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  1. #1
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    santa cruz hightower or rocky mountain instict

    hi peeps,
    looking into getting a new bike to replace my 2012 giant xtc 29er. ive done a few demos but not many around me. I had to travel 3 hours for the last demo. ive never rode either of the 2 bikes im looking at. santa cruz hightower and rocky mountain instinct. my local bike shops carry both these brands but don't have either to test ride. 1 reason I am worried about the instinct is the press fit bottom bracket. I would really like some input on how these compare in climbing, and playfulness. I would really like some peoples input please.

  2. #2
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    For both climbing and playfulness, I would vote RM. The hightower felt more like a plow to me. It plants well for downhills, but climbing ability wasn't great. Instinct is lighter, and a nice, well-rounded xc machine

  3. #3
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    I would't worry about the press fit bb. I've had 2 bikes with it, and zero issues. Too bad you can't sit on your choices to see what fits better. I had a blast on my HT demo.

  4. #4
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    Iíve owned numerous SC bikes, currently a Tallboy as my backup bike. Never owned a Hightower, but did a week-long demo. I recently did own an Instinct. You donít give info on what youíre looking for or where you ride. Iím in Phoenix.

    Between the two, Iíd personally choose the Hightower.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  5. #5
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    Sorry about lack of info. I live in central Illinois so not a ton of long climbs. Very tight singletrack with lots of switch backs. All trails around here have tons of roots. So I need something pretty nimble but gets over roots well on the climbs. Iím not opposed to 27.5 bikes but every time I ride them I have fun but am afraid Iíll miss the roll over of the 29er. This will be my only bike so I need it very versatile.

  6. #6
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    Iíve had some time riding both

    Instinct would probably suit what youíre looking for, itís an incredible bike


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  7. #7
    Rollin 29s
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    santa cruz hightower or rocky mountain instict

    I canít speak to the RM but rode a HT, and echo the statement about it not climbing well. It descends like a beast, but too slack ST angle makes the front end very light. Popping over rocks and roots on a steep climb made the front wheel lift up and I had to bail off the back on a climb I normally had no trouble with. I was very excited about that bike, but went a different direction after experiencing the poor climbing.


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    Last edited by isleblue65; 11-13-2018 at 05:20 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by isleblue65 View Post
    I canít speak to the RM but rode a HT, and echo the statement about it not climbing well. It descends like a beast, but too steep ST angle makes the front end very light. Popping over rocks and roots on a steep climb made the front wheel lift up and I had to bail off the back on a climb I normally had no trouble with. I was very excited about that bike, but went a different direction after experiencing the poor climbing.


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    if you dont mind me asking what direction did you go?

  9. #9
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    santa cruz hightower or rocky mountain instict

    Quote Originally Posted by jonod11 View Post
    if you dont mind me asking what direction did you go?
    Ibis Ripmo. Great climber and descender. Geometry sits you more upright with steep seat tube which puts your weight in front of the rear wheel, yet itís slack enough in the front that you can drop the post and descend steep technical terrain as confidently as any of the other bikes I demoed (Hightower, Tallboy, Davinci, Pivot Trail 429 and Ď19 Stumpjumper). Yet itís surprisingly playful and light feeling. I like it a lot!

    Also in my previous post I said that the Hightower had too steep of a seat tube angle. I meant too slack. It put my weight too far back over the rear wheel and unweighted the front. Iím also 6í4Ē, so had my post extended quite a lot. It may be better for shorter riders.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by isleblue65 View Post
    Ibis Ripmo. Great climber and descender. Geometry sits you more upright with steep seat tube which puts your weight in front of the rear wheel, yet itís slack enough in the front that you can drop the post and descend steep technical terrain as confidently as any of the other bikes I demoed (Hightower, Tallboy, Davinci, Pivot Trail 429 and Ď19 Stumpjumper). Yet itís surprisingly playful and light feeling. I like it a lot!

    Also in my previous post I said that the Hightower had too steep of a seat tube angle. I meant too slack. It put my weight too far back over the rear wheel and unweighted the front. Iím also 6í4Ē, so had my post extended quite a lot. It may be better for shorter riders.


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    I did do an ibis demo. Amazing bikes. I really wanted to like the ripmo more but for some reason I had a ton of pedal strikes. Rode mojo 3, Ripley, and hd4 on same trail with no pedal strikes. The mojo 3 was amazing but I donít think it will be good as a 1 bike do all.

  11. #11
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    santa cruz hightower or rocky mountain instict

    Quote Originally Posted by jonod11 View Post
    I did do an ibis demo. Amazing bikes. I really wanted to like the ripmo more but for some reason I had a ton of pedal strikes. Rode mojo 3, Ripley, and hd4 on same trail with no pedal strikes. The mojo 3 was amazing but I donít think it will be good as a 1 bike do all.
    I also got a fair bit more pedal strikes than on the Jet 9 I came from. Only the Davinci and Stumpjumper were worse.

    I also noticed that on the Ripmo I was blowing through the rear Fox Float Performance shock travel, and it was setup for my weight by my LBS. this is a common complaint on this forum and others about this shock on the Ripmo. The shock is rated for much higher pressures, so I pumped mine up and checked the sag until it was 25 to 30%, which was about 100psi higher than my LBS had it set. Now the o-ring never gets close to dropping off the bottom of the piston as it consistently did previously. Iím going to add a volume spacer as a more appropriate fix.

    I get far fewer pedal strikes now, in part because of the shock setup, and partly because Iíve unconsciously learned where my pedals are in relation to the terrain, and I move my feet or the bike to avoid high rocks and roots.

    The Ripmo BB feels lower than some others, but the overall performance far outweighs that, especially since it can be improved through proper shock setup IMHO.


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