Review: 2019 Santa Cruz Megatower - Stiff & Solid, But Not That Sensitive

Jun 12, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  

The Megatower steamrolled its way onto the scene a few months ago, taking its place as Santa Cruz's burliest 29er (except for the V10 29, of course), with 160mm of front and rear travel. The shape of the Megatower's frame is a familiar one, and there's more than a passing resemblance to its smaller-wheeled siblings, the Bronson and the Nomad.

Santa Cruz refers to the Megatower as a 'brawler', and that's a fitting description for this 160mm machine. It's designed to work with both air and coil-sprung shocks, and while the stock build kits all have a 160mm forks, you can run up to a 180mm if you want to make the Megatower even more mega.

The base model complete Megatower C R is priced at $4,499 USD, with a parts kit that includes a RockShox Yari RC fork, Super Deluxe R shock, SRAM NX 12-speed drivetrain, and Guide RE brakes.

Megatower Details

Wheelsize: 29"
Travel: 160mm
Head angle: 65° or 64.7°
Chainstay length: 435mm or 445mm
Threaded bottom bracket
12 x 148mm rear spacing
Fork offset: 44mm
Coil or air shock options, 230 x 57.5mm
Sizes: S - XXL
Colors: black, green
Weight: 31 lb / 14.06 kg (large, w/o pedals)
Price: $8,399 USD as tested, $3,299 frame only
More info: www.santacruzbicycles.com
It's the $8,399 USD Megatower CC X01 Reserve that's reviewed here, which gets a SRAM X01 drivetrain, Code RSC brakes, a Fox 36 Float Performance Elite fork with a Grip2 damper, RockShox Super Deluxe RCT shock, and Santa Cruz's own Reserve carbon wheels.

bigquotesLike a parent faced with an impatient teenager who wants to borrow the car on a Friday night, the Megatower doesn't just hand over the keys to its speed. Mike Kazimer






Santa Cruz Megatower review
Santa Cruz Megatower review

Construction and Features

The Megatower's shape may look a lot like the Bronson, but it borrows its chainstay length adjustment feature from the V10 downhill sled. By flipping the chip on the non-driveside, and swapping out the brake adaptor and derailleur hanger it's possible to set the chainstay length at either 435 or 445mm. The fact that shops will now need to stock two different hangers and brake adaptors seems like it adds an extra layer of complication (although a spare hanger for each chainstay setting is included with the bike), but it is nice that riders can fine tune the bike to their liking.

There's also a flip chip on the shock mount that can be used to raise or lower the bottom bracket while simultaneously steepening or slackening the head angle. The difference that chip makes is fairly minor – we're talking about a 3.5mm BB height change and a .3-degree head angle change here – but it does also make the bike's leverage ratio slightly more linear in the high setting, and a little more progressive in the lower setting. It can also be used to preserve the bike's bottom bracket height when a 170mm fork is installed – the height with a 160mm fork in the High setting is very close what you'll get with a 170mm fork in the Low setting.

Other frame details include a shuttle guard to keep the frame safe if it happens to bounce off a tailgate, a downtube protector, and a little fender that keeps mud away from the shock. There's also a ribbed chainstay protector to minimize chain slap noise, room to mount a water bottle on the top of the downtube, a threaded bottom bracket, and ISCG-05 tabs for mounting a bash guard.


Santa Cruz Megatower review
The chainstay length can be set at either 435mm or 445mm.
Santa Cruz Megatower review
The position of the chip on the shock mount can be changed to alter the head angle and bottom bracket height.


Megatower review

Megatower review


Geometry & Sizing

The Megatower has a 470mm reach for a size large, and either a 65 or 64.7-degree head angle with a 160mm fork, which are fairly contemporary numbers for this style of bike. We're seeing more and more bikes released that are longer and slacker, though, and I wouldn't have minded if Santa Cruz pushed things a little further. After all, I can almost guarantee that when this bike is due for a revision in a few years it's not going to get steeper and shorter...

It is nice to see such a wide range of sizing options, with reach numbers running the gamut from 425mm on a size small all the way up to a whopping 515mm on a size XXL.



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Suspension Design

The Megatower uses a lower link-driven shock, with the two counter-rotating links that are the calling card of a VPP suspension layout. The Megatower has a high level of progression, which makes it possible to run a coil shock without worrying about bottoming out off of every little drop. The suspension curve is fairly linear as the bike goes through its travel, and free of any strange shapes that would add unpredictability.

The amount of anti-squat hovers around 100% for the first two-thirds of the Megatower's travel and then drops off for the last third. In theory, this should provide good pedaling support while reducing the amount of feedback from bigger hits.


Specifications
Price $8399
Travel 160mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate
Fork Fox 36 Float Performance Elite, GRIP2, 160mm
Headset Cane Creek 40 IS
Cassette SRAM XG1295 Eagle 10-50T
Crankarms SRAM X01 Eagle 148 DUB, 30t - 170mm
Chainguide MRP AMg V2 Alloy chainguide
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB 68/73mm Threaded BB
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle
Chain SRAM X01 Eagle 12 SPD
Shifter Pods SRAM X01 Eagle
Handlebar Santa Cruz Bicycles AM Carbon Bar 35x800
Stem Race Face Aeffect R 40mm
Grips Santa Cruz Palmdale
Brakes SRAM Code RSC
Wheelset Santa Cruz Reserve 30 carbon
Rim Santa Cruz Reserve 30 Carbon Rim
Tires Maxxis Minion DHF, 29"x2.5", 3C EXO+ / Maxxis Minion DHR2, 29"x2.4", 3C EXO+
Seat WTB Silverado Team Saddle
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth 31.6



Santa Cruz Megatower review









Test Bike Setup

The ability to alter the Megatower's chainstay length along with the shock position allows for a sizeable range of setup options, but after a couple of weeks of experimenting I found that I preferred the bike in the high setting for a little extra BB clearance, and with the longer chainstay position for a more balanced ride, at least for my height.

Getting the shock setup took a little bit more experimentation than normal as well, but when all was said and done I was running 31-percent sag with two volume spacers installed. Up front, I ran 70 psi and two volume spacers in the Fox 36 Float.

Testing took place in Bellingham, Washington, with trips up to the Whistler Bike Park, Squamish, and North Vancouver thrown into the mix.





Me.
Mike Kazimer
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Age: 36
Height: 5'11" / 180cm
Inseam: 33" / 84cm
Weight: 160 lbs / 72.6 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mikekazimer


Santa Cruz Megatower review

Climbing

It seems like nearly every bike that rolls in these days is somewhere between 30-33 pounds, and the Megatower is no exception. It's a competent climber, and the efficient suspension design meant that I rarely had to flip the lever on the shock, but I'd categorize its climbing manners as more purposeful than playful. There's an aura of solidness about it that's present while climbing and descending - it feels like a big bike. It holds a line well, and it's not easily knocked off course no matter the direction of the trail, although it felt like it took more effort to get it to the top of a steep, technical climb compared to a bike like the Yeti SB150.

The effective seat angle is 76-degrees, which looks nice and steep on paper, but the actual seat tube angle is around 69-degrees. That means taller riders may still find themselves a little farther over the rear wheel than they'd like, and going back and forth between the Megatower and the Yeti with its 73-degree actual seat angle made it quite clear what a difference 4-degrees can make.

I started off the test period with the bike in the lower geo setting, but after smacking my pedals into the ground a few more times than I wanted, I switched to the high position for a little more clearance. That did the trick, and the resulting slightly steeper head angle didn't make a significant difference in handling - unless you're as sensitive as Greg Minnaar, it's a barely noticeable change.




Santa Cruz Megatower review

Descending

The Santa Cruz Bronson was one of my favorite bikes of 2018, but when I was aboard that bike I found myself wondering if a bigger wheeled version would be even better. I'm still wondering, because while the Megatower may look similar to the Bronson, it has a completely different suspension feel – it lacks the ground-hugging plushness that I enjoyed on the Bronson.

Where I live is unofficially called the '"City of Subdued Excitement," and that “subdued excitement” phrase kept popping into my head as a way to describe what I was feeling when I was riding the Megatower. It's a very capable bike, and it can handle everything from bike park laps to enduro race runs without skipping a beat, but it felt like it took more effort to get it to come alive compared to bikes like the Scott Ransom or Yeti SB150.

Like a parent faced with an impatient teenager who wants to borrow the car on a Friday night, the Megatower doesn't just hand over the keys to its speed. It takes some coaxing; this is a bike that rewards pilots, not passengers, riders who are willing to push hard in order to really wake it up. It was easier to get it to wake up in the Whistler Bike Park, where there's no shortage of higher speed trails. In that setting - fast, semi-smooth trails - the Megatower came alive, with lots of support for railing through bermed turns and popping off the lips of jumps.

Santa Cruz Megatower review

On slightly flatter, fast sections of trail the Megatower responded very nicely as well, with lots of support to generate speed by pumping through rollers and corners. There was plenty of stability, especially in the longer chainstay setting, and as long as you can hang on for the ride there doesn't seem to be any upper speed limit.

The Megatower has a very progressive leverage curve, but without any spacers installed (the stock configuration) I was bottoming out the RockShox Super Deluxe shock too often for my liking. Adding two volume spacers and running a touch more sag gave me the balance I was looking for, and helped add a little more small bump compliance. However, square-edged hits were still quite noticeable, a sensation I first experienced when I rode the bike down in New Zealand.

I ran the low-speed compression all the way open and tried multiple suspension settings, and even different wheels, but the amount of feedback that passed through the bike and into my hands and feet in rough terrain was greater than I would have expected from a bike with 160mm of travel. I have a feeling this sensation was related to the very progressive suspension curve - it reminded me of what I experienced aboard the YT Capra, another very progressive bike. It's also possible that a lighter compression tune (the Megatower has an MM tune) would have helped, although going that route could potentially make the suspension feel less supportive. Keep in mind that I'm not the heaviest rider out there (a side effect of riding all the time) - bigger riders may have better luck with the Megatower's kinematics.



Megatower review
Santa Cruz Megatower

Pole Machine review
Scott Ransom

How does it compare?

The Scott Ransom and the Megatower both have similar geometry numbers when it comes to reach and head angle, although the Scott does have 10mm more travel compared to the Santa Cruz. The Ransom's frame is also lighter – the complete aluminum-wheeled test bike weighed almost two pounds less than the carbon-wheeled Megatower. Granted, one bike had EXO casing tires and the other had EXO+, but even with identical tires the Ransom still wins the weight game.

Out on the trail, the Megatower has a much firmer ride feel – the Ransom can absolutely erase chunky, choppy sections of trail, while the Megatower transmits more feedback to the rider. Points for small bump compliance and overall comfort also go to the Ransom. The Megatower is the more efficient feeling climber in the fully open mode, but the Ransom's TwinLoc remote evens the playing field while also cluttering up the handlebar.



Santa Cruz Megatower review


Technical Report


Maxxis EXO+ tires: Maxxis' EXO+ tires seem like they could be the happy medium that many riders have been looking for when it comes to balancing weight and pinch flat protection. They're lighter than a DoubleDown or a DH casing tire, so it doesn't feel like you're dragging a boat anchor behind you on the climbs, and they're more pinch flat and puncture resistant than a standard EXO casing. I didn't get any flats during my time on the Megatower, and I ran into plenty of rocks in Whistler and on the North Shore that had the potential to do some damage.

MRP AMg V2 chain guide: Bash guards are one of those things you rarely think about, at least until you smack full speed into a log or a rock and then look down to see that your chainring is still nice and straight thanks to that well-placed chunk of plastic. The MRP AMg did its job on multiple occasions, and while there aren't that many bikes coming with bash guards these days, I'm a fan, especially on a bike like this.

RockShox Super Deluxe Shock: I tend to prefer air shocks over coil due to the ability to easily adjust the amount of sag and end-stroke ramp-up, along with the extra 'pop' that they typically have, but with the Megatower I'd go with the coil option in order to gain a little more comfort when things get really rough.


Santa Cruz Megatower review


Pros

+ Efficient suspension feel for climbing
+ Solid + sturdy feeling
+ Multiple geometry adjustments
Cons

- Square edged bump performance is lacking
- Suspension setup can be tricky
- Seat angle could be even steeper




Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesThe Megatower isn't just a big-wheeled Bronson – it's a stout and sturdy machine with a more serious, race-oriented nature. Aggressive riders who prioritize stability over all-out comfort will be most at home aboard this bike; there are better options out there if you're looking for something that's plush and playful. Mike Kazimer









413 Comments

  • + 181
 “Could be longer and slacker...” I wonder how much longer people will say that. I don’t want more longer and slacker. I want fun around the corners. The trails I have access to aren’t high alpine fullgas downhill trails. They’re “normal” and plenty of jumps if I want to.l ride a jump trail. But I don’t think I would choose Pole or Nicolai for my average ride. But who knows, maybe I’m the only one.

Or just used to an “average” bike (1st gen jeffsy that is)
  • + 24
 We all ride the same stuff anf i would be telling a lie if I say that my overforked 135 mm 29er isn't more than enough bike to handle all that comes on my way.
That being said, i really really enjoy riding park. My trial bike can handle everything that's not black labelled but after 10,12 runs I'm done! Finished. Completely exhausted.
With a bigger bike I'm sure that i could ride more while heaving more fun on the trails. But the thing is, i can have only one bike. One mtb. There's just no place for one more bike (already have two commuters, roadbike and bmx) and it seems that kids bikes are multiplying every year.
So i think that one superenduro bike will be my future.
(This first word problems are really pain in the arse)
  • + 32
 I'm glad i'm not the only one who thinks that bike manufacturers are getting overly obsessed with limo bikes that are increasingly difficult to climb on. How long will it be before bikes end up looking like a Schwinn stingray?
  • + 12
 @pakleni: I’m in the same boat and ended up with a nomad. There are better choices for an enduro race bike or something snappier. But I’m never under gunned and my joints and brain thank me at the end of a park day. Eventually I’ll convince myself that I need a trail bike but I’ve definitely bought myself some time with the nomad.
  • + 10
 I agree with you. I‘m riding a Nomad 2015 model size Large. Defenitely a tad too small/short for my 184cm height.
But I love it, great for jump trails. And it doesn’t bug me when I do park laps with 5km/h less speed than I could do on a longer/slacker one.

