Is Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01 A Great Bike? [2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01 Review]

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Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01

  • RRP: $8,649
  • Travel:100mm front
  • Frame: Carbon
  • Fork: RockShox SID SL Ultimate Compatible with 100-120mm
  • Wheels: 29″ Carbon
  • Drivetrain: 1 × 12 Electronic
  • Brakes: Hydraulic Disc

What we like about it: You’ll have a high-end hardtail bike with 1×12 electronic drive technology to back you up with more power. Vacation VPP suspension technology with a 100mm high-performance shock-absorbing fork allows you to ride further. The hybrid wheelset setup makes for more adventure and more fun.

What we don’t like about it: The noodle’s multi high-end components can’t compromise on price.

Rating (4.8/5)


Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01

The Highball is Santa Cruz’s relaunched hardtail racer, and you can feel its intuitive appeal at first glance.

As a world-class racer with more awards, the longer HIGHBALL X01 AXS with 100mm travel fork is the secret to his efficient handling of bumps.

Combination Front: Maxxis Aspen, 29 “x2.4, rear: Maxxis Aspen, 29 “x2.35, hybrid wheelset, able to adapt to more terrain overlays.

SRAM GX 1×12 electronic drivetrain provides more power support.

SRAM Level TLM hydraulic disc brakes to assist you in speed descending will not give you more worries.

I think Highball has a hard-tail heart, but he is so much more than that. highball can bring you more glory with his performance on the field as well.

Climbing Performance

Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01

As the vast majority of riders do, it makes no sense to not be the first to bring a hardtail to a climbing race. My choice for this trial was a nearby piece of wild forest road that is remote but also well-known in rider circles. So you’ll observe that although the weather has been dry lately, it hasn’t left too many ruts.

But in the face of weeds, slabs, and gravel, I couldn’t help but feel a boil of a challenge for Santa Cruz Highball.

Built around a 27.2mm diameter seat post, the whole package combines to take the “hard” out of hardtail riding.

That’s why you can climb efficiently and quickly. Plus, combined with Santa Cruz’s best hybrid wheelset. Maxxis Aspen, 29 “x2.4WT, rear: Maxxis Aspen, 29 “x2.35, you’ll feel the distinct sharpness produced by the rear tire. The lighter and stronger CC carbon body is undaunted in the face of weed wrap. It also provides me with unparalleled lightness.

The SRAM X1 Eagle 1×12 electronic drivetrain saved more sweat as we climbed. Compared to traditional mechanical shifting, I was riding this climbing forest road with an approximate distance of 18 miles, and our endurance was a bit lacking. But the electronic speed transfer is more sensitive and efficient, with lighter shifting and a more ergonomic compact lever shape. It feels more grippy in the hand.


I thought 100mm of travel was adequate when I saw the near-floating grind over these raised obstacles in the ground. I did not feel frequent squeezing from the ground. In addition, the huge dropper further aids in the damping process.

I felt the efficient running of the Santa Cruz Highball compared to the letdown of the soft-tail. But that doesn’t mean it’s more comfortable than the soft-tail. As I consumed three full-size water bottles, I was nearing the end of this test. Stopping the body easily, the SRAM braking stopped as it always does. An honest statement: the Santa Cruz Highball will be more composed and will ride farther than most XC racing rigs.

General Riding

Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01

Because of my thoughtfulness, I will give due consideration to the feelings of some beginners. In addition to testing, I drove the Santa Cruz Highball into the terrain overlapping the natural roads of the mountains, wading through shallow, flowing water trails, muddy country roads, and countryside brick-lined trails.

I have to say that with the comfortable free ride, the 76.6° seat tube angle soothed me. 100mm of travel combined with the huge dropper even though I rode over this bumpy section similar to the classics, I didn’t feel the frequent swaying from side to side. It was a further aid to damping.

In addition, the hybrid Maxxis Aspen 29″x 2.4(front) and Maxxis Aspen 29″x 2.35(rear), has a consistent grip output even on muddy country trails. You can also be more confident when cornering and diving to the inside. For acceleration options, even less elaboration is needed. Compared to the exaggerated 3″ tires, I think the air resistance reaches a balance.

In addition, the lightweight body with a gentle head tube angle (64.5°) allows for more effortless pedaling when making acceleration. With the birdsong of the countryside, I adjusted the SRAM X1 Eagle 1×12 electronic drivetrain to the right gears and ended the test with a gorgeous flight. Honestly, I think it’s also a casual stroller for Santa Cruz highball.

