Megatower Carbon R Complete Bike
Santa Cruz has been known for answering our wildest dreams with real-life bikes that hit the nail on the head, and the new Megatower Carbon R Complete Bike doesn’t fall short. This enduro-hungry steed satiates what we thought was a never ending craving for lofty rides with big wheels, offering us 160-millimeters of travel that’s eager to please, and quick-rolling wagon wheels to charge down precarious lines that gobble up and spit out smaller bikes. While the Hightower LT gave us the impression that it might fill the gap between a trail rig and DH dominator, we had some qualms with the idea of slapping a 150mm fork and new linkage on a Hightower front triangle, which left us with a tall bottom bracket, and slacker seat tube. Fortunately the Megatower zooms into modern geometry to give us the aggressive feel we want, demonstrating the prowess of designers at Santa Cruz once again.
When it comes to filling an appetite for enduro, it doesn’t surprise us that Santa Cruz has been cooking up a heavy-hitting 29er to add to their arsenal. Big wheels simply carry more speed in almost every riding situation, and with the modern geometry of today, these bikes are free to exploit their high-speed stability through chundery sections lined with old growth pines. Combined with the agile, nimble, and comfortable-in-the-air feel that you covet, you’ll find the recipe for an ideal endo race bike. This happens to be right where the Megatower lands, with some of the longest reach numbers, steepest seat tube angles, and longest wheelbases you’ll find from the firm’s headquarters, this trusty steed is one progressive 29er that begs to be let loose for berm blasting at warp speed.
We may just be speculating, but it seemed to us that the LT was a quick fix to get Santa Cruz’s riders competitive in the enduro races, so it’s natural that its followed by a beast of a bike that started its life as an enduro weapon from the ground up. The Megatower represents a two-year project that Santa Cruz’s designers dedicated to addressing the needs of bigger hitting enduro and trail riders. A trained eye will be able to spot the immediate similarities to the newer lower-link driven VPP design that we see on the Nomad, Bronson, and V10, which, when paired with a generous 160-millimeters of rear travel, you’ll find more linear suspension curve for increased sensitivity off the top of the stroke, and more traction and small-bump compliance under braking, while maintaining reliable mid-stroke support and bottom out progression. The revised suspension maintains the same efficient pedaling and climbing performance of previous generations of VPP while offering unprecedented, glued-to-the-trail grip, enabling you to push your limits with more confidence than ever. As an added bonus, the revised suspension design lets the bike play well with an array of different shocks from various brands as well as air or coil springs.
The Megatower tucks itself nicely into Santa Cruz’s lineup right in between the DH World Cup annihilating V10, and the venerable Nomad when it comes to rock-gobbling hairy lines on demanding trails, however, we think that’s just one facet of the story. Versatility is the name of the game in modern bikes, and while at first glance it appears to be a bike that’s just built for hard hits, unlike the V10, we would whole-heartily toss a leg over the Megatower on trails that challenge us with long climbs that make us earn our descents. This comes from the lively feel of VPP that offers a reliable pedaling platform, and a steep seat tube angle that keeps you neatly perched for moments when you need to hammer the pedals to power up root-latticed switchbacks that lead you to the tree line.
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. To contrast, the "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.
To keep your pocketbook in mind, Santa Cruz offers this particular Megatower with its standard carbon fiber, which weighs just a touch more than the top-tier CC carbon, but still matches its strength and durability, so you can save some of that cold hard cash for the rest of your setup. It’s paired with components that offer a 12-speed gear range, but at a fraction of the cost of XX1 Eagle. But don’t get the wrong impression, the bike is still equipped with a burly RockShox Super Deluxe Select rear shock to soak up drops-to-flat, and offer supple support when its time to get out of the saddle for a bit of a sprint through an aspen grove. 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.
- A long-travel 29er that demonstrates Santa Cruz's authority
- Long, slacker and low for enduro domination
- V10-inspired suspension design with a lower link-mounted shock
- Adjustable flip-chip provides high and low geometry settings
- 76 to 76.8-degree seat tube angle optimizes pedaling efficiency
- Carbon frame is light and stiff, with a smaller price tag
- Protective shuttle guard, downtube guards, and chainstay protector keeps things safe and quiet