But to each his own..
  • + 5
 I think Santa Cruz (and most bike manufacturers) do realize that this bike is only interesting for a small part of the audience. And that's fine. They already have shorter travel, smaller wheeled bikes available so there should be something fun and useful for everyone. It seems they just wanted to close the gap towards their bike wheeled downhill bikes because not everyone needs that. Yes the have a huge collection now but realize that until not so long ago, they also had a couple of single pivot bikes as alternatives to the VPP models (Superlight, Bantam, Heckler, Bullit...). They (sadly) ditched those which does free up some room to release a bike like this.
  • + 59
 Maybe it's not a bike for you. No offense but if your trails are not that alpine full gas stuff, why you really need aggressive 29" with 160mm? It feels like commenting on Porsche while you only drive in the city. I'm happy for bikes like this one here. Because we have a range now. So I can really pick a bike that suits me but also my area where I ride. Peace.
  • + 4
 @Dont-hit-trees: agreed, saves my 63 yo joints!!
  • + 13
 I took a 29 evo out for a test last fall, just after they dropped. I expected a fun free plough but was almost shocked at how well it could be thrown around into corners, jumps etc. This is coming from a die hard I love short fun bikes person, my humble pie was consumed. It even manualed like a charm, even though I had really rode it
  • + 70
 This is Santa Cruzs Enduro Race bike, built to replace the Hightower LT that was hacked together because the racers wanted something more racey.

Of course it will be super long and super slack, made to carry as much speed as possible and shave of fractions of a second. Silly things like "fun" or "playfulnes" or "jumps" be damned!

If you don't want a racebike, don't buy a racebike.
  • + 4
 try test one of them longer bikes. i just went from 650b to 29in, +35mm reach and +16mm CS but its so much more confidence inspiring that i can get it around just as tight stuff as the previous bike just because it lets me feel like i can throw it around harder
  • + 19
 Pushing $9k with tax, why no Factory 36? Plus, you get that stupid Reverb dropper? A bike at that price should make me want for nothing. Santa Cruz, you are not a boutique bike brand, stop trying to price like one.
  • + 6
 @kusa: Porsches are great to drive in the city too... Wink
  • + 14
 @Ttimer: except racers don’t use super long and slack bikes. They’re all tiny bikes by today’s standards.
  • + 6
 @pakleni: we do not all ride the same stuff. The bike I would own would probably be different if I lived in a mellower part of BC or in Canmore. Why anyone would own this bike and take it on xc marathons (for example) is beyond me.
  • + 4
 @Ttimer: But erhm... the point made in the article was that this isn't really such a hugely long and slack bike by modern standards, is it? Santa Cruz just made it how they feel it should be at the moment for the intended purpose. And their view on this differs from how for instance Chris Porter and Pole see it. And that's all good. Enduro racers probably have different views on this too.
  • - 12
flag nvranka (Jun 12, 2019 at 7:24) (Below Threshold)
 @SlodownU: yeah no 36 is kind of a joke at that price. No one wants a performance elite
  • + 6
 @Santa Cruz specs lower quality forks and other spec. This bike should have a Factory Grip 2
  • + 3
 @Ttimer: if you compare this to Pole or a Nicolai Geometron, i don't think it's that long (I actually didn't compare but I think those are longer). But my point was more Mike Kazimer stating that the new version of this bike (in a few years) will have to be longer. But look at the fastest racers in the world (DH or Enduro) and see how many on the top of the podium are actually riding super long bikes? At some point the bikes will be too long...

Anyway. I guess there's always the possibility and mount a 80mm stem backwards and you can still sell a 550mm reach on size small frame Razz
  • + 2
 @Andy-ap: ifont know man.. I'm on an sb130 and it's a stellar climber
  • + 2
 @kusa: hits the nail on the head. You need aggressive terrain for an aggressive bike
  • - 10
flag thenotoriousmic (Jun 12, 2019 at 8:13) (Below Threshold)
 @drjohn: bikes already are too long. Long and slack bikes are good for riders that struggle to get down trails at a decent pace but if you want to go fast you want a more responsive bike. That’s why a lot of the EWS lads aren’t riding massive bikes.
  • + 2
 @kusa: But 90% of Porsches are driven in the city Wink

Only occasionaly you see an Air cooled or GT3 on the countryroad
  • + 15
 @granite: The Performance Elite does have the Grip 2 damper. It's the exact same fork as the Factory minus the Kashima.
  • + 24
 @drjohn, I think we're getting closer to the limits, but they haven't been reached yet. I've been spending a lot of time on the Stumpjumper EVO, and it's been eye-opening how 'normal' a 63.5-degree head angle can start to feel while climbing and descending.

Should every bike have a 500+ mm reach and a 60-degree head angle? Absolutely not, but in this case I do think numbers that were bit slacker and longer would have future-proofed the Megatower's geometry a bit.
  • + 18
 @granite: @nvranka @SlodownU the ONLY difference between performance elite and Factory is the kashima coating, which honestly, does next to nothing other than look cool for the average rider. It has the same chassis, same damper, same air spring. Santa Cruz are know to have some of the best, if not the best customer service, and that's what you are paying for. Yes the bikes may be around $400-$700 more than the next brands competitors, but they give you free bearings whenever you need them for 25 years. Every time we have had an issue with a hub, or a cracked rim on a complete bike, they express ship a WHOLE wheel (yes, you get a free hub, or rim out of it). Out of the other 4 brands we carry at the shop, Santa Cruz BLOWS the others out of the water when it comes to hassle free warranty and replacement of whatever it may be. The bikes ride amazingy the QC is high, as is the customer service. That's what you pay for with a Santa Cruz
  • + 1
 @leon-forfar: Yeah, that's fair. But the 30% price premium for a service that less than 5% of riders will ever experience is a tough sell. And I personally don't really like how they ride. Had a Bronson for a season and while it was very nice, it wasn't really any better than the Capra that replaced it after it was stolen. Climbed better, but had objectively worse components and didn't descend as nicely in my opinion.
  • + 4
 Many are already not saying that. How about shorter, higher and slacker? At 6', Medium 2019 Bronson with a short backsweep, slammed riser bar fits me better than a Large 2017 5010. I wouldn't hesitate to use a Medium Megatower, even for racing. As for suspension sensitivity, Mike Kazimer is mega-spoiled, and should have gone coiled.
  • + 4
 @cueTIP: Maybe it's just the shore/sea to sky area, but I would say more than half the people buying bikes are breaking something on the bike within the first year, and certainly need bearing replacements after a year or 2 (or one bad winter?). From what I've seen, it adds up, and it's peace of mind should something happen. I'm 100% ok paying a bit more, knowing I won't have to miss many rides if I break something in the middle of the riding season.
  • + 3
 @leon-forfar: This is exactly why they get away with charging more for a bike with a component spec that doesn't measure up to the competition. For your money you get top notch customer service, excellent warranty and the name.
  • + 4
 Undoubtedly there are a lot of big bikes coming out these days, but plenty of little bikes to be had as well! Santa Cruz's own 5010 or Tallboy. Giant's Trance 29 and Pivot's Trail 429, Ibis Mojo 3 and Ripley, Trek Top Fuel, Transition Scout and Smuggler. I bet you could go with 26 in wheels on some of the 27.5 bikes as well (at least if you overfork it) if you want little wheels with your little bike.

My girlfriend rides the previous gen 5010. She's pretty dang quick on it on tight and twisty trails, and even on pretty flat stuff it's not too boring. Lots of bikes to choose from depending on the trails that you ride.
  • + 2
 @leon-forfar: jesus, too many models....appears you're right and the performance 'elite' is essentially the same as factory minus kashima...frankly black looks cooler imo anyways.

I own an SC and no other trail bike has fit me as well...so I'm not going anywhere for a long while, regardless of price. I use the damn thing so much a few grand doesnt matter to me in the long run.

If it was as I thought it was, a performance series, that'd be pretty janky for an 8k bike.
  • + 1
 I've got a 160mm banshee rune. It's a great bike. Stays planted, takes big hits, and storms through rock gardens. The problem: I moved to Santa Cruz. It's way to much bike for me. Plus, you've got to maintain a high level of fitness to ride at speed.

Next bike will likely be more jumpy and "fun".
  • + 5
 @Andy-ap:

Yo Andy - in order for a bike with a steep sta (which is an awesome trend) to fit the same it has to increase in tt/reach/length. Add in the slacker is better trend and bikes are getting freaking long. BUT miraculously some climb like scalded kitty cats too, like the sb130, ripmo, and la sal peak. All bikes that are "aggressive trail", sufficiently slack and long, and have steep stas.

I was shocked on my recent XL la sal peak demo. That bike climbed awesome at 150/160 and 65 hta. It also jumped and cornered awesome. All on mellow trails. And it's a bit longer than my current sled. For us 'one bikers' those bikes have enough travel and stability for alot of riding including some sketchballs dh, lotsa jumping, lotsa mellow trails, AND lotsa climbing.

But i'm describing the best of the aggressive trail / all mountain / enduro-lite category, not the Megatower murder the mountain category. Bikes have never been so good.

Drink the cool aid.

I said drink it, damnit!!!!
  • + 4
 @WasatchEnduro: the best thing about limos is that these days one can chose one size smaller than usual, get the length they like with shorter seat tube, while tall folks are happy. I am 5’11 and used to opt for L frames. If I were after a new bike, I’d go for a long travel 29er in Medium. Big and heavy wheels give so much stability that wheelbase length is of lesser importance.
  • + 3
 @ceecee: I'm 6' and ride XL 2019 Bronson. Big Grin
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: Agreed but then they can't sell you a longer slacker one next year Razz

On a serious note at 5'11" I would have thought you would be on an XL not L. I'm 6'1" and on 515R (with very similar geo to this but with 160F / 145R).
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: CS also helps with stability but agree that big heavy wheels helps you monstertruck the chunder.
  • + 2
 @Andy-ap: Long bikes are better at climbing with their steeper than normal seat tube angle and long chainstays. If you don't want a long bike you can always size down.
  • + 6
 @mehukatti: Yep but you're from Pole's country. 470 mm is reach for midgets in Finland
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: lol! I take it you haven't ridden a long and slack bike. " if you want to go fast you want a more responsive bike" if you want to go fast you want a stable bike. Long and slack bikes work better at speed. What the pros ride is a bad reference for the average Joe.
  • + 3
 @kusa: Raptor truck in the city may be more analogous but spot on otherwise
  • + 2
 @SintraFreeride: Too right, my 515R 64.5HA 1300WB limo goes up steep like a rat up a drain pipe.
  • + 2
 @mehukatti: Madness. It fits for seated pedaling even with the saddle fully dropped. I'll corner you blind. Smiley face emoji.
  • - 2
 @WAKIdesigns: You need a lot of carbon to make your rims proper heavy though. Lightweight carbon rims are already quite expensive. I don't want to know what a heavy carbon rim would set you back. You do need carbon, right? Just to make sure they're stiffer and more compliant than those from the competitors.

I may not have ridden very long bikes yet (my bike has 460mm reach with a 63mm head angle unsprung, 120mm travel fork) but I don't quite see how longer would make it harder to climb. Unless you'd remain seated (which would shift the hip hence weight further over the rear wheel hence unload the front), you'd keep your weight slightly in front of the bottom bracket with respect to the horizon, which when climbing implies that you'd shift your bodyweight a good bit forwards with respect to the bike. And the steeper the climb, the more this is hence the more room (reach) you need to fit your body in. My previous frame had something like 375mm reach so on steep climbs my kneepads would hit the bars. To make room for that I'd lean back but that would make me loop out or at least lose control over the front wheel and make it wander off line. The longer reach definitely made it easier as I can now shift my bodyweight where I need it to be. I have no desire for even more reach at the moment but I don't see it be much of an issue either when climbing. With a very long bike I'd be more worried whether I can lean back enough when descending steep or lofting off at lower speeds. But I have not yet ridden a bike where I felt this really was an issue.
  • - 1
 @mikekazimer: With the very vocal (though small) number of people praising super long and slack bikes like Pole, Geometron or EVO as the second coming of christ with no drawbacks whatsoever, it is surprising that noone has truly built to the extreme:

45° head tube angle
90° seat tube
1m reach

Just get it over with already!
  • - 1
 @Ttimer: Forks bind at about 60HA. You still need to reach the bars when seated so 1m reach won't work unless you are huge. 90 degree ESTA could work but probably harsh on your knees.
  • + 3
 @Ttimer: That's why after trying the Megatower and Hightower LT I went with the LT. The Megatower is a rad bike but I don't have fast enough trails around here to make full use of it and the HTLT out pedals it by far, at least for me.
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: Just by the numbers you posted I guessed you ride Starling Murmur. Smile
How do you like it? Is it good all-rounder also for mellower trails or big hits and park only?
As 6'4" I would go custom with 535R. Sadly frame price is little steep for me.
  • + 2
 @Andy-ap: my SB 150 destroys climbs. Steep and tech, it cleans up.
  • + 2
 @WasatchEnduro: I agree with you. The selection these days is unreal! SO many killer bikes in all sorts of forms.

The Megatower looks awesome and as others have said, there is no doubt you could find a shock that would completely change the way the rear end feels.
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: couldn’t have said it better myself
  • + 1
 @AspidMan: You are right and it's awesome. I ride it for everything (altho don't ride a lot of park). It is a great all rounder. At 6'4" you may just get away with an XL.
  • + 1
 @granite: Pretty sure the Performance Elite is the same fork, without the Kashima coating...
  • + 1
 @vinay: Longer bike with steep seat angle climbs great. As for the descents you stay in the middle of the bike. If you ride off the back you lose front wheel traction. It is a bit like skiing where you shift your weight forward when riding a black slope weird at first but it works.
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: lol. I believe Geometron and Pole have tested the extremes which is why they dialed it back to their current figures. Personally anything under 63º only really shines on very steep terrain. I have yet to try a steeper seat angle than 77º but don't see why 80º wouldn't be better. At 520mm reach I could see myself trying 530-540mm but then the bike becomes less agile. And at 460mm chainstays I would only go longer to build a hill climbing bike.
  • - 1
 @SintraFreeride: too steep seat angle MAY compromise the effective TT for seated pedalling. Each degree of effective seat angle changes seat position by around 2.5cm.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I am aware of that.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Just look at effective/horizontal top tube for seated pedaling and reach for when not seated. It seems in this discussion like people are deriving the ETT/HTT from the reach and seat tube angle whereas the top tube length (hopefully it is the horizontal measurement) is just given in the table in the article. There really is no need to do this.
  • + 0
 @SintraFreeride: steep seat angle coped with long rear is also bad for wheelies.
  • - 4
flag SlodownU (Jun 13, 2019 at 5:13) (Below Threshold)
 @leon-forfar: @leon-forfar: I’m sorry, but you can say the 36 factory vs. Performance are exactly the same, but something is different. I rode the performance for a month (attached to a CC Bronson) and the damping isn’t as smooth and there’s a ton of stiction. And I’m sorry, but at close to $9k I expect top of the line everything. And as far as ride goes, it’s subjective, there are plenty of cheaper bikes that ride way better IMO, that I would get before a Santa Cruz.
  • - 1
 @SlodownU: it’s enough if they close an eye for oil/ lube/ seal quality as well as bushing tolerances. Not to mention quality control of the build process so if you give it a full overhaul it would be much closer to the flashy one.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Remote chainstay adjustment - Push a button on the bars and you can vary the CS length.

