Bike Check: Iago Garay's Santa Cruz Megatower - EWS Pietra Ligure 2020

Sep 19, 2020
by Ed Spratt  



2020 sees no major changes for Iago Garay as he remains with Santa Cruz and SRAM for this year's racing. He's running a Megatower with the new RockShox Zeb fork set at 170mm.

After picking up his new race bike just before the first EWS round in Zermatt he has been riding it flat out ever since, which has seen some significant wear on the rear tire but he says he will probably still race on it this weekend. Iago says that he finds the tires last quite a while for him and even when they look pretty beat up the side knobs stay in good shape. Similar to a lot of riders this weekend, he will be opting for inserts for protection against some of the wild rocks out on course, but this will be the only change he makes to his standard setup. Using inserts lets Iago lower his pressures down to 21psi up front and 24psi for the rear.

Iago Garay Megatower

Rider Name: Iago Garay
Team: Santa Cruz X SRAM
Instagram: @iagogaray

Iago Garay Megatower

Iago Garay Megatower

Details
Frame: Santa Cruz Megatower (Size: M)
Fork: Rockshox Zeb 170mm (65psi)
Shock: Rockshox Super Deluxe MegNeg (Between 190-200psi)
Wheels: Reserve 30 // I9 Hubs
Tires: Maxxis Assegai // DH Casing
Drivetrain: SRAM AXS
Cockpit: Burgtec Stem, Grips and Alloy Bars

Iago Garay Megatower
Maxxis Assegai tires front and rear w/ DH casing.
Iago Garay Megatower
Burgtec alloy bars, 22mm rise.

Iago Garay Megatower
Iago Garay Megatower

Iago Garay Megatower
50mm Burgtec stem.

Iago Garay Megatower
SRAM Code brakes.
Iago Garay Megatower
Reserve carbon rims.

Iago Garay Megatower
Occam tube / tool strap with Boa dial.

Iago Garay Megatower
SRAM AXS Eagle drivetrain and dropper.
Iago Garay Megatower



93 Comments

  • 44 0
 Rider name: Iago Garay / Age: 28 / Height: 1,77m / Weight: 65 Kg

Source: www.pinkbike.com/news/15-bike-checks-from-craig-evans-iago-garay-and-the-santa-cruz-free-agents.html
  • 19 0
 I was going to complain that they didn't post how many bands were in the megneg but they didn't even post rider height/weight so maybe that's a tall ask at this point.
  • 13 9
 common theme in EWS bike checks with pros running DH casing tires front and rear (and sometimes inserts too). Why do brands not spec their big enduro bikes with dh casing tires?
  • 100 3
 They run them because they ride unbelievably hard. I bet 98% of consumers wouldn't benefit enough from the beefiness to make the added expense worth it.
  • 48 0
 -If brands are going to publish the weight in the specs it makes the bike look lighter.
-DH tires are typically a bit more expensive.
-Not everybody braps as hard as EWS racers so they don't need DH tires.

I used to just run EXO but have ripped a few. I'd like to run DH (or DD) in the back but keep EXO up front.
  • 18 0
 @dglass: I highly recommend exo+ or DD for the front as well. The heavier casing means you can run slightly lower pressures without the tire folding over in hard cornering. It's just a question of what you're willing to slog up the mountain.
  • 47 0
 because your average megatower rider isn't Iago Garay
  • 6 1
 The coil option kits come with DH casing tires for SCB MTWR.
  • 7 0
 @dglass: I'm currently running a DH High Roller II in the back and an EXO DHF upfront.

Tested full DH at my home trails and besides the heavy weight I found myself wondering if there could be such a thing as too much grip - kinda dulled all the spice out the local.

Tested full EXOs at Windham Bike Park and felt too skittish in the chatter - agility was nice but spent more time on the brakes vs the full DH setup.

Could just be the way I ride, but the DH back/EXO front ended up being a happy medium that wasn't too dull locally but also provided enough confidence on the mountain.
  • 1 0
 @slimjimihendrix: You’re probably right. I just swapped to a tougher tire for the first time in 6yrs. That was when I went tubeless. Tubes are a different subject.
  • 8 0
 Because they’re heavy and most riders don’t need them.
  • 5 0
 Because it added 1kg / 2lbs to the bike, and it's not a good commercial / Market point.

