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Megatower Carbon CC X01 Eagle Air Complete Bike
It's been said that evolution improves the breed and when it comes to big hit 29-inch bikes, the all-new Megatower Carbon CC X01 Eagle Air Reserve Complete Bike from Santa Cruz might have hit the genetic jackpot. While the brand is quick to point out that it's not a complete replacement for the Hightower LT, it does represent a project that's built solely for stopping enduro clocks a tad faster and providing the most aggressive riders with and brawler of a big wheel bike. If you prefer a nimbler bike or ride tamer tails, we'd suggest still looking at the LT. Enduro racers or those wanting the most modern, up-to-date geometry and have the speed to exploit it, your new bike has arrived.
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 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, 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.
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. 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 X01 build gets a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate air shock out back and a reduced offset FOX 36 Float Performance Elite fork to soak up the big hits and trail chatter. SRAM's X01 Eagle 12-speed group fires off precise shifts and offers plenty of range on long fire road ascents as well as high-speed descents. SRAM also provides the Code RSC brakes hauling the bike down from speed with the power and confidence of 4-pistons and 200mm rotors. Rolling stock consists of Race Face ARC 30 rims plumping up the aptly spec'd Maxxis Minion rubber with EXO+ casing.
- Santa Cruz's most aggressive 29er for enduro and tech trails
- Carry more speed and confidence with 6.3 inches of travel
- Lower link driven VPP platform is super supple and improves traction
- Slack head tube and long wheelbase improve stability
- Steep seat tube doesn't sacrifice pedaling and climbing
- Excellent stiffness and lightweight on offer with the CC level carbon
- SRAM's Eagle X01 group offers smooth shifting and wide gearing
- Designed for aggressive riders and enduro racers wanting modern geo and more travel in a 29er format
- Item #SNZ00LJ
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
The Megatower sounds exactly like it feels. This thing is an absolute beast of a bike that just gets better and better the faster that you go. This bike is NOT for the feint hearted. If you are looking for a bike to bring out to your local races, to ride the bike park with while still being able to pedal or to just get really rowdy down your local secret spot, than the Megatower is the bike for you.
This bike does not like to go slow. I found that the bike was almost uncomfortable at lower speeds but as turned up the speed and threw some chunk at it, the bike seemed to settle down and feel right at home. The Megatower will absolutely go over whatever you throw at it, giving me the same confidence inspiring feeling going over rocks and roots that I get while riding my v10. Sharing the same rear triangle and VPP design as its bigger DH brother, it makes sense as to why the Megatower felt so unstoppable on the descents.
When it came to climbing, the seat tube angle and reach felt great for me in a Large size being just under 5'11. It was a very comfortable position for me, but the bike itself was just as much of a beast on the climbs as the descents, but not in a great way. Obviously, you wouldnt be looking at a Megatower if you were looking for the best do-it-all bike or a super efficient climber, but for what it can do on the descents, it does a decent job on the climbs and will hold its own.
If you're looking for next years most popular race bike, you've found it. And it will be for good reason. The Megatower was built to go fast and be able to eat up even the most gnarly trails that riders can throw at it.
Built For Speed
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
To get the obvious out of the way this bike is big and for how big it is it does climb relatively well. I would not expect this to replace your trail or XC rig if you enjoy PRing climbs and cruising descents. But at 170/160 this bike will climb up most trail rides relatively comfortably and with only a bit more labor.
As for the down this bike rides really well but it takes quite a bit of speed or chunk to really make the bike feel alive. I think if you are riding downhill bike parks or want to smash and grab rooty rocky sections this bike is awesome. But if you are more on the casual end of enduro riding I find this bike to be a bit much. I personally like a bit more poppy and playful feeling when I ride which I would say you don't get as much of out of the megatower. But if you plan on pointing it and rolling through whatever terrain comes by without getting bucked around the Megatower is great.
If you are only a quiver of one rider this may not be the best bike for general purpose riding unless you charge hard and spend a lot of time spinning lifts or riding park. But if you want a fun smash and grab bike to add to the quiver this bike is a riot in that category.
I'm 6'2" 175lbs with a 34" inseam. I have ridden both the L and XL comfortably. Overall though I think I would go L just to be able to move the bike around a bit more easily.
Big wheel fun
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
The Megatower, I know it seems that everyone I talk to is NOT in love with the name. They would tell me "I wouldn't buy that bike just based on the name". Well those people will be missing out! It will feel a bit laborous to get up the steep hill and you will wish for your XC bike for that climb. However once you have achieved the summit and the entire reason you purchased this or any long travel 29r for that matter will become apparaent.
The Megatower effortlessly gobbles up the rocks, roots, drops and quite simply would roll over your grandma without a second thought. Whatever I will say about the climbing it's the exact opposite now. The Megatower will turn on the flat loose sand, blow out a berm and quite simply loves to go fast downhill. The front of the bike is confidence inspiring and it will feel you could huck it into almost anything and get away with it. Two wheel drifiting into a berm no biggy run it in there.
I wasn't able to hit the bike park but did run it over a few jumps and in the air feels just as stable as it does on the ground.
Now on to the big question should you buy this bike hmmmmmmm.... Let's take a look at the check list shall we.
Racing Enduro - Love to smash the rocky and steep stuff - Doesn't care about the climb at all - Hitting the bike park and the trails - Just simply love saying MEGATOWER. If you answer yes to any of these it's the bike for you.
Now I know most of you won't have access to all the bikes that we have to ride and test so it boils down to this. I have been out smahsing this bike for the last few days and have had a great time on it, even set a KOM on Strava with it! However when it came time for a 2 hour climb up a techy trail with rocky steep climbs, step ups and cliff edges all for a 10 minute descent well I left the Megatower at home and took my Ripmo.
Incredibley Smooth Suspension
Light feeling for such a big bike
Able to run long droppers
Not for slow tech / rocky climbs
Climbing steep grades feels laboring
Can't think of anything else
I am 175 lbs 5'9" with a 32" inseam BIke ridden was size Large.
70 PSI 3x 10cc Volume spacers (1x stock on Grip2)
4 click LSC 22 click HSC
4 click LSR 6 click HSR
185 PSI OEM volume spacers
3 click R 5 click LSC
Shock was run in the Low position and the wheels base was short.