Obviously the bike has a high pivot and idler pully that adjusts with the chainstay length to provide the perfect pedalling condition for wheelies.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Yea, but for $9k I shouldn't have to overhaul or upgrade anything. Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I believe you should get what you pay for, and at a certain price, there should be no compromises. And lets not even mention the Reverb...
  • + 2
 @SlodownU: Agreed! That is exactly why I've gone frame only since 2012.
  • - 1
 @SlodownU: I agree with you completely. But I talked to someone working for a relatively big Polish bike brand and average Joes always have this list of priorities:
1.Carbon frame
2. Best possible drivetrain (nr of speeds and teeth on cassette, that is why Shimano lost lots of OEM market to Sram with Eagle)
3. Nr of knobs in suspension
4. Carbon wheels
5. Carbon parts

Actual suspension performance is further down the list and I would put to you that most wouldn't feel a difference...
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride: 540mm reach with a 460mm cs? Who are you? Big foot?
  • + 2
 @vinay: Don't Forget the Butcher , almost to good for VPP with APP , totally amazing Bike .
  • + 3
 @Ttimer: I love your answer Ttimer. Exactly !!! Beautiful !!!!!
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: the steep seat angles probably do start to compromise pedaling on the flats, but if you take 80% of your pedal strokes on climbs...? It’s pretty ideal. I’d argue it’s a question of optimization... optimize seared position for climbing and standing position for descending.
  • + 3
 Good point, but just because its what's popular right now definitely doesn't mean that you have to ride it! I ride a Trek Slash and yeah I'm in that 29er long travel boat, but if you don't want it, (just considering Trek models) you can get a remedy or a fuel ex, there's so many bikes out there for every style.
  • - 2
 @powderturns: I’d argue for not caring too much about it... what I would love to see though would be climbable DH bikes. In surprisingly many cases and for many folks it’s just to throw big cassette and gears on them. The downside is lack of lockout. But that can be fixed.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I finding it really interesting that suspension feel is so far down the list, but then again it doesn't surprise me since these days its all about the "bling", in every aspect of society. As far as everyone else here who's ok with spending top dollar for mid-tier, then we have a lot more dentists, trust-fund babies, and Santa Cruz fanboys here than I thought.
  • - 2
 @SlodownU: My former boss asked me for advice on tyres for “more aggressive” riding. I made him change from Crossmarks to Hans Dampfs (no big deal but more grip anyways) and he said he cannot feel the difference. It is not a criticism towards him. Just a wake up call for those who believe if only all bikes rode like Pole everyone would be shredding mountains to pieces...
  • + 3
 @SlodownU: Performance and Performance Elite are different forks.. The regular Performance has the Grip damper, Performance Elite has the Grip2 damper which is the same damper that is in the Factory. All you lose is the Kashima coating
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: and steep seat angles.. Best thing since the second inception of the dropper
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: How does geometry rank? I don't know much about the top five you mentioned. I've felt carbon lever blades once but I somehow prefer aluminium lever blades. For that particular brake, these felt more direct. But as for geometry, I'm pretty sure this is what everyone is looking at in nearly every bike review. People look for different things in geometry and have different desires, but either way geometry is important for everyone. As for suspension, I admit I'm probably not all that sensitive. I doubt I can even tell a RS Yari from a Lyrik by just riding one. I choose the product I can service myself or what is known to have a short service turnaround. I'd make a horrible Joe. I doubt I can even tell a carbon rim from an aluminium one on the shop floor when laced and with the tire mounted. "Yes sir lots of carbon in this rim. And yes, suspension has knobs. Many many knobs. Please buy."

@bohns: I'm probably the only one on here who likes his seattube angle slack. A seatpost with setback obviously does compensate because the seattube of my frame is relatively steep too.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Geometry >>> Suspension >>> all other bling and twiddly knobs etc. (but you know this because you ride a BTR).
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: I currently run 520mm of reach with a 20mm stem so another 20mm doesn't seem too much. I'm 1.8m by the way with size 41 shoes so not even close to big foot. I'd recommend +600mm of reach for bigfoot ;p
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I'd also like to see that! I have modified my bike to be as close to that as possible though I "only" have 180mm of travel...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: lol. I will happily sacrifice that for a better climbing position!
  • - 4
flag SlodownU (Jun 13, 2019 at 13:33) (Below Threshold)
 @leon-forfar: Well, then this fork must have been a turd, because it rode like shit compared to a lowly Lyric that I compared it with, and shouldn't have been on an $8k bike (along with the Reverb post and aluminum wheels). I've been riding long enough to be able to tell a great fork from just a good one, and an $8k bike should have a great fork, not just a good one. You gonna tell me now that the Reverb is a great post? Maybe piss in my ear and tell me its raining?
  • + 3
 @vinay: Being lanky and over 6'2 the steepened seat angle of my sb130 is a welcomed geometry feature I never realized I'd enjoy as much as I do on steep or techy climbs.
  • + 3
 @bohns1: tall people seem to be blown away by how dramatic the improvement in climbing is with a steep seat angle - I'm 6'4" and got a la sal peak partly for this reason. It's hard to overstate how much better it is. Shorter people don't seem to care in the least - the improvement is less dramatic. One thing I've seen that was interesting - Forbidden Bike's Druid has a changing seat angle that is size dependent. Seems like a smart idea...
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride: I’m 1.9m tall and my 485mm reach feels a touch long but whatever works for you. You not feel like your always having to push through the bike to get through tight corners?
  • - 1
 @vinay: majority of buying force of high end bikes has no flocking clue about geometry... they don’t care. They have a life
  • - 1
 @bohns1: Yeah, but it really depends on the riding you do. If you climb seated, I understand a steep seattube angle is great. But I climb standing and leave the saddle low. I may only sit on it when taking it easy (riding to the trails, chilling etc) and most of all I use the saddle as a reference to push against with my knees. I feel the position of the saddle without setback is too much forwards for this. I think I have about 2cm setback or so (and the saddle slammed to the back) and that's just perfect. So yeah for seated climbing a steep seat tube angle is great but when it is low I don't feel this is quite the case. I don't mean to say one is good and the other is bad. It is just a matter of preference, riding style and of course terrain.

@fartymarty Yeah, I just expected even Joey would be aiming for some kind of geometry even if it were the wrong choice for his purpose. Like he'd read some reviews and articles and then decides "well I need this headangle, that amount of reach and bottom bracket height should never exceed crank length". As for my own bike, even though it technically is custom geometry, I trusted them that the size for my length and chose wheelsize would have the correct geometry. It is just the geometry of the size large 26" wheeled bike. The only thing is that I was very specific about the height of the top tube, where it would meet the seattube. This doesn't affect the ride qualities, stability etc of the bike. It was just that I wanted to have the back of my knees higher than the top tube so that even with cranks level, I still had the freedom to shift my hips left and right. Bikes with a higher top tube only allow you to do this when you drop one pedal but when you do that, it affects how well you can pump or push because both legs end up being bent a different amount. So this is what happened and I love how it worked out. But that's the only thing that's custom about the geometry. I'd never dare to change anything like the head tube angle, chainstay length or anything that would affect the dynamic handling of the bike. I honestly doubt anyone could just throw some numbers and end up with a bike that's exactly the way they want it first try.

@WAKIdesigns: Well yeah, how many people really do? I know what changing a number in a certain direction may do. But where exactly you need to be? It takes some experience with different bikes to develop that kind of feel. You need to ride those bikes when tuned to your weight and style, then link it to the geometry charts. I may occasionally jump on a friend's bike and obviously it is horrible because nothing is tuned to my weight and style (especially as I stand up and ride) but I never go and pull out the geometry chart to link my experience to those numbers. In discussions about rear suspension numbers on here, I stay largely quiet (which is odd for me). I don't know anti-squat numbers etc of my fully, I rarely ride it and I don't even know what I would like the rear suspension to do. Basically all I want is to not mess with how I corner, to not buck me off when I huck to flat, to not rise when I'm braking on a steep descend. To basically just stay put and do nothing. Make it ride as predictable as a hardtail and I'm willing to accept all the harshness that comes with that. Which at the end of the day is why I ride my hardtail most of the time. Riding a full susser as a passenger (sit down and pedal) may be easy but to make a full susser behave well if ridden the way I ride my hardtail, I've never managed to do that and I don't know what to look for in a full suspension bike that does. The only full suspension bike I know that actually claims to ride like a hardtail is the DMR Bolt L with the X Fusion Vector shock. How much anti squat does a bike like that with bb mounted pivot have? 0% or so?
  • + 3
 @SlodownU: Lol, into some weird stuff there hey? Maybe the 36 you tried had an issue, but the Fox 36 Grip2 is considered to be the bench mark and for good reason. It's a phenomenal fork, but, like everything else, problems can occur. Newer gen Reverbs definitely have less issues, but I'm a Transfer post guy. Our shops have very busy suspension centers, and older reverbs needed fixing left right and center, but have certainly gotten better with the newer versions. That being said, They're spec-ed on 95% of quality bikes, so of course there will be more seen with issues. I don't think there is any problem with the parts they have spec-ed on their $8k bike, because almost every brand has very similar/ almost identical build kits for the most part, and generally are within $800 of each other unless it's some crazy rare brand.
  • + 1
 You’re in Bellingham, surely you spent tons of time on the Sentinel. These kind of bikes really are normal to ride, even in big Xc loops. Just need to flip the switch a bit more than on a Santa Cruz Wink @mikekazimer:
  • + 1
 @leon-forfar: Weird stuff? Just calling it like I see it, not buying the internet hype until I try it myself first. And that was the second 36 that I rode with tons of stiction. I used to be a hard-core Fox guy, but now I wonder. And the hydraulic actuation on the Reverb, as well as the way it moves through its stroke, sucks, it feels like its moving through mud. RockShox have over complicated a component that shouldn't be over complicated.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Well, I live in the Rockies... Your not climbing standing for long.. Especially over the course of a two hr climb.. I can understand standing on punchy techy bits tho.
  • + 1
 @SlodownU: I still dig my pike to be honest.. Especially after my own rebuild.
  • + 1
 @bohns1: Oh yeah, I absolutely get that. As I said, it depends on where you live and what riding you do. I live in The Netherlands. I climb a few minutes at most, no point sitting down. A bike that's ideal for the Rockies isn't ideal for here. And my steel hardtail (and especially the way I built it with a low saddle and no dropper) probably wouldn't work for you for where and how you ride. Good we have the choice Smile !
  • + 56
 "Stiff and solid, but not that sensitive"
Sigh. Never want to hear that.
  • + 5
 its a prosthetic build...
  • + 79
 Reminds me of my first wife
  • + 5
 @MikeyMierk: Ah yeah, you too?? Smile
  • + 33
 @MikeyMierk: It more likely reminds your first wife of you
  • + 12
 I think the Super Deluxe air is the main culprit. I'm not saying it's a bad shock, it just doesn't seem to work well on this bike. I couldn't find any sweet spot between supportive and harsh vs compliant and wallowy and swapped it for an X2. The SD air would just fall through the midstroke so to compensate I had to run lower than the recommended sag. However, when I did run it about 15-20 psi less, it would float through the rock gardens (and then feel like a wallowy mess on the jumps). I think an X2 or coil is the way to go on this bike.
  • + 7
 @jeremy3220: it’s a rubbish shock. Vorsprung it, or at least service it with the grease they seem to forget at factory.
  • + 2
 @MikeyMierk: I would give a lot more props if I could.
  • + 7
 @jeremy3220: either that or the test bike had a shock and fork with issues. There is not really any other explanation for harsh feedback into hands and feet than poor suspension performance (given the shock leverage ratio is pretty healthy). And unfortunately that performance has coloured the whole review.
  • + 5
 Or reading some comments further below, maybe i am wrong and its designed for a coil shock and their enduro race team. But they fitted it with an air shock to sell, and then the super delux doesn’t help.
  • + 0
 @jeremy3220: The shock isn't the issue, it just has too much AS. If you run 80mm sag and you weigh 85kg+ it probably feels okay off the top.
  • + 6
 @jeremy3220: im hearing this more and more. It seems like Fox’s DPX2 and X2 and the go to OEM spec shock for decent performance. The Scott Ransom is a good example of this: the DPS they tune and equip on that bike does wonders, even lacking a reservoir. SRAM really sold the entire OEM market on their shocks, and we’re all paying for it in crap performing shocks. How the run the Super Deluxe at WCDH is beyond me, but my guess is they give those shocks some special treatment the mere mortals will never get unless they go to Vorsprung, Avalanche, or another tuner.
  • + 5
 @jeremy3220: I agree. All the RS rear shocks I've had over the last 5 years just never felt good, especially at higher pressures. On my Enduro 29 I had to run 300 PSI to stay off the bottom, but then had to ride mostly in the middle compression setting to keep it from blowing through all its travel every time I tried to pump a turn or roller.

Upgrading to a CCDBair was very noticeable. I've only demoed an X2, but I'm guessing it rides not unlike the cane creek.
  • + 2
 @PHeller: I've heard people complaining about the DPX2, but other than that you're spot on.
  • + 1
 The Super Deluxe is a far better shock than the DPX2 IMO. The issue with this bike isn't the shock. It's just got too much AS past sag.
  • + 1
 @Bhaack: something does not add up: It says that it was bottoming out on a very progressive leverage curve, which means that the spring rate must have been very low, yet the ride was not plush. I never rode this bike, maybe it has some odd suspension behavior, but it sounds like a problem with the shock.
  • + 7
 @hamncheez: Why would anyone complain about the DPX2? It's a damn fine shock.
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: Yeah, the X2 feels totally different. Where the SD felt like it would fall through the stroke until ramp up, the X2 has no such 'dip' in the stroke.
  • + 1
 @MikeyMierk: LMAOOOOOOO Mikey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BTW, we should ride soon!
  • + 2
 @jeremy3220: I thought we were talking about hard, stiff towers here? Better hurry, might have enough time to rebound from this comment.
  • + 3
 @jeremy3220: I've done exactly the same thing and noticed:
- way better midstroke support
- able to run less sag
- far better on square edge hits.

