Hightower 3 CC Translucent Purple
Hightower 3 CC Translucent Purple

THE MOUNTAIN BIKE, DISTILLED

The newest version of the Hightower remains our greatest hits of engineering - now further refined and bottled into our most all-terrain of bikes. Big on wheels, medium on travel, short on fuss, this is the do-it-all model that does it over and over again thanks to a versatile balance of geo, spec and durability. If you’re not looking for extremes, just something extremely good, the Hightower is your elevator.

Key Features:

Available in: Carbon C and Carbon CC
Wheel Size: 29
Front Travel: 150mm
Rear Travel: 145mm

Engineering Details

Hightower 3 Matte Evergreen frame exploded view with links and hardware

Engineering Details

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OUR ENGINEERS’ GREATEST HITS

Not all frames are created equal. Hightower represents Santa Cruz’s greatest hits, showcasing our design, engineering, and performance prowess.

LOWER LINK ASSEMBLY

The highly-sculpted and optimized Lower Link (A) houses a geometry adjusting Flip Chip (B) and beefy Pivot Axles (C) to virtually eliminate lateral flex.

UPPER LINK ASSEMBLY

We only use the highest quality Enduro MAX or TPX sealed, radial bearings (A) and premium fasteners (B) for our linkage assemblies. They’re easy to properly torque and maintain, plus we offer free replacement bearings for life.

ONE-PIECE SWINGARM

VPP suspension utilizes a one-piece swingarm that eliminates the need for pivots on the stays, creating a stout, bulletproof rear end for accurate tracking and superior performance.

C AND CC CARBON

Santa Cruz offers two grades of carbon—top-end CC Carbon and value-minded C Carbon. Though they have the same stiffness and performance, CC is lighter and comes paired with more premium suspension.

CARBON MASTERY

The Sag Window (A), Glovebox (B) and internal cable tunnels (not shown) demonstrate Santa Cruz’s expertise at combining practical function with carbon design and manufacturing artistry.

THE SUM OF THE PARTS

In isolation, all these things are great—together with fanatical suspension tuning, a premium build spec, and a meticulous attention-to-detail, they’re transcendent.

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Geometry

All units are in millimeters or degrees.

SMLXLXXL
Reach | hi/lo430/427455/452475/472495/492520/517
Stack | hi/lo611/613625/627634/636652/654665/668
Head Tube Angle | hi/lo64.8°/64.5°64.8°/64.5°64.8°/64.5°64.8°/64.5°64.8°/64.5°
Seat Tube Length 380405430460500
Front Center | hi/lo752/752783/783807/807836/836867/867
BB Height | hi/lo342/339342/338342/338342/338342/338
BB Drop | hi/lo31/3431/3431/3431/3431/34
Wheelbase | hi/lo1183/11831217/12181244/12451276/12761310/1311
Rear Center | hi/lo431/432434/435437/438440/441443/444
Head Tube Length 100115125145160
Top Tube Length | hi/lo571/572599/600626/627647/648674/675
Seat Tube Angle | hi/lo77°/76.7°77°/76.7°76.7°/76.4°76.9°/76.6°76.9°/76.7°
Standover Height | hi/lo706/701708/703711/706714/709719/714

Frame Sizing

If you're on the cusp between the recommended height range of two sizes, the absolute best thing is to try to ride them both. At a minimum, check the stack/reach measurements on your current bike and compare it to the new model you are looking at to get an idea of a fit you are already comfortable with. If riding the bike is not an option, consider the following.

The Hightower is available in sizes small - extra extra large (S-XXL).

Personal Preference

A larger size frame will be more stable, and will give you more room to move without upsetting the weight-balance of the bike. The larger size will put the front wheel further in front of you, which gives the feeling of security and conversely, it will require more significant body movements when you WANT to shift the weight-bias of the bike. Think hard about your riding style and how active/intuitive you want it to be vs stable and speedy. You'll need to work a bit harder to muscle the larger bike around.

Body Dimension

Not all bodies at a given height are the same. If you have longer legs and a shorter torso than the average person your height, that may push you towards the smaller of the recommended sizes. If you're all torso and arms, most likely you'll want to size up.

Hightower 3 head tube and front triangle
Santa Cruz Bicycles Hightower 3 CC rear triangle, axle, and brake
Santa Cruz Bicycles Hightower 3 CC top tube, stem, and handlebars
Santa Cruz Bicycles Hightower 3 CC drivetrain, front and rear triangle
Santa Cruz Bicycles Hightower 3 CC lower link and tire
Hightower 3 head tube and front triangle
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Hightower 3 Highlights

2023 Santa Cruz Hightower 3 VPP Decal

Hightower 3 Highlights

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VPP™

VPP™ suspension can be optimized to strike the right balance between pedaling efficiency and all-out bump chomping prowess. That means wherever you see "VPP" you know it's tuned to perform exactly how it should for the purpose it's designed for.

145mm VPP travel

Looking for something good at climbing, and downhill, and going round and round your local trails? Say hello to Hightower. 145mm in the rear paired with 150mm up front is your perfect combo.