Main Features


Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01

The lifetime warranty comes standard with a CC carbon body. The fine-tuned carbon layup process and the low-angle are largely tuned in material and geometry. For example, a bridgeless seat stays join the seat tube below the top tube junction to curb trail chatter.

Built around a 27.2mm diameter seat post, the whole package combines to take the “hard” out of hardtail riding. You can take the Santa Cruz Highball to the races, and it’s good enough to lead the pack on the track.

With a freer frame design, with a capacity for three bottle cages, and the ever-reliable threaded BB, you’ll get a hardtail XC that rivals enduro bikes.


The Santa Cruz Highball is a true hardtail! The steep seat tube angle (73.0°) keeps the rider’s center of gravity in a balanced position. The right combination of reach (450mm) allows for as much arm stretch as possible, reducing fatigue and making the ride incredibly free. You’re as relaxed as if you were riding a road bike, and not only that, but it makes the sustained output of climbing even easier.

The M-size wheelbase of 1140mm doesn’t seem too long, but more suitable for every driver. So you can drive this car very snugly for race preparation. In addition, with the head tube angle (69.5°) value, I see more possibilities for steering response. Even difficult descents become easier to deal with, except you need to ignore the shock without the rear guts. Combined with the 426mm rear fork to improve stability in the face of harsh terrain, the ride becomes more controllable.

Components and Specifications

Maxxis Aspen 29 “x2.4(front), Maxxis Aspen 29 “x2.35(Rear), Mixed Wheelset

If you’re familiar with Santa Cruz, you’re more than familiar with its hybrid wheelsets. Santa Cruz is very fond of tire mixing and matching, such as this Santa Cruz HIGHBALL, which is capable of riding with the full efficiency that belongs to XC. The classic 29-inch wheelset has enough roll rate to find the ground faster than the rider. You don’t need to output more sweat on the pedals, compared to the smaller 27.5-inch tires.

The sharper 2.35″ rear tire will allow you to make fast and sudden bounces, as well as agile tracking for steering. Underneath the deep and rough tread, there is a steady heart that allows you to slip through the mud without fear. 3C’s characteristics also excel in puncture resistance, so you can brutally crush even the hidden sharp branches in the forest road.

SRAM X1 Eagle 1×12 Electronic Drivetrain

Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01

What is the first thing we look at when buying a bike? When Santa Cruz HIGHBALL was equipped with SRAM X1 Eagle 1×12 electronic drive combination SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 148 DUB 32t crank technology, I already started to think about the madness of riding.

Although the 1×12’s gear range is not as rich, the more dense gear ratios allow us to provide enough power support when climbing. Compared to the more flashy competitors, I think it wins at Akagi. If you’re climbing, you’ll feel a tendency for the physical output to show a saving, allowing us to provide enough confidence when riding longer sections.

In addition, the risk of dropping the chain on most rumored 1× drives has long been eliminated by SRAM’s signature technology. So all you need to feel when shifting is a fast, seamless shift.

SRAM Level TLM Hydraulic Disc Brake

Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01

For braking, there are often two extremes. Either they are not taken seriously at all, or they are considered the soul of the car. In my opinion, braking must be appropriate, whether it is mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes.

From the actual evaluation experience, hydraulic disc brakes are relatively faster, more sensitive, and more expensive. In addition, SRAM Level TLM hydraulic disc brakes provide another step up in braking power with a sturdy brake lever design that provides extra support for intense riding. In some muddy, slippery moss or sharp turns, you have to take more effective measures, and better braking will certainly provide you with more confidence.

Other Versions Of Santa Cruz HIGHBALL

Other Versions Of Santa Cruz HIGHBALL

2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL S

Comparing Santa Cruz HIGHBALL S can be explained in the following ways it releases nearly half of the price.

In terms of a more robust fork option carrying the same 100mm, the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL S opted for the RockShox SID SL Select fork. For longer-term riding, I think the RockShox SID SL Ultimate fork on the HIGHBALL X10 gives me more confidence. Also if you notice on the SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain combo SRAM Level TL brakes, HIGHBALL S has made concessions within the $4349 price frame.

Although the HIGHBALL X01 uses SRAM, it is not as superior as the updated HIGHBALL X10 version in terms of basic performance feel. What’s more, HIGHBALL X01 has the added benefit of an electronic drivetrain.

The wheelset is not a continuation of HIGHBALL’s hybrid wheelset, with a consistent 29″x 2.35″ front and rear, which is a conservative design. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, you can also go for the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL S. Although I think the HIGHBALL X01 is hard to beat.