I love Maxxis DD/DH casings, here in Asia, it's the only way to survive in the Jungle. Also use insert on the rear wheel.
  • 7 1
 Not riding hard enough to have proper tires? Classic pinkbike bullshit... It's your weight that matters. I (fat and average mtb rider) can't ride anything under double-down, and by the way it's a massive PIA to find a good xc tire with a serious casing (not wider than 2,4)
  • 14 0
 @slimjimihendrix: True. On the other hand, it really depends on the area you ride. Where I live (Sierra de Guadarrama, Madrid) and with my weight (90 kg with gear), you'd be changing tires and rims every 5 weeks with an Exo or Exo + carcass, even if you weren't riding particularly hard. The terrain is just so rocky and the wheels take a massive beating. I ride with DH casing + Cushcore, which feels like climbing with a Jamon Iberico strapped to your swingarm, but gives me enormous peace of mind on the way down. When I ride elsewhere, it's hard to switch to a thinner casing because it feels so incredibly different from what I'm used to ride.
  • 4 7
 @slimjimihendrix: I don't buy this argument that only 2% of riders are good enough for a certain tire: what is the difference between a pro going over a rocky section of track going 20 mph or anyone else doing the exact same thing at the exact same speed? If it's true that only pros ride hard enough to warrant a beefier tire than why do DH tires or even DH bikes exist? I've heard this argument before but I dont think you're giving enough credit to the average rider, IMO most people buying an enduro bike value durability over weight, and the benefits of a dh tire are clear. Im just pointing out that if every pro (and a lot of average joes) are buying enduro bikes and immediately ripping off the stock tires and replacing them with dh tires it should send a message to the brands to re evaluate the tire spec on their new enduro bikes, especially when they are essentially mini DH bikes.
  • 3 0
 Dude this! I would have given many stock tires a try if they came in a workable casing. But no...so I swap to minion dh casings and know nothing else.
  • 7 0
 @Theguyfromthealps: +1 for the Jamon Iberico mental image lol
  • 8 0
 @andyelliott3: Dude listen to yourself. If someone is doing the exact same thing as a pro at the exact same speed as a pro would make them... a pro.
EXO makes sense a lot of the time for me. Tires wear out and people replace them.
  • 1 0
 @dglass: you’re aware plenty of locals at any good riding spot will have comparable times to pros on their trails, ya?

“Pro” has a very wide spectrum of meaning as well...not all pros are wc dh top 20 absolute monsters / non mortals.

It’s very rare you’d find anyone worth their salt happy with an exo casing...maybe with cushcore I guess? Even the
  • 2 0
 Cause we're all too soft to ride that hard.
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: You make some sweeping generalizations about EXO. I've seen a few pro's training with lighter casings on more then a couple occasions, let alone local riders in a competitive area that are plenty worth their salt (beating top EWS pro times). Not saying there isn't a need/benefits/purpose for beefy casing, especially for racing... just saying - horses for courses.
  • 3 0
 It would add cost and add weight that most people would find unnecessary. Besides, the new SC builds come with EXO+ tires for the air shock builds and DD tires for the coil shock builds. That is sufficient for most people. Plus tires are up to personal preference, so I'd bet a lot of people just swap tires to whatever works for them in their area immediately. Or maybe they don't like Maxxis and put on Schwalbe. For me, if I bought a Megatower today, I'd take the EXO+ or DD tire off the front and put a EXO on. That's just what I like.
  • 1 1
 @Eatsdirt: lol who and on what course?

I don’t care about women/light riders or flow courses.

Not sure where else you’d ever want an exo casing, least of all in a race situation.
  • 2 0
 @nvranka: Is your statement only related to what YOU care about? Is every big enduro bike sold only for racing jagged chunk etc all the time like? I'm 200lbs and have ridden chunky popular local SoCal on EXO and have beaten top EWS pro internet racing times (NOT saying I'm faster) if that's worth anything. I've ridden with Graves on legit trails while he's been riding EXO. Braydon Binghurst apparently isn't worth his salt either. Perhaps you're so gnarly you have to ride DH casings, but for FFS tuck your little man back in.
  • 1 1
 @Eatsdirt: I never said it couldn’t be done....I said it’s RARE you’d find anyone worth their salt HAPPY with them.

Shuttled idyllwild with nesteroff and some of his buddies, one was on exo and ripped the tire off the rim second run, then flatted the next. Not running low psi.

If you’re riding flow tracks or something fine, I guess...better not shralp corners or land sideways at all then.

I assume you do this for fun? You can feel exos squirm under you. Is that fun?

I’m 160lbs and not a pro...I run reasonable pressures...24/26...there just isn’t an argument.

