2019 Santa Cruz Hightower 135ml versus 2019 Trek fuel 9.9- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    2019 Santa Cruz Hightower 135ml versus 2019 Trek fuel 9.9

    I own a Trek fuel 29 inch 2015, 9.9. Been very happy with that except keen on the shorter chainstays and 34 fork that came out one year later. Also the head angle has gone slacker in more recent models. Looking to upgrade. Ride technical trail with a lot of climbing were I live. Don't need the full enduro bike hence looking at the 130-135ml travel option. More likely to roll something than launch. 55 years old and get out a couple of times a week. Not a fan of the bontanger dropper post on the Fuel, even the custom build does not offer another option.
    I am 5'9" and 77kg Will stick with the 29" version.

  2. #2
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    My dealer(manager) took back parts I didn't want to reduce the price as part of the deal we negotiated. 20% off anything they ordered for me going forward.

  3. #3
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    I have a Hightower, and can not explain how much I love that bike. Pedals really well, and letís me get away with doing some really stupid stuff on the way down.

    I had a 2016 fuel ex 9 29, and the difference between it and the Hightower was quite vast. You had to use the shocks pedal platform, and it didnít seem as comfortable going down. I havenít ridden the newest fuel ex, so I canít tell you if theyíve resolved those issues.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by unrealityshow View Post
    I have a Hightower, and can not explain how much I love that bike. Pedals really well, and letís me get away with doing some really stupid stuff on the way down.

    I had a 2016 fuel ex 9 29, and the difference between it and the Hightower was quite vast. You had to use the shocks pedal platform, and it didnít seem as comfortable going down. I havenít ridden the newest fuel ex, so I canít tell you if theyíve resolved those issues.
    Just got a Hightower this Fall myself and I have to say that I love it too - running it as a 29er. I am also more of a 'keep my wheels on the ground' sort of person, although the suspension of the Hightower does inspire air time for sure. The most surprising thing for me is how efficient this VPP suspension is. I've cleared some technical climbs with this bike that I haven't cleared for several seasons on my Epic, and I am in far worse condition now. I've read that the VPP design has a lot of pedal feedback designed into it, but I can't say that it has been an issue for me. Coming from a several-years old Fox 34, the Fox 36 is pretty awe-inspiring as well.

    My only pseudo-complaint is the bottom bracket height - I am definitely getting some pedal strikes, although in all fairness many of them were poor judgement/not paying enough attention on my part. But I am running in the High chip setting which is recommended for the 27.5" version of the bike, and I am also going to be swapping in the 150mm air shaft to raise the bottom bracket a little more. Hopefully I will like the handling as much with the longer air shaft; if not I will take it back to 140mm.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SqueakyWheel73 View Post
    Just got a Hightower this Fall myself and I have to say that I love it too - running it as a 29er. I am also more of a 'keep my wheels on the ground' sort of person, although the suspension of the Hightower does inspire air time for sure. The most surprising thing for me is how efficient this VPP suspension is. I've cleared some technical climbs with this bike that I haven't cleared for several seasons on my Epic, and I am in far worse condition now. I've read that the VPP design has a lot of pedal feedback designed into it, but I can't say that it has been an issue for me. Coming from a several-years old Fox 34, the Fox 36 is pretty awe-inspiring as well.

    My only pseudo-complaint is the bottom bracket height - I am definitely getting some pedal strikes, although in all fairness many of them were poor judgement/not paying enough attention on my part. But I am running in the High chip setting which is recommended for the 27.5" version of the bike, and I am also going to be swapping in the 150mm air shaft to raise the bottom bracket a little more. Hopefully I will like the handling as much with the longer air shaft; if not I will take it back to 140mm.
    Thanks for the replies, much appreciated. Squeaky wheel are you reviewing the 135ml travel Hightower or the 150 ml version. I think there are a number of geometry differences between the two which would affect riding performance. I am specifically interested in the 135 ml version.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveL View Post
    Thanks for the replies, much appreciated. Squeaky wheel are you reviewing the 135ml travel Hightower or the 150 ml version. I think there are a number of geometry differences between the two which would affect riding performance. I am specifically interested in the 135 ml version.
    Iím reviewing the 135mm version (Hightower, not Hightower LT). I am just extending the travel on the Fox 36 from 140mm to 150mm to raise the bottom bracket a little more. For my trails and my riding style I think the LT is too much bike for me.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveL View Post
    I own a Trek fuel 29 inch 2015, 9.9. Been very happy with that except keen on the shorter chainstays and 34 fork that came out one year later. Also the head angle has gone slacker in more recent models. Looking to upgrade. Ride technical trail with a lot of climbing were I live. Don't need the full enduro bike hence looking at the 130-135ml travel option. More likely to roll something than launch. 55 years old and get out a couple of times a week. Not a fan of the bontanger dropper post on the Fuel, even the custom build does not offer another option.
    I am 5'9" and 77kg Will stick with the 29" version.
    @DaveL I'm in a similar situation. Same age, height, a couple less kgs I'm currently on a 2014 Trek Superfly. I'm looking at the Fuel EX 9.8, maybe the Yeti SB130, Santa Cruz High Tower, and open to others.

