Megatower Carbon CC Air Bike Frame
If you live for speed and have a tendency to seek out the rowdiest descents you can find, a long travel 29er is the bike to have. With the way geometry and suspension have evolved over the past couple of years, these machines have have become unstoppable enduro weapons that are still comfortable and efficient enough to pedal all day on big rides. For quite some time the Hightower LT was Santa Cruz's most aggressive offering—a fantastic and versatile bike that excels on any terrain. But considering that it's essentially a beefed-up Hightower, the geometry wasn't exactly on par with the direction other heavy-hitting 29ers were going. Enter the Megatower Carbon CC Air Bike Frame, a bike that's built solely for going fast on steep and rugged terrain, providing the most aggressive riders with a brawler of a big wheel bike. This version of the Megatower frame comes with a Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate Air shock for a lively ride with a high degree of tunability, though the frame is also available with a Rockshox Super Deluxe Coil.
We carry a bunch of great mountain bikes from various brands and pretty much all of them have a heavy-hitting 29er in their arsenal, and for good reason. Big 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 gnar, while remaining agile and nimble, comfortable in the air, and 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 longest wheelbases we've seen come out of the firm's headquarters, this is one progressive 29er 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 ground up and represents a two-year project 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 bunch of different shocks from various brands as well as air or coil springs.
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, offering more 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.
This Megatower is built using Santa Cruz’s top tier CC carbon fiber construction, which has become legendary in the mountain bike world for class-leading durability. By using some of the highest quality, strongest raw materials available, Santa Cruz is able to make its CC level frames extremely lightweight while maintaining outstanding impact resistance, exceptional stiffness, and just the right amount of finely-tuned flex. Of course, balancing these factors requires true mastery of carbon fiber, and the design team at Santa Cruz has proven time and time again that their command of carbon fiber construction is unsurpassed in the bike industry. The result is a frame that will hold up to years of hard riding, will provide a comfortable ride, and will do so at a very competitive weight.
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 wide. 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.
- The burliest 29er yet from the folks at Santa Cruz
- 6.3-inches of travel lets you carry speed with confidence
- Lower link driven VPP platform is more supple and improves traction
- Slack head tube and long wheelbase improve stability
- Steep seat tube doesn't sacrifice pedaling and climbing
- Flip chip allows tweaking of the geometry and suspension kinematics
- Carbon CC frame offers strength, low weight, and great ride quality
- Super Deluxe Ultimate Air shock for lively, tunable performance