The Santa Cruz Hightower is a close contemporary to the Delano Peak as far as geometry and intended use goes. The Hightower has a little more rear travel – 140mm vs. the Fezarri’s 135, but both bikes come with a 150mm fork. The Fezzari has a 65-degree head, just .2 degrees slacker than the Santa Cruz.
The Fezzari wins the seat angle war, but the Highower’s slightly shorter front center means that both bikes feel pretty similar when during seated pedaling. When it comes to efficiency, the Hightower feels a little calmer during hard climbing efforts, although neither bike feels like its sapping away too much energy on the climbs.
On the descents, the Hightower does a better job of handling bigger hits and remaining calm in rough terrain, due in part to the stiffer frame and the lower center of gravity. The Delano Peak starts to falter earlier than the Hightower – I felt like I was reaching its limit sooner than I did on the Hightower.
One area where the Hightower can’t touch the Fezzari is the price – it’s almost $1,000 more to purchase a similarly spec’d Santa Cruz.
While we’re comparing bikes, let’s toss the new Commencal TR into the mix. I’ve been able to ride the two bikes back to back, an exercise that makes it immediately clear that they don’t really fit into the same category. I’d happily take the Meta TR into a bike park, to the starting line of an enduro race, or on a day of shuttling. With the Delano, I’d be more likely to grab it for a big trail ride, or for slower speed, techy adventures. The Meta was built for high-speed charging, while the Delano doesn’t mind if you feel like taking it easy on an after-work cruise.