    What did you end up buying?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by biking virginia View Post
    @DaveL I'm in a similar situation. Same age, height, a couple less kgs I'm currently on a 2014 Trek Superfly. I'm looking at the Fuel EX 9.8, maybe the Yeti SB130, Santa Cruz High Tower, and open to others.

    What did you end up buying?
    Haven't bought yet. I have been following the posts re the release of the 2020 models over the next couple of months. Going to wait and see what changes are on offer before making a decision.

  9. #9
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    For my riding, I feel Trek hit the FEX sweet spot with the '16 model. I'm not a fan of the longer, lower, slacker, knock-block 2017 and later versions. The Hightower and Pivot 429Trail are two that I fancy...and maybe the Ibis Ripley.
    What, me worry?

  10. #10
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    Has the Stumpjumper ST been something youíve thought about? There seems to be so many good options out there.

  11. #11
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    I've been riding a 2016 Trek Fuel EX 7 that I upgraded to 1x11, added dropper, lighter Stans wheels, and Carbon bars. it has been a terrific bike. But...I have a trail I ride a few times a summer that has a lot of chunky softball-volleyball sized rocks that is TOO much for that Fuel. I wanted more travel and was seriously considering a newer Trek Fuel and a Trek Remedy.

    Ultimately I ended up building up a 2018 Santa Cruz Hightower as I couldn't pass on the deals currently available on the frame. I can't answer how it rides compared to my Fuel, but I am so excited to find out. Just need to melt a bunch of snow first. Can't wait!!

    But I really wanted to say I really liked my Fuel and my brother in law will thoroughly enjoy riding it for many more years. There are so many great bikes out there right now. Almost can't go wrong with any of them.

    FH

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firehawk54 View Post
    I've been riding a 2016 Trek Fuel EX 7 that I upgraded to 1x11, added dropper, lighter Stans wheels, and Carbon bars. it has been a terrific bike. But...I have a trail I ride a few times a summer that has a lot of chunky softball-volleyball sized rocks that is TOO much for that Fuel. I wanted more travel and was seriously considering a newer Trek Fuel and a Trek Remedy.

    Ultimately I ended up building up a 2018 Santa Cruz Hightower as I couldn't pass on the deals currently available on the frame. I can't answer how it rides compared to my Fuel, but I am so excited to find out. Just need to melt a bunch of snow first. Can't wait!!

    But I really wanted to say I really liked my Fuel and my brother in law will thoroughly enjoy riding it for many more years. There are so many great bikes out there right now. Almost can't go wrong with any of them.

    FH
    Several months in now and all I can say is this Hightower is AWESOME! Love it. Pedals better, inspires more confidence, easier to jump and roll over and what I never thought I would say....it climbs better, by a long ways. Sooo happy with this bike.

    Fuel was good, Hightower is in a totally different league.

    FH

  13. #13
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    I've been doing lots of reading and research for two friends who are looking to upgrade to carbon, FS bikes.

    Seems like the two front runners for the type of trails we ride are the SC Hightower and the Ibis Ripley.

  14. #14
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    The 2019 Hightower is at the top of my list post a on trail demo, however have yet to try the Pivot 429 Trail. When talking to people about those bikes riders use ďstiffĒ as a common adjective...any views on one vs the other HT vs 429? really torn on this so heading out for a parking lot trial tomorrow on both hopefully. The 3rd on my list is The Devinci Troy...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ribbs76 View Post
    The 2019 Hightower is at the top of my list post a on trail demo, however have yet to try the Pivot 429 Trail. When talking to people about those bikes riders use ďstiffĒ as a common adjective...any views on one vs the other HT vs 429? really torn on this so heading out for a parking lot trial tomorrow on both hopefully. The 3rd on my list is The Devinci Troy...
    I love the pedaling efficiency of the Hightower. Havenít ridden the others so I canít directly compare. But just by swapping tires I would have to guess that the HT is capable of being good for a wide range of trails. I like the fact that with the flip chip in the high position and running the fork at 150mm, the bottom
    Bracket height isnít too low.

  16. #16
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    Can you wait a few weeks for the new 2020 Fuel to drop?

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