Suspension sensitivity

Compared to the last Hightower, we reduced the anti-squat in the first 40% of travel. This noticeably improves suspension sensitivity in both climbing and descending scenarios due to reduced chain influence on the suspension.

Suspension consistency

Hightower's leverage curve is relatively straight, with added progression towards the end of the travel. This provides improved bottom-out resistance with more consistent damping and support.

Glovebox

Place your ride essentials securely beneath a new high-quality latch and panel in the Hightower's downtube. The Glovebox comes with a fitted Tool Wallet and Tube Purse, tailored for the frame to keep your tools close to hand.

Full carbon C and CC frame

CC frames use the very best materials and production processes available. Our size-specific frame stiffness standards help tie together our ride quality goals by achieving a tailored front triangle flex characteristic for every size.

Sag window

A window allows easier suspension sag and setup. The details are completed by a neat mud flap to protect the rear shock plus tidy cable routing within the frame and swingarm, and rubberized DT protectors to shrug off strikes.

Flip chip

In the Low position, the shock rate becomes more progressive, particularly at the end of the stroke, and there’s some bottom-out resistance to be gained. In the High setting, the bike rides a little higher in its travel and supplies the rider with more mid-stroke support. Tweakers and finicky shredders can adapt the suspension feel to their needs and desire.

Proportional geometry

Chainstay length and seat angle is matched to the frame size so every rider, no matter their height, gets the same balanced geometry. Across all sizes however, the headtube angle has been slackened to help stability at speed, lowered the bottom bracket to compliment the better supported suspension, and increased stack in favor of modern handlebar setups.

29-inch wheels

Hightower features fast-rolling, bump-easing 29-inch wheels front and rear. On high-end builds we spec Reserve 30|HD carbon rims laced to premium hubs, which are built and hand-tuned in our Santa Cruz, Calif. factory. See Reserve 30|HD wheels

Matte Evergreen Hightower 3 Carbon CC X01 AXS RSV

Maintenance Information

Learn how to service your upper and lower suspension links

Fill out our form for a fresh set of bearings

Take a look at additional tech info and exploded diagrams for the Hightower

How to find your serial number

Something not right? Use our warranty claim form to file a claim. We'll do everything we can to get you back to riding as fast as possible.

File a claim for a Santa Cruz product

If you have any other questions or would like to follow up on a warranty claim, contact our Warranty Department.

Hightower Tech Support

Suspension SystemVPP
Front DerailleurNo compatibility
Headset/HeadtubeIntegrated (IS41/52)
Seat Post31.6mm
Seat Clamp36.4mm
Eye to Eye length210mm
Stroke55mm
Fork Compatibility150-160mm
Fork Offset44mm
Brake Mount180 PM
BB Shell73mm Threaded
Max Tire Size2.5"
Max Chainring Size34t
Water Bottle Mounts1
Shock Mounting Bushing Front30x8
Shock Mounting Bushing Rear30x8 (bearing compatible)

Download the Hightower suspension setup guide to get even more detailed sag, high/low rebound, and high/low compression recommendations for shocks below and get recommendations for the fork in each build.

Fox Float Performance

Rider WeightPressure (psi)Shock SagRebound (from closed)
100lbs (45.5kg)12028-30%, 15-17mm10
120lbs (54.4kg)14528-30%, 15-17mm9
140lbs (63.5kg)17028-30%, 15-17mm9
160lbs (72.6kg)19528-30%, 15-17mm8
180lbs (81.8kg)22028-30%, 15-17mm8
200lbs (90.7kg)24528-30%, 15-17mm7
220lbs (99.8kg)26528-30%, 15-17mm7
240lbs (108.8kg)29028-30%, 15-17mm6

Rockshox Lyrik

Rider WeightPressure (psi)Rebound (from closed)
100lbs (45.5kg)4511
120lbs (54.4kg)5510
140lbs (63.5kg)659
160lbs (72.6kg)759
180lbs (81.8kg)858
200lbs (90.7kg)957
220lbs (99.8kg)1057
240lbs (108.8kg)1156

Rockshox Super Deluxe Select Plus

Rider WeightPressure (psi)Shock SagRebound (from closed)
100lbs (45.5kg)9528-30%, 15-17mm7
120lbs (54.4kg)12028-30%, 15-17mm7
140lbs (63.5kg)14028-30%, 15-17mm6
160lbs (72.6kg)16528-30%, 15-17mm6
180lbs (81.8kg)18528-30%, 15-17mm5
200lbs (90.7kg)21028-30%, 15-17mm5
220lbs (99.8kg)23028-30%, 15-17mm4
240lbs (108.8kg)25528-30%, 15-17mm4
260lbs (117.9kg)27528-30%, 15-17mm3

Fox 36 Performance

Rider WeightPressure (psi)Rebound (from closed)
120-130 (54-59kg)7113
130-140 (59-64kg)7612
140-150 (64-68kg)8111
150-160 (68-73kg)8510
160-170 (73-77kg)909
170-180 (77-82kg)958
180-190 (82-86kg)997
190-200 (86-91kg)1046
200-210 (91-95kg)1095
210-220 (95-100kg)1134
220-230 (100-104kg)1153
230-240 (104-109kg)1172
240-250 (109-113kg)1201

