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Megatower Carbon CC X01 Eagle Air Reserve Complete Bike
The Megatower Carbon CC X01 Eagle Air Reserve Complete Bike from Santa Cruz completely addresses the elephant in the room we had with the Hightower LT, that being it was a bandage for a proper 29er enduro rig. Don't get us wrong, the LT is still a fantastic bike that a bunch of cyclists still shred on. Our real qualm with that bike was it was essentially slapping a 150mm fork and some new linkage on what is essentially a Hightower front triangle which leads to two geometric shortcomings: notably a taller bottom bracket and a slacker seat tube angle. If you follow modern mountain bike geometry whatsoever, you'll know that tall bottom bracket heights and slack seat tubes are off the back and with this new bike, we'd dare say the Megatower is one of the most aggressive Santa Cruz to date.
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, 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 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, 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 particular build gets a plush RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock and a reduced offset FOX 36 Float Performance Elite fork for handling suspension duties. A SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed group provides smooth shifts and plenty of range for scaling the ups with plenty of top end for the descents. SRAM Code RSC brakes provide the confidence of scrubbing speed in any condition with the power of 4-pistons and 200mm rotors. Final standout details include the excellent Reserve 30 rims that have proven to be some of the toughest and best riding carbon hoops on the market. Santa Cruz is so confident in the durability that it backs it with a lifetime warranty just as it does with all its frames.
- Santa Cruz's most aggressive, long-travel bike 29er
- 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 CC frame reduces weight without sacrificing strength
- Plush suspension, carbon wheels, and X01 group tame the trail
- Protective shuttle guard, downtube guards, and chainstay protector keeps things safe and quiet
- Item #SNZ00LL
- Q & A
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.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
That’s the thought I couldn’t get out of my mind on this bike. Moreso than any other bike I’ve ridden this bike goes fast, and wants to go faster.
On straight lines pointed downhill it excels as any big 29er would. I was pleasantly surprised at how well I could get around tight corners, it doesn’t feel like a big boat in tight terrain.
I really appreciated how the new lower link suspension design keeps the center of gravity really low. This helps a lot in corners, it feels like you can really lean it over in turns and the traction remains predictable. This coupled with how well the rear wheel tracks the ground makes this bike excellent at cornering. This is one of the many things that make the Megatower so confidence inspiring.
VPP strikes a good balance of providing great traction over the rough stuff, while still remaining nimble and lively when you want it to be.
With the relatively steep seattube, it’s a comfortable climber. There’s no hiding the fact that it’s a 6” travel 29er and it’s never going to pedal like a lightweight trail bike. But that’s not this bike’s intended purpose. It’s a little dull on mellow terrain at lower speeds. But you’ll quickly forget that small trade off when you get in the terrain this bike was designed for.
I can’t say enough good things about this bike, it’s an absolute blast!