2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL R

On this version of the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL R, a further friendly choice was made due to the price. So when we see the C carbon-fiber equipped RockShox SID fork and the SRAM NX Eagle with 12-speed SRAM T-rated brakes, we can understand that this is an adequate bike.

But from a race perspective, the HIGHBALL X01 is way ahead. Whether it’s the electronic drivetrain compared to the traditional mechanical drivetrain of the technology added, or the fork more robust to meet the ground blast and absorb vibration. You can’t take your eyes off the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01.

One interesting fact, however, is that Santa Cruz HIGHBALL R has a front travel value of 120mm. this means that Santa Cruz is more sincere at $3549.

In conclusion, the HIGHBALL is a typical hardtail that is hard to beat. However, the individual versions require you to make full consideration of actual riding and economy.

2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01 Specs

MaterialCarbon CCarbon C
ForkRockShox Sid, 120mmRockShox Sid SL Select+, 100mm w/Remote
Rear DerailleurSRAM NX Eagle, 12spdSRAM GX Eagle, 12spd
ShiftersSRAM NX Eagle, 12spdSRAM GX Eagle, 12spd
CranksetSRAM Stylo 148 DUB 34tSRAM GX Eagle 148 DUB 34t
CassetteSRAM PG1230, 12spd, 11-50tSRAM XG1275 Eagle, 12spd, 10-50t
Front DerailleurSRAM OneLocSRAM OneLoc
ChainSRAM NX Eagle, 12spdSRAM GX Eagle, 12spd
Bottom BracketSRAM DUB 68/73mm Threaded BBSRAM DUB 68/73mm Threaded BB
BrakesSRAM Level TSRAM Level TL
Brake RotorsAvid Centerline 160mmAvid Centerline 160mm
HeadsetCane Creek 10 IS Integrated HeadsetCane Creek 40 IS Integrated Headset
BarsRaceFace RideSRAM Atmos Flat Bar, 31.8×760
StemRaceFace AeffectSRAM Atmos 6k Stem, 70mm
GripsESI Chunky GripsESI Chunky Grips
Front HubSRAM MTH 716, 15×110, Torque Cap, 32hDT Swiss 370, 15×110, Torque Cap, 6 bolt, 28h
Rear HubSRAM MTH 746, 12×148, 32hDT Swiss 370, 12×148, XD, 28h
RimsRaceFace AR Offset 27 29″ RimsRaceFace AR Offset 27 29″ Rims
SpokesSapim RaceSapim Race
Front TireMaxxis Rekon Race 29 “x2.35”, EXO, TRMaxxis Rekon Race 29 “x2.35”, EXO, TR
Rear TireMaxxis Rekon Race 29 “x2.35”, EXO, TRMaxxis Rekon Race 29 “x2.35”, EXO, TR
TubesReserve Tubeless SealantReserve Tubeless Sealant
Seat PostRaceFace Ride, 27.2RaceFace Next, 27.2, 400mm
SaddleWTB Silverado Race SaddleWTB Silverado Medium CroMo

What we like about it?

  • A hardtail bike that leads the race track and puts your rivals out of reach.
  • CC carbon body, is more high-end, stronger, and lighter.
  • 100-120mm stroke, damping efficient and more comfortable.
  • Hybrid wheelset, classic 29″ with high rolling speed and more terrain.
  • 1x12spd electronic drivetrain, technology added, more powerful power support.
  • SRAM-rated hydraulic disc brakes provide stable braking even when the road is challenging.
  • Three water bottle holders to give enough physical support.
  • Reliable threaded BBs help challenge unfamiliar terrain.

What we don’t like about it?

  • Too little paint color selection.
  • Can’t compromise in front of the high price.


What is the tire size of the 2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01?

The 2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01 tire size is Front: Maxxis Aspen, 29 “x2.4WT Rear: Maxxis Aspen, 29 “x2.35, EXO, TR

What is the power drivetrain of the 2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01?

The 2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01 drivetrain is SRAM X01 Eagle, 1x12spd electronic drive

What is the brake on the 2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01?

The 2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01’s brake is SRAM Level TLM Hydraulic Disc

What is the recommended size for the 2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01?

