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  1. #1
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    Santa Cruz Hightower XXL: Handlebar height question

    I'm considering buying an xxl hightower but I'm concerned about handlebar height relative to seat height. My pubic bone height is 35.5 inches and I'm wondering what it's going to take to get the bars level with the seat and if that's even possible. Anyone have experience with this bike and/or this issue? Solutions? I see a riser bar in my future but is that going to be enough?

  2. #2
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    Having the bars that high is a challenge on any bike. First thing is bumping the fork up 10mm to a 150. Next is adding 30mm of spacers under the stem with a riser stem. 30-40 is max for most forks. Next would be a 30mm+ riser bar. you will still be about 20mm below your saddle.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipHalpern View Post
    I'm considering buying an xxl hightower but I'm concerned about handlebar height relative to seat height. My pubic bone height is 35.5 inches and I'm wondering what it's going to take to get the bars level with the seat and if that's even possible. Anyone have experience with this bike and/or this issue? Solutions? I see a riser bar in my future but is that going to be enough?
    Philip - why do you want your bars level with your saddle? This typically works ok for shorter folks but for us taller guys a bit of a drop tends to work well. Everybody can tolerate different amounts of drop though, so maybe your body doesn't allow for it, but don't assume level bars and saddle are ideal.

    I'm 6-4, 37" cycling inseam and have a good 3-4 inch drop. I ride a XL Santa Cruz, flat bars, 0 degree stem.

  4. #4
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    I have a long drop on my xxl fuel ex8. It seems natural for me.

    47" seat 43 3/4" handlebars. 27.5mm riser bars.

  5. #5
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    Are you really young? I'm 53 and I've found that my desire for higher bars correlates to my deepening resentment of the toll gravity takes on aging bodies.

    I find that when I drop my seat an inch or two for, say, a winding, paved descent, my current bike feels better than when the seat is all the way up.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipHalpern View Post
    Are you really young? I'm 53 and I've found that my desire for higher bars correlates to my deepening resentment of the toll gravity takes on aging bodies.

    I find that when I drop my seat an inch or two for, say, a winding, paved descent, my current bike feels better than when the seat is all the way up.
    43.

    I feel like if my legs aren't almost straight on full extension, I'm losing power.

  7. #7
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    6'4" here. Taller folks come with longer arms (usually) and that can allow for drop.

    I stopped buying Santa Cruz due to their low stack heights. I now ride a camber by specialized which is about an inch taller in the Stack. I loved SC otherwise. My wife has a new TB that came with 0-rise carbon bars. She has about 40mm of spacers. I will be getting some riser bars to bring her up a little more.

  8. #8
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    Im 64.5 with a 36 inseam riding an XXL Hightower LT with a Fox 36 at 150mm, 60mm 6 degree stem, 16mm stack under the stem and 46mm Enve riser bars. My bars are 1.75 below my saddle unsagged. You should easily be able to get your bars at the same height as your seat with a new uncut steer tube fork. That being said, I experimented with all kinds of bar positions and found the handling really suffered when the bars were near my seat height.

    I've found the Hightower to be happiest when driven hard. It demands the rider be in an aggressive, crouched position. The bike fights me if I'm feeling tired or off my game. This was made worse when the bars were too high.

  9. #9
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    So I settled on the xxl Santa Cruz Tallboy and, as expected, I need to jack up the bars as much as possible. Diety makes an 80mm riser bar; does anyone have experience running a 50-80mm bar on an XC/Trail bike like this and if so, how has it worked for you? Is it necessary to super-tighten the stem so the bar doesn't rotate?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipHalpern View Post
    So I settled on the xxl Santa Cruz Tallboy and, as expected, I need to jack up the bars as much as possible. Diety makes an 80mm riser bar; does anyone have experience running a 50-80mm bar on an XC/Trail bike like this and if so, how has it worked for you? Is it necessary to super-tighten the stem so the bar doesn't rotate?
    You could also get a few more CM's with increasing fork travel. My wife's Carbon TB came with Flat bars (Dumb) and a 120mm travel. That bike could just about handle 140mm.

  11. #11
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    I am 6'3 but a little more leg that arm... so I also need to run the grips fairly close to the seat height on my bikes so I feel in the bike vs perched on top. My first full real mountain bike was a Cannondale Prophet with Lefty.... the head tube length was the same for the small through XL (pretty sure the stack was almost identical as well) and no steerer tube to add spacers. I ran a about 2 inch riser bar and had no issues with them rolling in the stem.... oversized bars and 4 bolt stems hold really well, do not think its an issue anymore like it was with thinner bars and 2 bolt stems.

    shorter stem helps get you more upright, the back sweep and width of the bars also has an effect.

    total shot in the dark but do you wear glasses? and is it neck pain that makes you want higher bars? sounds weird but with glasses on I need to crane my neck more to look up/further down the trail without looking over the lenses with my eyes. ( hard to explain ) Anyway with contacts and I assume with close fitting sports glasses you can use your eyeballs more and not need to bend you neck as much... I dropped 10mm of spacers from my stack going with contacts.

    I will never understand why bike manufacturers cut the darn steerer tubes on new bikes, so easy to cut after you find your sweet spot impossible to make longer

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipHalpern View Post
    So I settled on the xxl Santa Cruz Tallboy and, as expected, I need to jack up the bars as much as possible. Diety makes an 80mm riser bar; does anyone have experience running a 50-80mm bar on an XC/Trail bike like this and if so, how has it worked for you? Is it necessary to super-tighten the stem so the bar doesn't rotate?

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