even their old models have high quality.

They always use the best components in the market to make their bikes long-lasting. 

Efficient Descending

The Tallboy is built with a lower bottom bracket that helps it remain stable when descending. Plus Tallboy also has a slacker headtube angle, which makes it well-suited for descending. 

Quiet 

Tallboy is super quiet due to its ribbed chainstay protector and efficient cable routing.

This bike doesn’t create much sound when riding which makes it great for riders who hate noisy bikes and prefer quiet ones. 

» Read my blog post about: Hardtail Vs. Full Suspension Mountain Bike

What Are the Cons of Tallboy?

Not Efficient Climbing

Even though Tallboy is made to excel at various types of terrains, it’s a bit harder to ride uphill on a Tallboy as compared to Hightower. Tallboy tends to perform better on descending trails. 

Can’t Handle Weight

The Santa Cruz Tallboy is a bit nimble as well as lightweight. This also means that this bike performs better with less weight on it.

This is why if you attempt to add weight to it, such as a loaded backpack, it can affect its performance. 

Tallboy can be a great bike for singletrack heavy races where the light load of a water bottle is all you need. But it can be a bit flimsy to ride if you take it traveling with a loaded and heavy backpack. 

Less Stable on High speeds

If you look at the geometry of the Tallboy bikes, they tend to have shorter wheelbases and higher bottom brackets. This geometry allows them to be more agile but this can also make them less stable at high speeds. 

If you’re looking for a bike with increased speed, Hightower is a much better option. 

Less Suspension

The Santa Cruz Tallboy bike typically has less suspension travel than the Santa Cruz Hightower bike. This means it can’t absorb as much impact and shock when you ride over bumps and obstacles. 

This is why the Tallboy bike is much better suited for cross-country riding where you won’t encounter any big obstacles on the trail. 

Conclusion

If you are still confused between a Hightower and a Tallboy even after reading all these pros and cons, then you can consider which suits your riding style. 

If you want a lightweight, affordable and efficient bike for cross-country riding the Santa Cruz Tallboy is the right choice for you. 

Whereas if you’re into aggressive riding over mountain trails and want a bike that handles the heavy impact then the Santa Cruz is well suited for your needs. 

Whether you buy a Hightower or a Tallboy, both can provide you with great benefits and a much greater riding experience. 

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