DD is an ok middle ground.
  • 3 1
 @Eatsdirt: also hasn’t graves had several mechanicals due to light tire casings? Lmao
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: You think it's rare, but I see it frequently in areas known for good riding/riders. To your point, there is no argument, and I'm not arguing the merits of heavier casings and ride DD often. The fact that my closest fun trails are antigrip kitty litter shit-shoots means there isn't enough traction to squirm an EXO to where its a problem at decent pressures. If you're doing big days pedaling in the coastal OC steeps with DH tires, you're both an idiot and a monster. And... hasn't everyone paid some price from both being underbiked and overbiked? I could go on but you either you get it or you don't...
  • 2 0
 @Eatsdirt: I'd like to say I'm a monster, but probably mostly an idiot...I'll take "both" though.
  • 3 0
 When your rides are pedal all the way up and ride all the way down running the heaviest casings you're willing to pedal makes perfect sense.
  • 1 0
 I run DH casing tires on my Megatower as well. Coincidentally, Assegai F&R as well. I use the bike mostly for park riding and I got tired of ripping Super Gravity Magic Marys. I'll admit I can definitely feel the weight difference.
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: sounds good dude I guess I just don't shred!
  • 1 0
 @dglass: I'm quite light at 72 kg butt naked, and I can't run EXO tires for any hard riding at all.
There's of course the issue with puncturing very easily, but they are so undamped and weird to ride.
Low pressures and they fold over like nothing, and higher pressures you get bounced around like a pinball on roots and rocks, until you puncture and crack your expensive wheels.
Been alternating between Vittoria enduro casings and Michelin DH casings this season, would have run Michelin DH all the time if it wasn't for the rolling resistance.
  • 4 1
 Absolutely Love his attention to detail with his builds! Crazy how he's running 6 more psi in his Zeb then I am.. (myself weighing 165lbs) makes you realize how much harder the pros much be pushing, or perhaps how wrong most of us amateurs have our set up's.. ;^p
  • 3 8
flag fracasnoxteam (Sep 20, 2020 at 0:43) (Below Threshold)
 You can't be wrong with your sag pressure (or should definitely try to to google "how to set up fork sag"!), everything else is hydraulic and tokens. Weights, geometry, fork type, ...?
  • 7 0
 Don’t be afraid to try a stiffer setup. You’ll give up some if not all of the wow this is plush, but much better at speed.
  • 3 0
 now this is something I dont understand. I am runing Lyrik Debonair 180mm with 100-110psi and I weigh 158lbs. Yeah okay its mostly for downhill but still... If I go down to 80psi or so, I feel like sinking (even with quick rebound) and basically way too soft for any harsh tracks. What's wrong with me?
  • 2 0
 @ciechan: how many tokens?

I’m 160lbs, 84psi with 3 tokens feels pretty good. Would consider running a bit more psi if I was charging dh tracks on it, but I have my dh bike for that lol
  • 1 0
 @ciechan: Think it’s probably hard to imagine because the ZEB has those larger 38mm stanchions, which allows for more air volume & less pressure needed in the air chambers to support the rider.

Just brought this all up because of how interesting it can be to see the pros pressures and setups. For a 165lb rider like myself the ZEB setup I have more specifically is Set running (1 token & 58.5psi) (9clicks of Rebound from closed/slow) (8clicks of LSC from open) & (1 of the 4 clicks of HSC from open) & I don’t seem to bottom out too much even at the Bike Park.

More recent footage was recorded at a local resort where I was riding Tahoe’s “Northstar Bike Park” in California
That’s all up on -Youtube -Bike Somm

Mainly just always interested seeing how my settings compare to different pro riders at the end of the day.. Even if it’s just for fun & games.

I know I will always be different from that of any pro rider & I can’t honestly compare myself to anyone else other then Myself.. but thanks Pinkbike for letting us see glimpses of EWS Pro bike settings & perspectives
  • 1 0
 @ciechan: i have the zeb rc 190 and i'm kitted 230 lbs 28% sag, 2 tokens and 55 psi Big Grin wasn't able to bottom out once
  • 2 0
 @ciechan: whoah that's crazy, I am 185lbs and run my Lyrik 160mm at 80psi with three tokens. My local is a super rocky DH area though (kind of like Mont Sainte Anne) so I like it to be plush, but i don't bottom out often even on big drops.
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: so it looks like something must be wrong.
I've got 2 tokens in. Usually about 10mm travel left after DH riding, bottom out very occasionally in emergency only
  • 1 0
 @ciechan: hmmm i mean I will say that sometimes i've been surprised how rideable much higher pressures can be...so maybe it's a preference thing for you.

