27.5+ Santa Cruz Hightower

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews' started by mike, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Disclaimer: I rode one day on this bike:

    thumb_IMG_1805_1024.jpg

    I pedaled up Holy Jim and descended Upper Joplin, to Joplin, STT the Luge, Path Live Oak. back to Trabuco.

    Overall impression of the bike:
    Amazingly nimble and fun package. Fun and easy to manual, wheelie and hop. A solid climber and confident descender. Geometry and sizing of the large felt perfect for me at 5'10.5". 28.2 lbs as pictured with 3" tires, an amazing feat.

    27.5+:
    On a FS bike – why? The reasons might be:
    1) You like how it feels enough that the added rotating mass and bike weight is worth it.
    2) You want to descend steeper terrain and want the added traction that makes it easier.
    2) You want to ascend more technical terrain, and are willing/able to push the pedals harder.

    Plus tires are not for me. Up to 2.4 on the right rim that you can air down some covers my needs and wants from the most tech riding to flat bikepacking. A plus tire to me feels imprecise, a little noodly and sort of like a toy. No more confidence inspiring on tech DH that a 2.35, IMO. In some cases less. By the day's end the toll of the big meats was obvious – not what we need around the Santa Anas. Not interested in plus tires for any future hardtail projects. Don't want the capability in a frame, don't want Boost. For me there is no reason to ride plus tires. I will, however, try again with this bike.

    Eagle XO 12-sp drive worked as promised. I definitely need a normal granny gear to turn 3" tires, vs my 10-sp drive on my 2.3-tired Czar.

    This might be a great bike for some. It's a great execution of what it is/does. Plus capability kills it for me, and it's really just too much bike for the SAs IMO. The Tallboy is no doubt much better suited for around here. I'm much happier with my Czar and will be psyched to get it back. I felt like I was dragging an anchor today.
     
  2. UPSed

    UPSed iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Edward Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO Plus
    I am digging my plus bike. Yes it is overkill for a lot of the stuff I ride but it is also perfect for most of the stuff I ride. Where it shines is the chunky downhill. It seems to float across the top of everything. I would still like to try it as a 29er just because it's capable of doing so.
     
    DangerDirtyD, MattB, mtnbikej and 6 others like this.
  3. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Roger!

    The chunk on Joplin in the first rocky stretch is really rowdy right now, not getting cleaned by very many riders, and the plus tires felt more confident there than my 2.35s would. (So my previous comment about DH confidence needs to be asterisked.) But that terrain represents less than 1% of my ride today, and the benefit I got in those rocks was in no way worth the effort of dragging those tires over the mountain. I'll posit that anything I can ride with a plus tire I can ride with a 2.35. It might take more effort, yes.
     
    MattB, mtnbikej, Faust29 and 2 others like this.
  4. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    '15 Intense Tracer 275c DVOish
    Thanks @mike
    From what I have read about + sized tires is there is a razor thin line between great performance and horrible performance. To wit - a plus size tire will be very heavy or very fragile compared to a 2.35-2.40. Also, the inflation range is down to the 1/2 psi level. A little too much and you're riding a bouncing ball, a little too little, and you are riding through squirmy molasses. Regardless of how you slice it, you will expend far more energy propelling the tires around than either the narrower/lighter 27.5s or (especially) a narrower, taller 29er.

    That said, I try not to cast aspersions until I have tried something, and I have not tried + sized tires. People love them.
     
    RS VR6, mike, UPSed and 1 other person like this.
  5. riiz

    riiz Member

    Location:
    Redlands, CA
    Name:
    Eric
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Heckler/Killmaleon
    I half agree with your first statement. I've been playing with 27.5+ for about year and come to hate and love it at the same time. If I used a true 3.0" tire, the correct pressure is very temperamental like you stated, but their volume is amazing for traction and float, but not so much when slogging them up hill or to a trail head. But on the other hand, 2.8" tires have been a much better experience and seem to tame some of the negatives like weight and rolling resistance but dont lose much in terms of traction. They have a better ratio of volume to casing strength and dont feel like a noodle on fast decents.
     
    Runs with Scissors, mike and herzalot like this.
  6. RS VR6

    RS VR6 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Valencia/Simi
    Name:
    Lee
    Current Bike:
    Banshee Shartfire/Chiner 29r
    This is what I have found with + tires. My GF got a Stumpjumper 6Fattie and I got to spend some good time on it. The air pressure has to be dialed. If not...you'll either be squirming or bouncing off everything you hit. Once dialed...it does feel like pillows over chunk. For her its the extra bit of confidence she gets from the mega traction you get from the width and low pressure. The good does come with the bad. The big tires do feel like they have a lot more drag. I can feel the bike losing momentum faster compared to my Banshee and feeling like mud compared to my 20lb HT. She does tell me that it feels like a lot more work to move the big tires. If we're doing a ride that's all fireroad...she'll bring her HT 29r.

    I did PR the second section of Pinos without even realizing it on the 6F though:cautious:. Confidence is the name of the game with plus. You feel like you can roll anything with the big tires.:thumbsup:

    We've got a pair of i39 asym carbon hoops gathering dust in the garage...just waiting for her to pick the hub color.:rolleyes:
     
    herzalot, Cyclotourist and mike like this.
  7. pachaven

    pachaven Member

    Location:
    Laguna Hills
    Name:
    Mark
    Current Bike:
    A bunch of them!!!
    I could use some help. I have the HighTower with the 29er wheels right now. I'm waiting for the new 27 wheels to arrive any day. What tires should I try first @riiz and what are you using now? Thanks
     
  8. levity

    levity Member

    Location:
    Irvine
    Name:
    Larry
    Current Bike:
    Stumpy
    @mike - You said that the Hightower you rode had 3" tires. I can't read the size in your photo, but I was not aware Maxis made a 27.5x3.0 Rekon. Were these actually 27.5x2.6 Reckons or 27.5x2.8 Reckon+ tires? I'm currently running 2.8 Rekons but would be very interested if a 27.5x3.0 was available (perhaps OEM only?). Word is that a 29x2.6 Rekon will be available later this spring.

    @pachaven - I was able to squeeze a 27.5x3.0 Purgatory (14psi on a 38mm inner width rim) into the back of a Hightower at the shop, but there was too little clearance to ride it safely. There was only about 2mm on the drive side and ~3mm non-drive as measured by sliding a hex key between the tire and stays. A 27.5x2.8 Rekon should fit fine since is only measures 2.65-2.75" on rims less than 40mm wide.

    general comment: Plus tires (even standard tires on wider rims) can be sneaky fast. Because the ride is smoother you may not appreciate your speed. Analogous to the way loud pipes make a moto seem faster, skinny tires can make a pedal bike seem faster due to the way you're getting bounced around. Lots of folks have found that their times are faster on larger volume tires, similar to how @RS VR6 set a surprising PR on the 6Fattie. Being able to brake later and harder on larger tires also helps up the average speed.
     
    Cyclotourist, herzalot, kioti and 2 others like this.
  9. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    @levity: Thanks for the reality check! They're 2.8. :confused:
     
  10. riiz

    riiz Member

    Location:
    Redlands, CA
    Name:
    Eric
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Heckler/Killmaleon
    I went back to 29, but did like WTB's Ranger 2.8 and the Maxxis' Rekons for a while.
     
    pachaven and littlewave like this.
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