I cant find anything to complain about on my MT!
  • + 1
 I was thinking that is an *ideal* description of a certain, um, component.
  • + 3
 @jclnv: Naw man its shock. When I bought my Nomad v4 in 2017. I road an entire season with it at Snow Summit and Mammoth with Stock Super Deluxe R Air and Rockshox Lyrik. The rear felt super stiff no matter how you tune it. and the front was even worse. for chunk and rock gardens the fork would dive through its travel. for flow or G-outs it was stiff. But i was the only one who felt this way. many reviewers and bike shops recommend max tokens on the lyrik just to negate the regressive nature of the fork. But if you have to stick max tokens just to make it feel like a Fox 36 base tune, then something is wrong.

Then cane creek announced a limited edition Helm Conrad fork. pulled the trigger on a DB coil and the Helm. and it was a night and day perform change. It felt very supple but also supportive. The fork doesn't dive.

But I'm also at the point where I would rather just buy the frame than get a stock kit that I will most likely end up hating.
  • + 1
 @PHeller: Fortunately we can find $400 DPX2s around to fix our $8000 bikes.
  • + 1
 @Lotusoperandi: I think because Fox's engineering department isn't its assembly line. They screw up the assembly at a ridiculous rate. Whenever I buy a Fox product, I don't even install it. I take it apart first and put it together the right way. Then it works fine.
  • + 1
 @MikeyMierk: hahahaha Lovely!!!! You are The ChampSmile
  • + 46
 I just love these kind of reviews, well dosed criticism where appropriate, not biased by the industry. Too often seen in other online-publications, you could read the ravest of reviews about this bike less than a week it came out...!
  • + 34
 8.4K USD for X1 cranks, non factory fork and a super deluxe. Someone needs to be shot in the foot.
  • - 15
flag mtbgeartech (Jun 12, 2019 at 5:23) (Below Threshold)
 I agree, it's a bummer. My plans are to swap the AXS, eeWings, and 36 with Avalanche cartridge from my Foxy 29 onto this build while swapping all the X01 stuff to the Foxy to sell.

IF I decide to sell the Foxy that is. I love it but always seem to swap bikes often and I have a slight nagging feeling that I want something a tiny bit shorter in the reach. My medium Foxy 29 is 470mm reach...

I'd skip the Reserve wheels though, a nice Onyx + EX471 or EX511 would suit me just fine.

I'll also go coil for sure, eventually going 11-6 or Avalanche.
  • + 5
 Welcome to the world of Santa Cruz.
  • + 9
 For a company that sells so many bikes, I am not sure why they give you the least amount of bike for the most amount of money. I guess it is a supply and demand thing. It's like driving a Toyota vs a BMW. The Toyota drives perfectly fine, is reliable and does everything you need it to do. But everyone still wants that BMW that's triple+ the price.
  • + 2
 @stumphumper92: ...and ay least three times less reliable.
  • + 15
 But it's a boutique* brand.

*owned by a multi-million dollar company
  • + 3
 @stumphumper92: Timely... I was literally just driving in to work this morning thinking about how I wish I'd bought a BMW years ago. We live in a wonderful time where amazing machines are available to us, it may not always be that way so if you can afford it and it puts a smile on your face why not? All these comments about price drive me nuts, I like to look at exotic cars knowing I'll likely never own one but the last thing I would do is hop online to berate their prices no matter how obscene they are. Why does Santa Cruz charge so much for their bikes? Because they can, and because it's them going after their target market and branding/image for their bikes. If they dropped the price they would surely lose some of their aura eventually.
  • + 1
 I love the look of the new bikes. That straight top tube, the low slung suspension, the more tamed colors! I would really want this bike, but I could get a Yeti for less! Theres no way that extra dough is worth it.
  • + 13
 @johnbalz: I think they spec the bikes smartly. Yeah, there is no Kashima on the X01 build, but it still has the Grip2 damper, and the rest of the bike is speced well where it needs to be. Beyond making bikes that ride very well, Santa Cruz are known to have some of the best, if not the best customer service, and that's what you are paying for. Yes the bikes may be around $400-$700 more than the next brands competitors, but they give you free bearings whenever you need them for 25 years. Every time we have had an issue with a hub, or a cracked rim on a complete bike, they express ship a WHOLE wheel (yes, you get a free hub, or rim out of it). Out of the other 4 brands we carry at the shop, Santa Cruz BLOWS the others out of the water when it comes to hassle free warranty and replacement of whatever it may be. The bikes ride amazingly, the QC is high, as is the customer service. That's what you pay for with a Santa Cruz
  • + 6
 The cranks are not X1, they are X01, pretty big difference. The Super Deluxe is Rock Shox top end shock and pretty well received by everyone who has ridden it (much better than the old monarchs). Sure the fork isn't factory, but the only difference is the Kashima coating, which IMO is worthless.

As far as prices go, I'd say it pretty average. It's significantly cheaper than the Yeti SB150, which is more expensive with aluminum wheels, about the same price as the Scott Ransom, and slightly more expensive than bigger brands like a Spec Enduro, Giant Reign, or Trek Slash.
  • + 0
 @tgent: ?? The x01 build of the sb150 is a way better build, at about the same price.
  • + 9
 @hamncheez: This is the build I was referencing, the SB150 Turq X01 Eagle Race for $8600 vs the reviewed Megatower build for $8400.

www.competitivecyclist.com/yeti-cycles-sb150-turq-x01-eagle-race-complete-mountain-bike?skidn=YTI00DE-OR-S&ti=U2VhcmNoIFJlc3VsdHM6c2IxNTA6MTo1OnNiMTUw

Highlights:
- Full X01 drivetrain - same as the Megatower
- All other components are similar or identical minus the yeti gets factory fork, which again is only the Kashima coating, and an Fox X2 shock.
- DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One 30 Aluminum Wheelset vs SantaCruz Carbon Reserves on the Megatower, huge difference here.

Overall pros for the Yeti is factory suspension, vs carbon wheels on the Megatower. I'd save $200 and get the carbon wheels 8 days a week.

-
  • + 3
 @stumphumper92: Funny that Toyota and BMW just released the same car in a joint venture (Supra and Z4) haha
  • - 5
flag hamncheez (Jun 12, 2019 at 14:54) (Below Threshold)
 @tgent: The Santa Cruz does not have the full xo1, it cheaps out on a few parts. The rear shock is most definitely an upgrade, and going to Kashima is a value bump in the same way as carbon rims: it helps your resale value. I personally would rather have those DT swiss wheels.
  • + 8
 @hamncheez: The price increase from the alloy dt wheels to the carbon reserve rims is alot more than a factory fork to a performance elite.
So buy the Megatower X01, sell the reserve wheels, buy dt swiss wheels.. You have now bought a X01 megatower for a good bit less than a X01 SB150.
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: To be fair, I think you're actually right. The article lists the MT cranks as X01 but SantaCruz lists X1 on their website, so the bike prob does come with X1 cranks.

That being said, the MT does not cheap out anywhere else, every other part of the drivetrain is X01. The SB150 Race build is full X01 except for the chain which is GX. Again, $200 more for kashima and no carbon wheels. The carbon wheels are worth a lot more, I'd guess at least $1k, than kashima in resale value, hands down.
  • + 4
 @tgent: They are X1 cranks but that is it. Its kinda crazy that SC gets alot of flack for overpriced but at 8600 for the X01 race build yeti gives you aluminum wheels. I have rode the DT swiss ill admit and maybe they are great but the Santa cruz reserves are awesome. Love both brands just seems interesting to me.
  • + 2
 @stumphumper92: Idk mate, I've owned a lot of cars and BMW gave me a whole new perspective on craftsmanship. The real trick is whether you'll notice the difference; if not you should save your money.
  • - 1
 @meepmurp: BMW is literally rolling garbage, they look and drive nice though. Toyota makes a much better car don't fool yourself.
  • + 2
 @leon-forfar: pretty much that.

the specs are mostly a smart choice. What do you need Kashima for? Not to mention the prices Specialiazed is dropping on its new bikes
  • + 3
 @INS4N3: Hahaha, Specialized is out to lunch with their spec to price ratio, especially given how mass produced and "not special" (in house parts that are meh at best, horst link, average ride and QC, and sometimes terrible CS) they are.
  • + 25
 To me this article is basically a review of why the superdeluxe shock sucks
  • + 4
 Yet it wins world cups...
  • + 2
 The new one at least... I have demoed it several times and can't get along with it, but riding my mate's bike with an older shock on it (2017?) It feels more usable. Really turned me off the new rockshox stuff. Which is fine
  • + 3
 @themanro: and EWS overalls.
  • + 7
 @themanro: And WC riders use the same shocks we do Wink
  • + 4
 Except the Bronson that he did like (and Nomad before it got too small bump comments) both use the same shock. So something else going on here. Not that a custom tuned shock wouldn’t help but there is something obviously different in the leverage of the Megatower vs the others (probably heavily focused on sprinting support for the EWS racer).
  • + 2
 *got good small bump comments*
  • + 19
 I agree with Mike and many commenters here, a coil shock - and a maybe even running a little less sag (~27%) - are the way to go on this bike. l race tested this setup on my Megatower at Thunder Mountain (East Coast flow & gnar.) Coming from an HTLT wit old VPP3 the Meagtower is a better climber, has way plusher suspension and still feels more poppy on jump trails. I'm super happy with it. Sure, there may be more rounded or playful bikes out there, but for my trails and riding it's a sweet bike. Also, the toothpaste color looks mint in real life.
  • + 18
 Has to be the worst received Santa Cruz of all time. Not ridden it but nobody seems hyped on it.
  • + 7
 Coming from an htlt, I really enjoyed the megatower feel and ride. Very solid and confidence-inspiring, dang fast especially in the corners, and just felt really plush. But I agree with other riders that a coil or X2 will probably make it really shine. Plus the lower shock linkage makes it feel really planted. But I get it, the muted hype seems to make sense because the vpp and these frames and the shock placement seems more “evolutionary” with incremental tweaks versus “revolutionary”. I think this could be said for a lot of brands and their bikes these days, no matter the wheels size, geometry or travel.
  • + 7
 I think it'd a beautiful bike that they were missing in their lineup. Needed something to compete with the SB150 and Ripmo. Stupid bloody name though.
  • + 0
 I haven't heard anything positive from my network. I wonder how SC messed this up? They have 3 other bikes on this suspension layout. Should have been a slam dunk. The HT, HTLT, and TB3 are all amazing.
  • + 2
 @High-Life: Those three bikes are all disappearing, in at least their current configuration. The Bronson and Nomad have this new suspension layout. The megatower replaces the htlt (which also had plenty of meh reviews but I have really enjoyed riding it). The tallboy and Hightower are being redesigned and should be out this summer if you believe the rumors....and I completely disagree, I don’t see this as a total mess up at all, the new bikes are a blast to ride.
  • + 3
 @phclaw: The new bikes are awesome, except this one. I rode it, it rides heavy. Can't wait to see the new bikes though. A tallboy with the new suspension layout and would be the perfect bike.
  • + 4
 I'm pretty hyped on it. It is much better than Hightower I had. Even climbing-vise. HT was like a hardtail when hitting square bumps and my ass was hanging over the rear axle.
  • + 1
 @phclaw: like I said I’ve not ridden it it could well be amazing and with it being a Santa Cruz there’s a good chance it is but I’ve just not seen a response to a new Santa Cruz as lukewarm as this one has been. The exact opposite of last years bronson they need to get loris vergier or Mitch on the promo edit ASAP.
  • + 6
 @High-Life: If those three bikes are the ones that shine in your network, then it makes sense the Megatower isn't popular. It's a big burly bike made for border line DH tracks. If you don't have the right terrain, this bike would obviously be a hinderance on the climbs and descents.
  • + 1
 @leon-forfar: exactly. This is by far the most “pointed” bike in the lineup. It is made for one type of rider, the enduro racer who is buying a bike that is going to be raced and doesn’t care too much how it climbs or pedals along on mellow trails. Comparing it to a true all mtn bike like the bronson doesn’t make sense to me.
  • + 2
 @High-Life: I really doubt the Tallboy will have a lower link driven shock. They stuck with the upper link driven shock on the new 5010 so I'm guessing its brother will stay that way as well. Apparently with shorter travel the leverage ratio with the low link driven shock doesn't make sense.
  • + 1
 @Austink: I think you're right, but as other riders that have the OG HT or the HTLT, the Mega climbs better with the change in geo, along with the added traction from the linkage change (a lot of Nomad riders have been claiming this comparing the v3 and v4 Nomad). I found it to be the best of both worlds...better climbing plus better descending (the issues with the super deluxe shock not withstanding). There is a similar review of the Mega in BIKE that Travis E. did, and is views seemed way more positive in tone than this review. Not that any of these reviews really mean anything - go out and ride different brands and choose what you like...
  • + 1
 @phclaw: Yeah I saw more positive reviews elsewhere. I actually have a mega frame(coil, not super deluxe XD) and am waiting on parts to ship to build it up. Coming from a n4 nomad, I was sold from all the owners saying it is the bug wheeled nomad we have been waiting for.
  • + 1
 @phclaw Even with the new layout, it doesn't climb like the HT. Much less of an everyday bike unless every day for you is full-face helmet (in which case I'm jealous of you). For example, I used to live in the Bay Area and also the front range in Colorado, and there's nothing there worthy of a 160mm sled in either of those places.
  • + 1
 @High-Life: That’s the big variable with people’s experience riding it I’d guess. I was on a bronson, riding in pemberton and whistler there are points when it was in over its head to some extent and took some hard hits. Changing to the MT has been positive, on the more direct rough fall line trails it flys, but I also know the trails we have here aren’t the norm for everyone.
  • + 16
 I come for the common sense comments. All joking aside, I really do not know why people put so much stock in bike reviews. You are better off just looking at the pictures and going for a demo. Its as simple as that.
  • + 5
 Really.. It is all preference, what feels good to one, may not feel good to another. Go try it and decide for yourself.
  • + 2
 Most countries don't have access to these as demo's. Sometimes reviews are the only way. Heck most shops here aren't doing demo fleets any more for even the big brands.
  • + 12
 Coming from a Nomad 4, the Megatower wins every category in my book. It's hands down one of the best bikes I've ever ridden. Railing turns is so, so much better with this bike than with the Nomad, and I have honestly NO idea why that is the case if you're looking at the numbers. It's almost too agile for it's size. Loving it very much, have a frame issue which I hope Santa Cruz gets sorted out soon, though.
  • + 5
 I thought the exact same thing. coming from the pivot firebird 27.5 and phoenix in M and now riding a MT in L with coil.
The longer MT 29 doesn’t feel less agile at all, maybe in very a rare occasions (doing whips) and those rare slow super tight corners. But it’s a new 29 bike and you have get used to it when first time riding it.