SIZERider Height
S152 – 165 cm
M165 – 178cm
L178 – 185 cm
XL185 – 198 cm

Comparison Table

BicyclesPriceGearBrakesTiresClick view
Canyon Exceed CFR LTD$75991×12ElectronicSRAM Level UltimateHydraulic Disc 29×2.25″/ 29×2.35″Click view
Cannondale F-Si Hi-MOD 1$90001×12Shimano XTRHydraulic Disc29 x 2.25″Click view
Pivot LES SL Team XTR$83991×12Shimano XTR M9100 2-pistonHydraulic Disc29×2.4″Click view
Specialized S-Works Epic Hardtail$110001x12ElectronicSRAM Level Ultimate2-pistonHydraulic Disc29×2.35″Click view

2022 Canyon Exceed CFR LTD VS 2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01

2022 Canyon Exceed CFR LTD

In the performance of the Canyon Exceed CFR LTD, we appreciate the general excellence of the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01. That is the RockShox SID SL Ultimate fork with 100mm of travel and the SRAM X01 Eagle 1×12 electronic drive combination SRAM Level Ultimate hydraulic disc brake.

The whole bike’s components are almost at the peak of the hardtail series, and even in terms of weight, it has a super light feeling of 8.9 kg. Although its frame is not as superior as the CC carbon of the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01. And when we ride for real, and regardless of the inability to do so Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01’s unique VPP technology makes riding easier and smarter.

Based on my riding experience alone, the Canyon Exceed CFR LTD seat tube angle of 75.0 makes for a more upright position though. However, when facing rising terrain, it requires more assistance than the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01. Also on the bike, it is more compact due to the 1,123mm wheelbase.

Although it maintains the same travel value as the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01, I feel that the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01 is more efficient in terms of vibration dampening. What’s more, the combination of a low-angle, non-bridged rear fork with a seat tube attached below the top tube connection can suppress tail track chatter even more.

2022 Cannondale F-Si Hi-MOD 1 VS 2022 Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01

2022 Cannondale F-Si Hi-MOD 1

I think compared to the 2022 Cannondale F-Si Hi-MOD 1, Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01Think more. Even at the high price, it doesn’t feel flashy.

Cannondale F-Si Hi-MOD 1 still uses the traditional 1×12 tradition, without making an electronic version of the upgrade. Although this is more insurance, from the feeling of riding, I think more technology-enhanced electronic drivetrain speed adjustment is more convenient. It also saves more time. Efficient and neat.

In addition, the choice of the wheelset is still moderate, with a consistent front and rear design that is a bit boring for a year-round rider like me. And, if you notice the hybrid design of the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01 front and rear wheelsets, you will understand what I mean about the efficiency of dealing with stacked terrain. In addition, the 100mm of travel is a tie with the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01. Although it doesn’t have the CC carbon, it’s also at the top end in terms of material.

Taken together, the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01 will be more cleverly designed and more confident.

2022 Pivot LES SL Team XTR vs Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01

2022 Pivot LES SL Team XTR

Although the Pivot LES SL Team XTR and Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01 are in the same price range. However, I would prefer the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01 in terms of the ingenuity of the components.

Equipped with a 1×12 electronic drivetrain will be faster and easier than a mechanical drivetrain, according to official statistics will reduce the response time by 25%.

In addition, the more hybrid 29″ x 2.4/2.35″ tire design can handle more stacked terrain. I couldn’t have felt more fresh against the conservative 29″ x 2.4″ front-to-rear consistent wheelset design of the Pivot LES SL Team XTR.

And note Santa Cruz’s exclusive VPP suspension design, which handles bumps more intelligently and efficiently. While both have a travel number in the 100mm range. In addition, SRAM hydraulic disc brakes paired with a longer standover height allow you to ride safely or come to a sudden stop.

So from the perspective of choosing the best of the best, I would prefer the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01.

Learn more : Is Canyon Stoic 2 Worth Buying? [2022 Canyon Stoic 2 Review]

2022 Specialized S-Works Epic Hardtail vs Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01

ialized S-Works Epic Hardtail

The higher-priced Specialized S-Works Epic Hardtail is even more conservative in design. The RockShox SID SL Ultimate fork comes with 100mm of travel, a 1×12 electronic drivetrain, and SRAM hydraulic disc brakes. It’s almost a continuation of the hardtail standard.

On the contrary, the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01 has chosen to mix and match important wheelsets to cope with the terrain more efficiently. The unique VPP suspension technology allows for the best damping performance. And with all the important geometry values, we see that the difference between the two is not too big. So I’m riding both from a seated pedaling position and from the frame geometry that absorbs vibrations.

I can’t make a choice on which one gets more lift. But if you’re like me and lean more towards clever design thinking, I think you could try the Santa Cruz HIGHBALL X01.

In case, the above comments are helpful to you, please remember to share the subscription. Have a great day!

Learn More: 2022 Specialized Epic Hardtail Bike Review

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