Fox 36 Performance Elite

Rider WeightPressure (psi)Rebound: LSR, HSR (from closed)Compression: LSC,HSC (from closed)
120-130 (54-59kg)719,810,5
130-140 (59-64kg)768,710,5
140-150 (64-68kg)817,610,5
150-160 (68-73kg)857,610,5
160-170 (73-77kg)906,510,5
170-180 (77-82kg)956,510,5
180-190 (82-86kg)995,410,5
190-200 (86-91kg)1044,310,5
200-210 (91-95kg)1094,310,5
210-220 (95-100kg)1133,210,5
220-230 (100-104kg)1152,110,5
230-240 (104-109kg)1172,110,5
240-250 (109-113)1201,010,5

Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate

Rider WeightPressure (psi)Sag (%, mm on shock)Rebound: LSR, HSR (from closed)Compression: LSC, HSC (from closed)
100lbs (45.5kg)9528-30%, 15-17mm7-1/-1
120lbs (54.4kg)12028-30%, 15-17mm7-1/-1
140lbs (63.5kg)14028-30%, 15-17mm6-1/-1
160lbs (72.6kg)16528-30%, 15-17mm6-1/-1
180lbs (81.8kg)18528-30%, 15-17mm5-1/-1
200lbs (90.7kg)21028-30%, 15-17mm5-1/-1
220lbs (99.8kg)23028-30%, 15-17mm4-1/-1
240lbs (108.8kg)25528-30%, 15-17mm4-1/-1
260lbs (117.9kg)27528-30%, 15-17mm3-1/-1

Fox 36 Factory

Rider WeightPressure (psi)Rebound: LSR, HSR (from closed)Compression: LSC,HSC (from closed)
120-130 (54-59kg)719,810,5
130-140 (59-64kg)768,710,5
140-150 (64-68kg)817,610,5
150-160 (68-73kg)857,610,5
160-170 (73-77kg)906,510,5
170-180 (77-82kg)956,510,5
180-190 (82-86kg)995,410,5
190-200 (86-91kg)1044,310,5
200-210 (91-95kg)1094,310,5
210-220 (95-100kg)1133,210,5
220-230 (100-104kg)1152,110,5
230-240 (104-109kg)1172,110,5
240-250 (109-113)1201,010,5

What is the recommended fork?

The Hightower.3 geometry is based off of a 150mm fork with a 42 or 44mm offset. We wouldn't recommend less travel than that, as the BB will get a bit low. Up to 160mm is fine if that's your preference.

Is there chainguide compatibility?

Yes, this bike is equipped with ISCG-05 tabs for easy chainguide mounting. Most guides that follow the ISCG-05 standard should fit.

Can I convert the Hightower to 27.5" or MX wheels?

No, the Hightower is built exclusively for 29" wheels and tires front and rear. The geometry is not setup for any 27.5" front or rear conversions.

What kind of headset does this bike use?

This bike uses integrated headset cups. The upper up is 41mm and the lower cup is 52mm. The SHIS name is IS 41/28.6 IS 52/40.For Chris King this is a DropSet.3

I want to change my rear shock. Any limitations?

The Hightower fits most shocks on the market, with some exceptions. Fox Float X2, Cane Creek DB Air, and all coil shocks are not compatible. We recommend the Rockshox Super Deluxe, Deluxe, Fox Float X, Fox Float DPS.

What size tire will fit?

Designed for 29" x 2.5" max

Should I ride in the High or Low shock flip-chip setting?

You should definitely try both, but we typically recommend starting in High. In the High setting, the bike rides a little higher in its travel and supplies the rider with more mid-stroke support. In the Low position, the shock rate becomes more progressive, particularly at the end of the stroke, and there’s some bottom-out resistance to be gained.

Does the Hightower use the SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger (UDH)?

The frame is UDH-compatible, but comes with our own machined aluminum hanger. You can replace it with another Santa Cruz hanger or a SRAM UDH.

What is the difference between the C and CC Carbon?

CC frames use the very best materials and production processes available. Our C Carbon frames have the same features but the trade off for a little less $ is a little more weight. Both versions are made in our own factory, are just as strong and stiff as one another, and have a lifetime warranty.

What can I store in the glovebox?

The Hightower comes with two bags - a tube purse and a tool wallet. You should be able to fit a superlight tube, a small pump, tire lever, and misc odds and ends in these two bags.

Tobin O. getting ready for a ride, putting on his shoes while his mechanic check over his 2022 Blur
Tobin O. getting ready for a ride, putting on his shoes while his mechanic check over his 2022 Blur

Lifetime Warranty and Support

Missing a ride sucks. That's why we build the very best bikes and offer legendary rider support for life so that you don't.

We design our bikes to last, to be easy to work on and we make sure to provide the parts and information so you can make your bike last for many lifetimes.

We take No Missed Rides seriously, so we keep stock of every small part and spare to keep you rolling. Head over to the shop to find what you need.