@mikekazimer I am a bit surprised about Mike’s addressed lack of small bump compliance and square edge “problems” here in the test. Because I bought this bike after a testriding an air shocked version and felt quite the opposite. I was amazed about the traction in high speed chatter and how it evens out the roots and rocks.
Maybe it is how he tested it - high position and longer chainstay. both changes favor less progression. Maybe it lacked on midstroke support which causes to be hung up.
I have been riding the bike 8 days now - tour and park in low and short (31% Sag). never missed my DH bike or firebird.
I only had problems with too much feedback once – it was when I set the rebound a faster like i was used to with other bikes. Closing it to 5-6 clicks made it feel back to perfect again.

bottom line is I can't relate to all statements in the test. and I wished it would have been tested in several possible setups, not only for the no pedalstrikes favored one. I am surely no Greg Minaar and I feel a difference in agility on high position compared to low.
  • + 3
 @MindPatterns They are pretty much the same bike, Megatower if you prefer 29", Nomad 4 if you prefer 27.5". The suspension design works perfectly with a coil if you want better small bump compliance.
  • + 15
 Just here waiting for a Commencal Clash review one day Blank Stare
  • - 3
 Do you get the feeling that Commencal gets iced out for reasons unknown? The most stacked team in MTB right now comes out with a new freeride bike and nary a word.
  • + 14
 @rezrov, iced out? We awarded the Supreme DH 29 Bike of the Year last year: www.pinkbike.com/news/2018-pinkbike-awards-mountain-bike-of-the-year-winner.html.

We also reviewed the Meta AM 29: www.pinkbike.com/news/review-commencals-new-meta-am-29-team.html.

Commencal are making a bunch of good value-packed bikes right now. We can't review them all, but the Clash does look like a fun freeride machine.
  • + 7
 @mikekazimer: Eh, I'm not even just talking about PB. No major publication has done a review! Write one and you'll get those sick clickies.

And you say you can't do 'em all, but seems like SC usually gets a review on a new bike, and they're just new iterations, not a completely new model.

Anyway, appreciate the response, Big Mike.
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: I just find the lack of reviews a bit weird because it's something a little different these days. There's SO many extremely similar, do-everything, 1-bike-quiver, plows-downhill-but-pedals-surprisingly-well enduro bikes around that when a company goes for something slightly outside that box, a targeted freeride park shredder, I thought sites would be clamouring to review it.

But I will admit I am a bit biased because I'm very interested in it myself ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • + 14
 I'm gonna wait for the Ultratower.
  • + 3
 That's the 2020 model, but by 2022 we'll be on the hypertower and then maybe even gigatower. I'll wait for them to stop running out of childish prefixes thank you very much
  • + 12
 @Lookinforit: I demoed the LudicrousTower but I went plaid and my brains ended up in my feet!
  • + 5
 @showmethemountains: I wanted to demo one as well...but my schwartz was not big enough.
  • + 3
 @jason475: I couldn't demo one because I was an *sshole. Had to settle for the Squattytower.
  • + 2
 Ultra Mega (Tower) OK.
  • + 1
 @showmethemountains: spit coffee on screen. Ludicrous Tower!
  • + 1
 @JohanG: hahahahahahaha
  • + 9
 It is interesting that the LR curve and progression is nearly identical to the Capra 29. 3.5 - ~ 2.1, with near linear progression(see linkage design web page). I feel YT kinda overdid the progression (to some degree made it tough to use an an air shock even with all the volume spacers out). Others, including Kazimer seemed to give the Capra 29 the same review. So I was surprised the Megatower has almost the same LR, and this review actually reads somewhat similarly (works best on smooth, fast, has a hard time with chunk/square hits).

I love the Capra with a coil, and it seems the same might be true for many on the Megatower. I am sure the Megatower is more efficient climbing than a Capra with the flat anti-squat curve over 100, and VPP. But that LR will likely define how it feels descending in chunky stuff for mortals. And for racer that sensitivity early, and progression late is probably good. Firm is fast.
  • + 2
 That’s exactly what I was thinking! I also put a coil on my Capra and it made all the difference
  • + 3
 @bbachmei: Agree. Coil.

The LR on this ends lower than even the V4 Nomad (LR 3.5->2.5) vs. MT (LR 3.5->2.1)

Coil means less sag early, more support in mid (without the "dip" in the air curve) and more access to the deep travel.

But with VPP, unlike the Capra, sitting a little lower doesn't matter, you still have Antisquat. So I am sure a bit better.

Will be interesting to see if the incoming new "regular" Hightower is really the "29er Bronson" that many seem to be waiting for.
  • + 7
 gotta say I disagree with this one on some points. I've ridden most of the long travel enduro 29ers, and found the Megatower to be the poppiest and most playful by far. I also thought the VPP bobbed way too much climbing when not locked out, but basically a hard tail when locked. I do agree the SB150 is by far the superior climber, but found it to be overly harsh no matter how I set the suspension. FWIW, I ended up with a Firebird, which is nice and plush and stable descending, but climbs much more efficiently than most of the others I rode. I do sometimes wish I had the poppiness of the Megatower, but am otherwise stoked on it.
  • + 7
 Quite surprised that there was no commentary/comparison to this bike’s predecessor, the Hightower/Hightower LT. Also, could a different rear shock unlock the traction/sensitivity shortcomings? (Yes, I realize the HT and the LT variant are on an older chassis design but my mind
goes to “Did they take a step back with this bike?”)
  • + 10
 I doubt it. Kazimer confused me by adding volume spacers and going softer in the shock. That could make the bike use the first let’s say 2/3 of the travel really easily, then run into a wall of progression in the last 1/3, translating as harshness. I think it would have made more sense to add low speed compression damping to get the shock to ride a bit high in a softer part of the spring curve, or simply go up in pressure, especially after his complaints about pedal strikes in the low mode.
  • + 1
 The downsides of this bike also apply to the Hightower LT. The LT has become our trail bike as the Zerode is more fun when its steep, tight, and techy.
  • + 6
 For $8400 I'm expecting Fox Factory suspension and dropper, DPX2 instead of that RS junk, and a frame made in North America, not China!

Good job on the antisquat and leverage curves. Reviews are moving in the right direction even though bike specs are not.
  • + 7
 Dont know why but i have never ever looked at a Santa Cruz and thought 'yes i really want one' They have always looked boring and overpriced to me.
  • + 1
 @Matt76 That how Ibis looked to me, but after I tried one I was thinking what a mistake that was to over look them... That being said I have been on every iteration of VPP and I would say Santa Cruz has not made too many bikes that worked for me.
  • - 1
 I owned 3 of them and never will again...to me the boring ride made them that much more boring to look at.
  • - 5
flag Matt76 (Jun 12, 2019 at 7:33) (Below Threshold)
 @GlassGuy: Interesting. Whenever i have spoken to people with Santa Cruz bikes i have never seen anyone that excited to own one. The love has never been there. That said they sell loads so the must be loved by many.
  • + 4
 @Matt76 SC used to be the little guys, the underdogs doing unique bikes and being out front in bike design not to mention value. That evaporated over the last ten years. They have become followers and far more conservative in their design as they've grown. Only with their acquisition by Pon Holding has SC started to bring lower cost bikes back into their portfolio. I was a fan boi up until '13 owning five of them, but after that their bikes stopped speaking to me.
  • + 1
 @Matt76: interesting to get your take...it's a pretty big investment/risk buying a high end bike then realizing you're not very excited about it, and why I've been sticking with my Transition Scouts.
I'm guessing their marketing and constant release of updated bikes, their DH team, etc. , keeps the name in people's minds.
It does surprise me how often reviews blow them up as such a great bike, but, that just goes to show bikes are as subjective as art or pizza, ha ha!
I feel like bike trends are going the way of more stable, predictable, bland....just roll over shit and as fast as possible! Even my '18 Scout was dulled down compared to the first version..until I swapped out the low offset fork. SC bikes had no real life in them to me..felt solid but wasn't very exciting, and I changed suspension platforms multiple times on the frames
  • + 3
 @hellbelly: You have a good point...SC bikes used to be really cool to look at and drool over. They seemed to be pushing what could be done. The super curvy and sexy Nomad during the period of the 160 travel Remedy and Enduro(I had the last two...never got the Nomad). They even had the low cost Nickel.
I thought all these bikes looked awesome, but hadn't ridden VPP. Then I finally owned some and after a couple/few years realized VPP was just dull. And like you said, now SC is just popping out bland bikes...colors, design....
  • + 0
 @GlassGuy: Now Transition have always got my blood flowing! I had a Transition Double with only 3 inches of travel years ago. Still one of the fastest most fun bikes i ever took to a DH track!
  • + 1
 @Matt76: I was recommended the Transition Scout after picking up a hitchhiker in Rotorua who happened to be the tester/editor for a couple mtb mags in UK...he told me it was the most fun bike he rode all year.
I was traveling around with my SC BlurLTc...as soon as I got back home I found a single Scout available for sale, once it arrived and I gave it a few pedals I put the Santa Cruz bikes up for sale!
It's been my favorite trail bike..rowdy! And, after owning multiple 150-160 rear travel bikes(including Santa Cruz), I haven't missed the reduced travel at all. But, I would go with the pre-SBG frames that started in '18, or at least don't use a low offset fork..causes the front wheel to tuck under the frame in sharp turns, not nearly as snappy
  • + 1
 @GlassGuy: SC used to have a custom color palette as well as the ability to mix and match components in between kits. Their bike builder was one of the very first online and was great fun to play with. As far as suspension systems go, you have to remember that the VPP was designed at a time (mid-late 90's) when everyone wanted their full suspension bikes to pedal like hard tails and for the most part it does exactly that. VPP like any modern suspension system can be tuned to accentuate many different aspects of the platform, however such traits will always be present in some fashion. At the end of the day some like and some do not. I am of the later category.
  • + 1
 @Yetimike2019: I think for a period, Ibis was overpriced, and maybe a little old in the geo, steep and short. I looked them over then also. But, they really have gotten aggressive with their price points after they started the special blends a few years back. And somewhere around the HD4, they started catching on to modern geometry. Now, with the Ripmo and Ripley they are pretty much on the modern end of geometry, and a relative bargain for the GX and NX in comparison to any of the the major players, and that’s for a DW link not some Horst link that doesn’t take much engineering.
I personally like Santa Cruz, but I do think they are overpriced in the market, which is why you always see them on a pretty good sale in the fall, IMHO. Not old school Intense bike sales, but generally you can find them for 20-30% off in the fall. If they dropped MSRP by 10%, I think they’d be spot on and wouldn’t have the fall sales. For me, they’re a brand I’d buy, if I got it in the fall on sale. But, I’m sure their bean counters do a better job than my armchair quarterbacking.
  • + 9
 This was a really solid review, thanks.
  • + 5
 hmmm, on paper the kinematics look ace especially the antisquat drop looks very well timed. not sure what created the suboptimal performance at squareedge hits. maybe let antisquat drop earlier and allowing the suspension to act more freely ?-but usually this also means dropping the (virtual) pivotpoint, causing an even less optimal wheelpath.
  • + 5
 I’ve ridden a few iterations of different SC bikes and I will get shit here again, but simple Waki pseudo-truth is, VPP works well only with coil. And then it bottoms a bit but at least it lacks the stupid hole in the middle. Running a VPP with little compression on an air shock as Mike did is a ticket for either harsh ride or shagging an apple pie with no pop. VPP is also quite sensitive to getting the SAG point right due to it’s supposedly amazing fine tuning of the leverage curve. The issue is that as Joe from Murmur says shocks are so damn good these days that they handle travel control really well and too much playing with some kineshmatics prevents them from doing their job.
  • + 7
 @WAKIdesigns: not so sure,modern sc vpps have not very much in common with old sc vpps (even the last gen before this one). until this generation the leverage curve was not ideal, it went from regressive to (very) progressive, add an airshock and your off to a world of setup trouble. the new generation (all v 10 look alikes) has a straight progression curve although it still suits a coilshock more a linear airshock should also work.

Also not so sure about Joes take on progression. I have a Starling Swoop (79er) hanging on my wall. Even though Joe made it a little more progressive for me, i always had massive problems bottoming the suspension even with 25 % sag. Dont get me wrong it is a very good trailbike with loads of traction but you better think twice before hitting a big drop or kicker.

