For riders who are graduating to their first full-suspension bike or for those who prefer the feel of aluminum, the Hightower R Mountain Bike is among our top picks thanks to its incredible versatility. The 29in wheels carry momentum over jagged rocks and sandstone ledges, while Santa Cruz’s VPP rear linkage offers one of the most supportive pedaling platforms in the game. A 64. 2-degree head tube angle (in the low setting) provides a modern, slack feel for stability at speed without going over the top to retain an agile feel that dissects technical climbs and near-vertical descents with equal prowess. The Hightower boasts 145mm of lower-link VPP suspension that’s modeled after the longer travel bikes in the Santa Cruz line to provide a secure ride-feel that sits right in the sweet spot of the travel while descending. The most notable feature of VPP is its ability to stay high in the travel as we climb for an ultra-responsive pedaling platform that encourages us to get out of the saddle and attack technical uphill stacks of boulders. This particular build boasts an impressive value with a reliable NX Eagle groupset from SRAM for crisp shifting, and 4-piston G2 R brakes for reliable stopping power whether navigating Sedona’s slickrock slabs or Park City’s bike park trails. *Due to unprecedented demand in the global supply chain and the bike industry over the last 18 months, material weight and exact components are subject to change. We are working diligently to keep tech specs updated, and any adjustments will be minor. If you have any questions, reach out to a Gearhead by chatting online or calling 1-888-276-7130.