Hightower LT link

The Hightower LT link stretches the capabilities of a really good all around bike even further. These changes to the leverage curve help the suspension absorb chatter even better while also soaking up large hits with ease. As a result, the bike tracks better and stays composed through big impacts. This creates a more confidence inspiring ride that can let you push as if you were on an enduro rig while still maintaining excellent climbing ability. For us, the bike is our go-to set up for big pedal days with big descents. The Hightower LT link also adds mid-stroke support, coupled with some slight geometry changes, lets the bike rail corners even better. Coupled with this link, the Hightower V2 is the perfect enduro race bike for all but the most gnarly locations (Whistler and such).

We have designed the Hightower LT link around the stock 210 x 52.5 mm shock so no changes are necessary to run it. A 55 mm stroke shock (160 mm of travel) can be run if desired, but for people with smaller frames or completely slammed seats tire buzz can be an issue. The link also increases the clearance between the shock and the top of the shock tunnel. This is one of the tightest spots when fitting a coil with the stock link. Increasing clearance here allows coils to fit more comfortably and makes the shock tunnel width the only limiting factor in coil size. Because the Hightower uses a short stroke shock, the required spring rate to avoid harsh bottom outs results in very little sag with the stock link. By increasing the progression and raising the initial leverage ratio the suspension sags properly with the spring rate that’s needed to not bottom out harshly. With this set up, whether or not coil is for you is your call.

The Hightower LT link improves descending performance noticeably with an air shock as well so for a lot of riders the the air shock is the way to go. In fact the air shock is our choice with this link for our local trails.

Hightower Leverage Curves
  • Travel: 150 mm (with stock shock)
  • +5 mm chainstay length
  • Air and coil compatible
  • Sealed Enduro MAX bearings
  • Increased clearance between shock and top of shock tunnel (helps clear coil shocks)
  • 8 mm x 30 mm eyelet spacing
  • 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Colors: black, silver, red

Set Up FAQs

What we recommend largely depends on how you intend to use the bike. If you’re riding terrain with lots of big hits and G-outs we recommend running an air shock. If your thing is more natural terrain and your priority is grip and you’re subjecting the bike to really large impacts then a coil is hard to beat.

All our recommended spring rates and air pressures are set to sag around 30% while also increasing bottom out resistance over the stock set up. For increased bottom out resistance starting with the recommended shock settings is a good starting point. If you find yourself wanting even more try adding four clicks of LSC. If that’s still not getting you there installing the Megneg is a great option. If you are running 30% sag with the Megneg and can bottom it out easily your shock likely needs to be serviced.

With a coil spring you shouldn’t have to go below the recommended rate because it will be way more sensitive than the air shock to begin with. If you do decide you want it softer don’t go down in spring rate any more than 25 lbs (50 if you’re on a heavier spring). For air shocks you can safely run at 10 or 20 psi less than recommended and still have better bottom out resistance than with the stock link depending on what you weigh. If you are on the heavier end you can generally decrease air pressure a little more relative the the recommended.

The BB is 2.5 mm lower than it is in the low setting with the stock link. This makes the bike feel even more stable than before. With sag properly set pedal strike haven’t proven to be an issue. If you find you are having a lot of pedal strikes double check your shock settings.

Longer chainstays will make the bike more stable at speed especially through rough terrain. They also make it harder to wheelie out while climbing. However, at +5 mm the added chainstay length won’t be noticeable unless you think specifically about it while riding. Contrary to popular belief they actually can help with cornering by distributing a little more weight to the front wheel.

There is not a grease port on this link. We have found that by the time the bearings need greasing they also usually need to be replaced. We chose to go with sealed Enduro MAX bearings and forgo the grease port because the bearings will last longer in harsh conditions. The bearings are the same size so you can still use the Santa Cruz lifetime bearing replacements, but they just won’t be sealed.

Recommended Spring Rates and Pressures

Rider WeightSpring RateAir Pressure
100 lbs (45.5 kg)350 lbs105 psi
120 lbs (54.4 kg)400 lbs130 psi
140 lbs (63.5 kg)475 lbs160 psi
160 lbs (72.6 kg)550 lbs*180 psi
180 lbs (81.8 kg)600 lbs*200 psi
200 lbs (90.7 kg)650 lbs* 230 psi
220 lbs (99.8 kg)700 lbs*250 psi
240 lbs (108.8 kg)275 psi
260 lbs (117.9 kg)300 psi
280 lbs (127 kg)325 psi

*Note that the largest size spring we can recommend running is a 500 lb Fox SLS spring (52.5 mm OD). Plenty of frames out there can fit a larger spring than this, but because of the variation we’ve seen between frames, a 52.5 mm OD spring is the largest that will fit any frame. If you are interested in running a coil and need a larger OD spring make sure to check the clearance between the spring and the drive side of the shock tunnel. This is where the fit is tightest.