My new bike is very progressive and some sort of vpp, it took me 3.5 months to get the suspension how i wanted it but i have done way bigger stuff with it than in the years on linear bikes combined. A lot of Progression might not be ideal for setting up your suspension, but i think at certain speeds or forces you just need it.
  • + 7
 Square edge bump performance is not just dictated by kinematics. It's primarily damper based. If the orifices are too small or the shim stack badly chosen, performance suffers. I used to have horrible square edge bump performance with a Fox DPS Evol. Now, with a Manitou McLeod on the same bike, performance has drastically improved.
  • + 1
 @Mac1987: I had the same experience with an Monarch + - at higher shaft speeds the oil flow was too slow. Maybe the Megatower would benefit from an X2.
  • + 10
 @WAKIdesigns: I believe the travel hole on VPP bikes due to the regressive part of the curve is not present anymore. Now they're totally progressive.
But you get a very progressive leverage with very progressive air shocks a harsh combo, so a coil could be a good idea
  • + 1
 @optimumnotmaximum: the amount of progression alone tells nothing about how much force is needed to bottom a bike out. Something like a SC or YT usually is run with a little more sag, so the beginning of the travel doesn't have that much resistance and you run faster into the ramp up, which also can lead to harsh hits.
Maybe a bigger aircan a la X2 would help or even tinkering with spacers in both chambers...
  • + 3
 @jzPV: for sure the springrate (or air) and compression damping also determins the bottomoutforce, but only the right amount of progression makes it possible to get propper sag in combination with bottomoutresistance. if you do not have enough progression you can try and fix it with compression damping. this is usually not the best idea though, as it tends to make the suspension feel dead. on airshocks you can also alter the progression with spacers and cans but in my expierience bikes with not enough or inconsistent progression never got amazing after adding spacers. having said that, there surely is such a thing as too much progression.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Even the latest tracer got rid of the hammock regressive-proggressive bit that was a no-go for the armchair pros.. these vpps are very good, as good as my CBF on my balance...
  • + 1
 I think they specced the wrong shock on this bike. I just swapped an X2 in on my Megatower. The Super Deluxe air was very unsupportive. I could either run it supportive(ish) and harsh or compliant and wallowy. Even with the LSC at 0 clicks, it felt like I was falling through the stroke until reach the big ramp up at the very end from the volume spacers. So I'm not surprised with Mike's impressions based on riding the SD air.
  • + 2
 @Mac1987: Yep! I never liked my Foxy 29 with the DPX2 even with the compression wide open. Float X2 was a little better but it felt kinda dead. I now have a Bomber CR modded and tuned by Avalanche and it's amazing. The Foxy 29 doesn't have a coil friendly LR but with a MRP progressive spring and a longer progressive bottom out bumper from Avalanche it's perfect. My point being that the fluid flow in the DPX2 just didn't play nice with the Foxy's kinematics.
  • - 1
 @Lagr1980: must be the latest, latest. The last Bronson I rode that still had the shock under the top tube was still blowing through travel on smooth landings and in corners with the standard Float if it wasn’t locked. You wouldn’t bottom it out off a huck but you would use most travel by the smoothest landing of a jump and it would understeer in corners. I spoke to a guy with latest Nomad and he had similar experience with the X2 and changed to coil. For big hitting bikes with progressive curve, you also don’t want an air shock that doesn’t have a stellar rebound valving and setup as compared to coil it will not stick to the ground after bugger hits. Here again, many reports of people changing to coil and suddenly they gain lots of confidence for sending stuff in between rock gardens and corners, because as the bike lands, it gets glued to the ground. There is no initial rebound spike. All this coming from big companies with big budgets for design, engineering and testing is freaking preposterous, since smaller makers like Antidote can make it work. When I read a comment that someone went through shocks to finally get what he wants, it is laughable and a subject to get his/hers money back. After buying Blur LT, trying pre 2016 Bronson and Solo I would need a session with Jordi from Fox to ensure me they are worth spending money on. None of latest Specializeds, fricking Ns bikes I rode had blowing through travel issue and race results are meaningless if anyone wants to bring that up.
  • + 4
 People seem to have forgotten your shock isn't just a spring. It also has a damper in it. Just adding progression to the curve or vol spacers to the shock till it doesn't bottom out any more basically ignores the damper. Get a good damper and set it up right and you shouldn't need insane levels of ramp any more. Then your suspension can actually work properly throughout the full stroke rather than only having any meaningful damping in the first 30% of the stroke, before the spring wildly overpowers the damper for the rest of the stroke.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: all under toptube shock scs have a poor leverage ratio only the latest change fixed that. I am pretty happy with my bike now although i struggle a bit getting full travel. It does not feel harsh but i just cant get the last 7% of travel. The leverage rate should suit coil even more, but i am not sure if i should spend a lot of money to make a good bike hopefully a bit better, your stick to the ground theory maybe the excuse i needed for a purchase.
  • + 0
 @gabriel-mission9: I’ll put it like this: if a company releases a frame with an air shock that and the buyer needs to perform multiple volume spacer shennenigans to not bottom it out around the “prescribed” SAG, they should give the lad/ gal their money back. There is NO excuse for that. And shock makers play a part in this as well but it is up to the frame maker to ensure proper setup can be achieved within adjustment range. EASILY achievable in case of upper end companies, and many stock their flashy bikes with mediocre shocks that in case of Fox cost almost as much as CCDB. In recent years I haven’t ridden a single test bike with regular shock that would not be underdamped and could be ridden with confidence in open mode. Particularly on Rockshox shocks.
  • + 2
 @gabriel-mission9: the cannondale approach sums it up quite nicely (even though a lot of guys called it BS). You want the damper to be driven in a linear way but you also want a progressive spring as in most cases the damper can and should not handle the bottoming issue. If you have a lot of travel a good damper and not too big hits a more linear approach will work very good. but as i said before if there are big hits or you have little travel to play with you need progression -hence cannondale sets up the proto according to the course ( 1 linear shock for smooth courses, a progressive spring and linear damper on courses with big hits)
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I ride a Nomad 4 with a DHX2 coil (after riding the SD air for several months) and your comment on coil vs. air is pretty accurate. Air was OK, but coil feels significantly more glued both uphill and down; also certainly benefits from the added adjustment of the DHX2 on rebound. I don't view this as a knock on the bike however, coil just works better (in my experience at least). The leverage curve looks pretty similar on the Megatower: according to the linkage design guy, N4 falls in remarkably a straight line from 3.5 to ~2.37 (quite progressive). However, I don't think anyone would describe the N4 as "stiff" and "not that sensitive". That's an interesting difference give the similar curves.
  • - 3
 @optimumnotmaximum: Yeah, it’s just that since the first Nomads and Blurs it took 10 years and 2 iterations to fix it but they haven’t. Why would I trust them now? And it’s not just Santa Cruz, my comment was most brands in general. Giant blows through as well, not as badly as first Glory but I was still forced to ride the latest reign with Monarch (or whatever it is RS makes now) with “lock out” on, or it would feel awkward in turns. Modt people just don’t know better. A great bike will unfold new levels of composure as you keep pushing, mediocre new bike will be just less mediocre than the previous bike, and one may never have a moment of : wow I could go this fast and it felt better, as if the bike said: go on I got this. Instead of: oh wow you are going faster, oh, erm, I’ll try!

Frames suspension is the heart of every bike, you either stand on a stable platform or you wallow and the only way to minimize that is to turn up the knobs and wind up preload, ending up with less grip. Rebound is a huge part of it all and few people tinker around it, most of us try to solve everything with preload and compression. And it can be easily observed: how many, even high end pretentious forks have separate high and low speed rebound? Get the CCDB coil man...
  • + 3
 @gabriel-mission9: yep progression is pretty much the worst. You want linear with the right spring rate and the right compression tune. You want all you travel to be effective not having to pick between a wallowy mid stroke or a harsh end stroke like you do when you pack your shock full of spacers.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: haha, thats the shock i am thinking of, unfortunally you cant get it in 210/55 mm at the moment in ger. my new bike really has some potential (Propain Tyee 2019 in al raw) and i clearly had some wow moments with it last weekend, but i feel there could be even more wow with a ccdb.
  • + 2
 @thenotoriousmic: progression with coil works nice... But again, once you try a veeery good shock (like an eXT storia...) you are spolied....
  • + 1
 @Lagr1980: maybe if you hit a lot of jumps and drops but with the right bottom out bumper I’d rather not for the riding I do. I run my coil shock fast and firm and a linear process. Get support all the stroke.
  • + 1
 @Lagr1980: yes. That is why it sucks that fewer and fewer bikes come as alu frame with top spec. You could buy a 4k alu bike, sell wheels, controls and the shock, and buy a great shock, wheels and cockpit of your choice. In this way you get A top performing bike for 5k thqt no stock 9k+ bike can match.
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: eXT hydraulic bottom out control smokes all bumpers... But yeah, travel needs to be used, all of it, most of the time.. But different styles suit different suspension designs.. I really wanted to like a banshee rune with coil shock, but there was some lack of midstroke support, I guess the CBF spoiled me forever.....
  • + 1
 probably alot of chain growth off the top. rear end is extending and hanging up.

i wish they did suspension-path videos on a stand with the BB location static so you can see what the axles doing. too much work for them i guess?
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: yeah i quite agree. Current mtb suspension trends give me a headache. Volume spacers should be considered fine tuning, rather than a crutch that makes a badly working damper seem more acceptable.
  • + 2
 @optimumnotmaximum: hydraulic bottom out yes. Progressive curves yes. Mega rampy air shocks no. They are good for flow trails with big berms. But on anything rough you just feel like you are riding on the spring rather than the damper.
  • + 2
 @mm732: I could see the chain growth hindering the suspension at lower speeds when pedaling, but surely at high speeds, when coasting, the growth isn't so severe as to re-engage the freewheel, which is required for pedal kickback and suspension hindrance. This bike is only 100% anti-squat, whereas there are bikes that are at 120%+ that still don't garner complaints about square edge hits.

Agreed on the suspension path vids being best delivered on the stand. Alternatively, they could do a chart with wheelpath mapped, like AndreXTR does. The chart might actually be advantageous as he has to exaggerate the path a bit in order to make it meaningful, so with a vid, at least without a grid overlay, it still might be tough to tell how much chain growth there is.
  • + 4
 @gabriel-mission9: Isn't there a key difference between a progressive curve in the frame and adding vol spacers to the shock though? in scenario 1. if you increase the prog on the frame, then the progressive rate will affect both the spring and damper curves, effectively increasing your damping to match the increasing spring. In scenario 2. with more vol spacers, you are leaving the damping the same, but making the spring forces far higher.

You mentioned only having "meaningful damping in the first 30% of the stroke, before the spring wildly overpowers the damper", but it seems like that is a condition more specific to volume spacers than a progressive shock rate in the frame design.

That of course assumes a pretty simple and linear damper, and I understand that dampers are often digressive and can have curves of their own, but that only increases the mismatch between spring and damper that we are talking about, as when forces on the shock are highest, the damper opens widest (decreasing damping further), which shifts even more of the burden on the spring (increasing spring forces further), and overwhelming the damper.

It's like this sort of awkward dance, where you want the damper to control the movement, but not inhibit the suspension working, which seems contradictory. I guess that is why some call it a "black art".
  • + 1
 @thekaiser: i am not sure if everything you assume is correct (it seems like you are not sure yourself). nevertheless your post contains a lot of cool thoughts i wanna think about ,thanks.
  • + 2
 @thekaiser: yeah thats exactly what im getting at. With a progessive curve linkage design the damper and spring are being worked together, while volume spacers increase the spring rate without increasing the damping to suit. You can wind on a ton of high speed rebound (if your damper has that as an option) but this isnt a perfect fix. This is why i dont really get cannondales new split shock design. Its a neat idea but i dont quite see the logic behind it. I feel like the part of the stroke where the lever curve ramps for the spring but not the damper is going to leave the bike feeling undamped unless you run a shock with some sort of position sensitive damper(hydraulic bottom out). Which is exactly what they claim to be avoiding. Its odd.
  • + 1
 @gabriel-mission9: i dont think it is that easy, not taking anything away from our discussion but assuming the cannondale crew and a lot of guys doing this in motorsports are proven wrong by us in 1 day seems a bit unrealistic. with the 2 shock setup (even though its actually not 2 shocks) you can also give the damper a lower and not just different leverage ratio than the spring resulting in lower shaftspeeds which would help him not to get overpowered by the spring. this is not true for adding spacers in a shock, maybe thats the point we were missing -but what do i know.
  • + 1
 @optimumnotmaximum: Haha yeah man. I'm not saying they are wrong, just that I'm not completely convinced that they are right either. I have been proved wrong many times before and someone may explain the cannondale system in a way that makes more sense to me, but currently I'm not completely sold on it. I think motorsport applications (especially 4 wheeled ones, which split shock designs are more common on) are very different to 2 wheeled unmotorized sports. But then again the cannondale might turn out to be amazing. Who knows? I kinda hope it does.
  • + 8
 I was going to buy one of these but now i'm just confused!
  • + 4
 I tried the megatower and sb150 last weekend and the megatower was so fun to ride and felt better on the bike park. Sb150 was better for pedalling but the bike is very long. Don’t know about the ramson but the megatower was way more sensitive than mi actual bike
  • + 22
 I bought a new bike recently and watched a lot of online reviews, including some video comparisons on here and Vital etc. I pretty much talked myself out of getting it, lots of stuff about it being harsh, hard to climb, underwhelming, travel will run out long before geom does etc etc etc. I had already booked a demo on it so I went out and none of the issues that jurnos had identified became a reality for me. Thats not to say they are wrong, and I appreciate people who write things and are able to give a balanced review, rather than something based on how much $$$ they get in advertising (cynical I know)

Maybe I am too slow / dumb / dont know enough about the finer details of progressive lever contact patch curves, I rode the bike and liked it. The moral of the story, if you can find somewhere, its well worth trying it before you buy it. You wouldnt lay many thousands out on a car or a house without having a pretty good look first, same should apply for bikes IMO
  • + 29
 @commentsectiontroll: This is no place for common sense. Please show yourself out.
  • + 8
 buy a Sentinel! Thank me later!
and with the spare money do an amazing biketrip! then thank me again Smile
  • + 2
 @teamcliff: I'll escort him. Theres no place here to use common sense like this sir.
  • + 3
 @Germanmike: I do actually really like the look of Sentinel!
  • + 6
 Don't worry it's 100 times better than this review says. I'm not sure why but I didn't find any of theese issues stated in this review
  • + 4
 @commentsectiontroll: i love this, when I was looking for my new bike 3 years ago I went and test rode heaps of brands, models and sizes, I ended up liking GTs Force and Giants Trance the most, probably the two bikes that never reviewed well for being too conservative yadda yadda, I also went with size medium at 5'9" tall as it felt much more natural than the large for me.

You have to take all these reviews with a pinch of salt and read between the lines.
  • + 1
 Exactly. Funny enough I own an m29 and after reading Paul's review of it I found it to be EXACTLY what he wrote about it. Amazing how he could pick apart a bike like that. @ctd07:
  • + 4
 @commentsectiontroll: So....what bike did you get?
  • + 2
 @adzrees: you should definitly get one then!
  • + 4
 Demo Son! Best thing you can do is take your time and Demo if possible. I didn’t like it, but my friend loves his. Out of all the “long” travel bikes I have ridden lately I would say the Ripmo was up there for me, but my friend didn’t like it. So always demo if you can.
  • + 5
 Get out and try it for yourself. Every rider has their biases and most good riders can adapt to a new bike, if it’s generally good, with time. I feel like bike reviews are why we’ve taken so long to develop the modern geometry. If it doesn’t feel like what the reviewer is used to, sometimes it gets a meh review. Almost 20 years ago, Yeti had to lie about the HA angle being 71 when it was really 69 to get people to try it because reviewers would pan anything that slack. It won bike if the year. I feel like reviewers and even demo days where you ride just for an hour or two have held us back to incremental changes in bikes (not saying that’s what Mike did with this review, he seems to have taken his time to really try this bike and he is used to similar geometry bikes). Even though I liked it from the beginning, it took me a couple months last year to really click with the super long wheelbase of my Ripmo versus anything else I’ve ever ridden. A better rider than me could have taken less time to adapt.

