SANTA CRUZ BICYCLES Megatower Carbon S Air Mountain Bike
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MEGATOWER CARBON S AIR COMPLETE BIKE
Santa Cruz has a new, full-fledged 29er enduro rig that’s ready to launch a blitzkrieg attack on the most technical trails. The Megatower Carbon S Air Complete Bike represents a fantastic value and provides the self-sponsoring racer or aggressive trail rider a weapon to tame double black diamond runs with enough let in the bank to fund racing efforts and vacations. Its lower link driven VPP platform provides levels of traction we haven’t experienced from a big wheel bike from Santa Cruz before.
Our portfolio of bikes reveals so many great mountain bikes from various brands and pretty much all of them have a heavy-hitting 29er in their arsenal and for good reason. Wagon wheels simply carry more speed in almost every riding situation and with modern geometry, these bikes are free to exploit their high-speed stability through the chunder, while remaining agile and nimble, comfortable in the air, while still climbing with authority. If that sounds like a good recipe for an enduro race bike, you’d be exactly right and that’s exactly where the Megatower positions itself. With some of the longest reach numbers, steepest seat tube angles, and longer wheelbases we’ve seen come out of the firm’s headquarters, this is one progressive 29er and one that likes to get rowdy.
While the LT might have been a quick fix to get its sponsored riders competitive in enduro races, the Megatower started life as an enduro weapon built from the get-go as a purpose-built machine to address the needs of the modern enduro racer and big hit trail rider. Part of this has to do with its transition to a lower-link driven VPP design like the one found on the Nomad, Bronson, and V10. Besides it generous 160mm of rear travel, the lower-link VPP allows for a more linear suspension curve for increased sensitivity off the top of the stroke, more traction and better small-bump absorption, especially under braking, while retaining good mid-stroke support and smooth bottom out progression. The revised suspension maintains the same efficient pedaling and climbing performance of previous generations while offering unprecedented, glued to the trail grip, letting you push your limits with more confidence than ever. As an added bonus, the revised suspension design lets the bike play well with a number of different shocks from various brands as well as different spring mediums like the air that’s spec’d here or the plushness of a coil down the road if that’s your thing.
We would slot the Megatower in right between the DH World Cup winning V10 and its venerable Nomad as far as its capability on demanding trails, however, that’s only part of the story. It’s pretty damn versatile too. Sure, it likes to go fast and provides the security of a safety net at high speeds on technical trails, however, unlike the V10, and to a lesser extent, the Nomad, we would whole-heartily throw a leg over the Megatower at almost any trailhead we’ve visited as it can simply devour almost any terrain without hardly a weight or, thanks to its steep seat tube angle (76-76.8 degrees depending on size), pedaling penalty.
The Megatower possesses a flip chip for high and low geometry positions, but unlike flip chips on previous Santa Cruz machines, it’s not there to toggle between plus and 29er wheel sizes as we’ve seen in the past. Instead, it allows for just subtle tweaks to the bike’s geometry (head tube and seat tube angles and bottom bracket height alter by just 0.3-degrees and 3mm respectively between high and low positions) and slightly adjusts the kinematics of the VPP suspension platform. The bike is more linear in its “high” position, allowing you to utilize all the travel and have a slightly more agile bike on epic pedal fest across technical, natural terrain while its “low” setting is slightly more progressive, perfect for a bit of big hit bottom out resistance in the bike park and on burly shuttle runs. Furthermore, the chainstay length is adjustable by up to 10mm letting taller cyclists ride “between the wheels” or for those favoring the ultimate in stability during high speed runs, to position the rear wheel further back, lengthening the wheelbase. Those who want a nimbler ride or pedal on tighter singletrack can position the wheel more forward. The bike ships in the short position and nothing unusual is required for this setting. The brake mount is Post-Mount 180mm and includes an adaptor to work with the spec’d 200mm rotor size. Included with the bike is a special brake adaptor to adjust to the long setting. This setting only works with 200mm or larger rotors and includes the long derailleur hanger necessary for this further rearward position.
Lucky for all of us, one thing that hasn’t changed is Santa Cruz’s carbon construction, which is a good thing if you’re after the legendary strength and unwavering stiffness of their renowned carbon layups. This particular Megatower benefits from the Carbon C layup, which makes for a resoundingly stiff frame for swift acceleration and unflappable poise while pummeling across rough terrain. It’s backed by Santa Cruz’s excellent lifetime warranty, so you’ll have extra peace of mind while riding particularly fast on your favorite stretch of trail and shuttling downhill laps on the mountain pass.
The frame features include the now industry standard Boost spacing that improves wheel stiffness as well as frame strength. It’s designed for 1x drivetrains only with a max chainring size of 36 teeth and has ISCG-05 mounts for a bash guard and chain guide use. It only fits 29in wheels with a tire clearance up to 2.5 inches. Returning Santa Cruz frame favorites include the simple to install and easy to keep quiet 73mm threaded bottom bracket shell and tough frame protection pieces including a lower downtube protector, downtube shuttle guard, and the new, V10-derived chainstay protector that keeps your investment safe, looking like new, and quiet on the trails.
This S build gets a RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ shock out back and a reduced offset FOX 36 Float Performance fork for soaking up drops, square-edge rock slabs, and waterbar steps. SRAM’s GX Eagle 12-speed group offers the same wide range of gears as the pricer X01 and XX1 groups providing plenty of ratios for climbing and descending. Brakes also come from SRAM and are Code Rs bringing the big bike down from speed with plenty of power, modulation, and confidence thanks to its 4-pistons and 200mm rotors. The bike rolls on DT Swiss 370 hubs and Race Face ARC 30 rims plumping up the aptly spec’d Maxxis Minion rubber with durable EXO+ casing.
- Santa Cruz redefines the 29er enduro bike
- Aggressive geometry is slacker, lower, and longer than before
- Flip-chip tweaks the geometry and shock progression
- 160mm of VPP travel soaks up steep, rocky descents and big hits
- Carbon C frame is impressively stiff and saves cash
- Lower-link driven shock is more supple and offers better braking traction
- SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain offers a massive range of usable gears
- RockShox and FOX suspension offer adjustability for weight, riding style, and terrain
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