Do you run your compression settings open? I know a lot of people on old charger dampers were running higher pressures with open compression.

Have you torn down the fork at all?

I'd say do a lower service and take the air spring out and inspect it? or even replace it if yours is a few years old...the 2021 debonair spring is much different supposedly and VERY easy to swap....and cheap!

I am not very knowledgable about this stuff, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
  • 1 0
 I tend to agree. After a fair bit of fiddling, I finally settled on suspension settings a bit softer than the tuning guides would recommend. While I do like jumping on my Megatower at bike parks (mostly what I have it for...) I still run the fork (CC Helm 160mm) on the softer side. I feel it handles the braking bumps in the berms at the local bike parks better. I added some spacers to reduce the bottom-out harshness. So far I'm happy.

In the unlikely event my 50 year old ass gets stronger/faster, then maybe I'll stiffen the suspension. But I'll jump over that bridge when I get to it...
  • 2 0
 Hi Jay! Haha
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: I am doing lower leg service every 2-3 months but damper and spring side havent been serviced since new (2019). I run HSC fully open and LSC almost fully open. Bear in mind this is Charger 2.1 damper.
  • 1 0
 @collintimmermans: Heyyy there buddy!!! Haha We know nothing about the Megatower & the Cascade link on Pinkbike.. the playing field is always even on this site! Haha
  • 9 4
 Can't get over how the seat tube angle looks on those things
  • 5 0
 How does he fold a tube that small
  • 1 0
 Whoa, that's a super tukt tube! Maybe super thin?
  • 3 0
 It's a 27.5 tube
  • 3 0
 Does anyone know if he still use the cascade lower link?
  • 1 2
 I do! Hahah
  • 1 0
 He doesn’t, he represents the brand, he got to use SRAM products (series or prototypes)
  • 2 0
 Any occam apex straps selling in UK/Europe
  • 2 0
 Rad bike. And Iago is a shredder!!
  • 3 1
 Dream bike
  • 9 8
 That seat tube angle tho.
  • 1 0
 He would probably do better if he put a new back tire on!
  • 1 0
 Older tyres roll faster than new ones!
  • 1 0
 that rainbow cassette looks sick
  • 1 0
 Anyone know what brand the tool strap is?
  • 1 0
 Medium how tall is he ?
  • 2 0
 @ceecee: pretty small frame for his height,
  • 2 0
 @christiaan: Garay explains why he chose the size in the linked interview. I'm 1,83 and would also take a Medium, 50mm slammed stem and 50mm riser bar. I've yet to experience the wonders of an actually steep seat tube, though, and according to somebody, I'm dumber than somebody else below threshold....
  • 1 1
 This bike has the 2014-15 i'm rich style santacruz build taste
  • 1 2
 Does he accept Paypal? I want his custom chain.
  • 1 3
 Looks like he’s on the colour chain wax, not many good reports just bling
  • 2 0
 @enduroFactory: um, thats just an XX1 eagle chain. Been around for a while already, how do you not know this?
  • 1 0
 @jaycubzz: must be the pic, don’t look like the oil slick chain
  • 1 1
 Could be Wend Wax lube? Used it on my gravel bike with ok results but have since went back to traditional lube. Looks pretty cool and keeps things super clean but just not slick enough imo.
  • 1 0
 @enduroFactory: Looks exactly like it in fact. Look at the cassette. The whole point is that it colour shifts, thus the reason it looks more green at certain angles. Also one can reasonably assume the finish would slightly vary groupset to groupset, some more purple, some more gold, some more green.

Definitely not lube.
  • 1 0
 Not the lube. Several companies making colored chains.
  • 1 0
 its a SRAM chain, its just how it looks in certain light
  • 2 4
 Cool rider, but I'd rather see bike checks from dudes who can consistently crack the top 20. Iago finished 90something.
  • 2 0
 Yeah, but he is not only cool that wins a wall ride contest,

p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/2/photos/120951/s1600_EWSManizales18_AN3X9383.jpg

He was 23rd on 2019 EWS overall, 9 positions better than his team mate.

You would be surprised fast riders in top 50 of the world can go and how hard can hit terrifying sections (seeing that live it is highly recommended, let alone trying the section yourself first).

And yet people demand 6k$ stuff and send it like "Let my Ibis do the job"...

P.S.: I love Ibis bikes, and have maximum respect for riders with balls(women have balls too, everybody knows that)
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