Personally, I like a firmer feeling rear end. Mike doesn’t. The idea of a 160 travel bike that isn’t a complete ground hugger could work well for me. I really did like a Scott Ransom I demoed, but I needed the lever whenever climbing or really anytime I wanted to pedal or have some pop. On rolling terrain, I’d rather a firm bike. All personal preference. I haven’t ridden the Santa Cruz, but I’d give it a chance if I didn’t already love my Ripmo (also firm feeling). A little longer travel would be nice on lift served days.
I’d generally agree with Mike about effective vs actual SA, but I think that’s also about getting the right size for you (Santa Cruz have always run tight for tall guys) and if there is enough room on the seat rails to compensate.
  • + 1
 @mtbgeartech: Stumpy Evo 29. Will back to trolling now #264lyfe #fu**sram
  • + 3
 @whambat: The progression switch on the Ransom makes a huge difference for anything on rolling terrain or flow stuff or whenever you want pop, I'm loving mine.
  • + 3
 @Germanmike: The Sentinel is a great bike, and depending on the build (if you’re not customizing up from a frameset, which I bet most riders do to some extent) you can save $500 on the gx to $1,400 on the xo. I tried it, and it was awesome, but for me didn’t climb as well as the mega, and I preferred the feel of the mega going down. But I preferred the sentinel over the enduro. Just go out and try different rides and pick the one you like best.
  • + 5
 If you get one, go for the coil option. I've been riding my megatower with a coil for about a month and a half and it has none of the harshness Mike was talking about. I do agree with him that bottoming out is a bit too easy though. I just ordered an MRP progressive spring so hopefully that'll give me better bottom out support.

Here are my thoughts comparing the megatower against the nomad in case anyone's interested:

So far the megatower feels more stable than the nomad charging through steep and rough stuff, the limit is when there are sharp corners on extremely steep faces. I'd say in that scenario the nomad has a slight edge. Straight line speed on the MT is nuts and the bike is noticeably more composed through chunder than the nomad, especially with the coil shock out back. They both feel similar in the air, although the megatower is slightly easier to pop and more playful feeling overall, at least in a straight line. The Nomad is better suited to being an idiot in corners and you can enter on a tighter line and hold a tighter radius better.The Megatower is just as fast if you're taking intelligent lines but less forgiving of cutting inside and spraying dirt in terms of exit speed. Climbing wise they're very similar although I think the Nomad is slightly better at grinding up logging roads and the Megatower has the edge on technical or loose trails. This isn't a straight comparison though because I had an airshock on the Nomad and a coil on the Megatower. In terms of chassis feel, the Megatower's rear end is noticeably stiffer, especially when landing a bit sideways or really pushing the rear end into a corner and braking loose. That's not to say the Nomad was a wet noodle though, and I think the frame itself tracked better through really rough stuff due to the extra compliance.
  • + 2
 @Germanmike: The Sentinel is a very, very good bike, 140/160 weapon. From the rocks of Finale Ligure to the super steep, rooty, tech trails of Morzine it is unbelievably capable, lively, fast as hell and rad fun! Buy one!
  • + 1
 @briceps: the Ransom is a really nice bike. I’m sure if I got more time on it I’d really like it and get used to the thumb switch. I really liked it in corners, felt way quicker than the numbers would have suggested. You should be happy with your bike. In general, however, I like a firmer feel: just personal preference. Maybe I should have ridden more with the switch on, even DH.
  • + 2
 @mtb-beds: I know, love mine! Enjoyed finale a lot with it!
  • + 2
 @650boss: I also had a Nomad4 last season and decided to try this "29er Nomad". I don't think it is simply a big wheel version of the nomad, but I do think it is another perfect bike for Whistler riding. Immediately felt like I was cheating on the climbs (probably the 29er wheels), and then I hit the downhill and....holy crap, The MegaTower said "f*ckyeah let's go buddy". I'm 200 pounds and not built like a twiggy Journalist, so this bike feels very comfortable and agile to me. I ride a lot and love everything from climbing to tech DH to A-Line, and this thing gets a 5star rating from me in all terrain and styles.

Long story short

1) ditch the air. Get a coil with lockout
2) go 170mm in the front
3) flip the linkage to low
4) short chain stay setting or long, this bike feels great with 1,2 & 3 in place.
  • + 1
 I actually bailed on buying a Megatower - I saw it in the flesh and had a little ride of it ....wasn't overly excited about it which when buying a new bike just isn't right. In the end I ended up getting Hold of a Nukeproof Mega Worx - totally different bike but ahh man its mint!
  • + 8
 “Stiff and solid, but not that sensitive” pretty much sums me up
  • + 3
 I wish, i bottom out quite a bit.
  • + 15
 @DuelingBanjos: nightmare. Could try reducing your stroke?
  • + 1
 @manuelandphillipe: I was thinking hardtail.
  • + 4
 Subdued Excitement

Stephen Stimson – aka Mr. Subdued Excitement – was wearing a black top hat when I met him at Rocket Donuts. That would be eye-catching enough, but there’s more. His black hat topped his Mr. Peanut costume.
Back in 1995, he explains, his mother suggested that he paint a “Welcome to Bellingham” sign on the north outside wall of the Lone Wolf building at 109 Prospect St., next to Whatcom Museum. Stimson opened the antiques shop in 1988 in the building that had been family-owned for decades. He decided to think up and paint a slogan for Bellingham…He thought of “s” words that would flow well with the soft “c” of “city.” He thought of “subdued excitement.”
But what is “subdued excitement?” … For many people, the appeal of Bellingham lies in its quieter attractions, ones that might not immediately attract hordes of tourists. Attractions like our trails, parks and waterfront views, the golden sunsets of late summer, residents’ love of the city, people who wear Mr. Peanut outfits.
The reason that “City of Subdued Excitement” rules…is that it feels right. We’ll know the city is changing, and not necessarily for the best, when the slogan no longer fits.
And, that last bullet item brings us full circle, back to the theme of my post from yesterday, titled You Can’t Take The ‘Subdued’ Out Of The City Of Subdued Excitement.
  • + 3
 The Megatower looks like a very capable bike, that needs to be pushed to get the most out of it as the reviewer states. I have a feeling that a significant percentage of the buyers of this bike will never take it anywhere close to its limit, and would be much better served by a trail bike like the Bronson. Case in point, the president of my company, who I gather from limited conversation is a converted roadie who thinks that Santa Cruz is the only bike company that matters, was recently discussing this bike with one of his bros in the office, another roadie type. I almost laughed out loud picturing these two awkwardly rolling over some roots at 2 mph in full Enduro getup, hanging up the rear wheel and endoing.
  • + 2
 The Rockshox Super Deluxe has the MegNeg air Can tuning option. The negative air chamber is 211% bigger than stock: both the positive and negative chambers can be adjusted with volume spacers. When you install it you add about 40psi more and might even want to take a positive token out. You get softer initial, firmer mid and more bottom out but all more linearly. My guess would be the super deluxe with MegNeg Can would have a lot of fans here on Pinkbike. Nice review Mike!
  • + 0
 this. can't believe the journalists didn't mention this. i really really REALLY question their testing acumen.
  • + 1
 @mm732: let’s be honest, most journalists are journalists because they are skilled writers, not technically knowledgeable riders
  • + 3
 @mm732, I didn't mention the MegNeg because I don't think it's the right solution here. That can works best with bikes that are more linear - Trek Slash, Transition Sentinel, etc..., and there's a good chance it would add too much midstroke support on the Megatower.

But if anyone's tried one on this bike I'd be interested to hear the results.
  • + 1
 That’s what I’m hoping. I’ve been riding a megatower for a about a month and just ordered the megneg yesterday for my super deluxe
  • + 2
 @Carlharl: it might make it hard to use full travel but you should find that you’re using travel more efficiently
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer:

Looking at the shock leverage curve, I would think coil would be a great Megatower option too!

Regarding MegNeg: I was impressed on how much this add-on provided in tuning the spring rate and feel of the Super Deluxe. I think it is a wonderful advantage that I would hope Fox and other shock manufacturers will follow.
  • + 3
 It's missing the most important report 'Aesthetics' this is PB, right? ..I'd take the mega on pure X or Cool factor, then learn how to ride it really fast up, down and sideways!
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer would you say it is in a sense similar in handling feeling to the Stumpjumper EVO? I had the chance to try one out a couple of weeks ago and after the first run your review came to mind of it being a bike for really good and active riders, and not made for comfort, but to be pushed.

That was also my feeling, confirmed when I jumped back on my Canyon Spectral. Although they run the same fork and shock (the Stumpy is a 29er and mine a 27.5), and look to be in the same class, mine felt in comparison extremely lively and playful, while the Stumpjumper was much harder to rail into turns and pop off of little features, while absolutely howling on the straights and feeling almost like my downhill bike.
  • + 1
 The Stumpy is the definition of sensitive. This bike has far too much AS.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: either we define sensitive different or we have a totally different feel on the bike. The Stumpy felt to me extremely capable but not really forgiving, a bike that begs to be pushed to get from it what it can deliver. A bike with which a beginner or somebody wanting to just cruies or take chill laps will, if not struggle, definitely not get what they are looking for.

For me sensitive goes pretty hand in hand with responsive, and a sensitive bike is a bike that quickly reacts to input from rider/terrain. That is not the Stumpy (the EVO, I have not tried the normal one). It does respond great when you push it, but you need effort and purpose, the bike will not react to slight adjustments or subtle inputs.
  • + 4
 Hi Mike, For plush and playful try frankenbiking the nomad 29 front 160mm fork .... 27.5 x 2.5 rear .... works mint Aarons Bikes !!! It ate Finale....
  • + 2
 That’s what I ride and completely agree. Best bike I’ve ever ridden
  • + 2
 I have a new MT in XL, running it in Long, Low and initially I had the super deluxe air, it was good, but not super plush on the small stuff, it came alive when really sending it at race pace. I think the bike really stays to work well as you push it harder. Up until that point it’s not being loaded up enough to really work.

I’m running an EXT coil in it now and it’s a total weapon, plush on the small bumps and just amazing on the bigger hits and compressions.
  • + 2
 I loved it at the demo day, I have 2015 Nomad(Medium, I'm 170cm weigh 70kg). Megatower climbed better, rolled smoother but was as fun and poppy. Fast point and shoot descends are on a whole other level, I can DH Megatower all day long. Did not like Ransom, did not like Bronson, SB130 was amazing climbing/flat but felt a little "boring" on descends although it was noticeably faster than my Nomad. Evil Offering was another highlight for me, I would chose it as an all-rounder, but out of the box that Megatower impressed me.
  • + 1
 Sorry to spam on this lovely sc, but reading the component list for the C R model has me wondering if it would be more fair to compare bokes in the same price range, and not in the same component category. For example comparing megatower to other 29er with better components and cheaper frame. Would be interesting to see could the frame kinematics and geo make up the difference in for cheaper damper.
  • + 5
 When is the @GuerrillaGravity Revved Smash ride report coming?
  • + 4
 Just wonder why it is compared to the Bronson? Isn't the Nomad the closer match?!
  • + 1
 I am in the market to replace my Yeti sb5.5 & this bike is on the short list but at the bottom. Many reviews complained about setup issues due to the rear shock. The weight also is a concern for me as its a solid 3 pounds heavier than my current bike. Maybe once a few more people swap in a Fox X2 with good results I will take a look at the bike again.
  • + 5
 I swapped to a X2 Float right away. Much better shock for this bike!
  • + 3
 what about it is better?
  • + 2
 also interested to see the difference been debating it on mine.
  • + 5
 @mm732: the super deluxe is a wallowy mess. It has no midstroke support. You either have to run it compliant and wallowy or kinda supportive and harsh. The X2 feels very supportive, no big dip in the middle of the stroke.
  • + 3
 This.
- way better midstroke support
- able to run less sag (about 28% vs 33%)
- far better on square edge hits
  • + 1
 Hightower with Push 11/6 and 150mm fork has me doing all the DH i did on my big rig but still not too stupid for everyday riding...keep telling myself I should get a “bigger” bike, but then I have ode my 135mm “trail” bike and remind myself I don’t need it! But still, more bikes makes one more happy... ; )
  • + 1
 Pretty bike, but for half price I'll take my Nukeproof Mega 275c RS. Specked the same except for the carbon wheels, but you can't complain too much about DT 1501 30's. Not many agree with me obviously, all you see in my area are top end Santa Cruz bikes with carbon wheels and Fox factory lol! Thank god my fork is red and not a spec of gold to be found anywhere : )
  • + 2
 31% sag on a 57.5mm stroke shock = 17.825mm of stroke.
30% sag on a 57.5mm stroke shock = 17.25mm of stroke.
That’s a difference on 0.575mm. How on earth does one measure sag down to a fraction of millimeter?
  • + 1
 Personally I love my Megatower, although I do agree it takes a lot to get the most out of the bike. If you aren't a really aggressive rider it might not be the best bike. Also I feel like this is a bike meant for coil, going from the air shocks to coil front and rear made it in to one of the best bikes I've ever ridden.
  • + 1
 Great review with exactly the cons i experienced when riding it.

It could be longer (said the Nicolai G15 XL rider with 535 reach) and it's suspension could be better! Think the coil shock could do this trick! DHX2 plus a 36 up front could be the ideal combo!

The seat angle could be steeper (73°+) but overall this bike handled so well and had so much grip when it got really rough and fast!

It's a pure race bike, nothing for everyday trails! Like my Nicolai but with soooo much more Stack, that it almost seems too high!
  • + 1
 Looking forward to finding out soon myself - mine is coming with a DHX2, so should strike the correct balance of comfort and support. Also, the two MTs I have demo'd felt comfortable enough to me - probably the 29 inch wheels, too, as I am coming from a Nomad V3 with an X2.
  • + 1
 Just happened to luck out a couple nights ago, and managed to do a back-to-back comparison between my own
Gen4 Nomad CC, and A Megatower CC, after running into a couple of the guys from Revolution Cycles in Rossland B.C. on a typical monday night of riding, and sharing some laps.

While the familiarity of the SC brand made me feel "at home" on the Megatower immediately, they are two very different bikes!
My own nomad is set up like a "climbable V10" - coil rear shock, ultra plush...plow over everything in your way.

The Megatower was certainly set up stiffer, very solid feel, and loved being leaned over to corner.

Each can be wickedly fast in the right hands, and its really a matter of what/how/where you ride, and your personal preference.
Anyhow, just my .02 , thanks to the ultra-cool guys @revolutioncycles.ca on another kootenay night of ripping trails!
  • + 1
 I just had Revolution build up my Megatower two days ago. Great people there. Sure missing my Nomad.
  • + 1
 I've been reading "it's a progressive frame but I'm bottoming the super deluxe (or deluxe or dpx2 or dps Evol) too much" a lot. Is this a case of frame designs being out of sync with modern shocks with big negative springs and a much more linear spring than older air shocks? I know for myself, even a Meta SX's (v3) fairly progressive frame leverage it takes a pretty large volume reduction of the positive side to keep my 100 kg from bottoming a dpx2.
  • + 1
 I went coil and bought a dpx2 for “trail” riding. From personal experience I can say it sounds like the Rockshox SD is the issue with most of the complaints I’ve heard, including this review. I set my sag like a lazy ass on the dpx2 and the bike feels amazing.
  • + 5
 What sucker pays $4500 for a Yari and NX? Holy heck, Santa Cruz.
  • + 2
 Nice, honest write-up, Kazimer. But you buried what could've been best PB headline ever: "Megatower: the Santa Cruz of Subdued Excitement"
  • + 3
 I don't get why reviewer says he wishes it was more playful but didn't think to put it in the shorter chainstay mode.
  • + 0
 Reading between the lines I'm getting "Handles like a big bike without the associated benefit of soaking up the trail. Stiff without the benefits of pop. Needs a new rear shock. Overall, underwhelming performance. Ransom and SB150 are better options." What good is an "enduro machine" that struggles on square edges hits?

I have a preference for SC bikes and own two, but must say this review does not really make this bike seem appealing in the least.
  • + 2
 I'd suggest to ride it for yourself. Along with plenty of other riders, I didn't get any of what you wrote when I rode it (except maybe changing out the shock)...but to each their own, as long as you're having fun on your bike, nothing else really matters...
  • + 2
 Not that I'd waste money on a santa cruz anything, but 8,399 USD and it only comes with X01 and a performance series Fox fork ?
  • + 1
 So between this, the Ransom and the Bronson, which would you choose for a tallish rider riding most days on trails where a 140 bike would be ideal and putting in a few park days a month?
  • + 4
 Sounds like it should be called the "Meh"gaTower.
  • + 2
 "the geometry with a 160mm fork in the High setting is very close what you'll get with a 170mm fork in the Low setting. " Wouldn't this be the other way around?
  • + 1
 Yeah, was looking at that too. I suppose indeed that it got mixed up. That is, if by "geometry" we read "angles". If it is "bottom bracket height", the sentence in the article could actually be correct.
  • + 1
 I had to read this section twice. I think he was referring specifically to the BB height, not geometry as a whole, so this makes sense. The 170mm fork would raise the BB, so flipping the chip to low would lower it back down, to a similar height as a 160mm fork with the chip in high. While a 170mm fork in low may not change the BB height much, it will change other aspects of geometry like HTA and STA.
  • + 2
 yeah, that drive side photo doesn't do it any favours in terms of a seat angle comparison......crikey. Although while I say this, I would still say yes to one of these.
  • + 1
 Maybe that shock sucks? Mine came with the coil that was to stiff. Put a 60mm stroke float x2 on it and its super sick and plush now. The shock was also custom valved for a nomad so maybe that contributes also.
  • + 2
 This is one of the softest bikes I ever owned, even softer than a prevoius sb6c with an x2 on it. Just don’t that point from the review.
  • + 2
 Coming from a hardtail, it can‘t bee too uncomfortable. I‘ll ride it like there was no tomorrow. Have to get it first though. Still waiting for my frameset.
  • + 1
 I hopped on a friend's mega with a spring probably 2 sizes too stiff and it is still felt too soft after being on the hardtail all season
  • + 3
 Can we toss the Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition into the Transition Sentinel convo? Thoughts?
  • + 1
 Not ridden the Rocky but the Sentinel is insanely good for a 140/160 bike in every aspect!
  • + 1
 I have this bike, only ideal when ridden really hard on worn techy trails, really a niche bike, abselutely not an allround bike. Gonna beef up the new hightower and looking foreward for å mor playfull and poppy bike
  • + 1
 If seat tube angle is such a big point of modern geometry, why isn't included in the Bike Details box at the beginning of the review articles?
  • + 1
 I Like this bike but why cant SC make it in aluminum just to charge a premium for carbon Bikes are getting way to expensive . My rant is over thanks
  • + 1
 DOES NOT FIT CHRIS KING BB ????
3 Different types of linkage machining depending on when you bought it haha
Don't forget us custom builders out there
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer
Would you consider sizing up to XL and compensating the slack real STA (and also shortening the ETT) by moving the seat forward? If not, why exactly?
  • + 2
 I think the XL would be a little big for me. I've found that I prefer bikes with reach numbers in the 470 - 480mm range, and even on the large Megatower I ended up scooting the seat fairly far forward to get the pedaling / cockpit position I was looking for. I never felt like the Megatower was too small for me at all, so it's unlikely I'd size up.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer:
Thanks!
I'm about 192cm tall and ever since Megatower got introduced wonder whether the XXL would be a better fit than the XL, given the sub 650mm ETT on the XL. Then again due that real STA maybe it's roomy enough at pedaling height. Also, as said before the larger size offers the possibility of compensating the STA with saddle moved forward.
  • + 2
 cannot wait for mine, been waiting for a while so seeing this review gets me chomping at the bit to ride it!
  • + 2
 Thanks for measuring and/or noting the actual seat angle. As well as it’s effect on climbing.
  • + 0
 You can have a fast bike with lots of platform or you can have a plush suspension that does not climb as well. This bike is for fast rippers on flow trails. I guess if I want plush I'd get the V10.
  • + 2
 RODE both Bronson and Megatower .Definitely would go wth the Bronson full stop
  • + 1
 What did you like it better in? I'm a current past gen Bronson owner who"s somewhat tall, so both bikes intrigue me.
  • + 2
 @MarcusBrody: Hi Marcus .Mega is a big limousine its fast and playful and very forgiving bike not necessarily faster than 650b Bronson .I myself found that you need to work harder on the mega than on Bronson which is more playful , lighter ,jumps better, climbs better and comes up to speed quicker especially out of tight corners . BTW so many people believe that 29s are faster but I don't if you watch last run of Troy Brosnan in Leogang they showed troy riding the motorway (on 650 ) against Loic Bruni (29 ) they were both rolling and pumping and I haven't seen any time advantage of 29's and n places Brosnan was still rolling faster . thx bro
  • + 0
 @MarcusBrody: Go with the Bronson on new XTR built I had XO eagle and tested the new XTR in Fort Wlliam and is so much better and cheaper as well
  • + 1
 @KOBE10: Are you running air or coil? I'm currently on a Nomad N4 w/ coil and love it but find myself wanting to go back overfork my old Nomad N3 w/ a coil on it. And it seems the Bronson slipped right into that hole. When I had my N3 I was running it with a VividAir and did like that shock until I rode my first coil, and now for a my big bike there's no going back.
  • + 1
 @KOBE10: Bruni rides hybrid so yes, it should pretty much pump the same as 27.5 while roll over bumps better.
  • - 1
 Best fit and finish and attention to detail of any of the big companies by far. Strip off the paint and this thing is actual carbon, not Bondo like many other boutique frames. And it’s not going to eat bushings or have tire rub when the rear triangle flexes like everyone’s favorite SB150

The square edge hit thing is real and surprising because of how well the V10 does on them. It has to be the shock. Santa Cruz made a deal with the devil and specs the Super Deluxe moron shock. “You the customer are too dumb to set up your own bike so we won’t let you”. I bet an X2 would feel amazing.

Plush is over rated. Plush is for people who don’t actually ride. Plush is for people who buy bikes because “it felt so smooth” on a 1.5 mile demo loop on a dirt road. Give solid and supportive any day.
  • + 3
 Thanks for setting us all straight
  • - 4
flag InsaNeil024 (Jun 12, 2019 at 10:00) (Below Threshold)
 "Plush is over rated. Plush is for people who don’t actually ride. Plush is for people who buy bikes because “it felt so smooth” on a 1.5 mile demo loop on a dirt road."

False. Plush is for people who are faster than you. People that float roots and rock gardens at Mock 1. Suspension is control, and less feedback to the rider means your suspension is doing a better job of tracking the terrain allowing better riders to push their limits.
  • + 1
 nvm
  • + 4
 @InsaNeil024: Have you ever gone Mock 1? You sound like your Maching wibblywobbly
  • + 1
 my 19' HTLT has crazy tire rub with OEM Tires, even went down to a smaller size and it still i need to change the wrap on the seatstay/post every 3 months.
  • + 3
 Very good test. Everything tried and tested. THX for the work!
  • + 0
 230x57.5 I thought metric would make things simpler with less variations of shock length. 230 were supposed to be 60 or 65 mm stroke. And one more "standard". Why do frame makers have to make things so complicated?
  • + 5
 It's not really a standard. All 230mm shocks are designed to have 65mm stroke, but there are 2.5mm spacers that manufacturers can use to shorten them. So any 230mm shock can be converted quite easily to 57.5mm, 60mm, 62.5mm, or 65mm.
  • + 3
 I’ll take an Instinct BC instead.
  • + 1
 “Stiff and solid but not that sensitive, extra effort to come alive” ......that’s what she said......even the studded tires not helping?
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer when are we going to see a full Ransom review instead of the abbreviated field test?
  • + 2
 The base model has $1,200 worth of parts on a $3,300 frame? I’d rather have it the other way around.
  • + 1
 I guess I'll stick with my Aluminum Bronson. That thing is super plush and poppy!
  • + 2
 Trans Provence soon, we'll be seeing a fair few of these methinks!
  • + 1
 Lucky boy
  • + 1
 How is it possible you get the ultimate pedaleable MINI V10 and is not square edge sensitive enought... Damn SC.
  • + 1
 Has anyone tried to buy this ribbed chainstay protector and fit it to a Hightower?
  • + 2
 Gotta wait until 10th of Sept for my XL frame to arriveFrown RIP summer
  • + 2
 Bike24.com or bike-components.de, 20 day wait, delivery any where in europe.
  • + 13
 Didn't you read, you should get a Yeti SB150 or the Scott Ransom instead :-)
  • + 5
 We also have stock in both colours and XL (plus other sizes) for immediate delivery within the EU. We are the Polish distributor so you get full lifetime warranty and can register on the SC site Smile
  • + 2
 @CrazyCrank-SantaCruz: 6 days old profile, based in London of polish distributor.. since 2002? sounds good to me..
  • + 8
 @Danielyk:

We just created this profile and selected UK as our products were not showing for everyone when listed as in Poland.

Feel free to checkout the official SC website here (Under EU and then Poland):
www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-GB/dealers

Also our other page here where location is Poland:
www.pinkbike.com/u/Crazy-Crank

You can call SC to confirm or welcome to our shop to view or collect your order.
  • + 5
 @Danielyk: its funny that you as slovakian say its fake shop meanwhile all SCs in slovakia are from crazy crank Big Grin
  • + 2
 @mironfs: thats true, I was just surprised that account was made recently.. I would expect couple years ago..
  • + 5
 @Danielyk: We have our own website you can view but recently decided we will promote the website more online and are currently creating a new web shop where customers can buy direct from us online. We were a bit behind the times but soon catching up Wink
  • + 4
 @CrazyCrank-SantaCruz: better late than never Smile
  • + 2
 @mironfs: this is what i like most about pinkbike-i get a glimpse into the realities of mountain bike communities all over the world. funny to to see all the inter-european rivalries...
  • + 2
 @Danielyk: its a trusted distributor we bought a few bikes from Crazy Crank already + I will be getting a new bronson in a few months from them too
  • + 3
 @KOBE10: Thanks for recommendation Smile
  • + 2
 @CrazyCrank-SantaCruz: Z przyjemnoscia panie Piotrze Smile .
  • + 1
 How about 20% off that black XL frame you’ve got? @CrazyCrank-SantaCruz:
  • + 2
 @hobbnobs: Feel free to message us on here and I will see what price we can do for you.
  • + 3
 uhh
  • + 1
 Holy Mother of Mary those Anti-Squat curves tho.

SC engineer: "Yea, I did that".
  • + 2
 Luckily my Mega will be equipped with DVO Suspension
  • + 1
 Hi have set my metatower up with dvo topaz shock with 60mm stroke, perfekt set up
  • + 1
 Bullocks! I want a bike that has a common courtesy to give you a reach around when getting the rear.
  • + 1
 “Theirs better options out there” best part about the article. You can only put Lipsstick on a pig so many times.
  • + 1
 Does anyone know which damper is spec'd on this 36 Performance Elite? Fit 4? Fit Grip 2?
  • + 2
 Grip2
  • + 1
 Mike not sure why there is no firebird 29 comparison? Sounds like a similar bike to me.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer How do you get hard points for your suspension analysis?
  • + 1
 Sold my Nomad and now have the Megatower. Sure miss the Nomad.
  • + 0
 Santa Cruz - "We need to come up with another name like Hightower."

Also Santa Cruz- "Megatower"
  • + 4
 "Make Enduro Great Again tower"
  • + 1
 Seems Roskop no more on CEO had some slightly MEGA impact...
  • - 2
 First you sh*t on lockout levers and then complain about lack of suppleness. The truth is that there is no magic here, I would take a bike with poor as any day over a bike with too much as.
  • + 16
 That's the other Mike (Mike Levy). I don't recall Mike Kazimer having anything against these levers.
  • + 3
 @lkubica. All Mikes look the same so understandable mistake.
  • + 1
 Yeah, I feel like an idiot, did not want to insult the proper Mike Wink
  • + 1
 @lkubica: Don't worry, I get the confusion. Both Mikes are fine though. They just happen to have different opinions. Which is fine too.
  • + 1
 Sometimes I feel like the choice wording is an intentional set up!
  • + 0
 bikes are sick in 2019. this one included. death to product reviews!
  • + 4
 But don't you want to know which bike is the sickest?
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: they're all suitably sick. All that matters to me is the $ calculus--who do you know who's working for where. They're all around 30 pounds, Horst link VPP don't make no nevermind, rear deraillers don't fall off anymore, chains don't drop, tubeless rules...

MTB is solved.
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